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knoxclone

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About knoxclone

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Knoxville, TN

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  1. While I was very happy with the quality of the Viking Tour guides - they both were excellent, - the larges coaches that Viking uses are just unable to deal with the massive amount of traffic in STP. We spent almost 2x the amount of time more time on the bus sitting than touring the various sites. I had spent several weeks in STP years earlier on business, bit if this has been my first - or only time in STP... I would have been heartbroken and very disappointed. It's well worth the $$$ in to use the private tours with the small vans or mini busses...
  2. After I retirement, I still wanted to travel, but doing so with my DH was painful, as we have very very different travel styles. Cruising was suggested many times, but thought of being on a large ship with thousands of people without the sight of land for days totally freaked me out …I even hated travelling on the Chesapeake Bay ferry each summer. But, like many, I was captivated by the Viking commercials during Downton Abbey and figured I would be able to swim to shore if necessary 😀 I appreciated the fact that during the muster drill, a crew member helpfully said “if we start sinking, head up to the lounge because with the water this low, even if we sink to the bottom of the river, the bar will still be above water and drinks are on the house!” I am not sure at what point during our Rhine river cruise the Viking magic dust was sprinkled, but it was the best vacation we had every shared. After two more river cruises, I was persuaded to try “big water” and we embarked on the Viking Homelands cruise with two weeks of beautiful blue skies and glass flat calm water on the Baltic. While my next big water adventure has been cancelled for 2020, next year we are scheduled to travel through the Bay of Biscay, and, I am looking (albeit tentatively) towards the challenge and have faith in Viking. I spent almost two decades doing event planning and congressional delegation travel conferences around the world – not as a principal, but as the “lady with the clipboard”. After spending a career ensuring that my delegations were well taken care of during their travel, I can’t help but to continually mentally critique hotels, restaurants, transportation modes, tours and guides, appreciating things well done, or how they might be improved. Regardless of having no previous cruising experience to draw on, Viking has consistently impressed me with their attention to detail and the overall quality of their crew. Coincidentally, our first Viking river cruise was on the Viking Sun, (one of their older ships, not a long boat) on her last sailing and our first VO was on the Viking Sun. Can’t wait to enjoy Viking again.
  3. That was wonderful - and I even recognized a couple faces!
  4. We also cancelled our Nov 2020 trip and Viking transferred the booking to a cruise next fall - and the allowed the final payment to be pushed back to 6 months and we received OBC for the difference.
  5. So bummed to hear that most ships passed Gibraltar late in the evening. Hopefully Viking will continue to make the passage through the straights an "event". I will make sure I ask onboard - have no problem being the "squeaky wheel" - politely of course 🙂 Will look up Elza y Fred restaurant. I am interested in visiting Stonehenge, but with limited time in Portsmouth, wondering if that is better left to a land trip.
  6. These are great suggestions on Barcelona... Easter is early April in 2021, and we are looking at 21 April departure. One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to go to a "normal" - not touristy grocery/ supermarkets ( DH thinks I am nuts!). Any hotel suggestions?
  7. Thanks for the suggestions - have spent a fair amount of time in Paris for business, but very little time in the french countryside - so Honfleur sounds interesting. The other option is to take small group tour to visit some of the WW2 sites - which my DH is leaning towards. Did you stop in Portsmouth? I was at Alhambra 40 years ago as a high school exchange student, so hope to be able to visit it this time with a much better appreciation of the architecture & history! Have never been to Barcelona, so hoping to extend a few days.. any suggestions other than the Gaudi. Sagrada Familia?
  8. Sadly, coming from E. Tennessee, an additional flight to a hub city is needed unless we drive to Nashville or Atlanta... We did Homelands in 2018 and did fly home from Oslo - but still three flights. I lived in Madrid in the late 70s - just after Franco died - so definitely interested revisiting Madrid. Did Kuekenhof - last year - agree it was fabulous. Can't tell from itinerary if you actually pass through straits of Gibraltar during daylight hours either direction? Does anybody know? Thanks
  9. Looking to replace our cancelled 2020 cruise by booking the 'Trade Routes of the Middle Ages" in ' April 2021. Any suggestions or preferences starting Bergen vs. Barcelona? Air travel will require least 2-3 stops regardless of either destination. Any additional comments or reviews info on this itinerary would be appreciated as well. Thanks!
  10. We also visited Stutthof - as mentioned, very sobering experience, and one I would recommend. Gives a different perspective on the concentration camps during WWII - Many Americans believe it was simply the Jews that were taken to the camps - however Norwegian police officers and soldiers were sent as prisoners to Stuffhoff during and after the German invasion of Norway. if you visit the Resistance Museum in Oslo, their exhibits also discuss the role of the Stutthof camp in Norway's WWII history.
  11. We stayed at Marriott Budapest last year - also had fabulous river views from room. Have spent a "lots" of time in Marriott properties and would agree that location and service was top notch.
  12. knoxclone

    Soft Drinks

    My husband is also diabetic We often ordered an extra cheese plate for dessert at meals and staff was aways happy to wrap up. we stashed it in refrigerator and ate it at our leisure. Like wise, I brought a few baggies and we would snag some cookies to take with us on our tours or to eat in the room.
  13. Train from Oslo to Bergen is fantastic. No need to go through Viking unless you want some hand holding. Norway is super easy to get around- everybody speaks english, most signage is english... much less $$ to book your own. Train ebsite is in english, Stay at the Thon Opera ( which I believe is what Viking normally uses). It's across the street from train station. Direct train from airport. collect baggage and walk about 200 feet to the hotel. Likewise in Bergen, train station to port was a 14 Euro ride.
  14. We preferred Deck 4 - middle of the ship near the laundry because: I can pop in and out easily to do a quick load of laundry... And, more importantly when I get off the elevator - I can look for the laundry sign to find my cabin as opposed to standing there for 30 seconds trying to remember which end of the ship I got on the elevator!! 🙂 Sigh. No noise from the hallway or laundry room. As others mentioned, some random noises from the tender/lifeboats, but nothing that was bothersome.
  15. Its about 4+ hours to Berlin on the train from flughafen Frankfurt - so coming from Denver thats a really LOOOONG day. Personally as much as I prefer to travel by rail in Europe, I would fly. Regardless, my suggestion to make sure you are on a ICE Direct train to avoid having to change trains and allow a minimum of 2+ hours between between your arrival in Frankfurt and the your scheduled train departure. Prebook and get a reserved seat.
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