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DaveinCharlotte

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About DaveinCharlotte

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Charlotte NC
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    Europe

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  1. I don't think Independence qualifies as a "new" ship. ACL appears to be migrating toward larger ships (i.e., more than 100 passengers), so not surprised that room service is not provided for the smaller ships such as Independence. (ACL ought to show room service in the "Amenities" section for each ship, and show the year built, but they don't.) The two ships we've been on, Constitution and America, both had breakfast room service.
  2. Appreciate the report. Sounds like you had a great cruise, but I was very surprised to find out no English-language announcements or tours. Their website said just the opposite, for some dates (including yours)! At least they made a little effort to compensate. Interesting to hear your description of visiting your old digs in Heidelberg. In my case, I spent two years in Heilbronn...did you get to see anything there, between Bad Wimpfen and Lauffen? You mention the ship-Stuttgart-Frankfurt connection: did you take the train to the starting point too, and did Nicko pick you up there?
  3. During the day, I'd say whatever you want...jeans, shorts, etc. all OK. In the evening a little dressier, say "business casual," probably no shorts, though I've seen a few at dinner. No coats & ties required for men - not many wear them, although if you did prefer a coat, you wouldn't look out of place. (Just my observations from several ACL cruises.)
  4. Thanks Ray. Have just received the mailed package for our May cruise, and it's saying Shilshole Marine leaving & returning. Given what you've said though, I guess it's always possible they could change that when the time actually comes. Good to know this alternative location is actually closer to the airport, so looks like Steel Magnolia's estimate would be the "worst case" and actual time to the airport might be even less.
  5. SteelMagnolia9 - You said ship returned to Shilshole Marina the day before airport departure, so I assume that is where you took the taxi from. That marina appears to be some distance north of Seattle downtown -- do you recall how long your taxi ride to the Sea-Tac airport took?
  6. SteelMagnolia9: Thank you so much for taking the time to submit such a detailed & well-organized review. DogLover45: About the pre-cruise hotel & cost: Last September, we signed up for the Grand Puget Sound cruise starting May 19, 2019, and opted to get the pre-cruise package. The price: $550 ($275pp). The ACL rep said we would be in the Grand Hyatt, no breakfast included. The Grand Hyatt is a 5-star hotel, and getting a room there would be about $320/night w/o breakfast, so the ACL price didn't seem unreasonable. Last month got a call from ACL saying the hotel had been changed to the Crowne Plaza, the same one SteelMagnolia9 had. Rep said breakfast was included, but the updated invoice we received did not say that. Crowne Plaza's website says they are a 4-star hotel. Price for a room: $135! So I feel a little like a victim of bait-and-switch. Probably should have skipped the pre-cruise package and paid for hotel and transfer on our own. BTW, we're planning on taking the Light Rail from Sea-Tac airport to the Crowne Plaza, $3/pp.
  7. Vantage sent us a letter December 7, offering us a $1100 comp discount on any Vantage trip booked within a year. We had to sign and return a release waiver (saying we wouldn't sue) before the offer would be considered final. The $1100 was for both of us, not per person...still, I thought this was adequate compensation for our relatively minor inconveniences.
  8. Hmm. Today River Splendor appears to be heading west from Regensburg heading for Wurzburg. The River Discovery is stopped in Linz, about 1/3 of the way between Passau and Vienna. I'm guessing that it could easily get to Passau in time for your Dec 7 trip. If you have a transfer to the ship from Munich, I'll bet it will be a bus to Passau instead of Regensburg...they're about the same distance from Munich, and Vantange wouldn't want you to embark the Splendor for just one night. Just guesswork on my part, of course.
  9. Just finished our Vantage "Bonn to Budapest" cruise (starting at Frankfurt airport), which was to have been on the River Voyager. First change: Had to change to the River Splendor instead, from Mainz. Vantage arranged a day excursion on a small ship that did the southern half of the Rhine Gorge, and our tour of Cologne was replaced with a tour of Mainz. Otherwise, the cruise continued as scheduled until we reached Regensburg, where the River Splendor could go no further. We were bused to Passau (1.5 hours) where we boarded the identical ship River Discovery II. Again, we continued as scheduled to Vienna, where the River Discovery II could go no further. From there it was a long (4 hour) bus ride to Budapest, where we were put up for two nights at the Ritz-Carlton 5-star hotel. Our cruise director Martin did a first-rate job. We thought the food was excellent and the waiters proficient. We enjoyed every one of our tours, and the guides were great. We enjoyed the cruise through the Wachau Valley especially, and the extra time in Vienna helped offset the long bus ride. Overall we thought it was a great trip.
  10. added photo OK...now testing to see if I can delete it right after posting
  11. Glad to hear you're finally back on board. This should mean the long bus rides are finally over. If you happen to pick up any intel regarding what fate lies in wait for the passengers on the next cruise (VH118), please let us know.
  12. Alas, if I'm reading MarineTraffic right, River Voyager is one of Vantage's 135m ships (it's the older River Navigator that's 110m). Our Nov 16 Bonn-Budapest trip is still looking very problematical at this point - Danube as well as Rhine gorge to worry about. The River Splendor is supposed to wrap up a Budapest-Bonn trip in a few days; it's moored in Bingen at the moment, and I'll bet that's the furthest it gets. On the Vantage website, I can't find any cruise that ship is supposed to take for the rest of November. So maybe it will be available for ship-swapping to bridge the Rhine gorge. Wouldn't help with the Danube though...
  13. Re Vantage River Voyager: Wouldn't another possibility be that Vantage concocts a bus-based itinerary from Basel to someplace above the Rhine Gorge (e.g., Koblenz) then continues the other 2/3 of your itinerary as planned? (If this were possible, though, I wonder why they wouldn't have done that in reverse for the 10/18/2018 cruise.) cruiser747 said refunds were offered for the cancelled cruise, and I'm hoping that will be true for ours too (the Nov 16 cruise).
  14. Just got our Vantage "Are you as excited about your upcoming trip as we are about greeting you?" e-mail message for our November 17 departure on River Voyager. No hint of possible trouble. Yeah. I'm inclined to agree with your assessment, Donna. Even if a "no-pax" transit up the Rhine Gorge would actually work, how likely is it that a fully-loaded transit back north a week or so later would work? If I'm not mistaken, most of your cruise takes place on the Moselle and north of Koblenz, (i.e., north of the Gorge), so there really isn't an option for Vantage to go as far as Mainz, say, and do the rest of the trip via bus. After our cruise theoretically ends in Budapest, the River Voyager is supposed to start a series of three Budapest/Regensburg "holiday" trips. But not only are things still problematical on the Danube, how is the ship to get there through the Gorge in the first place? Maybe, just maybe, Ural guy's notion works by mid Nov, and Vantage can start our eastbound cruise from Mainz instead of Bonn.
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