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Everything posted by WisRiver

  1. What are the outlets like on a Vista Suite on the Maasdam? We are doing the San Diego/Sydney transpacific next year. Are there bedside outlets or USB ports?
  2. Can you use Euros in French Polynesia?
  3. Last year we were on Longships. I think the beer on draft was Bitburg on the Budapest-Amsterdam leg. We were also on the Bucharest-Budapest leg, but I do not remember the kind of beer on draft. The beer drinkers on board seemed happy.
  4. Another option in FLL just down the street from Embassy Suites is Holiday Inn Express. We stayed there last year while the hotel was undergoing expansion. Free shuttle from airport, and short Lyft ride to ship. Skip the paid shuttle from the hotel. It will be more expensive and crowded. You are close to Total Wine, Publix and many restaurants. Not bad for one night.
  5. Our experience on the K'dam, Zuiderdam and Eurodam in the past year is that you will get better service on the second seating. It is less crowded. Our wait staff have told us that the 1st seating is the most popular and is usually full. Second seating also means a greater choice of tables, ie easier to find two tops.
  6. We did a Heuriger dinner last year on our Viking River Cruise. The ship staff called a cab that took us the Weinhof Zimmermann. After an excellent dinner with many good wines, the staff called a cab for us. We were a group of four, so the cab cost was reasonable.
  7. The beach in front of the malecon, beachfront road, is cleaned every morning, so most of the sea shells are removed. If you walk east along the beach you will come to an area that is not cleaned daily. Along the high tide mark you will find shells. The City of Progreso has rehabilitated a new beach area to the west of the big pier, but I have not walked along that beach. There is an excellent small seashell shop (say that three times) on Calle 78 across from Barlavento Restaurant, that has a wide variety of shells.
  8. We disembarked from the Zuiderdam in Boston three weeks ago. The immigration and customs were handled on board. We had to wait until our color (the same color on our bags) was called. We wait in the Ocean Bar. Our ship card was scanned by HAL staff and we showed our passport to a US immigration officer. He looked at the passport, looked at our face and waved us through. No passport stamp, no Global Entry, no customs form and for me no questions. The immigration officer asked the person in front of me if he had purchased anything, and he said no. He was waved through. It was 15 minutes from the time our color was called until we were outside. The longest line was for taxis. We used Lyft ($16 including tip). Lyft had a shorter wait time than a taxi. We were at the airport in less than an hour from our color group being called.
  9. We were on the Zuiderdam on the Voyage of the Vikings in August, 2019. We missed two ports because of weather, a tender port in Greenland and St. John's, Nova Scotia. On our final bill we had a refund of about $10 per person for the Greenland stop and $115 per person for St. John's.
  10. We just ordered the bottles of gin, rather than the G & T package. Remember the limes. One year on a transatlantic we ran out of limes in mid ocean, so we had to go to the bar to get a glass of cut up limes.
  11. On our July 2020 cruise we bought three bottles of Bombay gin, one was Sapphire and the other was Bombay Original. The one bottle of Bombay Original was 37 ½ % alcohol while the second was 40 % alcohol. The Sapphire was 47 % alcohol. We like our G & T's in our room before dinner, so we brought our own Fever Tree Tonic and limes on board. For us there was not much difference between the Sapphire or Original when mixed in a G & T. When we ran out of tonic we picked up tonic in ports.
  12. We have taken five transatlantic on HAL and one on Celebrity. The Celebrity Constellation was similar to the the Nieuw Amersterdam and Eurodam. We would choose our transatlantic based on itinerary. The Constellation went to Rome while other HAL TA's went to Rotterdam, Copenhagen, Barcelona as well as Rome. However, since we are 4* on HAL, the free laundry is nice. Next year we are looking at transpacifics.
  13. We just got off the Zuiderdam. When we boarded in in Boston We had a carry on that included an 8 pack of Coke Zero, 6 pack of bottled tonic water, two one liter bottles of cherry juice, half dozen limes and two bottles of sparkling wine. It was heavy lifting, but no problems with all the non alcoholic drinks.
