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GiannaD

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Posts posted by GiannaD


  1. Bigbenboys, I'll still a bit confused, so I hope you'll indulge me.

     

    I thought aft cabins were in the very back, so I guess I'm confused. Are these verandas larger and not windy.

     

    If they are windy, since this is a transatlantic crossing, perhaps we should start eating more NOW instead of waiting to get on the ship so we can hopefully avoid being blown off into the middle of the sea. :p;)

     

    In all seriousness, should I stick with 7286 or go back to the aft cabin I originally thought of. I like a large balcony and this I thought was one, but I also don't want to be blown off.

     

     

    Thanks for any answers

    We were in 7286 on the Equinox in 2012. It is on the aft angle of the hump not on the aft of the whole ship. It has the bed by the balcony.

     

    The balcony is huge compared to the other balconies. It was covered by the balcony above and looked down on a small boat rather than a lifeboat. The view straight out was great. Wind was not an issue. On sunny days you could sit in the sun or sit near the doors in the shade. The room is quiet but very convenient to the stairs and elevators. You don't have to walk down any endless halls. (On S-class ships the aft elevators are at the hump and it is a long walk from them to the stern of the ship.)


  2. I have been trying to find pictures of river boats interiors and have not been successful. Any suggestions

     

    Check Vantage's web site for ship interiors. They have recently added new ships and updated others so the photos I have are out of date. Their older ships were great and immaculately maintained.

     

    If you list a specific ship you may be able to get photos from recent travelers.


  3. We did the "Dome Car" excursion with Celebrity in February 2010. The dome car was not worth the extra money. It was very cramped and our guide thought he was entertaining but was just plain annoying. That being said the ride along the canal in the train was interesting but I would go for the standard train cars. As stated above Colon is nothing to see and you do not go into Panama City but view the skyline from a distance and stop for shopping and a snack break.. We also drove through the former US Military base near Colon and to the Miraflores Locks. There was a video presentation at the locks and then we had time to watch a huge container ship transit the locks. That was the highlight of the trip.


  4. :):)We have been on three Vantage river cruises and really enjoyed each of them. We are considering booking Vantages new Champagne, Normandy, Paris & Seine cruise and would appreciate hearing from anyone who has taken this cruise tour in 2012. Our particular interest is Normandy and WWII History.

     

    What did you like about the itinerary? What did you think of the hotels and the Seine Princess. Do you feel this tour gives good value for your money. How would you compare this cruise tour to others you have experience?

     

    Comments and tips for enjoying the trip would be greatly appreciated.

     

    Thanks :)

     

    Gianna


  5. This won't even slow a thief down if your suitcase has a zipper, which is what most of us have! Watch this video and you'll see that anyone can get into a suitcase that has a zipper. I tried this on my own suitcase and was successful the first try: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mf-DGKUNffI

     

    I agree with Sloop-JohnB. The only protection you have with this type of luggage is to not pack anything valuable.

     

    Wow! Unbelievable video!

    Looks like zip ties and TSA locks are only for honest people and to prevent the zippers from accidentally being opened.


  6. In regards to using the Alligator clips for drying out on your balcony, it was well publicized that leaving any items on the balcony were a fire risk. Because anyone who might toss a cigarette overboard could cause the items on the balcony to catch fire. This happened a number of years ago on the Star Princess and a good portion of the ship caught fire and had to be brought to dry dock and rebuilt. I believe it was later found that the cause of the fire was from smoking material carelessly discarded overboard by another passenger up above and the wind carried the smoking material back onto someones balcony and caught their personal effects left on their balcony on fire.

     

    During our recent muster drill they reminded everyone not to leave anything on their balconies when they are away. They stated that fires are a major concern at sea and leaving any thing that might be ignited would be a hazard.

     

    So PLEASE do not leave any ignitable material out on your unattended balcony.

    __________________

    Thats too funny....my bathing suit is gonna catch fire and burn the ship down....ROFL

     

    Celebrity does not permit smoking on balconies.


  7. The safe on the Equinox is in the cubby above the frig. The top shelves in the closet were as described but I only remember one hanging rail in the closet which went the full length of the closet and there were no cubbies. The above the bed storage was spacious but hard to access for a short person. We kept some items in a suitcase under the bed and rotated them out as we wore clothing which went into a suitcase designated for soiled garments. The bathroom had great storage and the nightstands were really small. We loved the ship and didn't find the limited storage a real problem.

