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About TheKingD

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Pottery and Glass Collecting, Travel, Sports, Wine, History
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  1. Thanks Notamermaid - I really needed that this morning too! Cindy
  2. Roy, count us into your cheering section as you make your way home. Cindy & John
  3. Roy, I have been following your journey, and I admire your spirit, and I am so sorry your trip is coming to such an abrupt end. I have no idea how you will be routed home at this point, but if one of the options can get you to North Carolina, we are in Charlotte and we will pick you up at the airport and get you home. Take good care, Cindy & John
  4. Notamermaid, Steamboats, and G.M.T.: We are very appreciative of all your wisdom and we feel connected to you even though we will not be in your country this spring as originally planned. Take good care in all this craziness, and please keep up the good spirits when you can, and we will see you the next time, whenever that is! All our best, Cindy & John
  5. Keith, I enjoy following your journeys, and I especially appreciate your kind spirit. I am a Crystal gal going back about 20 years, but I missed out on the Harmony and I also missed out on the Mozart. We will be on the Ravel in late April for our second river cruise on Crystal. Since you have been traveling, the Rolling Stones announced a number of US shows this spring and summer, and they will be in Austin. We are in Charlotte, and we have our tickets to see them here in July, near the end of their tour. I know they are not Paul McCartney but they get better as they get older, and they put on quite a show! I'm glad their Charlotte visit did not conflict with our Ravel trip, or else we would have had to travel to see them - one more time! Stay safe, Cindy
  6. Notamermaid and G.M.T. - stay safe, warm and dry. We know what hurricanes are all about in our part of the world, and we wish you the best. We just had storms with tornadoes this past week followed by cold air and a dusting of snow with more rain coming this week, so I like G.M.T.'s preparation strategy. We will be on the Danube on Crystal Ravel in late April with hopefully some nice spring weather by then.
  7. Buddeesmom, we are booked on the Ravel for the Budapest to Vilshofen cruise starting April 24. We were on the Debussy in June 2019 on the Rhine, and we had such a great time and are looking forward to another really fun Crystal River Cruise. We will arrive in Budapest several days prior to the cruise, and then we head home directly at the end of the cruise. I have been on Crystal Ocean Cruises for close to 20 years, and I am a big Crystal fan. I hope you decide to go - you cannot go wrong!
  8. SierraFloridaCruiser, you must be on our same cruise on the Ravel near the end of April. Your trip sounds great, and I'm envious! We will have several days in Budapest prior to the cruise, and then we will come straight home afterwards. We will see you on board! Cindy
  9. I have been on Crystal Ocean off and on for almost 20 years, and we were just on the Debussy in June 2019. The River experience was so much fun that we are booked on the Ravel in late April this year. I like the small size of the river ships, and it is so easy to meet most of the other passengers. The river ports are so charming and easy to visit, either on an excursion or on our own. I love a sea day too on the Ocean cruises, but I found the top deck of the river ship as we cruised through picturesque sections to be even better. Also, my evening preferences after 20 years have adjusted to liking more relaxed evenings without needing a lot of entertainment options, and the casual atmosphere on the River cruise was much more enjoyable for me. I'll take another Crystal Ocean cruise at some point, and I'm sure I will enjoy it too! I think the service, food and atmosphere on the Crystal River cruise was outstanding and equal to or better than the Crystal Ocean. I'm fortunate to have experienced both with no complaints at all!
  10. You must be on an Eastbound cruise, rather than the one we are on that is Westbound. Our trip begins in Budapest and ends in Vilshofen, and we will arrive a couple of days prior to the trip, so we will already been in town to board the ship. On our 2019 cruise, we also arrived several days in advance, but we were in the Crystal Pre-Cruise hotel, so Crystal had an escort waiting for us at the airport to take us to the hotel. Our connecting flight had been delayed, so we were several hours late arriving, but the escort was there for us, holding up her i-pad with our names displayed. She was not a Crystal employee but rather she was a contracted person with a limousine company. We were in a nice Mercedes passenger van that would have had room for 6 or 8 passengers, but it was just the two of us with the driver. It might depend on how many other Crystal guests are on your same flight or with similar arrival times, but I'm almost certain that Crystal doesn't make guests loiter around the airport for long. If there are a lot of Crystal people on your flight, there might be someone holding up a Crystal sign in the airport. We book our cruises through my travel agent, and they confirmed before we left home that we should look for the escort once we cleared Customs and Immigration. A Crystal representative also called me before we left home to let me know to look for someone with our names on a sign, and the representative let me know we would be the only ones in the vehicle. You and my husband may be kindred spirits, because he always convinces himself that he is going to be stranded in a foreign airport, but I can assure you that Crystal does a superb job with their logistics. I look forward to hearing all about your trip - it will be here before we know it!
