Thank you to all of you who answered my questions throughout our planning stage and to all of you who contributed to these Cruise Critic Boards (and Tripadvisor) with your questions and responses which I was able to peruse and use (steal) your answers to plan our trip. CC truly is an awesome resource and I would not consider taking a cruise without consulting my fellow cruisers who truly are a wealth of information.
And now is my chance to pay it forward. What will follow on these pages are details of our 23 day adventure, 7 of which was aboard the Viking Ingvi cruising the Rhine River, Amsterdam to Basel, from July 25 - August 1, 2014. So grab a glass of wine (or maybe a bottle would be better as this will take quite some time to pull together) and settle in to travel along with us vicariously. There will be written details, there will be photos (lots of photos...not sure how many I took but lets just say hundreds, only a small percent of which will be posted here!!), there will be the Viking Dailies, there will be some menus (with some food photos), and there will be lots of other information that you may or may not find useful with your planning process. And we will do our best to answer all questions along the way.
In addition to the 7 day Rhine River cruise on the Viking Ingvi, we had travel plans both pre and post cruise which we had arranged ourselves. Our flight was booked flying Toronto – Brussels with our first 3 days based in Ypres, Belgium. This was our base to visit numerous WW1 sites, with an emphasis on those with Canadian significance. The next 3 days we were based in Amsterdam before boarding our river cruise.
Post cruise, we spent 3 nights in Switzerland (2 in Lucerne and 1 in Basel). We then took the train to Paris where we spent 5 nights prior to heading back to Brussels for our final evening prior to returning to Toronto.
There were six of us along on this adventure, myself (Jerry - 51) and my wife (Patti -50), my sister-in-law (mid 50’s who was celebrating obtaining her Master’s degree) and her recently retired husband (mid 60’s), and my in-laws who are late 70’s but still very active. So we had a wide age-range among our group which may give differing perspectives...or not.
What will follow throughout this review are our personal thoughts, observations, and experiences. Different people will see the same event differently but we are all fairly easy going, are active travelers, and try to get the best out of each experience. I apologize now for all spelling mistakes (and there will be some) and any errors I make in posts....my goal is to provide information and pay forward to try to assist others in the planning of their adventures. I am also going to try to provide links to websites we used during our 18 months of pre-cruise planning.
OK, confession time.....yes I am a planner, I am one who searches for all available info, researches, compiles lists, researches some more, and needs to know the details / options before I leave home. I do not need to have every minute of the day planned out, but I do need to know what I could do in each town / city so I can decide how to spend my time in each location and adjust based on weather, time available, delays, energy level, etc.
And I travel with lots of stuff. This includes a detailed spreadsheet of our full itinerary by port / city, an Ipad with numerous PDF’s/maps saved for each city, a Lenovo laptop, a GPS (for our rental vehicle in Belgium), an Iphone, a camera (nothing fancy but a nice point & shoot that will fit in my pocket and has served me well – for those interested it is a Sony Cybershot DSC-HX9V, 16.2 megapixel with a 16x optical zoom but no interchangeable lens, etc that a DSLR would have).... and numerous power cords / adapters to make this all work....ok, now that I have admitted that we can move on.....
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The Best things in Life aren't things!!