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About Sparky333

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    Mid-Atlantic, USA
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  1. We ate at a couple of other places right near the Rathaus on the same street but I don't remember their names. I guess that means they didn't impress me that much. I don't think we had a bad meal while there but I only really remember the pretzel sandwiches from Rathaus. Sorry, that wasn't helpful.
  2. We had a few couples in their 20s on our cruise - it was funny watching them dealing with being really, uh, unique. ;p
  3. We thought about the Pearls of Switzerland optional because it included some things we couldn't really have done on our own. But it was very expensive. And also that meant committing that whole day to that tour and not having time to walk around the old city - which we were able to do in the afternoon when we got back from Pilatus. Also booking ahead we would be stuck going even if it was bad weather. So for those reasons we just did the Pilatus day on our own. I think we paid around $110 US for the golden roundtrip pp -- which included the bus back to Luncerne after getting off the gondola. We were glad to have time in the afternoon to spend walking around Lucerne since we had such a short stay there. One other thing, on our trip neither the walking tour provided by Viking nor the bus ride to Basel nor the ride to Lucerne from the airport stopped at the Lion Monument. To me it's a must-see so if you think so too make sure you ask if the bus to Basel will stop there or otherwise go on your own. It was not that long of a walk from our hotel. Like CyberKat we also really liked the Rathaus Brauerie - they had awesome cheese sandwiches on pretzels and nice outdoor seating. I was shocked at how many people smoked in Lucerne (everyone) and didn't love having that in restaurants but other than that quibble it was all good.
  4. The hotel room did have a hairdryer. Honestly can't remember if it was great or wimpy but I'm pretty sure I didn't need to use the one I brought just in case. The ship cabin had a good dryer. The cabin had both European and American type outlets. There were definitely enough that it was never an issue. I know some people travel with power strips to plug in a lot of devices but I've never had the need for that much electricity at one time ;) If you feel like seeing some pix from that trip here's a link. https://photos.app.goo.gl/M6rozfJyfmMN4Njc2 Or maybe you'd rather wait and be surprised when you get there :D
  5. Hi -- no problem with more questions, I'm happy to answer any that I can! We used Viking Air so our transfers were included, not sure how yours would work. I hope your TA got the right answer for you. As far as weather in Lucerne in July - whenwe were there it was warm except the top of Pilatus it was pretty chilly. But I just wore a raincoat over a jean jacket not a parka or anything heavy. The golden roundtrip ticket: I didn't buy it online in advance because if the weather was bad I wouldn't have gone up. There's a tourist information office in the central station that sells them. And that's where we needed to go anyway to board the ship (or bus if you do gondola first). Possibly the hotel might have some too and you could buy them there. On day three they collected our luggage and held it downstairs at the hotel until the transfer. I'll mention this just in case it matters to you (or anyone reading)-- when I was trying to figure out about the adapter I needed for Switzerland I read several posts on tripadvisor that said the usual European 2-pin adapter would work so that's what I took. But even though the outlets in the Astoria hotel looked like they would take that kind of plug the holes were a few millimeters off and ours didn't work. Since we were only there a few days it wasn't a problem. When we got home I posted about it on tripadvisor and people living in Lucerne said no, that's not possible, but believe me I tried several 2-pin adapters that I've used all over Europe and they absolutely didn't fit in the outlets in our room in the hotel Astoria. :confused: Let me know if you think of other questions.
  6. Hi - we did that cruise this past July and for the Lucerne extension Viking used the Hotel Astoria. We wanted to do the Pilatus Golden roundtrip also so we did that on day two by ourselves, skipping the included walking tour. When we told the Viking rep at the hotel our plan she said she'd be doing a walking tour also the third day for anyone who missed the one on day two. So we went on that one and it ended up just being the three of us so that was a treat. We walked around for maybe 2 hrs. We spent about 5 hrs doing the Pilatus circle - not sure if you'd have enough time at the top if you start out after the walking tour on day two. Depends what you'd want to do at the top (or mid-mountain where you can also get off the gondola and do the luge or ropes course). We ate lunch at the top and did some hiking. If the weather had been better we'd have spent more time but just as we got to the top the clouds rolled in. It was a bummer but they parted enough to get a beautiful view down for at least 30 seconds. :rolleyes: We took the cog train up and gondola down. Doing it that way we had about a 10 minute walk from the hotel to the central station to buy tickets for the golden roundtrip and right outside the station is where we boarded the ship that you take on the first leg. When you get off the ship the cog train station is right there. Coming down on the gondola at the bottom we then had to walk to a city bus stop a few minutes away and then took the bus back into Lucerne. I was planning to do it the way you are but the Viking rep said she thought sailing in the morning usually offered better weather on the lake....so that's why we did the reverse...for what that's worth. If you take the gondola first you'd start out with a bus ride that would leave from the central station - if you're at the Astoria not a long walk and from the Radisson Blu even closer I think. For our transfer to Basel on day three we didn't leave Luncerne until later in the afternoon - maybe 3 or 4? So we had half a day on day one, half a day on day two after Pilatus, and then until 3 or 4 the last day. Lucerne is definitely lovely and if you can swing an extra day there I would - but in the time we were there we saw a lot. We didn't feel like we missed too much - it wasn't that sense "oh, we have to come back - there's so much more." Although I'm sure there is! The old city in particular is pretty small and walkable. One thing I'd recommend is the Rosengart museum if that's your kind of thing. Enjoy your trip! Leslie
  7. Sparky333