     

    There is no retractable clothesline in the bathroom so it is helpful to have some plastic hangers for bathing suits etc. There were some hooks in the bathroom and two hooks on the wall opposite the bathroom. The attached photos should be helpful.

     

    The cabins alternate with the bed near the balcony (as pictured) and the bed near the closet. Otherwise the standard cabins are the same.

    IMG_9754.jpg.060a578c98dbc384997f351d4eb7e7de.jpg

    IMG_9757.jpg.d8aa246549a1852d3ca6f3d136570bab.jpg

    IMG_9759.jpg.0a597da983c2ce55989ef8ce5e6ece45.jpg

    IMG_9762.jpg.f4ca64b4e5f24c6f30602e37303f73c9.jpg

    IMG_9765.jpg.0b31f0387a256a3e4c68a41f570957a1.jpg


  8. Hi Gianni

     

    I'm booking the two tours you mentioned as they sound great. Other tours offered are: Hungarian Countryside Puszta, Holloko, and Hungarian Folklore Evening. Have you heard anything about these tours.

     

    Do we have time to book the Amsterdan candlelight tour at night & would it be easy to get there from the ship?

     

    Thanks again for all of your info

     

    MaeLin

     

    The only tour I know about is the Hungarian Countryside tour. The Puszta is a type of horse farm where they give a demonstration of the amazing horsemanship of the Hungarian "cowboys." I will do that tour soon and can respond later.

     

    In Amsterdam the ships are docked all over the harbor usually somewhere near the main train station but it depends on the dock master so the lines never know where they will be docked. You will have to ask your program manager about that tour.


  9. Gee I hope you are wrong at least for 2012. I do know people that went in April this year and said they did see Tulips but not at full bloom but they also mentioned that they had the coldest spring in a long time. I'm going beginning of April of 2012 and I know it is still quite chilly. Being from Florida that scares me :eek:. However I know, Tulips or no, I will have a great time.

     

    Linda

     

    We did the Vantage Tulip cruise April 8-18 in 2009. There were hyacinth and some tulip fields blooming north of Amsterdam. We were at the Keukenhof Gardens April 17 and the tulips were magnificent. The daffodils were mostly finished around Amsterdam and the azaleas and rhododendrons were just beginning. Many of the tress were also flowering at Keukenhof and in the Amsterdam area. It was amazing.

     

    We live near Washington, DC and I think the tulips are like the cherry blossoms in that they bloom according to the weather and it is hard to predict when they will peak.

     

    The weather was chilly but not cold some places and surprisingly warm and sunny in others. We had very little rain which was unusual. Just pack layers and you will be fine.

     

    We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise.


  10. We are booked on the Vantage Castles of the Rhine and Danube (Budapest to Amsterdam) beginning on November 4. Does anyone have insight into weather at that time of year or suggestions for outerwear (winter coats? boots?, etc.)

     

    I agree with the above poster that it will be cold and foggy sometimes and sunny at others. We did the Castles on the Rhine and Danube from Amsterdam to Budapest September 28 to October 16 and it was already quite cool and foggy during the night and early morning with bright sunny fall days by afternoon. In many places the flowers were already dead and the palace gardens had been cleared for the winter. The vineyards were turning a lovely yellow and there were still leaves on most of the trees. We had frost on the decks one morning. We did not have rain which is more typical in November.

     

    Your best plan would be to take layers that you can add or remove depending on temperature changes during the day and from day to day. A waterproof shell paired with a fleece, warm sweater and turtleneck will work out well. (A winter coat is OK but you may find that it is great in the morning and evening but too warm in the afternoon-layers are the way to go.) You would also be wise to have hats scarves and gloves. You will find being on deck while sailing quite cool to cold but lovely if you have the right clothing. You need very comfortable, sturdy walking shoes. Vantage usually has umbrellas available. Since you are sailing north it will get colder and and the days will get shorter as you go along.

     

    We sailed in the Netherlands and Belgium in April on a Vantage tulip cruise and the same type of layers were appropriate.

