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rafinmd

Crystal Bach Amsterdam to Basel, October 27, 2019

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I'm starting a series of cruises which will include a segment from Amsterdam to Basel on the Crystal Bach (after Eastbound TA on QM2 and returning from Barcelona on Crystal Serenity).

 

I do mostly ocean cruising but have a little river experience.  My only European river past is in 2004 on Viking, Budapest to Nuremberg  but I've also sailed the Nile and Yangtze (both Uniworld) and upper Amazon, plus several North American rivers, mostly on small ocean ships.

 

I'll mention a couple of other Cruise Critic threads I've set up:

 

I'll cover the entire Journey on the Maryland Cruisers forum:

 

 

I've also set up a thread on the Cunard forum:

 

 

 

And I will create one later on the Crystal Forum.

 

I maintain a blog which has the same content plus things like menus and daily schedules:

 

https://getawaysfrom21044.wordpress.com/

 

I welcome questions but may be slow to answer.

 

Roy

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Yah!!! I’m your first person following you Roy! I’m all set! I look forward to another exciting cruise with you Roy!

Hope I can get all 3 blogs And remember 😉

Denise😊

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Roy, I wish you a wonderful adventure on these cruises, and will be following daily!

Bob

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Bon Voyage Roy!!!

Have a great SAILAWAY!

A toast to you my friend! Fair winds, calm seas, and a wonderful journey ahead.

Denise😊

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rafinmd,

That is quite a journey! Have a great time on the ocean and river. Looking forward to hearing how you are getting from Southampton to Amsterdam. Will certainly have a look at the Maryland cruisers forum.

 

notamermaid

 

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Can’t wait! We’re on Crystal Bach Amsterdam to Basel next June — our first river cruise — and are considering sailing Crystal Ocean for the first time so really looking forward to your posts!

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Looking forward to hearing how you like Crystal Bach. We had a fantastic time on the same cruise this past summer. I’ve followed your travels on the Crystal Oceans board and enjoy living vicariously through your blog. Hope you have a wonderful trip!

Edited by cruisewmn

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Got an email from my travel agent today that we will be stopping at Duseldorf rather than Cologne due to "River Congestion".

 

Roy

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We had a stop in Dusseldorf on our Bach cruise in August.  Several excursions were offered.  We chose the historical walking tour, which was very interesting.  We sailed by Cologne around midnight, and it was worth staying up to see the cathedral all lit up! We toured Cologne during the day on a previous cruise, and other than the cathedral, I think the time spent in Dusseldorf was just as appealing (but WWII history is of interest to me).

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On 10/23/2019 at 8:18 AM, rafinmd said:

Got an email from my travel agent today that we will be stopping at Duseldorf rather than Cologne due to "River Congestion".

 

Roy

Hi Roy!

When we were in Tier for a month my husband was at Duseldorf AFB helping with a new system with his company that does surface to air military stuff. We liked it there and the river was beautiful. My heart is in Tier which we have gone back to and have seen the river cruises going through.

Looking forward to This cruise with you as well.

Denise😊

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Greetings from London Heathrow (BA business lounge).  My transfer arrived almost exactly at 7 and the drive to Heathrow was smooth.  Security was a pain (I had to take almost EVERYTHING out of my carryon but from there it went without a hitch.  I was in the BA lounge at 7:55; with 3 hours before takeoff.  I’m here for a while, gate won’t be posted until almost 10AM but there’s a pretty passable buffet.  The skies are pretty clear and I expect an uneventful flight arriving Amsterdam about 1:20PM.

 

Roy

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6 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Greetings from London Heathrow (BA business lounge).  My transfer arrived almost exactly at 7 and the drive to Heathrow was smooth.  Security was a pain (I had to take almost EVERYTHING out of my carryon but from there it went without a hitch.  I was in the BA lounge at 7:55; with 3 hours before takeoff.  I’m here for a while, gate won’t be posted until almost 10AM but there’s a pretty passable buffet.  The skies are pretty clear and I expect an uneventful flight arriving Amsterdam about 1:20PM.

 

Roy

Good morning Roy!!!! Late afternoon there! 
IMO Heathrow is a pain you know where!!

LOL! Glad for you that’s all that happened with your carry on! I’m so looking forward to Amsterdam with your writings.

I hope the weather will be nice and you get to relax. 
Will be on BA buisness next May coming home from our 2 months doing cruises and am hoping with the Brexit issues we won’t have problems that we had with them in 2006 and the terrorist issues in London that had everything at a standstill!!

2 months in Europe and our bags were still on the tarmac in London! Didn’t get them till Thanksgiving morning back inSan Diego 3 months later! 
I will be looking forward to all of the pictures on Crystal. We have never taken a river cruise so this is going to be fun!

Smooth Sailings Roy!

