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Gretchendz

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Everything posted by Gretchendz

  1. I was on this crossing as well. We tried a Princess Grill suite this time (we were in Britannia on a preCovid crossing). We really enjoyed the Princess Grill experience. Our cabin was very spacious. Loved the walk-in closet. Staff was terrific. I was slightly disappointed that (but I understand why) they have slightly liberalized the dress code. And only two gala nights :). Internet quality was probably the biggest annoyance. Certainly none of the changes were sufficient to diminish our enjoyment of the voyage. We boarded in Hamburg, and there was a lecture by Dr. Steven Payne, the designer of the QM2. He gives a fantastic talk about his personal history, the history and design of the QM2.
  2. Here's an interesting data point....I'm on AMA right now....and more than once I have heard local guides (who work with all the cruise lines) remark, sometimes among themselves, that they like to work with AMA best because AMA takes care of the guests better than the others, or words to that effect.
  3. I'm on the AMAMora now. People don't seem to dress up too much for dinner. Just not dirty jeans, t-shirts. The only time there's been a bit of upscale in dressing is for Chef's Table.
  4. If you plan to take the train, another option is to head right to the airport rail station and meet there. There are multiple restaurants to choose from. Personally, I would pick a meeting point there. It is a large airport. The first time I went I found some recent You Tube videos that show exactly how to get where you want to be. Not sure i can legally post a link but just do a search and you find several. Incidentally, the train ticket kiosks can be a little tricky for Americans and Canadians. Don't be afraid to ask someone who looks like they know what they're doing for help.
  5. Gretchendz

