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Posts posted by aldukenew

  1. 2 hours ago, ddaley822 said:

    I have a Rhine river cruise booked on AmaLucia in August and the gratuities were pre-paid as part of the deal the AMA-assigned TA was able to get for me. Does anyone know if having prepaid gratuities includes the additional tip for the Cruise Manager? I will plan on having extra cash for the room attendant on the last day as well. 

    In an earlier thread, I thought folks said that it included the cruise portion for the Cruise Manager, but not for pre/post cruise. You can put it on your credit card at the end.

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  2. 19 hours ago, MColl said:

    I recently read, “On all European river cruises (except Portugal), there is complimentary sparkling wine and juices at breakfast, and beer, soft drinks and unlimited wines at lunch and dinner, plus a cocktail hour with complimentary wine, beer and spirits. These same cruises provide free bikes and helmets for independent use in port.”

    What does the Portugal cruise provide? We are considering the Douro River cruise. 

    I seem to remember that they had champagne available at breakfast. There is a cocktail hour with complimentary wine, beer, and spirits. There are no bikes on board, as the ship is smaller.

  3. 11 hours ago, watcher30 said:


    You can charge the Apple Watch using the USB port from the ship with no problem. Your phones should charge overnight using the USB ports, but if you want to charge faster, use the charger that came with the phones or a multi-port USB charger (I use Anker chargers of various vintages and descriptions) and plug it into the 220 outlet with a suitable adaptor.  


    I had an iPad, a MacBook Air, an iPhone 13, an Apple watch, and a USB charger for my camera batteries;  my wife had an iPad, an iPhone, and a camera battery charger that had to plug into the wall, so we used all the outlets.  It was much easier than on most ships!



    Thanks for the very helpful info.

  4. 31 minutes ago, watcher30 said:


    We were in a “B” cabin (205).  All outlets were 220v 2-pin European; there was one outlet in the headboard on each side of the bed and two by the desk (though one was occupied by the QuietVox charger).  The outlets in the headboard were covered and looked just like the switches.  There were 2 USB-A ports on each side of the bed, probably only 1 amp.  


    I brought a US cube-tap and a 1-foot US extension cord to give me a little more flexibility.

    Thank you! I have a European plug adaptor but maybe I will buy a few more. We will have 2 phones and an Apple watch to charge.

  5. On 6/19/2022 at 12:06 PM, watcher30 said:

     I was on the same cruise as Carol (hi, Carol!) and liked it a lot, even though it wasn't quite up to the usual Ama standards.  I have a review here in the queue to be posted, and I blogged the trip (with too many photos) at https://readthisblog.net/category/travel/iberia-2022/?order=asc 

    Go for the wine; go for the scenery.  Some of the excursions (Salamanca, Lamego) were great; others, like the one to Mateus Palace and Quinta de Avessada, could have been better.  Unlike most European river cruises, you don't dock in the middle of big cities, so your choices are limited.

    What is the electrical outlet/usb port situation on the AmaDouro?

  6. We are booked on the August 27, 2022 sailing on the AmaDouro, with the pre-cruise in Lisbon. For those who have traveled this itinerary, how did you return to the US from Porto? Did you fly or use other transportation back to Lisbon? Did you connect through another European city? I am trying to avoid going through customs at a connecting airport in the US. Fingers crossed that we are able to go!



  7. On 8/21/2021 at 10:13 AM, terry&mike said:

    As foreign travel is a bit of a wild card still, I will try to post my experiences as I go along on this journey, to provide some insight to others. 

    To start, a bit about us - my husband and I will be traveling on this trip, and it is our first "big" international trip since Covid; we are 61 and 56. While we have traveled to both Cancun and to Cabo in the past year, all of our other trips have been in the U.S. during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, we were frequent travelers taking a trip every few months, and have been to more than 90 countries on all 7 continents.  We actually debarked the Diamond Princess in Tokyo on January 20, 2020 after a 2 week Southeast Asia cruise - the sailing just before the quarantined sailing. 

    Our current plan for this trip has us flying out of the U.S. on August 31, transiting through London, and arriving in Lisbon, Portugal in the early evening of September 1.  We will spend 3 nights in Lisbon, and then head up to Porto where we will be board the AmaDouro for a 7 night river cruise.  We then plan to fly on to Bordeaux, France from Porto, and have a brief stay in an Airbnb and then board the Scenic Diamond for a 10 night Beautiful Bordeaux itinerary.  Afterwards, we will fly on to Paris for a night at an airport hotel, and then fly home to the U.S. Of course, this is if all goes to plan.....