     

    You have chosen a great itinerary during an uncrowded time of year. Vantage will do a lot to brighten your days even if the weather is dreary.

     

    Enjoy!


  11. I'm not sure what optional excursions are offered on your itinerary this season. Let me know and I can comment on the ones we have experienced.

     

    As I said above we did the Heurigen evening in Vienna and Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest.

     

    The Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest is wonderful because it includes an inside visit to the Central (Dohany Street) Synagogue which I believe is the largest in Europe. It has been magnificently restored and its history especially during WWII is very moving. The ****s took the building over and created a ghetto around it where many Jews died. Their markers are in the courtyard and there is a memorial to them on the grounds along with a memorial to the righteous who helped the Jews during this terrible time in world history. This option was interesting for Jews and non Jews alike.

     

    The Heurigen Evening takes you to a wine house outside Vienna where you have dinner and local wines. They usually serve traditional foods in a courtyard (heated in November) and there are typical singers and musicians in costume doing Austrian folk type music. It is touristy but fun.

     

    I would recommend both but your choice depends on your preferences.


  12. We did this tour in October 2007 and will be on our third Vantage river cruise this month. You have chosen a great itinerary and should enjoy it very much.

     

    It will be cold on the rivers in November so you should pack warm clothes with layers and take your most comfortable walking shoes. A hat and gloves will also be useful.

     

    You will enjoy the included Vantage excursions and should consider the optional Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest. The Dohany Street Synagogue was one of the highlights of our last visit. A visit to a horse farm in the country is also very interesting. The riders are truly amazing.

     

    You should check out Eyewitness Travel guides from your local library. They will give you an idea of the sights in each city and you can choose those that interest you most. They have lost so photos and suggested walking tours.

     

    Evening entertainment on the river cruises is low key (not at all like the big ships) but we found it enjoyable. Vantage usually has a port talk before dinner and then some sort of activity after dinner. You may have a folk group performance, swing band, local singing group or performers, crew entertainment, dancing, demonstration, or other game show like activity.(You will pass through many, many locks and the local groups get on at one lock and then get off several hours later at another lock.)

     

    There is a piano player in the lounge after the evening program which ends about 10:00 to 10:30 and the bar is open until the last guest retires. You can also watch movies which are usually classics related to upcoming ports on your TV. The itinerary is port intensive and you are usually up early so we were happy to be back in our room by 10:30.

     

    Enjoy your trip.

     

    Gianna

     

    Gianna

     

    Thanks for the info. What time of the year did you go? Did you do any optional excursions and did you book before trip?

     

    Thanks again

     

    We started in Amsterdam September 28 and ended in Vienna October 15. The weather was cool with some fog on the rivers in the early morning. The afternoons were crisp and sunny. We had early morning frost on the decks in Vienna October 14.

     

    Most excursions are included with Vantage with 2 choices in some ports. We did all the optional excursions which included the Heurigen evening in Vienna, the canal cruise in Amsterdam and the Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest. We booked ahead. You can take your chances and book on the ship if there is space available but it is best to book ahead if you really want to do a particular excursion.

     

    There was free time after many of the Vantage excursions to do things on our own.

     

    Gianna


  13. **********************************************************************************************************

    Just read and enjoyed your pictures of your Ireland trip. It really sounded like you had a great trip. I will look at some of your others too to include your river cruises. Thanks for sharing.

     

    We're booked on Budapest to Amsterdam cruise in Nov 2011. Thanks for sharing your pictures & stories. They are wonderful. This is our first river cruise and wandered if it gets boring at night? We did pre option in Budapest & post option in Brussels and have never been to either city. Would appreciate any must sees & restaurants. Thanks New Orleans:)

     

    We did this tour in October 2007 and will be on our third Vantage river cruise this month. You have chosen a great itinerary and should enjoy it very much.

     

    It will be cold on the rivers in November so you should pack warm clothes with layers and take your most comfortable walking shoes. A hat and gloves will also be useful.

     

    You will enjoy the included Vantage excursions and should consider the optional Jewish Heritage tour in Budapest. The Dohany Street Synagogue was one of the highlights of our last visit. A visit to a horse farm in the country is also very interesting. The riders are truly amazing.

