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Everything posted by mhb1757

  1. We are flying into Stockholm for 2 nights precruise. Had considered Hotel Wellington in Oostermalm because we like Clarion Collection properties but I’m having second thoughts since the location doesn’t seem exactly ideal. We will probably take the train from the airport into the central station. We would have to take a cab from the train station to the hotel if we use the Wellington. We will probably use the HOHO bus and/or boat to sightsee on the day before the cruise so something close to a stop would be good. Im looking for any suggestions. Would we be better off staying near the train station?
  2. Can’t answer your question about transportation in Basel but I would say weather is not likely to be too cool. I’d plan for light jackets at most....although there could certainly be extremes in either direction. We sailed the Rhine in mid-November a few years ago and had warmer temps than I anticipated. Ended up in shirt sleeves the whole time. Not sure I ever put my jacket on. But your best bet is to check weather predictions shortly before the trip begins. And rain gear is essential.
  3. I would definitely NOT pay for the service. Both are quite simple and straightforward on line. As posted above you can do both in well under 30 minutes. Probably about the same amount of time it would take to sign up for the visa service!
  4. Anyone know when Jet Blue will open next round? Looking for May flights and current schedule only open thru early April.
  5. I think you would be hard pressed to do both in that short of a time because after the fjord Cruise you would have to either cruise back to Flam or take a bus back from Gudvangen. If you have to choose one I would recommend the fjord cruise. The train will be packed with ship passengers and while it is truly a very scenic ride I think the fjord trip is even more spectacular and far less likely to be packed out.
  6. I’m no expert but i do know cabs in Copenhagen are quite pricey. Since you are only staying one night precruise and will likely arrive tired after traveling all night you might think about staying at an airport hotel (on site or free shuttle). Then you could leave all the luggage on arrival with minimal hassle and then hop the train into central station to do some sightseeing until your room is ready or you get tired. Then the next day you can take a cab to the port. Airport hotels tend to be less expensive than those in city center and you would only have 1 pricey cab ride instead of two. Obviously not as easy access to sightseeing but I’m not sure how much you’d be likely to do on your arrival day anyway and it would certainly be less hassle.
  7. Pick either one...AA will change their schedule and flight times out of SDF at least 10times between now and next July so there’s no telling what the actual layover times will be by then. 😂😂
  8. Good choice on flights. Amsterdam is (IMHO) the easiest hub in Europe. SO much faster and easier to navigate than London, Paris or Frankfort.
  9. Most river lines seem to have peak pricing in September. We have done Basel to Amsterdam in late October and found the weather delightful, crowds minimal. Can’t imagine a better time for touring. We did the Danube and the Seine in November and had picture perfect weather on both of those cruises as well. So I am pretty much sold on later fall dates for river cruising in a Europe. I know we have probably been very lucky with weather, but I am not really very tolerant of heat and crowds so the bargain cruises in shoulder season work well for us. And you can have bad weather days at any time of year. Personally I would not pay the premium price for a September date but every one has different priorities.
  10. Not sure what time of year you are planning to go but if it is in Spring I’d suggest a day for Keukenhoff and the tulip fields. There are lots of tours you can book from Amsterdam. The flower auction at Aalsmeer is also quite impressive. There is a full day trip to the Zuiderzee via train with a great ferry ride and return on an old steam train that is a great trip. A day in Haarlem is also quite interesting. In fact Haarlem is a great place to stay. An easy short train ride in to Amsterdam but away from all the big city bustle and confusion.
  11. Viking will fly you out of Basel. If they give you the option of a deviation from Zurich you will have to pay the $50/pp air plus fee and an additional $100/pp deviation fee and you will have to arrange your own transportation from the ship to Zurich. If you fly KLM/Delta/Air France you will likely fly Basel to Amsterdam or Paris (and I’d avoid a Paris if at all possible) then on to US. If you fly United/Lufthansa you will likely change in Frankfort or Munich. If you go with America/British Air you will likely connect in London (also not my favorite hub).
  12. You scored on that change. The Intercontinental is in a GREAT location. Right by the Jewish Quarter. There is a nice restaurant just to the left of the hotel that we enjoyed a lot. Not fancy, we were almost the only tourists there the evening we ate there but great local food and maybe 1/2 a block from the hotel as you walk out the main door it will be to the left. I have totally forgotten the name but it is the only restaurant on that block. I do not recommend dining at the hotel. Overpriced and mediocre at best. I would highly recommend spending some time in the Jewish Quarter. One museum ticket gets you into many historic buildings with excellent guide materials. We found it more interesting than the castle actually.