  11. Poochi24 - one more thing. We were in an aft cabin on the Debussy (one of the smaller ones about 3 from the back) and we were on Deck 3 rather than the lower one. We did not have any noise issues at all, and we have booked a similar cabin, also on Deck 3, on the Ravel. We loved being near the doors at the back to step outside to sit on the back deck or have easy access to the top deck with all the lounge areas.
  12. Poochi24, I hope you book a Crystal River cruise, and I know you will enjoy it! We did a Rhine cruise in 2019 on the Debussy, and we have booked a Danube trip on the Ravel for the end of April 2020. When we first signed up for the Danube trip (going west from Budapest to Vilshofen), the final port was Regensburg, and Crystal notified us a week or so ago that they were changing that port to be Vilshofen. Crystal always does a great job with their logistics, so I just take things as they come and never second-guess them. In the past few days, they have posted the Vilshofen excursions, and some are staying in town, and some are longer trips to the surrounding areas, including Salzburg. Depending on the arrival and departure times in the ports, some days have both morning and afternoon excursions, and if the ship is in port all day, usually there is enough time for lunch on board if you want to do more than one excursion. Some days, the ship leaves a port after lunch because the scenery is so special that you will want to be on the top deck enjoying the countryside. We have already signed up for excursions for our trip, even though you can be very flexible once you are on the ship and you can adjust your schedule if you change your mind. Some excursions have limited space, so trying to decide in advance is advisable. On the Rhine trip, we had shipboard credits and we asked the ship's excursion team to arrange a private excursion, and that was on the the highlights of the trip. We had to pay a small amount extra, because our shipboard credits were not quite enough, but it was well worth it. Also, on some days, we just poked around town and did not participate in any excursions, so keep that in mind too. The other passengers on our Rhine cruise were really fun, and it is easy to meet other people and enjoy excursions with new friends. Crystal is truly top-notch in offering interesting sightseeing, so it will be good, no matter what you do. Happy New Year, and Happy Cruising!
  13. USC Adventurer, We were on the Debussy in June for the Basel to Amsterdam cruise, and we had such a good time that we have already booked a Danube cruise (Budapest to Regensburg) on the Ravel for the end of April 2020. You will have a great trip! We also booked an excursion every day, and as the week progressed, we changed our minds some and did exactly what you suggest - slept late and ventured out on our own some days. We did let the desk know in advance when we were planning to skip an excursion, and Coral's advice about that is on point. I agree with Coral that the maps at the front desk are very helpful. We had enough shipboard credits that were going to be wasted, so we asked the desk to arrange a private excursion for 3 of us on the day that is partly in Mannheim. We had a private driver in a nice Mercedes passenger van with a private tour guide, and they helped us plan our half-day adventure, which ended up being our favorite day of the entire trip. The excursions that day were mostly going to Heidelberg, and I'm sorry we missed that, but we chose to go west of the Rhine into the wine country, and we stopped at an old family-owned winery, and we had a typical German lunch at a place up on the side of a mountain that we rode a chair-lift to get to, and we stopped at a lavender/herb farm, and we saw really quaint little villages, and we hardly saw any other tourists. The Crystal people set up the driver and guide with about 1 1/2 day notice. The whole experience was truly memorable! Also, when we were in Amsterdam, we took an Uber into Haarlem instead of going on an excursion, and we met up with some of my relatives and had a very relaxing time. That was the only day we tried using Uber, but remember that is available in the larger ports. I am watching the other message boards about river levels, especially since the Danube is having problems. I hope the river levels are good for your trip, but you will have a great time no matter what. I am a long-time Crystal cruiser, and I am so glad they are doing river cruises now, because I truly enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and the small ships where everyone meets the other guests and the crew. Have a great vacation!
  14. To Notamermaid, we are truly grateful to you for your valuable and wise perspective and for providing interesting tidbits about your part of the world. We have enjoyed your posts throughout the summer, and we really appreciate the link to the article about our beloved Sankt Nikolaus. We whole-heartedly join you in your festive spirit and we extend our heartiest best wishes that the warm traditions of Christmas will bring you happiness to last throughout the year.
  15. Hello all. We are like EllieBellie and have been watching with interest the posts about the river levels. We have thoroughly enjoyed Notamermaid's posts, and we plan to follow all updates about the steam engine recovery mystery next month sometime. We will be on Crystal Debussy in June 2019, but we have been interested in all the comments recently as cruise lines were scrambling to accommodate guests during the hot and dry months. Hopefully June will be OK for all involved. We are in Charlotte and waiting for Hurricane Florence to come and go. So far, we have had lots of wind and some rain, but the worst is yet to come. There are plenty of large trees and branches of all sizes down in the city, and some power outages all around too. Since Notamermaid reported having a friend in the area, we hope all is well with the friend. We wish we could share our rain with the Rhine!
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