2004 SUMMITEERS - The Sequel

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USA
1,417 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Originally posted by shortstuft
Pull out the shoulder pads also...

Berlin would be a real interest to me. I would love to check out the wall and hear the stories.

Isn't it funny that there is always someone on a tour that only thinks about themselves. Sorry the weather was so bad. But your hotel sounded nice.
Shoulder pads are back in style, only now they are called big shoulders. Geez, is there anything original any more?
Ofcouse my granddaughters will think they a new style.
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Cruise Girl Forever
NW Ohio
8,391 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Grace,

Your know they say, if you wait long enough, old styles will come back around again. And we have already had the tie-dye and bo-ho looks come back. Why not big Shoulders?

Yes, Berlin was nice. Good restaurants and not too pricey. Good shopping, although I didn't check out the department stores wares. The morning I was alone, I strolled down the street the designer stores were on; Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier. All of them.

Becki
NW Ohio
8,391 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
So this morning is the optional tour Garrett, Janet & Neil are taking to the concentration camp. Garrett is worried about me being alone, but I think he is a bit more comfortable, as he has seen that the city is pretty safe. No beggars, no apparent gangs, and I have my travel-safe purse with me. It is the one with the locking zipper, that not only will frustrate anyone who thinks they can get into it while I'm taking photos and make off with my wallet, but it can frustrate me trying to get it open to pay for something. It also has a cable inside the strap, and I wear it crossbody, and it has mesh in the body for those who like to cut open the bottom and let the contents fall out.

So, we have an early breakfast and the three of them go off. I then have a leisurely shower and take my time doing my hair and then decide what I am going to do. In the meantime, the housekeeper wants to come in. She starts to back out when she sees me, but I wave her in. She only wants to go into the bathroom while I am there and she leaves quickly. I go in to see what she was doing and it is not apparent. Maybe counting the towels she needs to replace?

So, now I decide to go to the chocolate store early and get my gifts while it is hopefully not crazy like before. It is just a half block from the hotel and it is quiet. Perfect. I get a basket and start by looking for something for my sister. She likes the dark chocolate. I see some truffles, but they are a combo package of white and dark. I think that white "chocolate" is an abomination! Did you know that there is no chocolate in white "chocolate" ?! So, I keep looking.

I finally find a box of truffles that are all dark coated with different flavored fillings like raspberry or nougat. She will like that. Next I want to buy something for my great-niece, Anna. The symbol of Berlin is a bear, and they have all sorts of bears. In fact, in the window of the shop is a huge chocolate bear. It is almost life-sized. I get Anna a box of foil-wrapped bears. I think she will prefer those to one big chocolate bear. Plus, her mommy can monitor her consumption of the individual bears better, I think. Then, I decide to get my niece something. She likes the milk chocolate, but it is hard to find in the boxes or tins. They want to sell you a combo of dark and milk. I finally find a milk only tin which is a bit more than I wanted to spend, but she will probably share it with her live-in boyfriend, so that's ok. He goes to visit my sister, and sometimes takes her lunch, so he is worth the extra expense. I also see something unique that I decide to get my friend who came over from Germany when she was 5. She is the one with whom I took cooking classes. This is two good-sized balls of dark chocolate with pink peppercorns and chiles mixed in and it is wrapped with a small hand-held grater. She will love this for added some zip to chili or stews. Her hubby has dementia and she has a pretty tough life right now and knowing I can brighten her day this easily brings me such joy. I can't wait to give it to her! Shoot, I brought her back some nice soap from France and you'd have thought I brought her a piece of the Eiffel Tower.

So, all my purchases made, I decide to walk around the area a bit to explore, but also to find a mini-mart to buy some Coke Zero or Diet Pepsi to put in our mini fridge in the room. No mini-marts in this area, but I did find the designer row of shops. Didn't go in; that is too dangerous to my wallet! But, it was nice exploring. Saw some interesting buildings and one of the horse and carriages we had been seeing clopping down the streets. This one was sitting still for a change, so I got a nice photo.

So, back to the room to wait for the other three to return. I get a text from Garrett that they are running behind, so they arrive around 1pm, and everyone, including me are starving for lunch. We go to this pizza/pasta restaurant near the hotel and Garrett declines sharing a pizza like we did in Prague. Apparently he didn't get enough to eat that time. The pizzas are very good and we are energized, but Janet and Neil want to go back to the chocolate store. There is a second story there where they have a little café serving desserts and coffee & hot chocolate. The desserts are awesome. I could do dessert there every day. Janet stops down at the store again and buys some additional chocolate for family and friends.

