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About 3rdCoastFan

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    Chicago, IL

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  1. My experience with Viking Air was pretty easy a few years back. We booked a river cruise and the airfare offer was $250 for economy (ORD>AMS and BSL>MUC>ORD). As soon as I made our final payment, I was able to request early ticketing. Viking tried to dissuade me but, as mentioned already, you are otherwise left only with a 'reservation'. I planned on using miles to upgrade our seats to business and United wouldn't do anything until the flights were actually ticketed. Everything worked out nicely, mostly. When we got to Basel, the gate agent was unable to issue a boarding pass for MUC&
  2. It sure can - the fare will be charged in local currency so it may trigger an additional foreign transaction fee depending on the credit card linked to your account. Otherwise, the app works just like it does in the US. One difference, though, are the cars themselves. Most cars are small and have limited trunk space. While there may be the same 'XL' option, there may not be many 'XL' cars when you need one. Just something to consider if you will be traveling with lots of luggage.
  3. Prior to my cruise last spring, I had terrible experiences with Viking's customer service agents. Simple questions would result in wildly inconsistent answers depending on what agent happened to pick up the phone or respond to my email. I was worried how that would carry over once I was on the boat but everything was great -- once I was on board. If nothing else, rest assured that once you get to Paris and start your cruise, Viking's staff should be much more accommodating and helpful than what you're experiencing now. Specifically with Air Plus, I had very specific flights in min
  4. I've been to Dublin only once but loved it - it may not be necessary to spend more than a couple of days there but I think it would be a missed opportunity to treat it only as a pick-up/drop-off site for a rental car. As suggested above, consider fitting in a couple of days to stay in Dublin and otherwise limit the amount of driving on your trip. For me, and I'm also in Chicago, I spend enough time in cars in a normal work week - if I can avoid cars while on vacation, I'm happier for it! 😁
  5. We did the Rhine Getaway in April 2019 and really enjoyed the flexibility of the drinks package. I didn't care for the included beer (Bitburger) and the red and white selections each night were a little dull. I made my way through the high-end single malt collection over the 7 nights - always ordered a double (those pours are smaller by default) and never got charged. Certain bottles in the wine list were not included but everything else was covered by the package.
  6. If it's any value to the OP, I posted dailies for my Rhine Getaway last April. While itineraries are always subject to change, this may give you a good idea of what to expect while on board a Viking ship.
  7. @texasstar, we also stayed at the Kimpton and agree with your comments. Great location and great staff - we would absolutely stay there again. On our April 2019 Rhine cruise with Viking, we, too, got the dock outside the city center at the Westerhoofd location. It was fairly easy to get there in an Uber and Viking ran shuttles back and forth from the dock to Centraal up until the early evening. I think we were told about a week or two ahead of time that the boat would be there. The Port of Amsterdam lists this as a 'turnaround' location - perhaps for boats that do not
  8. I was on Viking's Rhine itinerary last spring. It was my first cruise (on any type of water). The soon-to-be-DW and I both found it very relaxing. Very different than our usual trips where we pick 2-3 cities in Europe, find airbnb's and then travel by train between them all. We really liked it when we could sit on the Aquavit Terrace while the ship was sailing and just read and watch the world go by. The wifi was pretty bad so it made it easy to unplug. We got into the habit pretty quickly of waking up early, doing the morning tour and then getting back to the ship for lunch. Our afternoons we
  9. Also, you may luck out with your hotel room being ready early. It happened to us on our cruise last April. It was nice to take a shower and change before heading out into the city. It's also very tempting to immediately nap if you get into the room early, though. You know best how you respond to jet lag but powering through that first day and avoiding naps usually works best for me!
  10. Fair enough! Always a trade-off between booking flights through the cruise, a third-party or directly with the airline. As long as you're comfortable with the flight itself and how you get the tickets, flying up front is definitely the best way to start off a vacation!
  11. I used Viking Air and shelled out for Air Plus and the diversion fee. I think you're right that the business upgrade was where the value potentially evaporated. I had enough miles with United to upgrade ourselves to business on the way over and Lufthansa quoted me a decent cash price to upgrade on the way back, as well. I'm wary of any third-party consolidator, too, that buys and sells other people's miles - I don't know if the one you use does this, either, but it's a topic that comes up from time to time on the cruise air boards. If the airline catches wind that you're on a tic
  12. You may find that many of the tours last longer than just the morning. There may be an included walking/bus tour but then you get dropped off in the center of town with free time. Viking will run a shuttle or two - just make sure you meet up again at the designated pick-up point on time! You're also given the exact dock location any time you leave the ship so if you have to cab it over, at least you won't worry about where the boat is, exactly (provided your cab driver knows where the address is; remember, too, that Uber doesn't work in most parts of Germany). If a port stop inclu
  13. Last April, my fiancé and I stayed at the Kimpton DeWitt and generally loved it. They were renovating parts of the hotel so some of the public spaces were blocked off. The attached coffee stand with beignets was also closed while we were there. Rooms were well appointed, though there wasn't a lot of available storage. If you're someone that wants to unpack the suitcase, there aren't a lot of drawers available. There is limited space to hang things up. We didn't mind it for a couple of nights. Bathroom was great. They offer a free happy hour with complimentary wine every night - it wasn't the b
  14. Exactly what @Twickenham says above - the products aren't necessarily comparable at all. I really enjoyed my flights in SAS Plus before. As far as PE products go, I think theirs is one of the better ones. Lounge access and free wifi are uncommon benefits to PE that SAS offers. SAS also lets you bid on upgrades - if your fare class allows it, you may be able to get a business seat for a relative bargain.
  15. Broadly speaking, and I'm just agreeing here with everyone else, business will likely always be the better value - but that doesn't necessarily make it affordable for everyone. It really does come down to the specific airline. I wouldn't necessarily bother with PE on United, for example, whereas I have found PE on SAS to be a great value (it even includes lounge access).
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