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Crystal Low-Water-Level Schedule Changes/Cancellations

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Hi all,

 

We are scheduled to be on the Mozart September 10. Like everybody, we are watching the situation very closely. We have been reading the various low-water threads, which include some comments from passengers currently on the Mozart and other Crystal vessels - regarding cancelled ports.

 

Given the number of low-water discussions it is hard to figure which one may have info on the Mozart. We thought maybe starting a Crystal low-water board would help focus the discussion to Crystal passengers.

 

That said, our interest obviously is the Mozart. Any and all current insight into how the situation is being handled would be greatly appreciated.

 

Obviously, significant rain in the next few weeks could change this. Or so we hope!

 

We will pay it forward once we travel, assuming the trip is still on by the time we get there! A lot can happen over the course of several weeks.

 

Thanks,

Herb

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Crystal let us know per email that our cruise had to be amended to a shortened cruise, beginning August 16 and ending August 22th. It was supposed to be August 16th to August 30th. We were to be on the Ravel. Crystal’s email was sent on Friday afternoon at 5:30pm, too late to do anything about it until Monday morning, when the travel agency opened. We were to leave on Tuesday. I would advise you to continue to follow postings so that you aren’t caught off guard as we were. Hopefully, the rain will come soon.

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FunTurtle, did they give you options on canceling; refund part of your trip expense? Any more detail, by chance. As longtime Crystal customers I'm surprised how poorly their communication on this currently is. You would think they (and all of the river cruise providers) could consult with meteorologists who could help consult on what things may be weeks out.

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FunTurtle, did they give you options on canceling; refund part of your trip expense? Any more detail, by chance. As longtime Crystal customers I'm surprised how poorly their communication on this currently is. You would think they (and all of the river cruise providers) could consult with meteorologists who could help consult on what things may be weeks out.

 

I wish it were possible to predict weather weeks out, but it's not. When you're looking that far out, you can speak of trends, but specific predictions are impossible.

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FunTurtle, did they give you options on canceling; refund part of your trip expense? Any more detail, by chance. As longtime Crystal customers I'm surprised how poorly their communication on this currently is. You would think they (and all of the river cruise providers) could consult with meteorologists who could help consult on what things may be weeks out.

River levels can and do change within hours. Water levels have been known to go from too low to too high (can't get under bridges) in a few days.

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I am disappointed as to how Crystal has handled this. We, too, have sailed 20 cruises with them. We love both the Serenity and the Symphony. That being said is why we scheduled this riverboat trip.

Yes, we were given options. Email me so I can sent you a direct message.

Lesli

nana4620@yahoo.com

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River levels can and do change within hours. Water levels have been known to go from too low to too high (can't get under bridges) in a few days.

 

Or in a few hours!! On Bach last December the water level south of Basel went from fine to "we almost didn't get under the bridge" in a matter of four hours when a very heavy rain storm blew into the valley!!!!

 

We are on Mozart August 30 from Vienna to the Black Sea and back and have heard nothing yet from Crystal. It is still two weeks away, but the forecast for both Vienna and Budapest for the next 14 days has almost no rain, lots of sun and temperatures in the 27C to 30C range.

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Dear Cruise Critic Members,

Crystal’s River Operations team continues to monitor the unseasonably dry conditions in central Europe and we are implementing contingency plans across the fleet to deliver the best experience for our guests.

As we make these changes, we are communicating to guests and their travel agents as quickly as possible. I apologize if we have fallen short of your expectations.

For Crystal Ravel’s Majestic Europe voyage (noted in this thread) we offered the following options:

For guests who wished to sail the amended itinerary:

They received a refund of the difference in cruise fare between what they paid and the cost of the amended cruise;

For those with independent flight arrangements, they received up to $1,000 per guest reimbursement for the cost of amending their return flights from Basel/Zurichto Munich International or toward the purchase of a separate ticket from Munichto Basel/Zurich;

For those with flights arranged by Crystal, we worked on alternate flight options at no additional cost;

They received a Future Cruise Credit of $1,000 per guest, valid toward any Crystal Experience (Ocean, River or Yacht Expedition) embarking on or before December 31, 2020.

For guests who did not wish to travel on the amended itinerary they could either:

Switch their booking to any 2018 or 2019 Crystal River cruise (same suite category) and receive up to $1,000 per guest reimbursement toward the cost of amending their independent airline arrangements to match their new cruise itinerary and their original fare was protected; conversely, if the cruise fare was lower, we will refund the difference;

Cancel their reservation and receive a 100% refund of all items charged by Crystal.