We go back to the hotel as the three of them need a rest after the morning tour. We venture out for dinner, but since we had a late lunch everyone wants just a burger or sandwich and that's what we have.

Tomorrow is our last day.
Becki
NW Ohio
8,391 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Today is all about getting our final souvenirs and seeing the last of Berlin. I have told Janet about the Mall of Berlin and how they have 2 'Berlin' stores across from each other, so she wants to go there. But, we can't walk there, as she would never make it. So, we take a taxi. The taxi driver is not happy he is only going as far as Mall of Berlin and when try to tell him to stop, he keeps going around the corner and so I tell Garrett to make him stop at the next entrance to the mall. This makes me mad, Garrett tries to give him 10 euro, but he doesn't want to make change. Ok buddy, no tip for you. He is not German, appears to be Arab. So, I give Garrett 7 euro plus 10 cent, which is exactly what we owe. Because now Janet has a bit of a walk to get to where we need to be in the mall. Had he stopped where I first said, he would have gotten a 2 euro tip, dummy! Grrrr!

So we find the stores Janet wants and she buys a bunch of 'Berlin' stuff for her granddaughter named Berlin, but she also buys a bunch stuff for the other 12 grandchildren and t-shirts for her adult children. I buy a t-shirt for Amelia and one for Dylan, but they are on sale. Dylan will like his, as it says, "You are leaving the American Sector". He is an MP in the National Guard. Amelia's is pink and says Berlin with the city's landmarks shadowed in the background. So, now we want lunch and there are a ton of places to eat here, just like an American mall. There is a pizza place and it is busy, so we take that as a sign it must be good, so we settle in. You order at the counter and they give you a pager to retrieve it when it's done. It was good pizza.

From the mall, we go in search of pieces of the wall my Lonely Planet guidebook says are near and also a guard tower that should still be standing. We find both. The pieces of the wall are in the square and are accompanied by placards explaining the history of the wall, so that is great. The guard tower is kind of an attraction, and costs $3.50 euros to climb up in, but the guys do that and I take their photo. So, our mission today has been accomplished. We walk back to find Janet and there is a stand of taxis just waiting for us. This next taxi driver is a woman and she is very nice, so she gets a nice tip for the trip back to the hotel.

So, for the next couple of hours, Janet and I have to pack up for the trip home. I am not too worried as I have the one carryon for my souvenirs, and the checked luggage were both a couple of pounds light when we came. But, even so, Garrett and I have to do a bit of shifting back and forth before I am satisfied.

That evening we go to a Bavarian restaurant just a couple of blocks from the hotel. When we first walk in, it doesn't look like there is a table available and the waitress tells us 45 min. to an hour and she declines to put our name on the list. It is already 7pm, so I tell Janet and Neil maybe we should go elsewhere. Neil wants to stay. So, we wait and suddenly, there is a table open and we get it. I don't know if he gave the waitress money or what, but I didn't care. I wasn't going to wait until 9pm to eat. The food was good and plentiful and everyone was happy.

The next morning we had to have our luggage out by 6am and be down in the lobby for the bus to the airport by 6:30. They had a breakfast bag for us, which was very nice, since the fabulous breakfast buffet didn't open until 7am.

The setup at Berlin airport was different from anything we had encountered in the past. It was very confusing and there was supposed to be a Viking rep at the airport to assist us, but as far as I know, no one ever saw one. So, before we knew it, we had gone to check-in to check our bags, and were thru security before we remembered we needed to do our VAT tax refund for my earrings. So, Garrett decided he would go back out to the main hall and do it before our flight. We had about an hour. We were texting back & forth, but it was taking him so long, it was down to about 20 min. by the time he came back and didn't have it done. The people at the refund desk said he didn't have the "right" receipt. So, we decided we would try again in Amsterdam while we were on our layover and, thank you, Lord, we got our money back. Geez!

So, our flight from Amsterdam to Detroit was on time, we got comfy in our Economy Plus seats and Delta fed us 3 times. Our neighbor was ready to pick us up when we got thru customs. It was a great trip regardless of the rain and chilly weather. I enjoyed all our stops and the hotels Viking used were great. The people we met on the cruise were interesting for the most part. You all know how that goes. I could have wrung the neck of that Chinese dingbat who left our busload waiting for half an hour when she decided to disappear with strangers, but other than that, the majority of people were fun to cruise with. Our cruise director (Viking calls them Program Managers) was fun and interesting. The food was outstanding. Hope I can lose the pounds I gained before our next cruise in April '18. Shouldn't be a problem, except for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, and Easter, right?

Becki
USA
1,417 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Becki, sounds like a great time.

I agree it is useless to try to lose weight over the holidays.

