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sharkster77

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About sharkster77

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    Massachusetts

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  1. We are cruising the week after next, so rain next week is music to our ears!!! Not too much, though--I want next week's cruisers to enjoy themselves--maybe like Camelot, where it rains while you're asleep and sunny when you're awake!
  2. and............hair dryers are provided by just about every decent hotel and cruise ship.
  3. Wife bought a dual voltage curling iron at Target, ~$10. She has used on 2 European trips so far and it has functioned without any problems. Expect it to behave similarly on our upcoming river cruise.
  4. True, but there are few (if any) nonstops to the US out of Basel--much more available out of Zurich.
  5. Viking adds the suggested gratuity to your bill. When you settle up near the end of your cruise, you can keep it, increase it, reduce it, or cancel it entirely (should you choose to tip folks individually).
  6. @Sun Loverm if you're not sure if river cruising will be your cup of tea, then the Rhine is an excellent choice. Shorter cruise, has good mixture of ports and scenic cruising. If you LOVE the experience, then there are longer cruises available for the future. RE: the "stickies": at the top of the river cruising forum there are a bunch of threads with a padlock next to them--these are the introductory threads or stickies, as they are locked in at the top of the page.
  7. Ships have to navigate through locks. So while one is on an excursion, the ship may be in line, waiting to get through a lock. This is often what happens when passengers are dropped off in one town, and picked up in another. More efficient than having ship full of passengers waiting for an hour or two, going nowhere.
  8. @Peregrina651 (greetings to a fellow Bostonian, BTW!), I agree that Viking's adaptation of their river cruise model to the ocean is intriguing. I was drawn to river cruising because of the aforementioned things on ocean liners that I would find annoying. But Viking has me interested in ocean cruising! The itinerary that circles the British Isles is on my radar. I had heard about Viking's smaller longships being built for the Seine, but the increase in price for that privilege would lead me to price-shop other lines more closely to be sure the surcharge doesn't make other lines a better value.
  9. The longships are identical, which makes the ship swaps in the case of low water manageable--one gets the exact same cabin as before, the lounge, dining room, etc are all in the same locations, same minimalist Scandinavian décor, etc. On the Douro and in Russia, China, and SE Asia, the ships are very different. On the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Seine, they are identical (except for the new "smaller" longships Peregrina mentions above.
  10. @Sun Lover my advice is to read these boards and soak in as much as you can. I got interested in river cruises 3yrs ago, but life kept me from booking until last year. I sail in 3 weeks, and I feel that these threads gave me a PhD education in river cruising! You will learn quickly that ocean and river cruises have just about NOTHING in common: ~170 passengers (not thousands), one dining venue, everyone dines at once, casual dress for dinner, no casino, probably no pool or exercise room, nobody trying to sell you something every 10 minutes, no annoying photographers, no climbing walls, very low key evening entertainment, etc. We were drawn to river cruising because I think ocean cruising would annoy the hell out of me. We booked with Viking, but read the other boards as well--there are several other cruise lines that are very good. Viking had what we wanted for the Rhine, for example, but I would NEVER book Viking for the Seine--they aren't allowed to dock in Paris proper--passengers have to be bussed in to the city center (~1 hr due to traffic). Without these boards I would NEVER know this.
  11. @lynncarol, we arrive in Amsterdam on Oct. 1 and board our river cruise on the 3rd, so I don't think we'd have time to explore beyond Amserdam. (Too bad--recently discovered that my heritage is 25% Belgian, would love to visit the "mother country" LOL. Hoping that the crowds at the Rijks in early October will be at least tolerable.
  12. OP here--thanks to all the advice--CC'ers are the best people! Thanks again. I will definitely report back on how things proceed.
  13. So if I understand correctly, once we go thru passport control in Zurich, we'll just have to pick up a boarding pass for the ZRH--AMS flight? Or will that boarding pass be given to me in Boston? Both flights are on Swiss Air, so I am assuming that it'll all be one one ticket. Sorry to be a pain, but we've only flown internationally on direct flights until now--I guess our luck finally ran out. @cheeruson, your positive experience gives me hope that I am getting anxious for no reason--thanks!
  14. Hi all-- I am getting slightly nervous as our trip approaches (1 month away). We have a 90 minute layover in Zurich, catching a flight from ZRH--AMS. TA assured us we'd have enough time. Looking at maps of the airport, international flights arrive in Terminal E, which is detached from the main terminal and is connected by a "people mover", which looks like a train of some sorts. Flights within Schengen (like our ZRH--AMS flight) leave from gates in the main terminal. I realize we will have to move along, but will we have time to go through passport control and get clear across the airport in 90 minutes? I believe our short flight to Amsterdam is treated like a "domestic" flight, hence the passport control in ZRH instead of in AMS. CC'ers, please advise, and thanks in advance.
  15. Viking regularly monitors these boards--I am surprised that someone from Viking hasn't chimed in with an invitation to the OP to contact them. Isn't the address something like "tellus@ Viking........." Then again, if the OP's anger hasn't yet subsided, he/she may not be willing to talk to Viking right now.
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