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pontac

Members
  • Content Count

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About pontac

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    London
  • Interests
    Wine
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Rivers

Recent Profile Visitors

167 profile views
  1. Our cruises have included transport to the airport. The airport is quite close, about 30 minutes depending on time of day=traffic
  2. Our first river cruise was Basel to Amsterdam; we didn't choose it, our friends did. I think the only way to get a definitive answer would be from someone who done it both ways. However, I recall thinking at the time I would have preferred Amsterdam to Basel because I was very familiar with Amsterdam having worked there many times, where other way would have been a trip to a new place. Also, scenery becomes more countrified nearer Basel. But I think more important than direction of travel will, for you, be the logistics of flights from/to Basel and Amsterdam. The latter is well connected to the rest of the world. Check departure times and connections. I reckon they will make the decision for you. I am sure you can organise a post cruise extension in Basel if you travel that way.
  3. As the others have said. We only use our cabin for sleeping, showering and dressing. For sight seeing while cruising we use the lounge or open spaces where we can see both banks. During the day there's so much time off the boat on included or optional sightseeing trips, then there's meal times so there's little time to spend in ones cabin.
  4. I so agree with this view. And it can be life changing. We shared a table with two American eye surgeons and after talking to them Mrs P and I had the confidence to have lens replacement surgery so not only don't we have the cataracts that were starting to form but don't need spectacles at all. Another trip we shared a table with two couples from California who were very interesting and turned out to be church pastors. We had never met anyone who believed every single word in the bible was literarily true and I don't think they'd ever met people who didn't believe. We had many interesting conversations. Then there was the amazing @Horsedds (of this board) who me met on our last trip in Ukraine. Or the Canadian onion farmer who had emigrated as a youth from Germany and was on the Rhine, and the fascinating.... well, you get the idea.
  5. Our trip in June this year ended in Bucharest. You don't travel from the port of Giurgiu directly to your hotel, instead you travel through Budapest to the other side to the village museum, that took 2.5 hours - with a comfort stop at a filling station along the way. After the museum you are bussed to the lunch venue and then back into the centre of Bucharest for a walking tour. Luckily Mrs P spotted our hotel and we bailed out of the walking tour and we walked the other direction to the Radisson Blu hotel. Our baggage was already in our room as it had been separately shipped. Why did the journey take so long? First because the roads are in terrible condition with the bus slowing almost to a stop to creep over bridges. But mostly because traffic in Bucharest is so dense and we had to pass through the centre to get to the museum. OTOH, the journey next morning to the airport in a mini-bus only took 25 minutes.
  6. Speaking of my experiences on Viking, there are 2 tables for two on Longships in the Acquavit lounge. We don't like chatting at breakfast (even to each other, as we read our respective newspapers) and we sit there, and often for lunch. There are no tables for two in Longship's main restaurant, but every seat wasn't occupied and some couple who came later chose a table they had to themselves. Many fewer people were in the restaurant at lunchtime, either because they were in the lounge or because they were off the boat. But this can't be guaranteed. However, our last trip was on Sineus in Ukraine and this ship had plenty of tables for two in the restaurant and I understand sister ships are used on Russia cruises so it would depend on where you choose to cruise. Narrow down the route you want to travel, and if a table for 2 is important to you, look at the ship plans on the cruise lines website and that will show the seating configurations in the restaurants
  7. I'm confused. I thought pizza was bread based and also not a choice of 'health conscious athletic types'. I think @TravelerThom and @dogs4fun suggestion that you'd be happier on an ocean cruise is right.
  8. Thanks @I like vacation A picture is worth a thousand words 🙂
  9. I used to have an Amex card for business travel, but outside hotels I found it very difficult to use in Europe, and no one ever said 'that'll do nicely'. Even those places that had a sign saying they took it asked if you would use another card. Reason is that Amex charge merchants a higher fee than Visa & MasterCard.
  10. 'The nub of your question is how much is 'enough'. For me, three courses plus bread was more than enough at dinner. People at our table sometimes had two desserts and you can also have a cheese selection after dessert. If someone wasn't happy with their main course then the waiter offered another. On previous Viking trips some people had two main courses. But after dinner service the only snacks are cakes or cookies at the coffee stations. Seems I have a smaller appetite than you 🙂
  11. There's no doubt there is limited storage space, but I've had less in modern hotels. I would say it's sufficient, and I take more than many because I like to dress in long sleeved shirt with tie and jacket the evening. There's one closet with a full drop. I had 5 jackets and 6 trousers and hanged them all and Mrs P had no problem hanging her dresses. I took formal shirts which I also hanged and I had short sleeve and polo shirts for day wear. We didn't need them but you can ask for extra hangers, and - hooray - they are proper wood hangers with a hook, not those horrible hotel types you have to wiggle into a slot. There are six shelves which we had three each, plus extra space in second closet, which doesn't have a long drop because it holds the safe and has a shelf. There's also a drawer (which holds a hairdryer) which we used for small items. I put my used clothing in a laundry bag which I kept under the bed.
  12. No. I took 5 jackets and wore one very night. Many did wear jackets and many did not.
  13. @4774Papa what for you would make a 'great cruise'? I think all the lines that cruise Bordeaux go to the same places, so your deciding factors will be - I presume - quality of cabin, food, drinks, included and optional tours and wineries visited. The boats don't travel far; they start and end in the city of Bordeaux. Of the nine river cruises I have done with Viking this was the exception in that it was first and foremost about the wine. Different wines were served each day from the appellation we were in, we visited wine estates and tasted wines there and on board ship. This was the only Viking tour to have an on-board sommelier (although to be frank, he was willing but not very knowledgeable.) I'm a wine lover and big fan of Bordeaux so when the coach drove through famous villages and past famous chateaux I was very happy. If you're not a wine lover and the wines and the names mean nothing to you I'd suggest another tour. If you are a wine lover who wants to visit the home of the worlds greatest wines - or even to learn about and taste them - then this tour is good. But check how much tasting and which properties you'll visit as they don't all visit the same properties, and if you have a favourite property check which - if any - line visits it. Also be aware that really famous names listed as places you'll 'see' means 'see' from the road as most don't take visitors. As mentioned, I travelled with Viking and a highlight was dinner in Ch Kirwan one evening with unlimited pours of their top label.
  14. Hi @Bake apple I did this trip with Viking in June this year; it visits 5 countries (Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania). My report on the trip is on the Roll Call page here https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2536236-all-viking-2019-passage-to-eastern- europe/page/22/ and you may find it worth while to read the entire thread as there are several other reports on the trip throughout. The choice of which direction to cruise, Bud to Buc (which I did) or Buc to Bud may be influenced by a report from a poster on the Buc>Bud cruise who was wakened with the rest of the passengers to attend a passport check at a border at 3am. Bud>Buc this took place in the afternoon on board. Anyway, whatever trip you book next will leave open the opportunity of booking the other trip in future 🙂
  15. We don't go to the nightly ' port talk' any more; everything necessary is in the Viking Daily paper that's put on ones bed during dinner. But we do tune the TV in our cabin to the 'Lounge Cam' so we can listen to the chat while we are getting ready for dinner.
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