Isn't it funny when your hearing or reading a review and it brings back a forgotten memory. When I stayed in St. Pete's beach years ago. The concierge recommended a German restaurant in Clearwater. Don't remember the name of the place it was very small just a few tables. German music playing of course and very interesting decor. They lost power so candles only. Soon after the food was delivered the lights came on. Always wondered what they cooked it on. . Thanks for the memory.
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Cruise Girl Forever
NW Ohio
8,391 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Grace,

You are so right! I can't even count the number of times that has happened to me. Something someone writes jogs a memory that was long forgotten. Yeah, you wonder what they did cook it on. Hmmmm...

We had been having a nice streak of good weather since we have been home, but today is gloomy and rainy. Ugh!

Becki
Florida
3,504 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
We are back and had a great time...

Becki..wonderful review. Your trip sounded like a good and educational time.

We heard some people in the Diamond lounge that were talking about going on their first river cruise and wanted to try Viking.

Came back to weather in the 60's and it got down to the 50's last night. What a welcome home that was.
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Jill
Florida
3,504 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Finally it's cruise day and since our hotel was cancelled, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of time to make it to the port.

Royal had sent us a notice that we wouldn't board until after noon and to not get there before then. Well, we didn't pay too much attention to that and left the house early.
Since it's Sunday, we didn't run into much traffic at all. We got close to Disney and saw a warning that there was a car on fire up ahead.

It did slow down traffic for a little bit and when we passed the car, there wasn't much left of it at all. It was mainly just a shell. Going down the road a little bit further and this big semi ahead of us starts going off the road. We had visions of it overturning right in front of us, but he was able to correct himself.

We stop at a McDonald's for breakfast and this guy is power washing the widows. Gary asks him to do his car, the guy laughed and said he gets asked that all the time.

Soon we are at the pier and it's around 9:30 AM. We wait in the Diamond Plus/Suites line which is only a few people deep. Not much of a wait until we get to go into the check in line. We get our credit card added to the account and go into the special lounge to wait.

We start talking to this really nice guy, and soon it's time to board. They finished the Coast Guard inspection in record time and we got to board at 11:00.

Go to get our photos taken, but they weren't ready yet, so we just left. Didn't want to wait another 10 minutes of so and we will get photos another time.

Go to Park Cafe to have one of their roast beef sandwiches and chips. I grab Gary a sandwich and chips and we try to eat the sandwiches. They were really super tough and chewy. In fact, I watched this poor old guy trying to eat this sandwiches for a good half hour. We finally gave up and I got us some fruit and tried to get Gary another bag of chips, but the kind he liked were all gone. Coming back with the fruit, I hit my water and send water flying into the bushes. Gary says that I can't take you anywhere, but as the couple behind us were leaving, the guy says to me, that I can go anywhere. It was pretty funny.

We still had a little time before our room open up, so we go to the Diamond lounge to wait. The Diamond lounge is just a short walk to our room, so that is really nice as the week went by.
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Jill
Florida
3,504 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Finally time to get into our room. We love the Central Park balcony rooms. This time we have the room on deck 11 all the way to the end. So no neighbors on the right side of us and only a short walk to the diamond lounge and the library that houses the loyalty ambassador which will come in handy later.

Our bottle of champagne from our travel agent is waiting for us along with a $50 shipboard credit. We write a note to our room steward to leave robes, ice and extra soap. We get a call from Chops Grill asking when we want to book our free dinner given to us by our travel agent. We still hadn't decided on that yet, so we will call her back. We unpack and head out to explore.

Meanwhile, we walk around Royal Promenade and check out where our muster drill will be. Turns out that it's in the Guest services area...interesting.

We walk around some more and go to the muster drill. No seats here, so people are sitting on the floor. One woman got overheated and she was laid out on the floor with her husband fanning her. They now have a small movie to tell people about what not to do, like taking elevators in an emergency. It's pretty entertaining except the voices didn't match and it was like watching a Japanese movie. While we were standing there, we heard this diamond member telling the guy he was with that he was going to beat everyone up to the Diamond Lounge. Wrong.........we actually beat him up there and got a good seat next to the windows. We would keep these same seats up until the last 2 days of the cruise.

The place starts filling up fast. We meet Beatrice our diamond concierge. Did you have her Beau? We remembered her from our last cruise in April. I told her that we hadn't had any paperwork on our free lunch, bottle of wine and gambling lessons. She said we should have them later.

By this time the lounge is packed. So when our bartender finally makes it to us, Gary says for him to bring us 4 gin and tonics so he won't have to come back for awhile. He rolls his eyes, but brings them to us.