While it is never our intention to change our itineraries, the safety of our guests and crew continues to be of the utmost importance. We thank all of you for your patience and understanding during these unfortunate weather conditions.

Sincerely,

 

Walter Littlejohn

Vice President & ManagingDirector

Crystal River Cruises

 

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Posted (edited)

Walter,

 

Thanks very much for that update and explanation. Fingers crossed for rain BEFORE we board the Mozart on September 10.

 

Herb

 

PS: I appreciated the helpful tone of Mark, in your river support group, when I called today. He was sympathetic and offered good insight.

Edited by bizinsider
additional comment

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You would think they (and all of the river cruise providers) could consult with meteorologists who could help consult on what things may be weeks out.

 

You should apply to go on America Got Talent as a comedian.

 

How are Californians doing in predicting earthquakes?

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You should apply to go on America Got Talent as a comedian.

 

 

 

How are Californians doing in predicting earthquakes?

 

 

 

Nice one!!! As a Californian I can say with certainty we will tell you after the next big one hits![emoji33]

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

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Posted (edited)
Dear Cruise Critic Members,

Crystal’s River Operations team continues to monitor the unseasonably dry conditions in central Europe and we are implementing contingency plans across the fleet to deliver the best experience for our guests.

As we make these changes, we are communicating to guests and their travel agents as quickly as possible. I apologize if we have fallen short of your expectations.

 

Good to see Walter is monitoring these forums. As people new to Crystal but experienced with other cruise lines, we were very disappointed with how poor the communications have been, disorganized things have been, and generally not well thought through. I'm referring to our experience with the Crystal Bach this week which got rerouted to the Moselle. It's left a bad first impression, such that we will not cruise with Crystal again.

 

Walter, make sure you read the comments and surveys from this cruise, because whether it was long-standing Crystal fans or newbies like us, most people on this ship were appalled at what happened.

Edited by johng75370

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Thank you for your updates! We are scheduled on the Mahler from Amsterdam to Budapest, but not departing until Oct 2; we fly to Amsterdam several days prior. We'll have to hope for rain.

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We are scheduled on the Crystal Debussy that was to leave Basel on 8/30 heading up the Rhine to Amsterdam .

Friday after 5pm, my travel agent was notified that "Due to unseasonably dry conditions in central Europe, the Rhine River, specifically in the area upstream of Koblenz, Germany, is experiencing extremely low water levels. Based on these circumstances and the lack of rain forecasted for the near future, we are obliged to confirm a revision to your itinerary as follows:"

New Itinerary:

DayLocationArriveDepartAug 30Lahnstein, GermanyMidnight

Aug 31Koblenz, GermanyArrive am10 pm

Sept 1Cochem, Germany1 pm5 pm

Sept 2Dusseldorf, Germany8 am7 pm

Sept 3Nijmegen, Netherlands8 am11 pm

Sept 4Rotterdam, Netherlands7 am10 pm

Sept 5Amsterdam, Netherlands9 amOvernight

Sept 6Amsterdam, NetherlandsDisembark am

*Please note that due to congestion along the river, the times and order of ports are subject to change

 

 

Crystal is paying for us to fly from either Zurich or Basel (up to $500 per ticket) to Frankfurt , which is the closest airport to Lahnstein. Then they will pick us up at the airport and take us to Lahnstein. Also giving us $500 each toward a future cruise. We do not have the option to cancel.

 

Even though we are very disappointed, we are planning to make the most of the cruise since we have not visited Germany or the Netherlands before. We will not know the exclusions they are offering until we are on board. I am glad that Crystal gave us advanced notice, since we are traveling to Switzerland prior to the cruise for 3 nights on our own.

 

My husband thought they should have offered us more than $500 toward a future cruise since we are missing over half of the Rhine River on our cruise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for your update! A disappointment, especially when plans are made far in advance, but as we know, we can't fool with Mother Nature. Your attitude is positive, Bigrhode, and I'm sure you'll enjoy yourselves. I do understand your husband's thinking: $500 compensation doesn't seem enough.:o

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Johng,please update this board on the Bach trip. Are you on the second leg of this journey? I am so sorry that this cruise did not meet your expectations and I am especially disappointed in Crystal communication. For a top of the line cruise company they have not met the bar on communication to passengers, TA or even their river butler staff.

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Posted (edited)

Bigrhode, I’m so sorry to hear of your cruise plans being changed. I hope Viking gives us as much advance notice if there is a change of itinerary & compensated as well as Crystal has done even though I feel they could do better especially if one does not want to take another river cruise. $500 is not enough all things considered. I hope you have a great time regardless. We are supposed to start our cruise in Trier with Viking on September 24.

