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About HappyTvlr

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  1. I agree completely. This was our first European river cruise. We did a couple smaller ones in India and Egypt. In Europe we were extremely disappointed by the number of coaches we were put on. One of our first stops in Cologne we were on the opposite side of the city center, and it took ages just to load and get a very short distance. When I booked, I naively had images of strolling on and off the boat. We did that in several stops during our 25 days, but not as many as I had hoped. There were many things I loved about the river boat experience, but I didn't feel it was the best way to truly see a location. We reflect on it as a taster. Based on that experience, I arranged a 30 day trip to northern Italy this year. I had us moving around by train every 3-4 days starting in Venice and ending in Rome. We were supposed to leave 7 May. So much for that. Luckily I was able to easily cancel everything.
  2. The set dinner sounds like a nightmare. We loved meeting new people and having dinner with them to actually get to know one another. As for Uniworld's tours, the limit on capacity is alarming to me. We were disgusted by the competition to get on certain tours last year during are 25 day journey from AMS to BUC. After the discussion of the tours in the lounge, there was a mad rush to get in line to sign up because spaces were limited. This was such a surprise and disappointment because there was no mention of limits to anything other than Masterpiece tours in the cruise literature. A coach typically fit 40-50 people, and they were very reluctant to pay the price for an additional coach for popular tours. Limiting the number of people on the coaches will force them to either add more coaches at a cost they are likely unwilling to pay, or severely limit the number of people on each tour.
  3. Thanks for the update, but I am so sorry. It’s so disappointing because they have such wonderful itineraries, but I feel they can’t be counted on. I enjoyed them immensely in India because everyone was allowed to do anything offered without restrictions, but they have a different and inconsistent operation in Europe that doesn’t work for me.
  4. The minimum on ours was 25, and only 8 signed up. Not sure which direction you are going, but for us this was the last day before flying unless you extended on your own. We were certainly "cooked", and couldn't face a long coach ride. We did the Dictator's home which was over the top extravagant, and the MC people's palace. Palace has interesting history, and was beautiful inside. It lacked a bit of wow factor when compared to other things we visited which is saying a lot, but well worth a couple hours and few euros to see. We really loved Bucharest. Easy to city to walk, fantastic local food in old town, great restaurants in the hotel, and ridiculously good craft beer. Safe city, but we were told to beware of pick pocketers. Not unusual.
  5. I was interested in it as well, but decided against it when I found out about the driving time required. The drive out was about 2.5 hrs, and return 3.5 depending on traffic. They didn’t get the minimum to sign up, but offered to organize a private trip for the 8 interested at a slightly higher price. Not sure if anyone ended up going. I am guessing they won’t sign people up pre-cruise because they want everyone aware of the journey. I appreciate this because it avoids non-refundable prepayment issues.
  6. It was a combination with the change in Budapest. It was flawless for those of us staying onboard, and they even planned a day trip to two wineries. It was fantastic. We lost and gained around 100 people which was interesting. We had a good group of 30+ that stayed on, and I think did a great job of integrating with the new passengers.
  7. Yes, some were closed out. Having 2 CMs didn’t seem to impact things closing, but illustrated the inconsistency in the process. It seems totally up to them how things are booked, and my opinion is that there should be a fleet wide standard. It should also be made clear in pre-cruise literature that most excursions have minimum and maximum slots.
  8. Thanks Steve. I will be happy to get in touch via email. I do want to clarify that it was not the MC that filled up, but the general excursions. MC can be booked prior to travel, but the others can not. To Uniworld's credit, they did appear to do their best to make things right. However, the race to sign up was definitely not in keeping with high end travel. I just started following a thread here on CC from a person in France on Scenic. I was over the moon to see that they are provided a full list of options at the beginning of the cruise and simply have to tic their choice, and there is no mention of limits. As it should be.
  9. Just off Uniworld Amsterdam to Bucharest. Prior to departure I was concerned about the Masterpiece options filling up, and little did I know there was a risk of the listed options also filling up. I certainly don't mean to cause you concern, but pass on the information because it was what I would have wanted. We had two cruise managers (CM) on board as the first departed mid-cruise. Both had different ways of booking what I am calling listed excursions like do as the locals or bike tours. The first had a meeting day two to book the days 3-9, and a second meeting to book 10-15. We were not "allowed" to book up to day 15 on day 2. I was very concerned about excursions filling up that I booked specifically to see, and I told the CM that we would have a problem if the day 12 excursion was unavailable. At the end of each of the two meetings there was a mad dash to sign up. Not at all dignified, and not acceptable to me based on the price and expected level of service. Imagine having a mobility issue and not being able to get to the front of the line. Horrible. The second CM held a meeting and opened up booking for the rest of the cruise. Again there was a dash, but not as much because there were more slots in each option. As a note, others said that on previous Uniworld cruises they had to book every single night for the next day. Outrageous in my opinion. In the end most people got their first choice which added a bit of frustration for creating a negative situation. I hated looking at the faces of friends I had made at the back of the line knowing I may have taken the last spot. We all paid the same and should have the same options because there is no mention whatsoever of limits placed on the listed excursions in the brochure. I have traveled extensively but this was my first full river cruise, and I will be looking into other options that do not have the same issue with limits and inconsistency in the booking process. It is up to the CM how things are done on board, and I am a traveler that likes to plan and know I am getting what I signed up and paid for. I am most interested in Scenic because I traveled through Egypt and Jordan with them and there were no limits on any of the options. Not sure if the same goes for their river cruises, but I will be looking into them.
