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bunnybear

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About bunnybear

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Houston, Texas
  1. I wanted to verify that there are washing machines on the Marina. Are they coin operated or what do we need to bring. Do we need to bring our own soap? It will certainly affect how I pack for a 14 day cruise in July.
  2. This is what I needed to know. We will watch the Ruble for awhile and then order some before we leave. Did you get some for Sweden, Denmark, etc. that doesn't take the Euro? We are doing the pre-cruise in Stockholm and may need some currency for that part of the trip.
  3. We are booked on the July 2015 - Treasures of the North trip. We visit 11 countries and there are quite a few that do not use the Euro. They have their own currency. Was this an issue with anyone that has made this trip before? I know we can use ATM's just about everywhere to get some cash - but I read that Russia doesn't have them very accessible. Is that a correct statement? Since we are in St. Petersburg for three days I am sure we will be spending some money and will need some Rubles. I would appreciate any information regarding people's experiences as it relates to the currency in multiple countries. FYI - we always leave the States with a minimal amount of Euros in our pocket in case we need something upon arrival. With the Euro so low - we already ordered them and got a great exchange rate.
  4. We were up on the 4th floor but some of the people we met on the cruise were in the category 3 rooms and they were very pleased. There was absolutely no noise on this trip. I never heard an engine sound or even felt vibrations in any part of the vessel. We never felt any movement either. It was one of the best cruising experiences I have had. Having cruised from Amsterdam to Basel - I am biased for that direction. The trip just kept getting better and better each day. Cologne was not my favorite stop but it just kept getting better after that. I would hate for Cologne to be my last stop. But I have read quite a difference of opinion on the boards so you will just have to choose for yourself. As far as what city to fly out/of or into - it would depend on your airline. In the future, I will research better to make the most of my time. We were using Lufthansa and since their main hub was Frankfurt that would have worked better. But I understand you can make arrangements out of Zurich with direct flights to the US on other airlines. Since we are in Houston - we try to fly non-stop out of Europe whenever possible. I can't wait to book another Uniworld cruise.
  5. I didn't make a packing list - but I would probably have taken a lot less clothing than I did. Like I stated before, you need to bring multiple layers for the day - but with clever planning you could mix and match these and wear them multiple days. I did bring two pair of shorts and did enjoy having them on the warmer days at the end of the cruise. I took one pair of nice black slacks and just wore nice tops with either costume jewelry or scarves to change them up. I took one pair of black sandals for dinner. I brought two pair of Clarks shoes for walking and felt like I could have probably just brought one. My husband likes to wear the Columbia fishing pants on trips because they are comfortable and easily washed in the sink if necessary. He took three pair of those and then a mix of polo shirts and Columbia fishing shirts. For dinner, he wore nice jeans and polo shirts and cowboy boots. For the welcome reception /dinner and the farewell reception/dinner he wore a sports coat and a solid color polo. Most men were in sports coats and no ties, but some were in suits. The fact that you can do laundry on the boat I think you could easily get by with less clothing. The bathroom is stocked with high quality products so there is no need to bring shampoo, shower jell or body lotion.
  6. Traveling the trains in Europe are so easy and nice. We loved the fact that you can just show up when you are ready to leave and hop on the next available departure. The luggage is cumbersome, but they have areas to store them and we managed just fine. The one thing we both agree that we did wrong was making our flight reservations to return out of Basel. We should have just taken the train to Frankfurt and left from there since that is where we were making our connection back to the states from anyways. We had to take the train to Basel Tuesday afternoon and then get a cab to a hotel near the airport and then arrange travel from the hotel to the airport at 4:30 Wednesday morning. We could have made that part of the trip a little bit easier. I wouldn't have wanted to miss Lucerne but you are right - it was expensive.
  7. The bells at the church across the lake pealed at 7:00 am. We looed out our window to see a flower and fruit market being set up at the church. We will probably go for a short walk and then pack up our belongings and head to the train station. One other note on Des Balances. There is no air conditioning. We slept both nights with our window and door to our balcony open. They provide a fan. It was comfortable for the post part but a little warm for part of the night.