Edited by Norvig
Misspelled

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Bigrhode, you did pretty well on future cruise credit compared to the Bach rescheduling, which was only $250 per person. Once onboard, we got a nice apology card and a gift certificate for an extra $500 onboard credit. But in one of the most classless moves ever, when we went to exchange the certificate they tore it up, said there was a mistake, and we should have only gotten $250 OBC. There were a lot of mistakes made by Crystal (like docking right next to a waste treatment plant in Trier), and almost all of them could have been prevented if Crystal really thought through what they were doing. IMHO they didn't try to go out of their way to make up for fully changing our whole itinerary a few days before departure. This lack of "heart" is why we won't cruise Crystal again after this very bad first experience with them.

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Posted (edited)
Bigrhode, you did pretty well on future cruise credit compared to the Bach rescheduling, which was only $250 per person. Once onboard, we got a nice apology card and a gift certificate for an extra $500 onboard credit. But in one of the most classless moves ever, when we went to exchange the certificate they tore it up, said there was a mistake, and we should have only gotten $250 OBC. There were a lot of mistakes made by Crystal (like docking right next to a waste treatment plant in Trier), and almost all of them could have been prevented if Crystal really thought through what they were doing. IMHO they didn't try to go out of their way to make up for fully changing our whole itinerary a few days before departure. This lack of "heart" is why we won't cruise Crystal again after this very bad first experience with them.

 

Oh, lord. We are booked on the Mahler leaving Amsterdam on 9/1. Haven’t heard a word from Crystal about alternatives, though it certainly seems that there is no chance that we can do Amsterdam-Budapest. I wonder when we will get our options? Perhaps once we are in Amsterdam.

 

Well, we will pack light and if the boat’s not sailing, I’ll buy a Eurorail pass and make the best of it, I guess. Always wanted to backpack through Europe, so this might be our chance.

 

Trying hard not to freak out.

 

Johng75370–You seem to have every reason to be P.O.’d Cannot understand why they did the (very very) classless move of tearing up your certificate. Obviously you deserved the amount on it; even if they made a mistake they needed to honor whatever it said. When we make a mistake like that in our office we bite the bullet and go with whatever we originally said. That’s just business 101.

 

But I hope you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. We have been extremely pleased with Crystal up to this point; try to look past this crappy situation and if a Crystal cruise fits into your plans in the future, consider them again. Maybe for an ocean cruise...

 

Diane

Edited by dhmjdds
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Diane,

We are scheduled to sail on the Mahler out of Amsterdam on Oct 2. Still some time from now, but the more posts I read on CC, the more anxious I become! We really like Crystal and hope they do the right thing for their customers

Good luck!

Barbara

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Diane,

 

We are also booked on the Mahler's cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on September 1; three couples.

 

For the Mahler's past two voyages, August 1 and August 16, she has been doing an amended roundtrip Amsterdam to Amsterdam itinerary; through Holland, Belgium and the northwestern corner of Germany.

 

From reading the messages on this forum, it appears that the passengers on those two cruises had been given advance notice of the change, about a week before embarkation, and some options for either going ahead or cancelling.

 

No one in our group has heard anything from Crystal or our T.A. yet. My guess is that we will get word sometime this week. I will, of course, post the information here. When and if it comes in. :rolleyes:

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Mrs. Claypool—

 

Good to hear from someone else on the same boat, and in the same boat! I agree we should hear something this week. Have you received anything at all from Crystal? Usually for an ocean cruise we would have gotten our documents before this.

 

My guess is that the Mahler will be sailing the same itinerary that it has done the last two cruises. It doesn’t sound great, but it doesn’t sound awful either.

 

Diane

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In river level terms, it is still too early to be precise about a cruise starting more than 10 days away, but there is nothing in the current weather forecasts that would give much hope of a significant change at the moment which could return cruising to 'normal'.

 

They may be holding back on the documents just a little longer than usual to see if anything does change in the next few days, but, there is a good chance it will be the modified itinerary I'd guess...

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Crystal is certainly doing some real rearranging. I spotted the Crystal Mahler docked in Lahnstein a little upstream from Koblenz the other day (on marinetraffic). They have chosen this place as an embarkation port. Could they not take a coach from there into the Rhine valley to see the gorge? Easy to do really if you have got the coach. It would be such a disappointment to miss it. But I am doing the thinking for Crystal here, perhaps they have different ideas. I thought choosing the Moselle instead of the Rhine was a good idea, but it sounds as if it did not go well in practice. That is a real pity and really annoying when you have spent thousands of dollars on this cruise.