     

    You should check out Eyewitness Travel guides from your local library. They will give you an idea of the sights in each city and you can choose those that interest you most. They have lost so photos and suggested walking tours.

     

    Evening entertainment on the river cruises is low key (not at all like the big ships) but we found it enjoyable. Vantage usually has a port talk before dinner and then some sort of activity after dinner. You may have a folk group performance, swing band, local singing group or performers, crew entertainment, dancing, demonstration, or other game show like activity.(You will pass through many, many locks and the local groups get on at one lock and then get off several hours later at another lock.)

     

    There is a piano player in the lounge after the evening program which ends about 10:00 to 10:30 and the bar is open until the last guest retires. You can also watch movies which are usually classics related to upcoming ports on your TV. The itinerary is port intensive and you are usually up early so we were happy to be back in our room by 10:30.

     

    Enjoy your trip.

     

    Gianna


  14. I have been on two river cruises and as stated above it really doesn't matter which side of the ship you choose. Depending on the port either side may be next to the dock and you may be moored next to another ship. I would go with the cabin that is best located based on the distance to the dining, room, lounge and reception. We prefer cabins that are midship.

     

    Depending on your itinerary you may be traveling mostly during the night so nighttime docking may not be an issue at all.

     

    If you are concerned about noise you may find that you will pass through many locks during the night and there will be things that go "bump" in the night even in the best located cabin.

     

    Enjoy your trip.


  15. The ships definitely dock out of the city center. The canal through the city center is much too narrow and shallow for riverboats.

     

    It depends on the tour company whether there are shuttles into the historic center. We were on a Vantage cruise that had an overnight stop in Vienna and we were provided free shuttle service to and from the ship after the morning tours were over until late afternoon. Depending on the ship location the subway station is generally walkable and as mentioned above there is a stop in the cathedral square. From there you can walk to most of the main sites.

     

    Schonbrunn palace is a must see but not in the historic center.


  16. Hi,

     

    I booked my first River cruise with Vantage River Odyssey Waterways of Holland/Belgium, Tulips...... 4/1/12. I also booked a pre-cruise extension in Brussels. I've been searching high and low on CC for any information about this kind of itininary. Not finding anything. Can anyone give me any information about the ship and the itininary? Any suggestions on what to do in Brussels? Apparently Vantage will keep me busy on and off ship :).

     

    I am a cruiser..done over 20 cruises. This will be my first river and I'm very much looking forward to it. I always wanted to do one.

     

    Thanks!

    Linda

     

    We were on the Vantage Explorer in 2009 for their "Tulip" cruise and it was great. We have been on the River Navigator and will be on the Odyssey in September.

     

    You can get information about the ships on the VantageTravel.com website along with a detailed itinerary for your trip. You can find some information by entering Vantage Holland & Belgium under search this thread on Cruise Critic in the River and Canal Cruises section.

     

    We really loved Vantage and their ships which are "sisters" and have only minor differences. The crews are fantastic. We are looking forward to our next cruise with Vantage.


  17. We will be on our first Vantage trip from Amsterdam to Budapest this fall. Could you tell me how the tips are handled? Can they be put on a credit card? Thanks

     

    The tips for the crew and staff can be charged to your onboard account which can be settled by cash or credit card. The tips for the program manager should be paid in cash. Tips for local guides should also be in cash. You can find this information in the Vantage travel guide for your cruise.


  18. We have sailed on 2 Vantage river cruises, and have a 3rd to Burgundy booked for next year. The stories and pictures are on our website www,stevekathytravels.com

     

    I checked your site and enjoyed your posting. We have been to many of the places you wrote about and on three previous Vantage trips. It was great to read about the locations we have visited and places we still want to visit.

     

    Thank you,

     

    Gianna


  19. Gangway, we are considering the "Springtime in Eastern Europe & the Black Sea" cruise for next year on Vantage, going from Budapest to Bucharest. If this was the cruise you were on, I would be interested in hearing more about it. How was the weather in May?Was the boat the MS River Odyssey? If so, what was it like? If you get a chance, please post or contact me by email at pdcldco@hotmail.com.Many thanks.