Now neither one of us have had anything to drink since June, so to say these drinks were strong, is an understatement. We hadn't even finished the second drink when our bartender was bringing a third. We didn't want to be rude, so we drank that one, but had to get out while we could still walk.

We managed to make it down to the Windjammer and they had prime rib, so I got some of that with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I remember this nice waitress bringing us water and ice tea. Imagine my surprise the next day when she called us by name. We didn't remember telling her our names. Hopefully that was all the information we told her.

I also remember trying to cut this huge piece of broccoli and it sailed off my plate and I spent the next 5 minutes trying to find it. Finally saw it behind my chair, under another chair. That thing really got some mileage.

We decided that we really couldn't run around any more tonight, so we headed down to our room.
I woke up in the middle of the night and remembered that we hadn't received our cookies, soda, Gary's beer, water and still no wine or lunch perk information. Will have to check on that in the morning.
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Jill
NW Ohio
8,391 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Jill,

So, good you went early after all. Good Thinking!
That stinks about the Park Cafe's roast beef sandwiches. Those we had on the Vision were so yummy!

Did your friend and her hubby decide not to go with you on this cruise after all?

OMG, if I had been there when that broccoli went sailing, the whole dining room would have known about it, I would have laughed so hard. I can just picture it.

Great review so far. Glad you are back. Grace and I were trying to keep this poor board going. Beau has deserted us.

Becki
NW Ohio
8,391 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
We are in Pittsburgh. We came over on Sunday and we are going home today. We hadn't seen my SIL and her husband since Easter and all attempts to get together were a no-go either because of our travels or one of them were having or recovering from this or that joint surgery.

We had a good time. Sunday we met a couple of their friends. He is a retired pilot for Southwest and she was (surprise!) a flight attendant. Really nice couple. We were talking about our travels and we got to talking about Cozumel. They are divers, so like to go there to dive. We told them to go do the tequila tour and told them about it. It was funny, they said it sounds fun.

Yesterday we went over to a Christmas store and looked at the decorations. They had a big room with treessential all decorated and moving animals, like deer and bunnies. You could purchase the trees as is, already decorated.

Then, they had aisles of miscellaneous decorations. I got Amelia a little penguin ornament with her name. You don't often see 'Amelia'. From there we went to a chocolate shop. I resisted buying but it was sooo hard. But I did buy at our last stop, "America's Largest Shoe Store". I bought a pair of slippers because, not only did they have my size, but they would accommodate my orthotics. And, they were on Sale! Score!

Becki
Bradenton, Fl
3,156 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
" Did your friend and her hubby decide not to go with you on this cruise after all? "


Becki that's our cruise in February 2018
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NW Ohio
8,391 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Aha! Thank you, Birthday Boy! Got it. Wow, lots of trip reports to look forward to. You guys have one in Feb and then we have one in April.

Becki
Florida
3,504 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Grace...glad you are enjoying our adventure.

Becki....Did hear from Beau on Facebook. Hope he comes back to us soon.

Funny how the Tequila tour is so much fun. Our friends are going with us when we stop in Cozumel. They are worried about looking tipsy, but they have not seen us in action. Nothing to worry about.
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Jill
Florida
3,504 Posts
Joined Sep 2002
Today we are in Nassau. Another nice sunny day and we get into Nassau around 9:00.

I go to the gym this morning. They are open a little before 6:00 AM and not many people are in there. I do 30 minutes on the reclining bike and another 20 minutes on the weights. Still only about 15 people in there when I go to the Royal Promenade to meet Gary.

I grab a glass of water and we people watch until it's time for breakfast. Breakfast in the Windjammer is their best meal of the day. They make fresh over easy eggs, but if you want omelets that aren't already made, you have to go to the Wipe Out Cafe. We went up there a few times, but not for breakfast, because they didn't open until 8:30 AM.

We arrived in Nassau on time and they were letting people off the ship around 9:30. Gary took one look at how far the dock was (even longer than Costa Maya) with no tram and we decided that we wouldn't get off.

A lot of people thought the same thing. I think only around half the passengers got off the ship, if that many.

So we decided to play mini golf. We played every day. There was this little boy, probably around 8 or 9 that we think was authitistic. He was carrying a little stuffed bunny and was having the best time. His parents were so great with him and his brother. We saw him often in the mornings.

After getting beat by Gary in golf, we wandered around the ship. We were going to have hot dogs at the dog house, but they didn't open until 2:30, so we had lunch in the Windjammer.

Got back to our room and we had finally gotten our cookies etc. But it was funny because we got double of everything. Two beers, cokes, sprites, 4 bottles of water, and 8 cookies, but still no wine or info on the Central Park perks. So we go back to the loyalty ambassador and he puts in another call. Poor guy!!

