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Jeff in Torrance

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  1. We did it going down river with GCT several years ago. I wouldn't think it would matter from a scenic point of view. It was our first river cruise; and, felt very exotic at the time (and, would probably still be so). GCT trips always include a home visit, so we enjoyed a full home-prepared meal with a family in Croatia, including home-made wine. The river trip ending by entering the Black Sea, one night on the ship at Constanta, and two nights in Bucharest in a very modern hotel. In fact the bathroom facility was "too Modern" as is sometimes experienced, so that shower water is not contained in the shower, and a dangerous "water feature" in the lobby that had to be roped off due to several persons falling into it.
  2. No such thing as "free air." It's just INCLUDED air. In other words, you paid for the "free air" with possibly a higher overall price.
  3. We've done five European river cruises with GCT, plus a recent Great Britain bus tour with them. All of the trips have been great, with excellent program directors, nice accommodations, great people all around. And, great prices. For comparison we did one Viking trip on the Elbe, which of course, turned into a bus trip although we stayed on two identical Viking ships docked on the Elbe (Dresden and Wittenberg). The difference in how we were treated by the two companies when we need to solve problems was like night and day. The folks at GCT have their act together, while Viking's customer relations stunk.
  4. How about just purchasing a small container of vanilla extract when you get to Germany. Add a couple of drops (or, whatever amount does the job) per cup. Experiment at home to see how much is needed.
  5. We did the GCT trip (Honfleur to Paris) a couple of years ago. Would do it again. We've done 6 trips with GCT, including a recent bus tour in Great Britain; and, they always do a great job, at a significant savings over other tour companies. WE docked for two nights in Paris at the end of our trip; and, the ship cruised the Seine at night both nights allowing us to see Paris at night. They always show their travelers how to use local public transportation (the Metro in the case of Paris).
  6. We did the Grand Circle cruise from Normandy to Paris a couple of years ago. Great trip. We docked for two nights at the end of the cruise, cruising upriver both nights to see Paris at night along the river. Grand Circle runs the trip in both directions. Our trip started with one night at a hotel adjacent to Charles de Gaulle, where we met our fellow cruise mates. We were then bused to the ship docked at the mouth of the Seine in the medium-sized city of Honfleur at the mouth of the river. We stopped at the Peace Memorial Museum in Caen along the route. From Honfleur we took a days trip to the Normandy beachs and national cemetery. We did a walking tour of Honfleur, which is an attractive city. Leaving the port of Honfleur aboard our cruise ship we made stops along the Seine to visit Monet's home in Caudebec. Then, we proceded to Rouen for a home visit, which is something that GCT always does, allowing us to meet local people in their homes. Other stops were at Vernon, Giverny, Conflans and finally Paris for two nights. The entire trip was 13 days, including two travel days. The GCT ship was the M/S Bizet, which has a passenger capacity of 120 with a crew of 35.
  7. We tend to be "late bookers," when the "price is right." Being retired we can go when the right deal comes along.
  8. When I checked on the prices for cruising the Mississippi a few years ago, we decided to just "drive" the Mississippi. We flew into New Orleans, spent three nights and days seeing the local sights, then rented a car. We spent a total of 21 days on our trip (the same length as the cruise of the entire river), ending up in St. Paul. We had a great time, saw lots of interesting things.....some due to serendipity, saw enough of the river (for us), and spent a total of $5000 plus airfare from Los Angeles. We used the itinerary used by the cruise line as a general guide, while not spending very much time on the actual river (it does get repetitive). The only cruising we accomplished consisted of a 2-hour cruise on the river from St. Paul. Our stops: St. Francisville, LA; Natchez, MS; Vicksburg, MS; Greenville, MS; Memphis, TN (2 nights); St Louis, MO (2 nights); Muscatine, IA; Galena, Il; La Crosse, WI; New Ulm, MN; Lake Florida, MN 2 nights with friends; ST. Paul, MN (2 nights).
  9. Our first river cruise was "Budapest to the Black Sea," with Grand Circle, about nine or ten years ago. Very interesting, if not as scenic as some cruises. GCT still offers the trip, which includes a home visit (ours was a full home-prepared lunch with homemade wine in Croatia). For a couple of years GCT was not extending the trip into the actual Black Sea, which was a highlight for me, docking at the Port of Constanta, then busing to Bucharest for two nights. But, the cruise has returned to the Black Sea.
  10. You can take the boat ride around the lake, as we did a few years ago. I think the entire circuit took about 2-1/2 to 3 hours, with food and drink available aboard the boat. We had taken the train from Basel.
  11. We're doing this one in October. Looking forward to our 5th river cruise with them. They always do a great job.............and for a lot less $$$$
  12. Grand Circle surely does, as it did on our first cruise several years ago. On our most recent GCT river trip last year, we cruised the Seine two nights to get night photos of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame, and the "mini" Statue of Liberty.
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