Denise😊

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i'm sailing on the crystal bach from basel to amsterdam on nov 3rd.  i'm anxious to read your experiences on the rhine cruise.  where will you be posting those?  i'm arriving in basel two days before the ship sails since i've never been there before and hear its a very interesting city.  and of course, i'm a chocoholic so switzerland is going to be fun for me.  i also like fondue meals so i'm definitely having one in basel too.

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The one good thing I can say about Heathrow is that the duty-free shops have the best selection of Gins that I have seen.

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Thanks all.  I am on board with no problems getting to the ship but will need a bit of time to start posting.

 

Roy

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4 hours ago, rafinmd said:

Thanks all.  I am on board with no problems getting to the ship but will need a bit of time to start posting.

 

Roy

No worries Roy!!

Relax, enjoy your cruise!!!

Denise😊

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Day Bach0, Sunday, October 27, 2019, London to Amsterdam, Board Crystal Bach

I will start with one left over photo from Saturday.  I did take a stroll through Trafalgar Square.  The panels in the photo are Nelson's Column, The Canadian High Commission (I guess it would be the embassy if Canada was not part of the Commonwealth), St. Martin in the Field,  and the memorial to Nurse Edith Cavell.  I suspect people in the High Commission are quite pleased with the success of Come From Away so close to them in London.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/trafalgar.jpg


I briefly gained an hour overnight Saturday as Europe ended Daylight Savings Time a week ahead of North America.  I rose at 5 and did some internet work and packed in preparation for being away again from land based internet.  I moved one heavy cube from the backpack to the rolling bag and replaced it with a light one from the rolling bag.  With the reshuffling of the bags the big bag was 52 pounds, the backpack down to 27, and 19 pounds (mostly computer stuff) in the carryon.  My hotel schedule was a bit tight, breakfast opened at 6:30 and my ride was scheduled for 7AM but I was told to be ready for it to arrive up to 15 minutes early.


I called for the bell man about 6:15 but there was no answer and I was able without undue difficulty to get all my stuff down to the lobby where the front desk was able to contact him and get my big bags stored.  I had just a light snack (my last English bacon) before getting ready to leave.


My transfer was not early, but just on time, and I was loaded and on the road by 7:02.  The early morning drive went without incident and on arrival the driver helped me load up my luggage trolley.  Checkin was easy; security not so much as almost everything had to come out of my carryon and be repacked once through.  Still, I was past security by 7:55AM, 3 hours ahead of my flight.


As it turned out, all of my flights are premium class, Business to Amsterdam and later to Barcelona, and "Business Select" on Southwest back to Baltimore on 1 December.  The Club Lounge at Heathrow was a very welcome touch with seating (although it was pretty crowded) a breakfast buffet (not as tasty as it looked but still welcomed), and internet.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/clubeurobuffet.jpg


While in the lounge I took care of the last of my Cunard business for this voyage, the post cruise survey.  They did not ask about post cruise experience but I did mention it in the other comments section, and noted that Ms Westbrook of the California office had been helpful in sorting things out.


My gate was posted about 10AM.  It was actually a pretty short walk from the lounge but boarding was posted to start at 10:15 leaving me just a short stay at the gate.  Club Europe seating is not that great, essentially a regular coach seat with the middle seat vacant on the Airbus A319.  I did, however get a bit of a lunch which was quite rushed on the short flight.  We touched down at noon London Time, and as I had done 5 times on QM2 advanced my watch an hour forward at noon.


While the walk to the gate in Heathrow was short, the one in Amsterdam seemed like it would never end, probably close to 15 minutes, followed by a 20-minute line at passport control.  The baggage claim area was also quite large and I needed to go through one baggage hall, and around a group of offices to get to the second set of belts.  By the time I got there one bag was already on the belt and the second came in just a minute or 2.  


I was a bit concerned about having 2 different exits from the baggage area but when I emerged I saw a lady with a green Crystal paddle on the other side of the hall.  There were some other passengers on my flight in economy and they followed a few minutes later and we were off.  Crystal River has it's own motor coaches assigned to each ship and it seemed pretty comfortable.  We arrived at the ship a little after 2:30 and I was escorted up to Palm Court for checkin, and then down to my room.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/palmcourt.jpg


The Anglican church has a couple of satellites in Amsterdam and one had a service at 3:30.  From my reading of google maps it appeared to have been at the end of the 53 metro line.  I should have paid more attention to the details, the line on google maps stopped but it was not the end of the line which was far from the church and it was already 3:40.  I decided it would be futile to return to the correct stop and get to much of the service and returned to the ship.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/metroams.jpg


Once back on the ship unpacking started.  There seems to be significantly less closet space (especially drawers) than on the ocean ship.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/closet223.jpg


My petite suite is not that small but still feels a bit tighter than on the ocean ships.  The entire outer wall is a window and the top half will open.  