    These sailings are a combination of rebookings and reworkings of trips cancelled due to Covid.  We are using United miles for our flights, which I purchased as 2 one-way tickets - Sarasota to Lisbon in Premium Economy, and Paris to Tampa in Business, with an Easyjet flight from Porto to Bordeaux in the middle.  

    We have been monitoring the different country requirements, and referencing United's Travel Ready Center, to make notes for entry requirements of testing and documents, and have a sheet of different dates and items needing completion.  We have a PCR test scheduled for the day before we fly out at a facility in Tampa that provides same day results; it is about an hour drive from our home and the cost is $179 per person.

    We were supposed to be on this AmaDouro cruise, but rescheduled for next August. I will be following your posts.

  8. 12 hours ago, K.T.B. said:


    Well, it looks like my August cruise is cancelled, but I'm curious to know about airfare booked through Celebrity.  I paid in full when I booked it.  Who should I contact about a refund/credit?  Airline or Celebrity? 

    K.T.B., I booked my airfare on the Celebrity website but didn't pay for it until final payment - our travel agent handled the payment, along with the cruise payment. It was a refundable fare. I would call Celebrity first, but if the fare was non-refundable, you may have to contact the airline. The has been addressed on multiple forums, so others may have more info based on their experiences.

  9. 17 hours ago, thunter1224 said:

     AMAWATERWAYS...  We are planning on taking our first river cruise , and out first trip to that area of the world.. we will be traveling from 

    • Vilshofen, Germany to Budapest, Hungary.   And not sure what to expect . like I see they sometimes have to bus you to the next ports due to water level and that some of the shore excursions are included  and some are not .. what is the upgrades for them?  also will we have any problem in these cities , with only speaking English in the shops, markets, restaurants?   Any information about this cruise would really be helpful.. 
    • Thank You 
    • Rev. Thomas Mertz
    • Pennsylvania 

    We sailed this itinerary on the  AmaSonata in September of 2015 and enjoyed every minute! The weather was beautiful and we didn't experience any issues with water levels. Most excursions are included, with several to choose from. There were a few with a fee, but worth every penny - we went to Cesky Krumlov, which was lovely and attended a concert in Vienna. There were no issues with languages. Most locals spoke English, as I recall. I would do this one again!



  10. Since you mentioned it, we are thinking of booking one of the Tulip Time cruises in 2020. Do you or anyone else on this board have a suggestion as to what dates and ships we should consider when booking this cruise? Thank you for any advice you can provide.

    Judy and Bill


    We sailed on the AmaCerto in mid-April 2015. It was chilly, but absolutely fantastic! They had a cold winter that year, so the tulips were late, but the flowers at Keukenhof Gardens were spectacular! We loved it so much, we have been on 2 more Ama cruises and are sailing next September in Provence!



  11. We had a corner aft on Serenade. Wonderful view. We enjoyed sitting on the loungers, looking at the stars and enjoying a glass of wine. Yes, the walk got long but would do it again.


    Aft cabins are always our first choice. I don't mind the walk. In fact, I welcome it. There is no noise from the corridor and is very private. There is nothing better than drinking wine on a lounge chair while watching and listening to the wake. The few times we have experienced soot, the cabin attendant always cleaned it thoroughly and left pool towels in the room just in case. Love aft cabins!



  12. Did AMALYRA Normandy last June. Fabulous cruise itinerary. Monet's House & gardens- beautiful gardens, nice walking area.

    Gift shop a little pricey but then again when is the next time you will be there.

    Normandy cemetery & beaches- very emotional (dgt & niece of WW2 vets) very moving Taps ceremony at noon.Read your history for a full appreciation.

    The small towns along the way are very photogenic-get out and walk- you will be rewarded with wonderful sights & memories

    Have a great cruise



    We did this same cruise last September with Captain Masson and loved it, but it rained alot! We booked Colors of Provence for Sept 2019.



  13. So even the captain is in on it. I guess anything less than a glowing report also reflects on him.


    This has been an irritation of mine for many years. I don't think service and food quality should be lumped together in the same category and I have told the head waiters this many times. They all say that if you don't like the food, you should ask for something else until you're satisfied. How long do I want to wait for my dinner if it's not terrible but not great? I am always honest and make sure to make a comment about the excellent service, in spite of my less-than-10 rating for the food. If everyone continues to rate the so-so food a ten, why would they make any improvements? The quality of the food, in my opinion, has deteriorated over the years. Why have the survey at all?



