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Just Back from the Rhine on Uniworld SS Antoinette!

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I don't think we could have had better weather. Sunny, 65-75 every day. The afternoon of castles was simply perfect. The Antoinette is easily our favorite ship, thus far. Chad, our cruise director was phenomenal. The age mix was the most varied we have had, ranging from 12 yr (and a 16 yr old) to the 80's? We had a group of 12 friends traveling together, a set of parents and their 3 kids/spouses (all adults), and another family of parents, 4 sons, 1 fiance, 1 girlfriend, and an aunt/uncle.

 

Everyone seemed to really enjoy the trip. We managed to run out of 2 types of beer, which were restocked on day 5. (And, the crew pitched in for some April Fool's events)

 

Pictures will be upcoming.

 

We definitely prefer the Danube to the Rhine, and are trying to decide which river to sail next:-) (But, for now, our plan is to do a Viking Ocean cruise around Italy, next year)

 

Robin

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Welcome back and post pictures! Glad you loved SS Antoinette...so did we! Your weather sounds like it was divine. I don't think I could pick one river over the other, though.

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Happy to read that you enjoyed your cruise and that the weather was so lovely! We really enjoyed the Rhine, especially Strasbourg and Colmar. We did the itinerary twice. The first was between Christmas and New Years and we were both so ill we missed several days of the cruise. The next was for the Christmas markets and it was particularly festive and beautiful!

 

The Rhone remains our favorite itinerary so far. We head to France for 2 weeks on Sunday. The first week is DIY in Lyon and then Paris, with a day trip to Epernay; the 2nd week we are on the Joie de Vivre to Normandy. My friend is just back from Paris and had sunny weather and warm temps. I am really hoping they last for us!

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2e71c639e7d4ebf101c08a01f27ef80d.jpg

 

Here is one, for starters. The chapel on Klimsenhorn, seen on our descent from Mt. Pilatus.

 

Robin

 

 

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Nice view. Is that from the cable car? It looks familiar - I think I have a picture of that chapel in September, without any snow.

 

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I loved that view too; it was so much fun taking the cogwheel train...glad you had such a wonderful tip and perfect weather! I also want to try Viking Ocean, but for this month it is a TA across the Atlantic...I have been all around Italy and still can't get enough!

 

 

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Nice view. Is that from the cable car? It looks familiar - I think I have a picture of that chapel in September, without any snow.

 

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Yes, from the cable car. Still plenty of snow at the top. Made for a lot of fun, since it was relatively warm. The views were amazing.

 

Still trying to get caught up at work, but promise pictures will be forthcoming soon!

 

Robin

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So happy to hear you had a great cruise and loved the Antoinette :) We leave on her on May 14th and cannot wait!! Just out of curiosity, did you have to go out of Breisach instead of Basel?

 

Heather

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So happy to hear you had a great cruise and loved the Antoinette :) We leave on her on May 14th and cannot wait!! Just out of curiosity, did you have to go out of Breisach instead of Basel?

 

Heather

 

 

Heather,

 

We were supposed to go out of Breisach. However, about 10 days before departure, we were notified that we would be leaving from Kemps instead. Uniworld provided shuttle service from the Basel Airport, so it didn't matter either way. Breisach is actually a cute little town.

 

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Our trip started the Thursday prior to embarkation. We made plans to stay in Lucerne, on our own, for 2 nights, prior to the start of the cruise. I had enough miles to get us both there and back. Our initial route went from CVG to JFK, then on to ZRH. Somewhere along the way, Delta moved our initial flight later, and the flight to ZRH earlier, so what seemed like an adequate connecting time was suddenly inadequate. We were down to 45 minutes....a "legal" but virtually impossible connection time. I monitored the flight from CVG closely, and, 3 days prior to departure, insisted Delta give me different routing to JFK (the flight was consistently late, sometimes hours late). It took a tweet, a call, then another call, and asking for a supervisor, to finally get it done. So, we left CVG at 9:30, instead of 3pm. We flew to ATL, then on to JFK. Had we not done the switch, yep, you guessed it, we would have missed the flight, as the flight from CVG was late, once again, and arrived 2 minutes prior to the departure to ZRH.

 

Our flight to ZRH had a little turbulence, but was otherwise uneventful. There were quite a few empty seats, which was surprising. We arrived on time, at 7am. Baggage retrieval and customs was a breeze, and we found the ticket counter to buy our train tickets to Lucerne, then from Lucerne to the Basel Airport.

 

Unfortunately, there was track repair in the area of Lucerne, so the train didn't travel all the way there. We went as far as we could, and were then bussed the rest of the way into the Lucerne train station. The cattle car mentality and operation made Disney on Christmas break look mild. I have never seen so many people packed into a bus, with luggage. It was insane.