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/window223.jpg


The desk space is pretty large although the expresso machine takes up quite a bit of the space.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/desk223.jpg


Muster was at 6:15.  The permanent location is on the sun deck but it was pretty chilly and it was held in Palm Court.  Captain Douwe Tilstra (Dutch) was a bit of a comic, comparing Bach to Titanic but what really makes our ship unsinkable is the shallowness of the river.  It can flood one deck if it drops to the river bed but there would still be 4 meters above the water.  The life jackets are not the ones used on the ocean but more like the small work vests that crews use.


Dinner was at 7 in Waterside.  The menu seemed a bit less extensive than on the ocean ships but there was plenty to like.  I chose a basic salad, the pasta, and rum raisin ice cream (not listed but the waiter offered several choices in ice cream).


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/dishes27.jpg


I think the entertainment hosts do most of the entertainment but for the first evening we had an outside entertainer, singer Steffan Mullan accompanied by Francisco Carlo Leone on the piano.  He was ok but too loud for my taste.


https://getawaysfrom21044.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/mullan.jpg


My parting shot will go back to to London.  I don't think I had heard of Edith Cavell but I found her story quite interesting.  A nurse in World War I, she went to Belgium and freely treated casualties on both sides.  She also helped people escape from the occupied territories and was executed by the German regime.  Her final words, as noted on her statue just outside Trafalgar Square are a tribute to her humanity.   "Patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone."  A true heroine.

 

cavell.jpg


Roy

 

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Wonderful report Roy.

 

Closet and drawer space is important for us.  Have never been on a River cruise.  Looking forward to your reports.

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Roy, 

I'm trying to remember from 2 different cruises on 2 different lines - AMA from Amsterdam -Budapest --

 

-- and on Avalon - an Amsterdam to Basel [though not getting to Basel due to river flooding - just behind us/following us - we had nice weather] Getting off at Strasbourg and transferring to our other continuation boat in Lyon to Aries [Saone and Rhone Rivers SB] in France. [2 8-day voyages booked as one full cruise - I even had the same room number - just a new key and attendant].

 

Anyway - Internet on all ships was good - free - and since you don't leave the continent - pretty stable. It seems like like on the long - many countries  trip, the Google page origin came up from different locations as we travelled south. 

 

Mostly I had trouble finding much time to get on the internet - due to the port everyday, local evening entertainment schedule they had. The other must do - was evening meal with a one-time set schedule - a notice gave you warning of a time change in your daily program. Other meals were buffet style and had an open time frame.

 

I expect to hear the same from you as you go along.

 

Have fun - I did - both times. Carole

Edited by Happily@Sea

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roy,

this may or may not be a duplicate post from me.  i posted from my smart phone around an hour ago, but my post is not showing here so i'm not sure where it went.

anyway, thank you posting your first day adventures getting to the ship (boat). ;you certainly do a great job of describing everything so well.    i'm reading your posts with great interest since i'll be boarding the bach this sunday after your arrival in basel  by the way, when do you arrive in basel?  on saturday with an overnight on the ship or on sunday morning?  if you arrive in basel on saturday, and if your willing, perhaps we can meet up for a drink or talk about the trip from amsterdam.  i think your holiday itinerary is fabulous and i envy that you have so much time to take a long and varied trip.  i couldn't leave my dog that long.  as it is, i'll be away from charlie for two weeks and i'm not happy about doing it but he's well taken care of with a great dog sitter.

by the way, what are the electrical outlets on the bach?  can i use my american plugs or do they supply an adaptor?

thank you.

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To all of you asking about the space on Crystal's river boats (all 4 are identical), the petite suites don't have much storage space at all, but work for a solo, especially if you are on for 7 days. I was on the Bach for 17 days, a back to back, and found it too confining. However, I went into the next larger cabin and they are much more spacious and should be fine for a couple. One thing I thought was a real problem in the petite is that you have to get down on the floor to use the safe! 😏🙄

 

Patty

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We were in a petite suite on the Bach this summer, and although initially I thought storage space was lacking, we found space for all that I packed (and I'm not a particularly light packer)! 

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i am sailing on the bach this coming sunday from basel to amsterdam.  i'm a first time river cruiser and a first time crystal passenger.  i've also booked a christmas market danube cruise for december 2020 on the mahler.  i received a phone call from crystal asking me if i'd like to be upgraded from a s5 petite suite to a s2 larger suite and i asked if there was a charge and they said no, they were just upgrading me for free. i said why would i say no and so they upgraded me to the larger suite and i'm really happy about it.  totally unexpected and much appreciated.

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Good morning Roy!! To all I’m on the west coast in San Diego.

Im glad everything went smoothly for you

even with the long walk and over 20 minutes at the passport line! My concern would of been getting all my bags! Glad all went well. Aboard Bach your stateroom is nice Roy. Like I have said we have never tried river cruising and this will be an adventure as to possible river cruising for us!! Sounds like your suite is great for solo 

but a safe on the floor 🙄. Roy her settled in relax and looking forward to your pictures later!

Have a nice evening!

Denise😊

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