    2024

    Cunard will be publicly announcing in mid-October according to an insider.
  6. True. Also, @NiceAunt You may want to find a travel agent (most charge no additional fees) with experience in river cruising, tell them what you are interested in, and ask them to keep an eye out for you.
  7. Also, look at AMA Waterways, they have a great reputation. Here's a very handy comparison guide. I find the comparison of cruise line amenities very helpful. https://www.rivercruiseadvisor.com/comparisons/
  8. I have not done it from a river cruise, but I have been the the markets in Lubeck, Berlin (many!), Weimar, and Erfurt. I loved them all-but they do have slightly different character depending on the size of the town, theme (some are more children oriented, for example). This website might give you an idea of which might delight you the most: https://www.brunnvalla.ch/christmasmarkets/germany.html
  9. For years, I always have a strong rip-stop nylon zipper bag that lays flat in the bottom of my suitcase. During the trip, the dirty clothes go in it. Gives me an extra bag if I get carried away with purchases 🙂
  10. Once you start narrowing it down, many of the cruise lines have attached land itineraries you can add. AMA, for example, almost always has a three day pre-cruise at a town like Prague or Munich or whatever--near the starting point of the river cruise. Includes a good quality hotel, breakfasts, excursions, and often transfers. Again, a TA who is knowledgeable about river cruises can be invaluable in helping you plan. I, too, am someone who likes to travel independently. However, after my last extravaganza (cruise to Barcelona, then train to Madrid, then San Sebastian and Biarrtz, then Bordeaux, then Paris, then Southampton for the QM2 home) I am starting to analyze the "time cost" of packing and moving every night or 2, and the various transportation modes. To me. much of the allure of the river cruise is the "floating hotel."
  11. Just have to say that the TITLE of this thread made my heart take a thump--and not in a good way. More like "What? How would that be possible?" Having said that, if you are really stuck, go to the front desk and ask very nicely if they have a closet of leftover items. Last cruise on QM2 hubby forgot to pack a jacket for dinner (but he had his tux!). After checking out the shop, I said "Hotels often have a box of items that guests have left (usually many cell phone chargers)--let's ask." He was doubtful. Sure enough, the person we happened to ask was the "keeper of the closet. " She was delighted to take us behind the curtain and let us choose from a good selection of men's and women's apparel. He found a lovely sportscoat that fit him that he used throughout the cruise. She even said we could keep it, but we didn't 🙂
  12. No one knows, of course. However, I am a bit surprised it took Princess this long, given how many other lines in their space have essentially the same program. I think customers in general prefer it to the apparent mystical "Upgrade fairy." Cunard may decide not to do it, as they are run somewhat independently. On the other hand, Princess and Cunard, of all the Carnival brands, are most closely joined at the hip.
  13. For sure--they designed them to have a very shallow draft!
  14. Yes--this is why so many go with other lines. Viking's payment policies are much more stringent than comparable(or even superior) lines. Personally, I would book elsewhere.
  15. No one really knows. AMA hasn't said and I doubt they will say at this point given how Covid has been such an up and down thing. A large number of AMA cruisers want a fully vaccinated crew and guests, so if they relax the rule they stand to lose those guests. On the other hand, ocean cruises have been dropping the vaccination requirements at a faster rate than I would have predicted. As @CastleCritic alluded to, you also must consider what the specific countries on the itinerary require. As an example, when I was Germany last Christmas, they were MUCH stricter than the US regarding showing CDC cards and wearing a mask to go indoors almost anywhere. My advice to this person would be to not plan for the trip if they don't wish to get vaccinated. It's like all the countries I cannot visit if I choose not be vaccinated for yellow fever. If things change, and there are still cabins available later, they can maybe join the voyage. I should note that AMA currently has an exemption process: "AmaWaterways is currently operating our river cruise ships with vaccination rates approaching 100%. To align with the current international travel environment and country entry requirements, we have recently updated our guidelines. We have in place an exemption process that may result in a small number of guests onboard who are not fully vaccinated due to religious, medical and other guest considerations. These guests will be required to complete, and have available to show at time of embarkation, a negative PCR or Antigen test taken no more than 48 hours prior to embarkation or a Covid-19 recovery letter no older than 60 days prior to embarkation. We kindly advise guests and their travel advisors to remain up to date with travel entry requirements of each country being visited as it is each guest’s personal responsibility to ensure they meet the travel entry requirements of each country."
  16. Christmas 2021 we were one of the very few Americans visiting Christmas markets in Germany--primarily Berlin, Lubeck and Hamburg. My recollection is that credit cards were widely accepted at the markets. It was awesome as people were so happy to see (a few) tourists back. Also, I think every market we went to had an ATM, so I would not worry much about bringing enough cash. They'll be happy to see you!
  17. One more point for AMA (if I sound like a zealot, maybe I am) but AMA does the little things...one example, most of the premium lines include airport transfers. But for most that means, drop the traveler off at the airport and they are on their own. With AMA the driver helps you through the airport, helps with luggage, gets boarding pass, etc.
  18. And one more positive for AMA--they have announced to TAs free economy air on most 2022 sailings from US and Canadian gateways. I don 't think it's on the public site--so call a TA 🙂
  19. BTW, I just remembered this very helpful comparison chart: https://www.rivercruiseadvisor.com/comparisons/
  20. AMA! Definitely over Viking--and most of the others for that matter. They include so much! They have some terrific wine cruises. They keep winning awards from travel agents for their exemplary customer service. Currently offering free economy air for 2022 cruises. My main beef with Viking (Ocean and River) is their payment policies are much more restrictive than industry standards. (as @TakingFlight noted).
  21. Definitely agree re using ATMs...just a few other points. We go to Europe often enough that we keep any extra Euros in an envelope at home for the starter money for the next trip. Re ATMs, we have a Chase account that pays our ATM fees so not an issue for us, but if that is not the case for you, think carefully about taking out enough cash so you are not hitting the machines more often than necessary. 🙂 As others have noted, credit card acceptance is more prevalent with every trip!
  22. Find a new TA! In case you have not seen the consumer flyer. 18065215_RoyalUp_Consumer_Flyer.pdf
  23. 1. Military: To thank the brave men and women of the American and Canadian militaries for their service, Princess Cruises® offers up to $250 free onboard spending money* for veterans as well as active, retired or disabled military personnel. This special military benefit is eligible on any cruise, any time of the year and can be used to purchase a wide variety of amenities and experiences including Lotus Spa® treatments; dining in our specialty restaurants; gifts, jewelry and clothing in our onboard boutiques; and Princess Cruises shore excursions. NOTE: Not sure if it is still active, but there was a similar program for Australia and New Zealand. Also, the British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force, and Reserves. 2. Shareholder: https://www.carnivalcorp.com/static-files/50351a91-4dc0-4f6b-bfec-684647e6129f 3. Also, don't forget the referral OBC: https://book.princess.com/captaincircle/referralRewards.page
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