 

 

Crystal cruisers, I hope you will be informed in good time to also be able to cancel if you wish to do so if it is possible for you bearing in mind air travel and pre- or post-cruise arrangements.

 

 

Being on a different river is better than being on a coach for four or more hours I find. It is not an easy time for a river cruise company especially when they are confronted with such difficulties for the first time.

 

 

With a couple of itineraries having been rerouted already hopefully your cruises will see the experience improve for you cruisers travelling soon.

 

 

As I have mentioned on the Rhine river thread, I regard the Moselle as a beautiful river and I hope you can enjoy the scenery under the circumstances.

 

 

notamermaid

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Lacking the number of ships to even consider ship-swaps does rather limit their options, and while they are certainly trying their best to be creative, I can fully understand why some people would prefer to cancel.

 

 

We pick our routes and itineraries to fill in gaps in where we have been and what we have seen so last minute major route changes don't work for us.

 

 

Hopefully though, if the revised routes are not too much of an overlap for others then the chance to cruise rather than get stuck somewhere is still an acceptable alternative.

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Mrs. Claypool—

 

Good to hear from someone else on the same boat, and in the same boat! I agree we should hear something this week. Have you received anything at all from Crystal? Usually for an ocean cruise we would have gotten our documents before this.

 

My guess is that the Mahler will be sailing the same itinerary that it has done the last two cruises. It doesn’t sound great, but it doesn’t sound awful either.

 

Diane

 

 

You should have received your documents long before now. We got ours for our Aug 30 Mozart cruise about six weeks ago. You might want to check with your TA on this.

 

All of the river lines are scrambling with the water levels, and while Crystal seems to be scrambling more than others, in fairness, this is their first experience with a problem like this. And as Mark_T pointed out, they don't have the ship numbers to do swaps! Our cruise goes east on the Danube from Vienna and for the moment we are holding our breath and hoping the major rainfall forecast for the area around Budapest this weekend actually happens. Not only so we can cruise, but for the people who are suffering with this heat and drought!!

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Dianne,

 

We received our documents for the Sept. 1 Mahler Cruise over a month ago. Surprisingly early, even for an ocean cruise.

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Dianne,

 

We received our documents for the Sept. 1 Mahler Cruise over a month ago. Surprisingly early, even for an ocean cruise.

 

 

Oh shoot! That worries me even more than the possible changes to the itinerary! Contacting TA right away.

 

Diane

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Notamermaid: You wrote, "I thought choosing the Moselle instead of the Rhine was a good idea, but it sounds as if it did not go well in practice."

I'm curious why you said this. Is there a reason you think "it did not go well in practice"? I haven't heard anything positive or negative about the current or the recently-concluded Mahler trips on the Moselle.

 

It appears that the Mahler is pretty much sticking with the amended itinerary that another writer posted on one of the threads recently. According to marinetraffic, the boat went past Winningen on the Moselle yesterday evening, which is on the correct path to arrive in Cochem today and Bernkastel tomorrow.

 

The amended itinerary appears to include not only the Rhine and the Moselle, but also the Meuse and the Scheldt Rivers. Are these nice rivers for cruising or are they just paths to go from X to Y?

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skybluewaters,

 

after rereading my post I realize it is not clear what I meant. Sorry. I was referring to the amended itinerary on the Crystal ship as mentioned in the thread on the Rhine. Not a trip on the Mahler.

 

I only know the Meuse from land trips. It is ok in some parts but has industrial stretches as well. I am not familiar with details. The Scheldt river landscape, unfortunately, is unknown to me.

 

notamermaid

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Diane and Mrs. Claypool,

 

We are also on the Mahler scheduled to leave Amsterdam on September 1. We were originally scheduled to sail at the beginning of September, 2017, but the ship was not completed in time. This is looking like a second disappointment for me. My husband is excited about any adventure. I am most disappointed about the possibility of missing Vienna.

 

If the September 1 itinerary is about the same as the last two Mahler cruises, are you going to go ahead with the amended itinerary?

 

Diane, we also received our cruise documents weeks ago.

 

Susan

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Susan,

 

Our little group was also booked on the "inaugural" cruise of the Mahler from Budapest to Amsterdam last year that never took place.

 

Because our main interest in the cruise was seeing Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, we decided not to take last year's amended cruise. So we re-booked on this year's Amsterdam to Budapest cruise and ... here we are again! :(

 

Will we take the amended itinerary? There are so many "ifs" involved that I really can't say at this moment. Crystal hasn't even officially announced that the original itinerary will be changed for September 1 or made any reimbursement offers for changes or cancellations if it is changed.

 

We will wait and see. :)

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Posted (edited)

Susan--

 

Wow, now we are up to about 10% of the passengers! That's pretty darn good.

