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About TravelerThom

  • Rank
    5,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    VA, MD & FL
  • Interests
    History, Travel, Exotic locations
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
  1. TravelerThom

    High Water!

    High water need not impede your trip as shown by these photos from 1979. http://nowthatsnifty.blogspot.com/2010/06/tow-boat-sucked-under-bridge-survives.html Tow Boat Sucked Under a Bridge - Survives These are real pictures of an incident that took place at Rooseter Bridge on the Tombigbee River in southwest Alabama in 1979. The photos were taken by a photographer for the Linden Democrat-Reporter. Scenario plays out like this. The captain was dropping 2 of his 4 barges through the east span of the Rooster Bridge, with the intent of running around through the lift span, and then catching the barges below. The captain underestimated the current and got too close the the bridge. He wasn't able to avoid a collision. Through a series of complicated events (read about them here), he was turned sideways, sucked under the bridge, and popped out and righted on the other side, with the boat still running. He was even able to meet up the the barges he had already sent through. Don’t try this at home!
  2. TravelerThom

    High Water!

    Passau is at approximately Km 2230 of the Danube and Budapest is at Km 1646. There are way more bridges than I wish to count, but https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crossings_of_the_Danube has what is supposed to be a complete list of them. i have done all of this route, some of it three times. I don’t recall any bridges that were low enough to require closing the sun deck (versus say the Main River were the sun deck is closed much of the time, or the notorious bridge in Lyon which often closes access to the Soane during high water).
  3. TravelerThom

    Basel airport vs. Zurich airport?

    IMO it depends. The train direct to Zurich airport is a big plus. If you can fly nonstop from Zurich to your home destination it is a no brainer. However there are fairly limited nonstop destinations out of Zurich and generally more US nonstops from FRA, CDG, AMS or LHR. If you have a choice of exactly one transfer airport I would definitely prefer that airport to be in Europe. Transferring in the US requires clearing Customs at the first US airport and having to recheck luggage and start the security process all over. Most of this is transparent if your transfer airport is in Europe.
  4. TravelerThom

    Curling iron onboard

    That sounds interesting. I was aware these existed. Can you provide a brand name and where it might be purchased?
  5. TravelerThom

    Curling iron onboard

    Power is a function of the square of the voltage, so for the same setting (resistance) power is 4 times as much on 220 versus 110 volts. A typical hairdryer on high uses about 1200 watts; if left set to that high position it will attempt to consume 4800 watts (4 times as much power) and will probably blow the circuit breaker before starting a fire. Curling irons use considerably less power, but this may actually increase their danger if used improperly; an unattenuated 110v curling iron plugged into 220v is unlikely to draw enough power to blow the circuit breaker but will significantly exceed the power it is designed for and is likely to catch fire.
  6. TravelerThom

    Curling iron onboard

    However I can imagine choosing a cruise line because it restricts uninspected potential fire hazards from being brought onboard. It’s a safety issue, and I’m a lot more concerned with fire onboard than I’m concerned with hair status.
  7. TravelerThom

    Florida to Bermuda

    I ASSUME that should have been Tabacco Bay (which is in St. George and is indeed quite nice if there are not too many people). It is a LONG walk to Horseshoe.
  8. TravelerThom

    Sad Viking Tale

    The EU has no relevance in a discussion of the US Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The US VWP applies to citizens of 38 COUNTRIES and does NOT automatically apply to EU citizens. There are EU citizens (eg Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Romania) that are NOT covered by the US VWP.
  9. TravelerThom

    Viking Low Water Changes to Itinerary 2018

    There is no way I can put a good spin on this. Essentially you only have one day of sailing (Wurzberg to Bamberg). The rest is a bus tour using the boat as a hotel on a number of nights. Bernkastel was already on your itenerary - the boat was scheduled to stop there. Heidelberg is and always was a bus tour as it is on the Necker a river that Viking doesn’t sail. You miss sailing on the Moselle, probably my favorite river in Europe. You miss sailing through the Rhine Gorge, a UNESCO Heritage site. You definitely are not getting what you paid for. IMO Mainz is an interesting city - if you can visit St Stephen’s for the Chagall windows and the Gutenberg museum; both should be walkable from the Mainz docks. You will still be going to a number of great places so enjoy what you do see.
  10. TravelerThom

    Gate 1 Monarch Baroness Danube July 22

    Prague is 3-4 hours from the Danube. Gate1 offers a Prague land hotel. I suggest reading the Gate1 itinerary in detail.
  11. I have NOT used Phoenix Reisen nor have I sailed on the Princess Dnepr. Princess Dnepr is a Type 301 DDR (East German) river cruiser built in 1976 and refurbished in 2017. I have sailed Kiev to Odessa and I have sailed 3 times (Dnepr, Volga, Yangtze) on similar vessels, so given the lack of responses I will comment. Kiev and Odessa are interesting cities with lots of history. The entire region was devastated during WW II as the Eastern Front passed through twice. Most other stops give a view of Soviet era planning with a veneer of Cossack culture. Much of the Dnepr cruising is through flat agricultural land. According to the internet Phoenix Reisen cruises are conducted exclusively in German. Double Rooms on unreconstructed Type 301 boats start at less than 100 sq. ft. (the sailboat style bathroom is included in that figure). I was happy to have taken my (English speaking) Dnepr trip, but I had a good idea what I was signing up for. Many who had done less research were disappointed. Pricing I have seen for the Phoenix Reisen trip seems to be a reasonable value. Thom
  12. TravelerThom

    Cruising throughout the night

    I have done over 20 river on a number (but by no means all) river cruise lines. I also regularly read this river cruise board. It appears that most lines on similar itineraries have similar day / night sailing ratios. The most scenic sections (Rhine Gorge, Iron Gates, Wachau Valley, etc) are almost always done during the day, often with commentary. There is also a fair amount of additional daylight sailing, especially if you sail during the long days of Spring and Summer. IMO there is a good ratio of daylight sailing to time in ports; others may have a different opinion. Note that some lesser sailed rivers (eg Douro, Irrawaddy) have only daylight sailing as those rivers are not equipped for night sailing. Thom
  13. TravelerThom

    when is the best time of year for a river cruise

    Based on over 20 river cruises in a wide variety of months my strong preference is for SPRING. Moderate temperatures like Autumn, lesser crowds than Summer, cheaper prices, and much longer days than Autumn (day length the last half of May is equal to day length the last half of July).
  14. TravelerThom


    As I understand it the Schengen Agreement addresses movement of people not goods. Switzerland is NOT a member of the EU Customs Union (which has a large overlap with the EU itself, but member countries are not exactly the same), and Switzerland does indeed have customs duties although tourists carrying only personal goods are exempt. https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home/information-individuals/travel-and-purchases--allowances-and-duty-free-limit/importation-into-switzerland.html
  15. TravelerThom


    No easy answer. Depends on which countries. Sometimes there are technically Customs but generally minamal formalities. Sometimes there are immigration controls. Sometimes both. Sometimes neither. Sometimes the currency changes, sometimes it doesn’t. If you could give info on where you are thinking about cruising you’ll get much more specific answers.