We go back to our room and we still haven't seen our room steward. Because the name is Argin, he thinks it's a guy, but I think it might be a girl. Whoever it is, they are fast because our room is always done no matter what time it is.

I grab one of the beers and go out on the balcony to read. We are just two decks below the pool and we can hear music during the day and at night they have string concerts in the park.

We do the short walk to the diamond club. We get there about 3:30 and just watch Broadwalk below and the zipliners. Now the zipliners are a lot of fun to watch. Lots of them missed their marks and go slamming into the box set up to stop them or the guy helping them or they go backwards. It makes for great entertainment.

Soon it's time for drinks. Again we are on the wrong side and the guy starts on the other end. But he is getting faster. Drinks are still on the strong side. We meet up with Beatrice and get our lunch at Giovanni's reserved. Now they only serve lunch on sea days, so we go for Friday.

We go back to the Windjammer and our waitress greets up by name and she is so cute. I have fish, and vegetables even though neither one of us is all that hungry. After dinner, we go to Broadway and the guy manning the Merry-go-round convinced us to ride. He said that we must ride every day. At least they had a bench so we didn't have to try to get on one of the horses. That would not have been pretty.

We go over to the Champagne Bar and get our pictures taken about 6 times. So hopefully there will be a couple of good ones from there.

We have no shows planned, so we head back up to the room. They deliver our chocolate covered strawberries and they were gone in less than a minute.
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Jill
Willow Glen Ca.
4,072 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
..Good Evening, Summiteers...Sorry, I haven't been posting....All the nasty things that went on last month...I was just too depressed to post...plus getting ready for our Thanksgiving cruise...We really need a cruise...Becki, loved your trip report, while I dread that long, long flight to Europe. It really is worth it to go...I have been twice and can't wait to go again...After this one...it will probably be next fall before we are able to afford to go again...Jill, loving your review....I'm glad it wasn't only me, who


felt the roast beef sandwiches had gone down hill...There were soo good on the Legend...Also, yes Beatrice was the lady we talked to on our cruise. Did you wear your Diamond plus pins...I was just wondering if they opened doors for you, guys as they did for us...The cruise we are going on is the Monday after Thanksgiving on the Reflection, which is the newest of the "S" class...I wish I could book a cruise on the earlier ships as they had the glass blowers on the lawn deck...Oh, well...I need to put my trip report to bed...I think it's time...LOL>>>>>>Just the Highlights...it's been to long...If you remember we are staying at the Hilton in St. Augustine and going to see my baby brother and the nephew I have never met, and his new bride...It


took about an hour to drive with the traffic...but, we finally found his house. It's in a gated community hard to find...It was joyful to see my baby brother again. It's too bad he doesn't feel the same way...All our lives, we have been oil and water to each other...It's funny...he really hated our father.I only reason he states is...He over heard our father saying that he was a mistake and not planned.. The weird thing is he has turned into our father....it's eerie talking to him, just like Dad....I meet my Nephew Ryan and his new bride Taylor, who is just a lovely woman...inside and out.....We talk for about two hours then it's time for dinner...They take us to a very nice seafood place near the water in Jacksonville. I wish I could remember the name of it...However, the food was great and so were the drinks...I tried to tell his family


not to believe all the things that I'm sure he has told them about me...So, I told them some cute stories, which of course my brother got embarrassed and got pissed off about...After I paid the check, we took them home and said goodbye...I was hoping this trip would un-freeze our relationship that has go on for more than two decades. It is my sad duty to tell that no...nothing has changed since our trip we have heard nothing from them except Facebook...They forgot Kathie Lee's and my birthday...Even though we remember theirs...Oh, well....I tried...After a good nights sleep, we check out and head for Georgia and my Sister...More to come.
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Carnival Paradise 3-99...Celebrity Summit 4-04..[/color][/b] Celebrity Mercury 4.05... [/color]NCL Pride of America 5-06 Hawaii...RCCL Monarch of the Seas 10-07... [/size]..Royal Liberty of the Seas 4/08......Star Princess 9-09 Alaska./B][/color].. Celebrity Constellation..3-11..Southern Caribbean..Celebrity Millennium..5-12 Pacific Coast Wine Cruise...Celebrity Silhouette Eastern Carib. 1-13.....Celebrity Silhouette...10-13..Med. Cruise..[color=indigo]Legend of the Seas..Southern Carib.2-15....Taking a TA on the " Big Silly"..4-16..Oasis of the Seas...4-17.Celebrity Reflection..11-17 Going South Again!!