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ljandgb

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Everything posted by ljandgb

  1. Pre-Covid, BL had it's own transport booking as well. You had to go thru a dummy booking on the website to look at the options, then just not hit "purchase" at the end. It very well may still be that way, I just haven't checked in a while. There is luggage storage at the BL as visiting to/from the airport is a popular option.
  2. We used TJ for a private tour for our family and were also very happy with them.
  3. I'd do a 2 day overnight tour along the south coast to Jokulsarlon.
  4. Iceland and inexpensive should never be used in the same sentence. LOL Yes, camping, self catering, etc, can offset the cost, but it is an island with few natural resources beyond geothermal energy. Everything must be imported. It is also wildly beautiful, isolated, and minimally developed or populated beyond the few "cities" which makes it a great tourist destination - which also will increase prices.
  5. Wow, very in depth descriptions. Thanks so much. We just cruised with Avalon and this is a nice way to compare the two lines.
  6. In the age of forged CDC vaccine cards, and post-vax infections, I think testing is probably still warranted. I just read an interesting article about a study by Mayo Clinic in conjunction with Delta airlines and flights to Italy. They tracked and tested almost 10,000 passengers over a 6 month period. Everyone had a PCR test within 72 hours of the flight, had a rapid antigen test at the airport, and another with a day of arrival. Of those, 4 had a positive rapid test before boarding and 1 had a positive rapid test in Italy. That's a 99.95% chance that a negative PCR test means you're not infected and can fly. To the OP, I think it's reasonable to postpone. There is a lot of uncertainty, and the stress of traveling alone, with an underlying medical issue, can easily outweigh the fun of travel.
  7. This was obvious. We'd close our drapes completely before heading out for the day. It would still be warm enough to break a sweat just sitting in the room. I really think part of the issue was that the AC didn't work well anywhere when we were docked. There were a couple afternoons when the lounge and dining room were also overly warm. We really never had a problem while we were underway.
  8. There was AC, which worked great at night (I need my room cold to sleep!), but seemed to work less well when the ship sat still, which was compounded in the daytime. Design flaw? Something wrong with the system? Who knows. I liked Prague and Budapest. Both have their highlights. Truly, Budapest at night is not to be missed. It's gorgeous. Prague is like a slightly scrappy little brother - vibrant with hidden gems, but not nearly as flashy. If you have time in Prague, we did a beer tour with WithLocals. Milos was our tour guide and he was fabulous. We saw parts of Prague you wouldn't necessarily see as a tourist, had good beer, and generally enjoyed ourselves.
  9. This is very specific, but we just did a Danube cruise. We were in a royal suite on Avalon Artistry which was only available on the port side of the ship. We went down stream, Germany to Romania, so had afternoon sun. That was a real issue whenever the ship was docked for the afternoon. The room got sooo hot. Not at all anything I would have thought about pre-cruise, but given a choice, I'd go for an eastern sided room, since I think morning sun would not be so intense. Because the royal suite was only port side, the only way to avoid hot afternoon sun would be to go upstream.
  10. My vaccine card is in my wallet next to my insurance card. I don't think it hurts to take it with you. I got my vax thru a local hospital. No QR code for me. 😞
  11. Perhaps from a state that cares to keep track of that sort of thing? 🤨 I know NY has a similar system. That makes sense.
  12. Our local clinic used to do this for travel, but since the surge, will not any more. Too many people needing them for healthcare reasons. They'll still do them, but it takes 3-5 days to get the results. NOT helpful!
  13. I'm fairly certain you'll need your results to check into your first flight, unless you are flying on two tickets. Where we live, we alway need to take connecting flights and we are always asked for our passports, test results, and vaccination cards at our initiating airport. A QR code on your vax card? Is this separate from the CDC white card or a sticker or ?? Is this a Tennessee thing?
  14. You're not alone. The stress that covid testing, and arranging flights, has caused made me almost bail on our recent trip. I can't answer specifically for Amsterdam, but hopefully someone here can answer. Another really good source is the TripAdvisor forums. LOTS of people are traveling, and can tell you what does and does not work. I even had to have someone on the Czech Republic forum translate a passenger locator form because I just couldn't make the computer take the information as I had it. Some countries do want testing within 72 hours of arrival. That can be hard, but doable with effort. There are places that will get a PCR test back within 24 hours.
  15. We finished our Danube cruise last week. We had our BA flight from Bucharest to Heathrow canceled or rescheduled (to 2 weeks later!) so many times we finally switched to Lufthansa. Twice they were canceled without notice.
  16. We just got home from a 21 day Avalon cruise with extensions, Prague to Bucharest. They did testing at various times depending on how long you were staying post cruise and how much of that time was with Avalon (in a cruise extension.) For those flying out within 2-3 days of disembarkation, they tested on the ship the night before disembarkation. They have some crew members trained, the results are sent to a German lab who certifies them, and the results were emailed back in a couple hours. For those leaving after the extension, they had a service come to the hotel the last night, do the test and the results were printed out at the hotel front desk, available for pickup about 3 hours later. Both were rapid antigen tests, so you will know your result within 5 minutes, which was nice for peace of mind.
  17. Day one: Blue Lagoon, +/- Golden Circle depending on how you do with jet lag. Day two: South Coast to Vik and back. Find a local pool there or back in Reykjavik to see how the locals relax and compare to the BL. Day three: squeeze a half day Golden Circle tour if you haven't made it yet, whale watching, a hike to the hot springs, food tour of Reykjavik (you'll probably have to check out in the morning.) You can do this with a rental car, or there are plenty of companies that will take you. You'll have plenty of daylight, so can do long days if you're up to it. I love the Reykjavik Residence Hotel.