  8. We have just about completed our last day in Lucerne. It is a charming and picturesque place to visit. There is a picture opportunity at every corner. The weather was bit better today so we walked here and there for about 6 hours. We started out our day at a pasteria and picked out two enticing pastries and ordered coffees. We took the lake boat cruise which gave you a good view of the surrounding communities that surround the lake. We then hike up the hill to walk on the upper wall where the towers are located. It was quite a hike but brought along a sandwich we bought along the way and had lunch on a bench we found up the hill. The view from the upper wall is a new perspective. The staircase to get to the upper wall is straight up. We made it but were both winded at the top. We then made our way down from the walls and wandered again to the other bridge that has been here since the 1400's. We spent a lot of time just sitting on benches soaking in the atmosphere. You will hear a lot of different languages spoken but we had so problems with using English in the restaurants and the shops. Food in Lucerne is expensive, especially in the restaurants. We found it was better to buy pasteries and sandwiches in shops for breakfast and lunch. I had also read in TripAdvisor to go to the train station because the food was more economical. We did eat in two restaurants for dinner and they were pricey. When you stay at Des Balances they give you two free cocktails at the restaurant/bar in the hotel. We had the free cocktails, ordered appetizers and two coffees and it was 57 swiss francs. Des Balances has a coffee machine in the room. We bought pastries this evening to enjoy tomorrow morning from our balcony as we say goodbye to Lucerne. Our room is compact but sufficient. It's certainly not the biggest room I have stayed in Europe but certainly not the smallest. The lake front balcony is big enough for a table with two chairs. Our room sits directly across from the Jesuit Church and the church bells that play at 3:30 were a treat. I am really glad we visited this pretty place. I hope this information will help you in your future travel plans. Tomorrow we take the train back to Basel. We are staying overnight in a hotel near the airport and then fly back to Houston early Wednesday morning.
  9. We got off the ship at 9:15 and Uniworld provided transportation to the train station. I bought us tickets for the next available train and we were easily able to make the 10:05 train. The ride was less than an hour. The train station is very close to old town. We caught a cab and realized we could have easily walked to our hotel. We are staying at Des Balances and have a lake view room. The scenery is gorgeous, but unfortunately the weather stinks. But we are going to make the best of it. We headed to the Dieing Lion Monument and have walked across the bridge. We purchased a Swiss watch and ate in a sidewalk café during a heavy rainstorm. We are calling it a night and hope for a break in the weather tomorrow. Lucerne is very easy to get around so I suggest you can do this on your own if that fits your style.
  10. He wore a black or white sold color polo under his jacket with nice jeans. He fit in just fine. I saw ladies in all styles of dress at dinner. I took a nice pair of black pants that packed easily and just wore different tops with scarves or costume jewelry and it worked perfectly. I took one pair of black sandals and that was fine for the whole week at dinner. Something I think is fabulous is that Uniworld provides a laundry room with three washers and three dryers. They provide the detergent/fabric softener and they are complimentary. We met a lot of folks on board who packed for a lengthy holiday in a carry on because they knew they could do laundry along the way. I did two loads during the week so that when we get home it will lighten my loads.