  14. In July, 2019 we had an aft wrap around cabin on the 8th deck. You would be right below the lido deck. Only once did we hear noise from the deck above us, and it was at 8:00 AM as we were entering Glacier Bay. The extra steps were not a problem. The views are extraordinary from the aft cabins. In a veranda cabin you might be worried about missing the view from the "other side of the ship" .
  15. We had an aft wrap around Neptune on our Alaska cruise earlier this year. You are a long way from the Neptune Lounge. However, you can order canapés and snacks for 5 PM cocktail hour delivered to your cabin. It is usually a selection of what they put out in the Neptune Lounge. We were traveling with other people (not in Neptune) and we would order for 6 or 8 people. No problem. The cabin was small, but the wrap around balcony was great.
  16. We were on a Viking River Cruise from Bucharest to Budapest in June, 2018. Weather was cool and cloudy in Romania and Bulgaria, sunny and pleasant in the Balkans and Hungary. Who knows what the weather will be next year. I understand it has extremely warm in Central and Eastern Europe this summer.
  17. If you want a certain cabin, you should book early. On an Alaska cruise in late June we wanted an aft wrap around Neptune Suite (great views), so we booked in November, 2018. We were also able to lock in a great plane fare at about the same time. We checked with our big box travel agency just before our final payment was due, and were able to get a slight price reduction. For other cruises we might be more last minute, but for Alaska it was nice to book early.
  18. Last year we did a HAL transatlantic repositioning from Fort Lauderdale to Rome (Civatavecchia). We flew from Rome to Bucharest and started a Viking River Cruise Bucharest to Amsterdam. One way Intra-Europe plane fares are fairly reasonable, so it is easy to get to the start point of any cruise. We made all our own flight arrangements.
  19. Last week when we were on the Eurodam to Alaska, the key cards for Neptune Suites did not have a hole. However, the key cards for veranda cabins had an opening at the top of the card to attach to a lanyard.
  20. We were in London in May, 2019. We enjoyed Come From Away. We bought our tickets online directly from the theatre. We also saw Witness For the Prosecution with tickets purchased from the the Half Price Ticket booth. Finally we saw The Play That Goes Wrong last year. I liked the play, it was stupid funny.
  21. We just returned from our Alaska cruise. We had a family group of 10, so we booked a boat with Harv and Marv's. It was an excellent trip. I would book with Harv and Marv's again.
  22. We make frequent use of the TKTS booth in London. They sell discount as well as full price tickets. Their website lists availability for two days https://officiallondontheatre.com/tkts/ If there are shows you must see, then contact the box office directly. In May, 2019 the two best shows we saw were Six and Come From Away. Both were sold out productions and we had booked tickets on line. We bought tickets Witness for the Prosecution at TKTS. In May the lines were not bad. The TKTS website also has a link to directory of all shows on the West End.
  23. The Covent Garden is excellent. While the area can be pricey, it is centrally located and safe. Last year we had friends who stayed at the Strand Palace near Covent Garden. Depending on the time of year, they may meet your price point. If you can stay for a week, London Connections have excellent apartments in Covent Garden. We prefer an apartment to an hotel in London.
  24. Last year we were on the Viking River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam. On the next to last day we stopped at Kinderdijk for an afternoon excursion. We then went to Rotterdam and traveled on Amsterdam in the late evening. We docked in Amsterdam after midnight. We had plane reservations home in the early afternoon of the last day, so we went to airport after breakfast.
  25. It is possible to book a private excursion on a river cruise. If there is something that you want to see without the "group" from the ship, consider booking your own. Last year our group of four were on the Budapest-Amsterdam Viking River cruise that stopped in Nuremberg. We want to see the courtrooms where they held the War Crimes Trials and visit the museum in the building. Vikings tour was a drive by in a 40 passenger bus. We made arrangements with a private tour guide. We had a personalized tour in a seven passenger mini-van with an experienced English speaking guide. Our boat was two hours late arriving in Nuremberg, but we were in contact with our guide by cell phone. It was an excellent day. We ate an excellent quick lunch at a small restaurant. I would not worry about missing the boat, since the boat may only be moving 20 miles. It is not like an ocean cruise where if you miss the boat, your next stop may be 100's of miles away in a different country. If there is something you want to see without the hassle of the bus, think about a private tour.
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