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Needzavacation

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About Needzavacation

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Dallas, Texas
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    AmaWaterways

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  1. We're in the same boat (no pun intended). Both Celebrity Air and my travel agent told me that it typically takes 3 credit-card billing cycles before you'll see the air refund show up.
  2. In tiny print on the website: Guests may begin reserving treatments at Serene Spa & Wellness™ up to 60 days prior to cruise, by calling 1.877.718.4244 or sending an email to SereneSpa@Rssc.Com Based on our experience on Explorer last month, they never responded to email, but it was very easy to reserve everything by calling, and they followed up with an email confirmation.
  3. A little background reading on the competitiveness of the onboard spa segment: http://imperialcapital-consumersummit.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/HYAC-2019-02-26.pdf
  4. We reserved a clamshell online under Shore Excursions. Then when we got to Half Moon Cay, we presented the voucher at the activity center (I think that's what it was called) for a receipt, and then walked along the line of clamshells, selected the one we wanted, and one of the beach workers checked the receipt and then opened up the clamshell for us.
  5. On our river cruise earlier this summer, they switched to single-serve boxed water on excursions - a good middle-of-the-road alternative.
  6. We've stayed at Banks Mansion 3 times - can't fault a thing. Great location, close to everything. Hospitality is second to none, and the afternoon wine-and-cheese reception is a great way to top off the afternoon. If you like fresh seafood, take a look at the restaurant John Dory. It's two canals over - a little over a 5-minute walk - with beautifully presented dishes in a comfortable, casual atmosphere.
  7. One consideration when booking hotels in Copenhagen (and Northern Europe) is that not all hotels have air conditioning, because the weather is typically more temperate in that region. So if A/C is important to you, read the descriptions carefully when choosing a hotel.
  8. We've done 7 cruises on AmaWaterways, including my 80+ year-old mother. She uses a cane, and can generally get around fine, but stairs and hills can cause challenges. In our experience, Ama and its tour guides have always proactively offered a helping hand on and off buses, and has even provided shuttle buses or taxis for passengers to get up certain hills. I imagine Scenic does the same. One other thing to keep in mind is that ships sometimes "raft," or dock side by side in some ports. In some cases, the ships line up and, if you're on the outside ship, you walk directly through the other ship and onto the pier or dock. But in other cases, you have to walk up to the sun deck, and then over to the sun deck of the other ship, and then down to the lobby of the other ship and then onto the pier. So that can be challenging. Ama's new ship, AmaMagna, however, has an elevator that reaches the sun deck, and that was a huge help for mother on our cruise last month.
  9. One other consideration to keep in mind: Unlike ocean cruising, there tend to be more variables with river levels. At certain times of year, water levels can be unusually high or low, which can affect how the boats can move (or not) on the rivers. So it's a good idea to read reviews of the two lines to see how they each handle water issues, and more specifically, how they treat passengers when issues arise.
  10. Evening options are very different than an ocean cruise. But unlike ocean cruises, there are no sea days, so the daytime is pretty full, and a lot of people wind down early to get ready for the next morning's excursion. But in a couple of cases, you may be in port late or overnight, so you can always go back into the village or city for your evening options. And in any case, sitting on the sun deck in the evening with an adult beverage as you glide down the river is a really nice way to end the day.
  11. There are two surcharged excursions: The first is the evening concert in Vienna. It's billed as a "classical concert," but it's really one of any number of tourist-focused concerts around the city every night - light classical, a little opera, and some comedy (believe it or not). If you search on Google, you'll find a number of reviews of these types of concerts. The other surcharged excursion is a visit to Schonbrunn Palace in the afternoon in Vienna. So in Vienna, there's an included morning excursion, then the two optional excursions. If you do all three, it makes for a long day. It's not hard to get a bike excursion. There are a LOT of bikes on AmaMagna compared with the other ships. I can't recall any of the bike excursions turning anyone away. Dress for the Captain's Gala is the same as for every other night, which I'd describe as smart casual or country-club casual. In reality, attire was across the board every night. No one ever got really dressed up. On men, you'd see a couple of sportcoats, but mostly anything that's a step above a t-shirt and jeans will do. The Chaine des Rotisseurs dinner was very nice, but I wouldn't say it was remarkably all that different from dinner on most nights. The food on board is a step up from what you'd experience on a mass-market ocean cruise, but not quite up there with the food on Regent or Crystal or the like. I do have a handful of schedules - most of the photos were taken of the excursions, not the ship. If you want to ping me with your email, I'll be glad to copy and send them.
  12. Before Fatal Boat Crash in Budapest, Safety Warnings Went Unheeded https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/11/world/europe/budapest-danube-crash.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
  13. There's one seating time for all the restaurants, typically around 7 pm, although the alternative restaurants tended to open 15 minutes later.
  14. The restaurants typically open at 7, sometimes a little earlier and sometimes a little later, depending on evening activities. For example, when docked outside Vienna, they offer an optional evening concert in Vienna, so there are two dinner seatings that night - one earlier for those opting for the concert, and one later for those staying on board.
  15. There are six booths for two, but if they're taken, you can take a booth for four (there are six of those) and sit in the outside seats. Unless the dining room fills up, you'll have it to yourself. I will say, though, that you can meet some delightful people when someone asks to share. We generally prefer our own table, but always had a good time when asked to share. In the Chef's Table restaurant, there are tables for four, but if you reserve early in the cruise, they'll book it for two. In Jimmy's, all the tables are large (think "family"), but it wasn't full when we dined there and every couple had their own table. In terms of dining times, the daily program says you can arrive for dinner within 90 minutes after the doors to the dining room open, but in reality, most people arrived within the first 20-30 minutes.
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