    Aquavit Terrace on Viking

    I wonder if it varies from ship to ship or if we had pushed harder or spoken to someone else we'd have gotten a different answer -- but last month on the Rhine when we ate dinner on the Aquavit Terrace we were told we could only have what was on the Aquavit menu. That was one appetizer, one salad, one entree, one dessert - - no choices at all. And nothing from the dining room menu and not the "available anytime" items either. It was disappointing because we had planned to eat there more nights than in the dining room. That night we did stay there and ate a gravlax-heavy meal (two of the courses had gravlax) which was my very least favorite of the week.
  8. Wow - thank you so much for all of the wonderful, helpful responses! I'll look into each one mentioned - it sounds like there are quite a few great possibilities. The Rhone seems to get a lot of votes - I'll look hard at that one. Thanks again :D
  9. I know everyone has different likes/dislikes but I'd love to hear if there are certain favorite itineraries that people recommend. We've taken 4 with Viking and enjoyed them in this order 1. Portugal - Douro 2. Eastern Europe - Danube 3. China - Yangtze 4. Rhine Getaway In general I like the off-the-beaten-path or more unique locations which is why the Rhine is low on the list - it was great but just not as 'different' as the others. We bought a future sailing certificate on our most recent so I'm specifically interested in Viking not just favorite regions or rivers. I've spent time in Russia, Egypt, and Vietnam so I probably wouldn't consider those. Maybe the Ukraine itinerary deserves a look but I'm guessing my husband will say the current political climate would be a reason he won't go there. Again, I know it's very individual but do you have a favorite you'd give a shout-out for?
  10. Sparky333

    Viking Rhine Getaway Tours 2017

    Solent Richard - enjoyed your blog - great review and pictures -- thanks so much for sharing!
  11. Sparky333

    Loved Lisbon! On Viking River Cruise in Portugal

    RDC1 -- if you mean did they do a tour in Lisbon if you weren't on the extension, yes they did. It was probably a few hours in the morning and then we had the afternoon free. They took us in a bus to the Belem Tower, Monument to the Discoveries - stopped to walk closer (and take pictures of course) then the tour went inside the Monastery of Jeronimos and in our free time there we went to a nearby bakery, Pasteis de Belem, to try the declicous pastries that Lisbon (or Portugal?) is known for. They're delish. The bus took us to the Alfama neighborhood for a short guided walk. I'm sad to say I don't remember more since it was only 2 years ago but those are at least some of the things we did on the Viking tour of Lisbon (not part of the pre-extension).
  12. Sparky333

    Loved Lisbon! On Viking River Cruise in Portugal

    steverhodes - we really loved the Viking Douro cruise also, a few years ago. I enjoyed reading your review of your trip. Also read your other reviews and liked them as well. I appreciate hearing the good and not so good rather than a rave review. It's nice that you've had great fellow travelers on your river cruises and that's been a high point for you guys. I'm of the more introverted variety that likes the 2-top tables when available (as they were on the Douro) but it's true that being "forced" to be social at bigger tables has led us to make friends on river cruises vs. just doing our own thing and never really connecting with our shipmates. Totally agree that Lisbon is an awesome city and spending extra time there should be seriously considered by any doing a Douro cruise. Porto was great also but Lisbon was extra special.
  13. Thanks for all of the replies and helpful suggestions! I just looked and for 2 months out, July 15 there are many available at all different times. Seems like I won't need to get up at 2 am to buy them as wheezedr said :D
  14. I want to get tickets for July so I'll check on the date 2 months prior in May. I know they're 6 hrs ahead of me but I don't know if I need to check at 8 am their time or 9 am perhaps? I read on the AFH website "New tickets are released every day during Dutch office hours two months in advance." Anyone know what Dutch office hours would be? I don't want to sleep through the opportunity to get tickets - also don't want to get up at 2 am if I can wait until 3. ;) "release them for sale" the title of the post should read...oops
  15. Sparky333

    Review – Rhine Getaway – Viking Tialfi

    Good to know, thanks!