     

    We have been on the Navigator and Explorer and are booked on the Odyssey in September. The ships are sister ships and only have slight differences. They are impeccably maintained and the crews and tour directors are marvelous. On the upper deck they have a sundeck with walking track and places to sit and watch the scenery glide by. There is a lounge with a bar in the bow and the dining room is at the rear of the second deck. The dining room has linen table covers and china for dining. Breakfast and lunch are usually buffet style and dinners are served. The rooms are comfortable with a lot of storage but more compact than on most ocean cruisers. As is typical on river cruisers the bathrooms are small but adequate. The upper deck has hotel type beds and the two lower decks have fold down twin beds that are very comfortable. (I thought I would hate those beds on our first cruise but since have chosen to book B1 rooms with the fold down beds because they have a larger table and more floor space than the twin bed rooms.) You can get a good idea of the ship amenities by visiting Vantagetravel.com


  20. We're booked on the Vantage Deluxe World Travel Cruising the Danube to the Black Sea departure for September 2011. This will be our third river cruise with Vantage but the first in Eastern Europe. We thoroughly enjoyed the River Navigator and River Explorer and are looking forward to the River Odyssey.

     

    We would be interested in hearing from anyone who has taken a Vantage Eastern Europe Cruise and especially anyone who has taken the cruise from Vienna to Bucharest or the reverse in 2011.

     

    We welcome your comments about the itinerary and any helpful hints you might have for enjoying the cruise.

     

    Looking forward to your comments and suggestions.


  21. just wondering - if we want to pack a picnic lunch to take ashore, is this ok? i know there are restrictions on what you can bring on, but wasn't sure if you're free to take food off the ship as well. we are traveling with small children, so we pretty much always need small snacks and water with us!

     

    On a recent Caribbean itinerary there were constant reminders not to take food off the ship or bring food onto the ship. Bottles of water are permitted and so are prepackaged snacks (cookies, pretzels, crackers - brought from home) as stated above. You can fill your own bottles with water or purchase water on the ship. You can bring things like bags of coffee, candy, cakes, and snacks onto the ship but nothing fresh like a sandwich and especially no fruits or vegetables can be taken on or off the ship. The rules were the same in Europe.


  22. Most cell phones will function on the ship and those with a GSM card will function on land and at sea with few exceptions.

     

    It was difficult to access voice mail on a recent cruise but text messages came through with no problem so we have given our cell number for emergencies with the ship number as a backup. This is much less expensive than the $7.95/minute charged by Celebrity. Call your cell carrier to check their rates and function in your ports of call and on the ship. Verizon sent me the rates and dialing instructions in a e-mail which I printed for reference. Text messaging is the least expensive way to go.


  23. Looking for info on the Vision of the Seas:

     

    Are the D1 corner aft cabins larger than the rest of the aft cabins?

     

    Are the aft cabins larger than the side cabins?

     

    Do the corner aft cabins have larger balconies than the rest of the aft cabins?

     

    Looking at the St. Petersburg & Baltic Cruise...any recommendations on the following ports of call:

     

    Stockholm, Sweden

    Helsinki, Finland

    St. Petersburg, Russia (read about bkg with a good private tour company)

    Riga, Latvia

    Gdansk, Poland

    Visby, Sweden

     

    Yes, I did read the Baltic forum...but there are many posters on this forum that have sailed on the Vision and I'd like to read their opinions, also.

     

    Will the Vision be going into dry dock for refurbishment?

     

    We were in JS 8588 on the aft corner of the Vision in October 2009. The room was great but no larger that the other JS cabins. The balcony as on the 7th level was huge (largest on the ship). It was great to watch the wake and sunsets from the balcony. The only drawback was the long walk and that part of the balcony is not under cover. It was great for sunbathing BUT collected soot when we were in some crowded ports.


  24. We returned this week from the Eurodam Western Mediterranean 10 day cruise. We ate in the dining room every evening without reservations. The food was great as was the service. No matter what time we arrived we never waited more than a few minutes to be seated and the service with a few small exceptions was very good. We generally asked to be seated with others and met some very interesting people. We much prefer the flexibility of dining when we wish and not being confined to a set time with the same table mates each evening. We tried anytime dining on Royal Caribbean last October and had a similar experience.

     

    My advice- try it you'll like it!

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