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Everything posted by djh1959

  1. Hi, I feel a little the same as you, as we are booked for a one week cruise in October. I have tossed up cancelling, but don't want to lose the $2000 AUD deposit! I have done a heap of reading on Scenic, both on here, on Tripadvisor and on various Facebook groups. While they don't seem to have handled the low water (and previous high water) issues well, neither it seems did many of the other companies. It seems that when things go well, which they obviously do most of the time, then the reviews are extremely good. I booked for us because my parents have done four trips with them. They totally rave over everything and have assured me that the food is excellent. I see no reason for them to make that up so I am ignoring the food comments. I am in Australia, and one thing that I have noticed is that most of the poor food comments come from America. I am not sure that this isn't a cultural issue - I know that when we visit the States I rarely like the food, it just doesn't seem as good as we have here (sorry!). The only places I have enjoyed most food in the US have been Boston and San Franciso, and they are smaller cities, much more like Melbourne, where I live. It stands to reason that it is possible that Americans and Australians may not have the same food tastes, so maybe that is part of the poor reviews. I am not sure what sort of deposit structure you had, because it seems that each country is treated differently, but if, like us, your deposit was substantial, it becomes very costly to cancel. My plan is to watch and read very closely and if things with the water levels occur again, I will invoke my plan b which is is already organised. This means that I will pretty well follow the Rhine but by train. I already have hotels chosen in the towns that we will stay in so it will be very easy to organise. I will worry about refunds then once I get home. I do hope that things go well for you, and for us, and feel confident, strangely, that they will next year.
  2. Thanks everyone. At this stage we are still leaning to 6 nights Budapest and 5 Vienna. Thanks wheezedr for your suggestion, but we have already spent 4 days in Prague on a previous Europe trip. This is our first river cruise but we regularly visit Europe, but somehow we missed Vienna and Budapest!
  3. Thanks so much to both of you for the replies. We may actually add an extra night (not sure yet), so will have 11 nights in total. As to our interests, they are pretty eclectic. Our main love is simply wandering and taking in the sights of a city, along with sitting in an outdoor restaurant, cafe or bar and people watching. Needless to say, Paris is one of our favourite cities, and we just got back from our sixth visit, where we did just what I stated above and loved every second. Having said that, we also like museums and art galleries, primarily impressionist art. We both hate modern art (think Pompidou Centre in Paris). Some of our favourite museums worldwide would be the Museums of Natural History in London and Washington DC, the British Museum, and the Pergamon in Berlin so anything like that is a plus. We also love "House Museums" which show how people lived in the past. As to music and so on, we both enjoy listening to music of all kinds, but have to say we are certainly not experts - more in the "we know what we like" kind of thing. One of my favourite experiences was sitting in a cafe in St. Marks Square in Venice listening to the orchestras, so if there was something like that in either city we would love it, much more than going to an actual formal concert. We definitely want to see the obvious attractions such as the Spanish Riding School, Schoenbrunn Palace in Vienna, and the baths and Castle in Budapest. Would also like to do a tour of Parliament. It seems to me that Vienna is much more expensive that Budapest - do I have that right? I haven't decided where we will stay yet, but I really love a river view so have looked at Sofitel Chain Bridge in a Danube View room. Comparing that to Sofitel Vienna, the Budapest one is a lot cheaper. Of course we don't have to stay somewhere that expensive, it is just a starting point, but as we are Accor Plus members we get lots of extra points that we can use later. I notice that you mentioned cheap shopping, Fletch1. That would be of interest to my husband - we are a strange couple, I am not a shopper by hubby is a big one! He loves markets and any form of shopping, and as we will end up in Budapest before flying home, the ability to shop would be a massive attraction for him lol. Thanks again, both of you and please keep the ideas coming. I have made a note of all the suggestions.