  18. We did this last week. The CD said that due to the low traffic on the river, we were able to. It really was beautiful. Very nice review of your trip. You hit the nail on the head about the differences between ocean and river cruising, but for us, they weigh out in favor of river cruising. Everyone is different, right? 🙂
  19. Absolutely! We'd love to. Time to start planning our next trip...
  20. Search the forum for how each line deals with low water situations. It seems like some are better than others as far as alternatives, compensation, etc. We met fellow passengers this week who had to transfer boats on the Danube past a low spot while on a prior cruise (it sounded like one going upstream and one going down just swapped passengers), but had met people from another line at that time who had been in that port for 3 days while the ship "hoped for rain."
  21. There are very good pinned posts at the top of the forum regarding comparing different agencies. Definitely give those a look if you haven't already. We just got back from a Prague to Bucharest 21 day trip with Avalon, who I'd definitely recommend. We were actually going to book with AMA, but our TA recommended Avalon as an alternative. She felt the rooms were a bit more spacious. Things to think about - How much time do you want to spend on the boat in the evenings? Port stops that leave late night or are overnight will give you the chance to go out into town for dinner (for a change from the ship) or drinks afterwards, or just to stretch your legs. Some lines save money by leaving before dinner but that means you've got nowhere to go but your room or the lounge at night. That can get old for some folks. Are there any ports/excursions that are must sees for you? Not every Danube cruise stops/offers the same ports or excursions. Upstream vs downstream can make a difference in sailing time, or even which side of the ship you might want to be on. We went downstream, and were on the port side of the ship. This meant that afternoon sun really heated up our room, especially if we were in port for the day. That wouldn't be anything I'd've thought of before, but you bet I'll consider it for another cruise. Frequently, cruise sponsored add-on days feature excursions and transfers to/from the ship, with a cruise director on site.
  22. And we're home, after 23 hours of travel yesterday. It was a great trip, and I think too long to try to do a detailed trip report. Someone asked what our favorite part was, and at this point, I'm not sure I can even list all the places we went. What really stands out, above everything, are the people. We met some really amazing people, on both legs of the trip. Folks I suspect we'll continue to keep in touch with long after our cruise is done. Other random bits of info: The Royal Suite was worth the price. The extra space, about 50% more than a standard room, made living in it for 2 weeks much easier. Half that extra space went to the bathroom - with a separate toilet room with it's only little sink, and a larger shower/sink area with two sinks, small shelves on each side for toiletries, and a larger shower with a small bench. The other extra space was mostly open area around the desk/sitting area, so that my husband and I weren't dancing around each other to maneuver around the room. There's also more storage area for clothes, etc. The food was good, but better the first half when we had a more experienced chef. My salmon on the flight home was better than any fish I had on the ship. The vegetarian options on the ship were sometimes very carb heavy, and the desserts, for this chocolate lover, were very lacking. The "healthy choice" dessert was frequently some sort of mushy fruit in a sweet syrup. The Deggendorf to Budapest leg is much different than the Budapest to Bucharest leg. The first/top has many more stops, more small and cute towns to wander around in that have been economically developed or cater to tourists (sometimes too much), and on our cruise, had 2 nights when performers came on board at night, and one afternoon wine tasting. The second/bottom half had 3 days of all afternoon into evening sailings, the towns were smaller and less developed, and there were no instances of performers/etc, coming on for a period of time. I'm sure this is all due to the fact that as you get down to the former Eastern Bloc countries there is simply less there in way of economic diversity and even entertainment options, especially this early into resumption of travel. I'm just pointing out the differences. Budapest at night really is amazing. Definitely don't miss sailing then. Romania was a revelation. I really, really liked it. We did a 2 day extension to Transylvania, which was interesting and worth it also, but I wish we'd had time to do a couple full days in Bucharest as well. Romania seems to be doing very well economically, and many people spoke English which just makes navigating it on your own easier. Ultimately, a majority of the passengers from the first half were covid tested to be able to fly home from Budapest. We were all tested to get into Serbia on the second half, and the majority of us were tested again to be able to fly home from Bucharest. To my knowledge, everyone was negative. I will admit there was no social distancing on the ship or tour buses - by day 2 we were finding table mates and hanging out in the lounge together. Of the passengers, there was alway some people who did not go on the tours but explored town on their own, so effectively expanding our "pod." The only real masking occurred when going up to the buffet. Everyone, including crew, was vaxxed. Not all the countries we traveled to had very good vax rates, and several countries did not require masking in any meaningful way. It was a great trip, and we'll have many, many good memories to keep from it. If anyone has any specific questions, I'm happy to answer.
  23. We had to do rapid antigen covid tests yesterday before we were allowed off the ship in Serbia. A team came onboard and set up in the lounge. We all lined up and they made it thru the passengers quickly. It took about an hour to get the results back, which I’m assuming were all negative as I haven’t heard otherwise. Serbia also requires you to carry your passport with you. The front desk hands it out and collects it back. Our vaccination cards and some sort of form are tucked inside. We were told not to disturb it.
  24. Issues like these while on the Danube are still better than no problems while being home. 😀 Our shower is leaking under the floor and the carpet in front of the bathroom is getting wet. They pulled up the tile and did something in Budapest which didn’t work. The new fix is that we shower in an empty room 3 doors down. I’m sure some of the other passengers are wondering why I’m all the sudden going up and down the corridor in my bathrobe.
  25. Also, we are in a royal suite for this trip, but spent 36 hours in a regular room due to some plumbing issues in our room. If anyone has any questions about either, I'm happy to answer.
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