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About sbjornda

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  1. I don't know if this will help, but here is a comparison of Emerald and Scenic (its parent company): Scenic Vs Emerald: Battle of the River Ships (cruise.co.uk) Some small potatoes but worth noting: If you have Scenic loyalty points you can apply them to Emerald cruises, but not vice-versa, and you won't earn Scenic loyalty points on an Emerald cruise.
  2. In our two experiences with the Royal Balcony Suites, we were met at the airport by a limo driver holding a sign with our name on it. It felt really good after navigating airports for so many hours. Don't forget to make good use of the butler. Technically all the cabins get butler service, but they are supposed to take more initiative with the Royal Suite passengers. I liked having coffee brought to the cabin as I was waking up in the morning. Daily laundry service. In-room dining on occasion, especially if one of us wasn't feeling 100% well. They are there to pamper you, so make t
  3. It was the "Romantic Rhine & Moselle". Best wishes, Sterling
  4. We were with Scenic. That was our 2nd cruise with them, and we'll certainly do more. Sailing from Amsterdam, the stops were Antwerp, Veere, Arnhem, Maastricht, Xanten, Koblenz, Cochem, Bernkastel (with a day trip to Trier or Luxembourg), and then back up to the Rhine for Rüdesheim, Heidelberg (docked at Mannheim), Strasbourg, Breisach (for a walk in the Black Forest), and Basel. So quite a winding trip, especially at the start, but we certainly enjoyed it a lot. Veere was fun because my wife's Mennonite ancestors emigrated from there in the 16th century. Looking forwar
  5. We were fortunate that our 2019 cruise stopped in Xanten. We always love Roman ruins and these were quite good, but the surprise of the stop was the Siegfriedmuseum which our guide barely mentioned. We only had enough time for a quick run-through, but were very impressed with the amount of detail, the thoroughness, and the very clear presentation. If you're interested in the intersection of history and myth that comes with the Nibelungen legend, I can highly recommend this museum. Other folks have found it a bit dry and academic, but that was not our experience; the museum has made a great eff
  6. For those who may not be aware, it's still an Australian company. It's just the US headquarters that are moving. Sterling
  7. Thanks - that brought back memories for me. Years ago I was working with some young people from Bamberg. They were quite proud to let us know that they were Franconian, not really Bavarian, and moreover, they were Upper Franconian. 🙂 Sterling
  8. Other companies probably do this too but I've only cruised with Scenic. They offer a phone app called "Tailormade" that tracks your progress on a map as you sail along the river and offers audio descriptions of the sights and history you're passing on the banks. When on shore you can use it for self-guided touring if you choose not to follow the crowd.
  9. Watch out for an alcohol exclusion clause on out-of-country medical insurance. There is find print in some policies that say the insurance is void if ANY alcohol is found your the bloodstream. There was a story out of Australia a couple years ago of couple that was left with hefty medical bills in Switzerland because a gentleman fell down the stairs of the ship, resulting in a serious concussion, but he'd had a couple of drinks with supper - and though he was not visibly inebriated, the company invoked the clause anyway and declined to pay. When I retired I had a choice of a couple
  10. Our Scenic cruise on the Rhine in 2019 took a side trip from Nijmegen to Maastricht, but a lot of the sailing was at night so I can't comment much on the scenery. I'm very glad to have visited Maastricht; a very pleasant city (though very expensive). The bit of the river banks I did see, were nothing special - narrower and less busy than the Rhine, but typical landscape for that area; pleasant but nothing exciting. I too wondered about navigability upstream from Maastricht but it was idle speculation. I did ask Scenic (and got no reply) about the route - we had been in Veere on Aug
  11. Smaller lines often do not use English as their main language (unless the cruise is specified as English), so be prepared. It may be difficult to understand announcements broadcast over the speaker system, some of which may be safety-related, schedule changes, etc. I have no direct experience with TUI, though. Their web site appears to be all in Dutch, so I doubt they're marketing to an English-speaking audience, but if you're comfortable with Dutch (or whatever the language of that specific cruise is), you'll be fine. In general, the "sticky" threads at the top of this page are
  12. Certainly that's not the case with Scenic river cruises. Once the ship is docked you are free to come & go as you will. You just need to check out / check in so they have a head count before sailing on.
  13. It's more a matter of upstream vs. downstream. When sailing upstream you are slightly more likely to experience engine noise and vibration as you sail against the current, but unless there's a flood going on, this is likely not to be very significant. Folks on the lowest deck or nearest the propulsion system are more likely to notice. When sailing downstream with the current you often travel faster; if you're on the top deck trying to photograph things as you sail past, you'll have less time to compose the shot. I would say the average passenger won't notice the difference unless it's pointed
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