  4. In October, hubby and I are going on our first river cruise, Scenic's Rhine Highlights from Amsterdam to Basel. Originally we were going to book Amsterdam to Budapest, but for a number of reasons we changed our minds - the water issues last year, the fact we don't know yet if we will enjoy it, and the lack of time in Vienna on that trip. We plan to arrive in Amsterdam three days before the cruise. We have been there before so it is more about getting over the jetlag and relaxing and seeing a few things we missed last time. At the end of the cruise we will have a further eleven nights. We plan to spend one in Basel just to have a look. We have already been to Lucerne and Zurich so not really interested in going back just yet. The final ten nights we are going to split between Vienna and Budapest. We will probably travel by train, or we might fly to Budapest, train back to Vienna and fly home from there. That is still to be worked out. I am after advice on how best to split the ten nights. Does one city deserve more time than the other, or should it be five nights each. We have never visited either city, so want to see as much as possible. Thanks in advance for the advice. Deb
  5. We stayed at the Hotel des Alpes a few years ago. Make sure you get a balcony room, the views are stunning. We did two trips, one to Titlis, whick we loved due to being able to be in the snow. The other was Mt Riji which also included a cruise as part of the trip. I don't think we purchased our ticket to the airport in advance as it was no cheaper. Super easy, we rarely use public transport to airports, but this one was simple. The station is walkable to the hotel and then you get off in the terminal in Zurich.
  6. Thanks notamermaid. I followed your posts last year, and now we are back from our European break, I will be following even more as we are sailing on Scenic Amsterdam to Budapest in October. Fingers crossed that this is a better year than last year. We got a sprinkle of snow in Strasbourg and Riquewihr just over a week ago and also a little in Frankfurt on Friday so it is definitely coming.
  7. Merry Christmas to you Notamermaid. You have given me so much information this year, as we get ready for our first ever river cruise in October, so thank you. We are lucky enough to be leaving the heat of Australia on Boxing Day to visit that island in the North Sea. We can't wait to get there and the cold weather, before ten days in France. Hope to hear more from you next year.
  8. How do you start a Roll Call? I am booked on a Scenic cruise next October (2019) and would love to start something. There is very little regarding Scenic on here.
  9. Congratulations! We are cruising with Scenic for the first time next year too, but a shorter trip, Amsterdam to Basel, Rhine Highlights from October 14-21. It will be for our 35th anniversary. We too will go to Budapest but by train to meet up with some friends. Enjoy the planning.
  10. Well please post a review Balloon Man. This will be our first cruise, and I only know what to expect from reading on here and my parent's trips. Some people have commented that their butler was fantastic, but others have said that they never saw him/her, which would be disappointing.
  11. I am not sure that that is correct. We haven't been yet, going next October, but when I booked they said that all cabins could have room service from a small room service menu, but only the higher end cabins can have a full breakfast, lunch or dinner served in their room. We booked a Junior suite specifically for this reason, I think on days with an early start, breakfast in the cabin would be great and we might want one dinner by ourselves.
  12. Lucerne is gorgeous! Not to be missed are the covered bridge, the Lion Monument and really do try to do a mountain excursion and a lake cruise. We did two, a day on Mt. Titlis because we wanted to see lots of snow. We also did a day on Mt. Riji which included a lake cruise before catching the train up the mountain. Dinner at the Old Swiss House is also excellent, particularly if you like schnitzels cooked in butter. Delicious!
  13. So was that Scenic that offered a refund? That is quite surprising, because they rarely do.
  14. I just made our booking at Banks Mansion for October 2019, and that month is definitely available now. I was fairly shocked at the price though, it has risen considerably since our last stay. I have made a cancellable reservation and will modify to a prepaid one when it's a lot closer. @Michael50, what dates in October were you looking for? I am surprised it is booked out already, although it is very popular. We have recommended it to friends and they couldn't get in, but not eleven months in advance.
  15. I have to second the Banks Mansion! Fabulous hotel that we stayed at a few years ago. We will definitely be rebooking there before our river cruise next October. Book a Deluxe Canal View room, they are beautiful.
  16. We have one booked for October 2019. It will be our first from Amsterdam to Basel. We have put this trip off for years as everyone said we were too young, we've finally got old enough, but now I am very worried.
  17. So sorry to hear of your situation abelov. You are quite right, it is not the way to lead in to a much anticipated holiday. We are booked with Scenic, but luckily not until October next year. I am already stressing after reading these boards. I very much doubt they will let you cancel, unless you simply forfeit all your money, which is hardly what you will want. Someone recently posted the link to the solicitor who handled the last class action against Scenic. They are currently preparing another one for this year's issues, as it seems Scenic are about the worst in the way they are treating people. I do hope things work out for your and please keep posting so we know how you get on.
