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About franski

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Travel (obviously....) - love the planning as well as the actualy experience!! Quilting, gardening,
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Most river cruise lines - although Avalon "fits" us these days....
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    I love any trip that takes us to Budapest....

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  1. franski

    Everything Hurtigruten - question answered!

    I am fascinated by the concept of Polar Night... Is there any light at all? Or, is it completely dark for 50 days ?
  2. franski

    Northern lights are gray...

    If I win the 60 million, the trip is on me... 👍 We have friends that are trying to talk us into doing the Antarctic with them... Need to see how rough the Arctic is 1st. I figure we should have pretty smooth sailing on the Amazon... That is our next cruise. Although, I doubt I will have any issues with mosquitos in Norway in October!! Fran
  3. franski

    Northern lights are gray...

    Think we are both OK... my lottery is in Canada... Looks like you are in the US!!
  4. franski

    Northern lights are gray...

    Only if I win a lottery.... Jackpot is 60 million this coming Friday - guess I better buy a ticket!!💰🍀
  5. franski

    Northern lights are gray...

    Thanks, Elka… Given the Hurtigruten "Northern Lights promise" (free 6 or 7 day cruise if you don't see them....) I thought the chance was pretty high that they would be visible at some point in our cruise. But, as mentioned above, not a crushing blow to the trip if they don't appear. Looking forward to seeing the coastline, and the fjords - whatever the weather!! We did look at the Astronomy Cruise - but the price point was quite a bit higher. We might have jumped, but already are booked for a trip to Peru in March - so much of our travel budget already committed. It will be fun to cross both the equator, and the Arctic Circle in the same year!! Fran
  6. franski

    Just Got Back from Trollfjord

    Actually, I have done my homework fairly thoroughly, and think I have reasonable expectations regarding this cruise. Sailing Hurtigruten has been on my "to do" list for a few years now, and getting to the Arctic Circle is one of my bucket list items. I don't expect to be taking many (if any) of the optional excursions. The trip is about the coastline, the fjords, the wildlife - and (hopefully) a sighting of the Northern Lights. I have spent quite a bit of time looking at the sailing route outlined in the Hurtigruten brochures, and thought that any rough seas would be further north than day 2 - but Elka explained above why the rough sailing may have been a bit earlier than expected. I have done what I can to try to mitigate the risk of seasickness --> booked one of the larger boats (although the smaller ones looked cozy and inviting...), booked a lower deck (deck 3), with a cabin in mid-ship. I *thought* (perhaps in error) that travelling in early October might be better than later October. I thought that the seas might be rougher as you head into winter... GeezerCouple's post does mention that the passengers were notified in advance of rough water. So - if that happens, I will load up on medications as a "preemptive strike" the minute a notification happens. So glad to find out there is a Hurtigruten forum on cruise critic. I have found other forums on Cruise Critic to be invaluable when planning a trip. Thanks, everyone, for your comments!! Fran
  7. franski

    Just Got Back from Trollfjord

    I was thinking that rough seas wouldn't be that common on this cruise - and that if we did have issues, it wouldn't be until further north. I am a pretty committed river cruiser - primarily because of the risk of sea sickness. I wasn't planning on taking anything with me for sea sickness... but perhaps I should reconsider?? Is this an itinerary that I shouldn't even have considered? We have a hold on a cruise in early October 2019. Fran
  8. franski

    Northern lights are gray...

    Hoping to see the lights - whatever colour!! We have just booked a cruise for October 2nd next year - so, the start of the NL "season" - but we get to the see the beautiful coastline and fall colours even if they don't appear!!
  9. franski

    Air & hotels

    Actually, you can use Viking to book your hotel - if it is one that they use . You can ask the price for a room only - vs booking their pre/post excursion. We did that in Prague - as we only went in one day early. We had access to their guide stationed in the hotel, and the shuttle bus they supplied. However, if their rooms are already booked (or someone wants their package and you are in one of their rooms without a package) they might bump you out. That happened with us in Berlin - so we just moved hotels for the last 2 nights on our own (instead of booking the much more expensive package). As far as booking flights... I have booked 10 to 11 months out, as well as 3 to 4 months out. I tend to watch flights for a while before I book a trip - so that I will know what a "good price" is. Sometimes waiting results in higher prices (if it is a popular route). Fran
  10. franski

    Will you book a river cruise for 2019?