 

We arrived in Lucerne at about 9:15am, and made our way to our hotel, the Hotel des Balances, right on the river. We had booked a double room, river view. I monitored the prices every few days, and about a week prior to our departure, the price dropped a total of $90. So, I canceled and rebooked. When we arrived, our room was ready. We got settled, showered, and went exploring. As it was overcast, we didn't head to the mountains. Also, by booking directly with the hotel, we received 2 free drinks at the hotel's bar, a 2 day winter pass, and a 2 day transportation pass.

 

Robin

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Here are some random pictures from the hotel. As you can see, we had a million dollar view, yet paid a very reasonable rate. In addition to the bedtime chocolates and turndown, we received additional chocolates. The crooked stairs were "character," which we loved. I wouldn't hesitate to stay there again

 

 

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Great location, Robin! Nice pictures of Lucerne.

 

Crazy about your flight schedule. But glad that it worked out OK with the itinerary change.

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Robin, Your pics look great! I'm sooooo looking forward to this trip; we leave a month from tomorrow! Looks like I'm following in your footsteps; almost literally. Delta has changed our itinerary twice already, had to get a supervisor because we changed from JFK to ATL (and hubby is platinum, glad to see it still gets us nowhere) for overseas routing in both directions of AMS and ZRH. Saw from another post that you loved your cabin and location; we're in 331 and I was really hesitant about it being all the way in the back. Keep your pics and story going please :)

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Wow, what fantastic pictures! I love trip reviews that have photos. What a great deal on your hotel. Nice tip about watching the rates to see if they drop and then rebook.

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Food Day 1- Lucerne. We wee quite tired, even after showering. We knew we needed something to eat, so we ended up at Mr. Pickwick's. Hardly Swiss fare, but the fish and chips were pretty decent.

 

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After walking around a bit, we realized we were still tired. It was overcast and gloomy, so we took a nap.

 

After waking up, and feeling much better, we headed downstairs to the hotel's restaurant. I can easily say it lived up to its high ratings! We were able to substitute our complimentary drink with prosecco and beer. The setting was lovely.

 

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Before our entrees arrived, we were presented with a "welcome gift" from the kitchen. I can't recall what it was, but it was good.

 

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For our entrees, I had the filet of beef, and my husband had the veal burger. Both fantastic!

 

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At this point, we were quite full. But, instead of asking if we'd like to see the dessert menu, we were presented with this (I had made the reservation through TripAdvisor, an mentioned it was our anniversary-it was a sparkler! I have a great video, but by the time I snapped a still shot, it had gone out)

 

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It was the perfect end to our first day of vacation

 

Robin

 

 

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We stayed at this hotel a couple of years ago and were very pleasantly surprised and thought it was a very good value and excellent location. Your pix bring back fond memories!

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We woke up on Saturday morning, and it was.....Market Day! Unfortunately, not as good as Salzburg's market day, but we did enjoy walking around, and watching the locals shop.

 

 

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The views were much better, as the sun was out. It was hard to leave our balcony.

 

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Many don't venture far enough down river to see the second covered bridge. We found this one to be much less traveled, and more "authentic"

 

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The same bridge, with a view of the city wall and towers in the background

 

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Pilatus, visible above the buildings

 

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Those are great views from your hotel room! We were at the Radisson Blu which was a nice hotel but our view was not very scenic at all.

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Those are great views from your hotel room! We were at the Radisson Blu which was a nice hotel but our view was not very scenic at all.

 

The views of the smaller bridge were from the banks, but the rest were from the room. It was well worth the extra 30 Swiss francs to have a river view!

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Beautiful Lucerne pics.

 

The Kapellbrücke gets all the hype, but yes, I agree. The Spreuerbrücke is really cool. I love the pictures of the history of Lucerne on the gables as you walk through. If you look carefully, most have a representation of Death in the painting. Quite a Danse Macabre!

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Beautiful Lucerne pics.

 

 

 

The Kapellbrücke gets all the hype, but yes, I agree. The Spreuerbrücke is really cool. I love the pictures of the history of Lucerne on the gables as you walk through. If you look carefully, most have a representation of Death in the painting. Quite a Danse Macabre!

 

 

I read up on this prior to leaving. I happened to take several pictures, most for my 17yo son, who loves architecture, construction, and woodworking. There were very few people at night.2dc8e2951dd682942217cd7e08b5f4fd.jpg2c4980ab3c40b5dab6886e1b7138f4e1.jpg7d5e7dd564ef7df7ba045587c8ce5da1.jpgd6d5efbc80c7f9cf64a466874a446c1d.jpg65fffdb622e0a4e9610d8b93b7197295.jpgfb5a38c95592294b7f4c860559179794.jpg

 

 

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Funny story...we visited Lucerne in late October and my husband wanted to look at Patek Phillipe watches at the Patek Phillipe store in Lucerne. The parking lot full of Chinese tour busses should have been an indicator because when we went into the store they had no watches left! Completely sold out. We thought we were visiting Europe late enough in the season to avoid the crowds but underestimated the China factor. The streets were packed in all the bigger towns with Lucerne being the most inundated. We went to visit the famous Lion statue and couldn't even get close enough to take a picture.

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