  14. Except for the full glass you are encouraged to leave the dining room with. ;)


    We have sailed 3 times with Ama (4th one booked for next year), and I might add that you can bring whatever wine (or anything else) you want on board with you. It's nice to be able to buy a local wine and enjoy it in your cabin.



  15. Sincere thank you to all who replied to my pre-cruise questions and for everyone who shares such great tips, shortcuts, suggestions, and experiences. This is my contribution and I hope you enjoy it and are able to use some of the info in it. I don't have pictures to share just now; if I can figure out how to load/upload them, I will at some point. I've tried to organize this by category for easy reading and like most others, use a series of posts.


    Us: DH and I are 61 and 58, still working, have no children, and live just outside Chicago. This is our 9th or so cruise, many of them on Celebrity, 2 (together) on Royal - Platinum level, soon to be Emerald.


    Planning: After spending several years in Las Vegas 2-3 times per year, we were yearning to get back on a cruise ship. Having been to the Caribbean and Bahamas many times, never to the NYC area, or on a mega ship, Anthem checked off most boxes for us this time around. I spent a lot of time researching the ship, the ports, the deck plans, and what Anthem had to offer. Although I like a surprise here and there, I'm an obsessive planner and list maker. So, by the time we boarded, our plans were pretty much in place for dining, entertainment, shore excursions, transportation, etc.. I booked our shows and My Time Dining about a month out.


    Travel Day: Saturday, April 7 dawned clear, but C-O-L-D in Chicago. Because we chose to fly in the day of departure I had been nervously watching the weather in Chicago and Newark the previous week. As it turned out, the weather was perfect for travel. Our flight was smooth and quick, leaving at 7:55 AM and getting into Newark at 10:55 AM. We arrived 25 minutes early. From advice on this Board, we had booked Dial 17 Car Service a month before the cruise to pick us up at EWR for the 20 minute ride to Cape Liberty. Dial 17 was great. When you reserve a car they send a confirmation email which contains a link. Once you're curbside with your luggage you click on the link and within a minute or so, our driver responded saying he was 5-6 minutes away. He pulled up in a Lincoln SUV [considered a "standard car"] and we were off to the pier. The driver was personable and professional, and we were happy to sit back and take in the sights.


    The trip to the pier was smooth until we turned onto the two-lane access road leading to the pier. Then it got congested, but we were at the door within about 10 minutes. Total for our transport, tolls, and tip was $71.00. I can recommend Dial 17 highly for efficiency and complete ease.


    Check in/Embarkation: At 11:15 AM the terminal was packed with people snaking their way through the security and check in lines. Although it seemed to be mass confusion it was actually a pretty smooth process and Royal does a good job of getting a lot of people through in relatively short order. We did not take a pre-cruise photo, and our experience was very quick. The agent handed us our Seapass card, we went up the escalator and before we knew it DING (you know the sound...squeeeee!)...we were onboard!:D


    The gangway was on Deck 2. Staterooms were not ready so we went upstairs to Deck 14 get a look around and grab lunch. We were struck by the modern beauty and cleanliness of the ship. Deck 14 is home to the indoor/outdoor/solarium pools and also the WINDJAMMER. We decided to have our lunch there. As we expected it was very, very crowded. After a bit of walking around we found a table near the back and then made our way through the crowds to the serving stations. Lunch was very good, and I'll get into the specifics of the Windjammer later in reviewing the dining sections.


    I was on this cruise too and loved it! Beautiful ship!



  16. So is it safe to say that Diamond and Diamond Plus still have their on day/two day free internet perk?


    As much as I dislike perks being taken away, they should at least honor those that have already booked or paid their curies vacation in full.


    Sorry to say but there's no reason the be loyal to Royal when little things like this are taken away.


    As far as I know, those perks are still there. The Concierge was not thrilled with my mention of Cruise Critic (I said I had read about this issue here) and said not to listen to Cruise Critic. A gentleman came up and told him that CC is a valuable source of information, especially when there seem to be communications gaps at Royal Caribbean. I encourage all who may face this on future cruises to voice their objections at the time and not wait until after the cruise.



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