    We have booked Peru with the Amazon for next March with Avalon - really looking forward to it. We are traveling with friends, and going in a few days early to see Arequipa and the Colca Canyon. This is considered a river cruise due to it's 4 day/3 night sailing on the Amazon, but most of the time is on land. This will be our 14th river cruise - and as we have sailed the majority of Europe that is currently available by river, I am not sure if we will go back. We now have a pretty hefty travel credit with Avalon as our Bucharest to Budapest cruise was cancelled last month - but am unsure of when (if ever) we will use it. Unfortunately, it can't be applied to our Peru trip as the credit is for new bookings only. I have decided to wait until we are back next April, and see if there are any new itineraries for 2020. Avalon does change things up on a fairly regular basis. I have ruled out Vietnam/Cambodia due to the long travel times to get there (and back) - and have no interest in India. Perhaps Egypt in 2020 (maybe with Uniworld) since they are now sailing that itinerary again. Now that I am retired, I can always do a "last minute" if the price (and river levels) are right... Fran
  11. franski

    Viking Final Payment Date Policy Change

    Actually, the payment plan is even a bit worse than identified above. I went on the Viking website to see if the payment changes were identified there. This is what is on the Canadian website (so expect it will be the same in the US...) Book by November 30, 2018; pay in full at time of booking. 2019 & 2020: Book by November 30, 2018; pay in full by December 31, 2018. Offer expires November 30, 2018. So, if you book something for 2020 (and many companies have their 2020 itineraries available now, especially with Oberammergau/The Passion Play coming up) you have to pay in full by the end of this year. That might mean paying in full up to 2 years in advance!! I won't be travelling with them again, unless it is last minute - and payment would be in full at time of booking due to the close departure date. Fran
  12. franski

    Avalon Waterways Cruise Updates

    Hi there - We did this last October. It was actually our 2nd time doing this itinerary (the 1st was with Uniworld). As we had been to Paris a number of times before, we opted not to do their included tour of the city. Instead, we booked a "Beneath the Eiffel Tour" through Viator. We walked over to the tower - and went below ground to see how the lifts work (water hydraulics). When we went up to the 1st level, we actually were able to climb up on top of the Jules Verne restaurant (the guide has keys to the stairs) so not crowded at all. Our tour ended at that point - so we could have stayed as long as we wanted. We just bought a sandwich at a stall underneath the tower, and watched the people for awhile before walking back to the boat. If you have not been to Paris before, I suggest you add some days to the trip - either before or after (or both....) Enjoy!! Fran
  13. We have travelled with both a number of times... And honestly, there are more similarities than differences IMHO. You do need to look at the itinerary closely, and see what differences there are there. We are now repeating rivers, and find that Avalon often offers "choices" for excursions, so we can do or see something different. For example, we just did the Seine again, and at every stop - except Rouen - there was a choice that we had not done before. In Rouen, we planned our own day. Food is subjective - and relies quite heavily on the chef and his crew. Viking has been in the business so long that they have many of the details down pat. I do agree that the clean lines of the Viking boats are appealing - and their staircase to the lower level (we always travel lowest category) is one of the best we have seen (steps easy to climb, good railing etc). But, many of the Avalon boats are smaller and carry less passengers, which does appeal to us. I have noticed that Avalon is often changing or amending their itineraries. For example, on the Eastern Europe itineraries, there are some that start close to the Black Sea and Km 0 on the Danube - when many others start in Giurgiu, Romania. Viking is known for their "sales that never end"... but you can often get a great price. Avalon may be higher is some cases, but when they have a sale - it can be amazing!! Just keep looking at all of the companies - and get on their e-mail lists. Don't 2nd guess your choice... just enjoy your trip!! Fran
  14. franski

    Avalon Waterways Cruise Updates

    I am OK until it hits over 30C. But, can handle a bit hotter if I have somewhere with AC to cool off if things become unbearable. I have hit some pretty unseasonable weather in my travels (32+ C in April on our previous Bucharest to Budapest cruise) - but manage to cope as long as I can find some respite for a short time. Thanks for your comments - will start researching for a Vietnam/Cambodia tour looking at the times that you and Suspaul have suggested. Fran
  15. franski

    Avalon Waterways Cruise Updates

    Thanks - good to know... Who did you travel with originally - and who are you planning to go with in 2020? We would most likely not be doing this until 2020, so we have some time to research. Fran