  18. We spent five days in Lucerne a couple of years ago, not connected with a river cruise, just an independent train holiday. It was incredibly easy to manage. We did not to Pilatus, but chose to do day trips to Mt. Titlis, which was stunning, and also Mt. Rigi which included a lake cruise. The trains are very simple to prebook online or at the station. It is often cheaper to prebook, especially for long trips. We travelled from Salzburg to Lucerne for our five nights, then continued by train to Zurich for a day or two before flying home. We stayed at Hotel Des Alpes, where we had a room with a balcony overlooking the famous Chapel Bridge and the river. The rooms was a little dated back then but I believe they have now renovated. All hotels are very expensive, as is everything in Switzerland, but our views were stunning and I would certainly stay again. And I totally agree with pcbeck, do not miss the Lion Monument and Swiss House. We travelled Europe with two early 20s boys who ate schnitzel pretty well every lunch and dinner and they both voted the Swiss House the best that they had eaten, and we certainly agreed. The chocolate mouse for dessert isn't too bad either!
  19. Marjan1 and pully8. I am so glad you posted that. I too am in Australia and there is certainly no such thing as "cancel for any reason". We are booked with Scenic for next October, the Rhine Highlights, and I am seriously regretting paying the $2000AUD non-refundable deposit. I am even considering cancelling now, but losing $2000 for nothing doesn't thrill me. I am working on the basis that surely this couldn't happen again next year, but I know that it could. Just our 7 night cruise was $12000, then we still have to add flights and pre- and post-cruise. Luckily we will do all that ourselves and not involve Scenic at all, as from what I have read on here and on social media they are pretty much the worst company of the lot. I wish I had known that before booking, but my parents have done four trips and raved about them. I know for a lot of retirees that these river cruises are literally using their life savings before they settle to a life of relative poverty and it is so sad for them when this happens. In our case, we have been lucky enough to travel to Europe regularly although that probably won't continue for too much longer. I am using the small inheritance left to me by my father for this trip and would be devastated if it gets ruined. Due to bladder issues, bus trips longer that 45-60 minutes are just not possible, so if this happened to us, I would have to cancel the trip, and as you said, our travel insurance wouldn't cover it. What we need is for Scenic to cancel, but they haven't done that this year at all, unfortunately. We already have our Plan B in place with either trains from Amsterdam to Basel or possibly hiring a car if worst comes to the worst. The problem is finding the money to pay for it all, when it is all tied up in the cruise. I think the idea of a River Cruise Bill of Rights would be wonderful, but again, not sure it would hold in Australia.
  20. Thanks for posting this. We are about to spend five days in Strasbourg shortly after Christmas, so it was wonderful to watch.
  21. Mimmy52 you are exactly right. I was reading another post of yours and I saw your reviews in your signature. I have also found another couple of older ones. Even though it is in the past, the photos and things are rarely very different. Thanks again.
  22. I too have loved your review and hope that you are still following. We are booked Amsterdam to Basel next October 2019. Not with Viking, but another line. Just hoping we don't have the problems with low water that has happened this year. Your review, and photos, were fantastic. Thanks
  23. 28 Days!!!! That is pretty disgraceful for a supposed "luxury 5 star" company. Why don't you telephone, at least someone needs to respond. Oh how I wish we hadn't booked with Scenic for next year, so tempted to cancel but then we lose $2000 AUD deposit.
  24. notamermaid, I am in Melbourne, Australia, and they were talking about it on the radio the other day. Someone called in saying that their friend's cruise had been cancelled. Everyone seemed very shocked and had no idea why, but then people started ringing in explaining. So the news is certainly filtering out.
  25. I see that you are in Australia. I know insurance will cover if Scenic cancels, but what sort of amendments will they cover for? Do you mind me asking who you are insured with please. From what I understand, it is highly unlikely that Scenic will cancel, they will suggest buses and hotels. And if you decide not to go ahead, insurance won't cover it because it was your choice. Hopefully I am wrong but that's what I have heard from a few insurance companies.
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