  13. I am guessing you may have confused Premium economy with economy comfort (or something similar). True premium economy is a totally different fareclass with bigger seats multiple additional features in a separate cabin from the economy seats. That is what Viking is wanting $1k/pp more for. It typically costs about 2x a basic economy fare. What you booked before on United for an additional $125 or so was the economy comfort product.... those are seats usually at the front of the economy cabin that have extra legroom, priority boarding and maybe a few other perks. But it’s basically an economy seat with extra legroom. That is a regular economy priced ticket with a paid upgrade usually around $100-150 per segment on a long haul flight. usually on long haul flights on US airlines flights that have a true premium economy cabin will not have an option for those less expensive economy comfort seats. Just depends on the aircraft that is used for the flight you are on. So if the flight you plan to book has a premium economy cabin (which I assume they do since Viking quoted you a price for those seats) then you would not be able to get an economy comfort type seat through the airline. You can check seat guru to look at the exact cabin configuration for the flight you want to make sure but I’m guessing this is what has happened based on the info you provided
  14. You might want to look at Viking. Norway is their home turf and they do it very well. The Midnight Sun Cruise is spectacular. Shore excursions in all ports are included. The ships accommodate 900 or so passengers and are certainly not small but might be much easier to navigate for your in laws. Fewer passengers means a LOT less wait time on and off the ship, at meals, etc. initial price looks high but when you consider what’s included and do the math there’s not as much difference as you might think (excursions, internet, wine with meals, spa, specialty restaurants etc are included and all cabins have a balcony).
  15. Can’t speak to the baggage issue but as long as you have a same day boarding pass for business you will have lounge access in MIA and EZE.
  16. We have done 3 river cruises with Avalon and 3 with Viking. We just go with whoever is doing the itinerary we want at the best price. Love both lines. No complaints with either of them. I have never gone solo but on our last Avalon cruise (Tulips of Northern Holland in early May) there were quite a few solo travelers. I have traveled on the Danube Dreams itinerary with my sister and 20 something daughters and we had a ball. On the Holland cruise there were probably more 50 something guests than any other age group. The river cruising crowd always seems quite friendly and such an interesting group. Can’t imagine an easier way to travel solo. We always stay in the least expensive cabins on Avalon and have never had any issues with engine noise or vibration. And btw, if you are interested in the Netherlands I highly recommend that Tulips of Northern Holland trip. So very interesting with stops in lots of places very untouristy and certainly off the beaten path for river cruisers. We LOVED it!
  17. Haha. Pictures are from a bus. 😂😂. So I’m guessing from piecing things together here that they did 2 days via bus tours, then swapped ships and continued on? I’ve certainly heard worse stories. I had lunch yesterday with a friend that took a Viking Cruise mid July - Lyon to Avignon and a lady at their dinner table the last night was ranting about how she had already contacted her attorney because It had been over 100 degrees for the first 5 days of the cruise and even though they still ran all excursions she felt it was too hot to safely be outside for extended periods so she had remained on board. Viking (gasp with horror) was not offering her any compensation for the hot weather that “prevented” her from enjoying “any portion of the cruise”. Whats with those Viking folks? First they claim they can’t control water levels in rivers and now they seem to be claiming the same thing about the temperature and perhaps even lock conditions. 😂😂😂
  18. Our last bus driver in Amsterdam told us the bike lanes were red for a reason... colored with the blood of tourists 😂😂😂
  19. We have stayed in 3038 and 3043 and have never heard anything from Torshavn or anyplace else while in our cabin. We loved the location and have 3036 reserved for an upcoming cruise.
  20. This really isn’t anything unique to Viking.... we have been booked with HAL, Oceania and RCCL when prices went down after final payment and HAL has been pretty good about offering an upgrade to help compensate (although it wasn’t as much as the price drop would have allowed). O gave us a small amount of OBC (kind of a token gesture) and RCCL said tough luck. They really aren’t obligated to do anything after final payment. And since Viking is still riding the wave of great demand they probably aren’t really motivated to do much.
  21. We did 2 weeks in the cabin next door to that one. Never heard a peep from anything inside the cabin. Loved the location. It was great being near the lift and stairs. I was afraid we would hear a lot of chatter from people coming and going but never heard a thing above us, below us or outside the door.
  22. I have looked at 3 day tours of St Petersburg with both Alla and SPB. Both tours hit all of our “must see” sites and prices look about the same. Does anyone have a preference between them they could share or suggestions?
  23. Nice thing about river cruises, at least it seems to me... no one seems to be paying much attention to what others are wearing. Sport coat at dinner would be absolutely fine assuming you don’t expect others to do the same. He certainly wouldn’t be the only one wearing a jacket at dinner, although more would likely be in polo shirts or sweaters depending on weather. Plenty of room under the bed for larger suitcase. Since you have almost 4 weeks to pack for on this trip in a variety of types/weights of clothing you could just unpack what you anticipate needing for the 7 days on the river and leave everything else packed and under the bed. There will definitely be more than adequate storage in the cabin for that. If you use packing cubes you could just color code or label them for which portion of the trip you will want to unpack them and it will save you a LOT of packing and unpacking on this trip. And btw.... I think you made a great decision taking a 7 day river cruise to start out. I love river cruising but 7-8 days at a time is enough for us. More than that and the destinations seem to run together, the small cabins seem to shrink and become confining and the dining options get old. I know lots of others might disagree and all of those are entirely subjective but a week on the River is wonderful for us, 2 weeks, not so much. It will be a great addition to your trip.
  24. I doubt you would have time to even go to the museum or Anne Frank house and then get back to the ship to collect your luggage and be on the road to the airport by 11:30. You might just want to have a nice breakfast on board and explore on foot a bit before heading to the train station to go back to the airport. I am assuming you are not using Viking transfers back to the airport. If you are they will likely want to depart from the ship 31/2 to 4 hours prior to flight time. Alternatively you could book a private tour and have them pick you up from the ship early and do a half day tour and drop you off at the airport directly which could save quite a bit of time.
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