 

I do think we will take the cruise even if it is sailing the amended itinerary and staying north. We've never been to any of the towns or areas where it will be going, so I think it would suit us. No, it's not Vienna and Bratislava and Budapest, but the ship will probably not be full since a fair number of people will choose to cancel; it might be like a private yacht. :D:D

 

What would make us cancel was if it turned into a bus tour-cruise or if it was shortened from 16 days to 6, like at least one cruise on the (I think) Bach. Then we'll get that Eurail pass and make our own way from Amsterdam to Budapest.

 

No word back yet from my TA on our documents. I know we paid our fare on time; the PCPC let me make reservations for things.

 

Diane

Edited by dhmjdds

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Susan--

 

Wow, now we are up to about 10% of the passengers! That's pretty darn good.

 

I do think we will take the cruise even if it is sailing the amended itinerary and staying north. We've never been to any of the towns or areas where it will be going, so I think it would suit us. No, it's not Vienna and Bratislava and Budapest, but the ship will probably not be full since a fair number of people will choose to cancel; it might be like a private yacht. :D:D

 

What would make us cancel was if it turned into a bus tour-cruise or if it was shortened from 16 days to 6, like at least one cruise on the (I think) Bach. Then we'll get that Eurail pass and make our own way from Amsterdam to Budapest.

 

No word back yet from my TA on our documents. I know we paid our fare on time; the PCPC let me make reservations for things.

 

Diane

 

I wouldn't sweat the documents too much. We did a 10 night Christmas Markets cruise on Bach last December and they never even looked at the documents when we boarded!

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Posted (edited)

We too are scheduled on Crystal Mozart Sept. 10. I am so glad to find this Crystal board also. This will be our first river cruise & first time sailing on Crystal. We are so looking forward to it. I hope the weather patterns change soon for people & the passengers hoping to sail in the near future.

 

Hi all,

 

We are scheduled to be on the Mozart September 10. Like everybody, we are watching the situation very closely. We have been reading the various low-water threads, which include some comments from passengers currently on the Mozart and other Crystal vessels - regarding cancelled ports.

 

Given the number of low-water discussions it is hard to figure which one may have info on the Mozart. We thought maybe starting a Crystal low-water board would help focus the discussion to Crystal passengers.

 

That said, our interest obviously is the Mozart. Any and all current insight into how the situation is being handled would be greatly appreciated.

 

Obviously, significant rain in the next few weeks could change this. Or so we hope!

 

We will pay it forward once we travel, assuming the trip is still on by the time we get there! A lot can happen over the course of several weeks.

 

Thanks,

Herb

Edited by txislandlvr
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Thanks Diane and Mrs. Claypool for your thoughts.

 

There are so many possible scenarios playing out in my head that it is hard to keep track. I know that no plans can be put into action until Crystal lets us know what they plan to do. Not knowing when they will make their decision is the hardest part for me.

 

It is nice to be able to share information with people who are in the "same boat."

 

Susan

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I am currently on the Mahler and we are having a Faboulous Cruise. Currently we are about to dock for an over night stay in Bernkastel. Good tour choices from here, we picked a full day in Luxembourg. Tomorrow a full day tour to Trier. We had a great visit to Koblenz and Cochem....great places and wonderful tours. It’s like a private yacht experience due to cancellations. Great food and super staff...I’m loving it!!

 

Scott

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I am currently on the Mahler and we are having a Faboulous Cruise. Currently we are about to dock for an over night stay in Bernkastel. Good tour choices from here, we picked a full day in Luxembourg. Tomorrow a full day tour to Trier. We had a great visit to Koblenz and Cochem....great places and wonderful tours. It’s like a private yacht experience due to cancellations. Great food and super staff...I’m loving it!!

 

Scott

 

Thanks Scott for taking the time to report on your cruise. It is very helpful information on whether or not to go with an amended itinerary.

 

Susan

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I am currently on the Mahler and we are having a Faboulous Cruise. Currently we are about to dock for an over night stay in Bernkastel. Good tour choices from here, we picked a full day in Luxembourg. Tomorrow a full day tour to Trier. We had a great visit to Koblenz and Cochem....great places and wonderful tours. It’s like a private yacht experience due to cancellations. Great food and super staff...I’m loving it!!

 

Scott

 

Thank you for posting, Scott! This is just what I was hoping to hear about. How many guests are on the boat would you say?

 

Since we will most likely be on the next iteration of this amended Mahler cruise, any further info you can post would be most appreciated. If you possibly could take pictures of the excursion list and post that, it would be terrific.

 

Diane

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