  10. I did receive an email that didn’t address my questions so I called again. This agent was nearly as rude as the first, but clarified that the Weikersheim Slow Food Academy excursion out of Wurzburg is not sold out but is no longer being offered. He also said the same as mentioned above that with the exception of Bucharest all other MC excursions can be booked in advance. I’ve decided to wait to board to book and accept missing out. I’m just praying that things smooth out onboard. We enjoyed Uniworld in India, but this experience will determine our future choices.
  11. djett, thanks for the information. That is one of the days that I really want clarification on because my schedule says Pele's is in the AM and the People's Palace is in the PM. I didn't see how that was possible based on the distance. As for pre booking Masterpiece options, here is what is on the website in the day to day itinerary: *Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences can be added to a booking up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date–if the booking window is missed, guests can book onboard (space permitting) and pay in Euros. Pre-booked Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are refundable up to 48 hours prior to the cruise/tour start date–if inside of 48 hours they are non-refundable. Select Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences require a minimum number of participants and are subject to cancellation (with full refund) if minimum is not met. Gratuities are included. Masterpiece Collection Optional Experiences are non-commissionable. Prices are subject to change. Based on this, I wanted more information to book things I am certain I want to do. There is nothing, however, that gives them the right to sell out prior to the start date. One of the things that appealed to me about Uniworld was the general all-inclusive nature of the excursions and the belief that booking optional tours would be pretty easy based on what I have read here on CC. This confusion is just unnecessary, and they should be able to easily clarify. I received a standard email response that I should expect an actual response to my question in 5-10 days which is ridiculous. I am going to call Monday to allow staff to return from the holiday. Thanks again for all the support.
  12. Thanks so much. I’m on the Ultimate European Journey from Amsterdam to Bucharest. I’m happy to hear they do well with the coordination. I’m glad I am not alone in being put off by the tour being booked. I’ve taken several land tours, and can see the similarities in having a port talk and having a discussion on upcoming tours. So much more information is provided when compared to brochures. I understand needing a minimum to carry out the tours, but nearly blind booking bothers me. I sent an email asking for clarification, and hope they shed some light on my concerns. Also, we too are unable to book Pele’s in advance. That whole day is unclear. They have Ceauscescu’s Palace as an AM included option, and Pele’s as a Masterpiece AM option and the People’s Palace as a PM Masterpiece option. The odd thing is that based on a google search People’s and Ceauscescu’s are the same. It is large and could be different tours, but there’s no additional information. I really appreciate the responses. I’m not stressing, but want to get it right. I did a three week self drive tour around Spain last year, and I’m just looking to make this one easier by leaving the planning to them.
  13. I asked a previous question about Masterpiece collection excursions, and I am back again trying to get clarification. I received my documents for my 28 July trip, and I was left with lingering questions about the AM/PM options because some seem to overlap. I called for clarification, and was told one excursion was already sold out. I protested because it is clearly stated that these can be booked up to 48 hours prior to departure, and that the space permitting limitations only apply once onboard. I was rudely told sorry, and to "try" once onboard. Not acceptable to me. I was floored when they had no information for the last and busiest day with multiple Masterpiece options are listed. I was told that day will obviously be handled onboard. Now for my question. I want to know if I can reasonably count on being able to do excursions listed as AM and PM. The times seem to overlap in the descriptions, and I am very hesitant to book an optional Masterpiece excursion that can't be cancelled if it conflicts with another excursion. Also, I have read here in CC that Masterpiece options don't usually sell out so I was floored by this one being sold out well in advance. Please let me know your experiences. This is my first European river cruise, and I am used to timetables available on ocean cruises. I did a river cruise with Uniworld in India, but that was different because there were so few excursions. Thanks in advance.
  14. Loving this! I'm hoping to go next year. Getting back to Honfleur, did anyone do the golf option? If so, any information would be appreciated.
  15. I have, thank you. Most are labeled, but the description online makes some seem as though they may overlap. We had a problem trying to get info from Uniworld in India. They have those wonderful daily sheets onboard, but wouldn't share them until the last minute. I'm just a bit of a planner, and I like to have all available information.
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