  11. Things that may be helpful for future cruisers on the SS Antoinette: There are two 110 outlets - one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom. We brought a power strip and was able to power up all our electronic devices without any need to use converters. WiFi was promised to be available in the public areas. For the majority of the trip we had WiFi available in our room, as well. Friday and Saturday - the signal was weak but the rest of the trip it was strong. If you have international phone service you will change providers several times. We learned to turn down the volume on our phones when we went to bed or we were woke up as texts came in to tell us that we were in a new provider area. Clothing is casual for the most part. Due to weather conditions, layering is a good idea. It can be cool when you leave but then by mid-morning I was taking off the sweater or jacket. Most men wore a jacket for two dinners. Ladies wore slacks or skirts for those two dinners. Otherwise, it was nicer casual clothes. My hubby wore nice jeans with a jacket and he looked fine. I brought way too many clothes and will definitely pack differently if we river cruise again. We have nothing to compare to, but feel that Uniworld is the best product we have seen. It is all inclusive so I never felt they were trying to sell us something. Bicyles were provided free of charge is you wished to do that. All cocktails, beer and wine are provided and gratuities are included. We never had to tip the bus drivers or the guides. The only thing I had to settle up was our one optional excursion. The crew repeatedly went out of their way to make the trip whatever the passengers wanted it to be. We saw a lot of other cruise ships along the river and it seemed that the tour groups for those lines were much larger. We were always in small groups and with the headsets provided - you could always hear the guide even if you wandered away from the group. Feel free to ask any other questions you may have.
  12. Saturday we chose to take the tour of the two Alsace Villages. We were off the boat by 8:45. The bus ride to the village was about 45 to 50 minutes. We had a guide who provided commentary the entire way providing history of the area. The first village was picturesque and very quaint. The guide walked us a short ways through the village and then allowed us some free time. Tony, actually brought a big tray of the local sweet bread for us to snack on while we strolled the streets and visited the shops. Most of the shopkeepers spoke only French so it was a lot of pointing and smiling but they were very gracious. The second village was also pretty with the shops located on a uphill main street. There was also plenty of opportunities for pictures. We were back on the boat by 1:15. We ate lunch and then took on the packing. It always makes me sad when it's time to do that chore after an absolutely wonderful week. The boat sailed at 4:00 and this section of the river is a series of locks that are pretty significant in the amount of height that we had to go up in each lock. A lot of our fellow passengers stayed up on top as we went through the first couple of locks. It was a neat experience. Saturday night at 6:30 is the Captain's Farewell Reception and then the Farewell dinner at 7:00. We noticed that throughout the week groups of passengers sat at the same table throughout the week and by the end of the cruise enjoyed each other's company. We very much enjoyed our new group of friends. We exchanged email addresses and plans to visit each other. Sunday morning embarkation is based on your plans. We are taking the train to Lucerne and Uniworld is providing a bus to the train station at 9:00. You have to be out of your room by 8:30 am so we will hang out in the Salon until it's time for our bus to leave. Uniworld has done everything in their power to make this trip memorable. I would not hesitate to recommend this trip or Cruiseline to anyone.
  13. My hubby took hundreds of photos but due to heavy clouds the day of the Castle cruising - his didn't turn out as well as your did. There is so many photo ops in this trip.
  14. It is Friday and we are docked in Kehl, Germany which is across the river from Strasbourg. The area we are docked is a very industrial area and we are actually tied up to an AROSA boat and had to cross it to get to the street. We had decided ahead of sailing that we were not going to take the Black Forest tour. This was based on many reviews on Cruise Critic about it being a long bus ride and that didn't appeal to us for this trip. So we took the canal cruise with a majority of the passengers in Strasbourg and then spent four hours just wandering around town. It is a beautiful, quaint town with gorgeous architecture, high end shopping (if that is something you enjoy) and a restaurant one right after another. We visited the Cathedral which is one of the prettiest I have ever seen. The exterior looks like lace. The building was started in the 1100's and it is spectacular from the inside and out. We then wandered around the streets and found a Creperia for lunch. I had an artichoke, tomato and cheese and my hubby had a ham, asparagus and cheese crepe. They were wonderful and served on tables outside. We just admired the surroundings and only heard French or German spoken. My husband took pictures of beautiful buildings, and doors. We then found a pastry shop and I bought the best éclair that either one of us has ever had. For those that don't want to be with a large group of people - today will make you very happy. You are free to do "your own thing" until 5:00 when the last shuttle leaves Strasbourg to come back to the ship. We really enjoyed our day.
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