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subtchr

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About subtchr

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Ohio
  • Interests
    Travel!
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Royal Caribbean

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  1. Thanks, it was marvelous! Interesting that our cruise had the Maginot Line as the afternoon tour after the morning tour of Strasbourg, and the Black Forest tour (with the cuckoo clock shop) as a choice from Breisach, not Strasbourg. We were very happy to have been able to experience both!
  2. @seashell, I am not @s35flyer, but we (myself, hubby, sister -- all in our 60s - and our daughter, 27) just cruised Amsterdam to Basel on Avalon Vista, July 13-20, and adored the experience. A few observations that might help you: - We arrived a day early to Amsterdam and stayed one night at the Banks Mansion. Impeccable experience, so welcoming and lovely. More of a "boutique" hotel, with a full service concept. That meant a full complimentary open bar in the lobby, complimentary minibars in the rooms, a marvelous cheese and wine reception late afternoon, and expansive complimentary full breakfast. The location is great for exploring, near the flower market and steps from the #12 tram line stop. - We purchased a 3-day transit pass at the airport that gave us full access to the train from the airport, plus all trams, Metro, and buses. We used it extensively our first two days, and once for the Metro on the last day. It was €22 per person. We found navigating the public transit system easy, even with luggage for the train from the airport to our hotel, and the tram from our hotel to the ship. We each had one large roller bag and a backpack. We try to make it a point to use public transport when we travel, as it not only saves money, but also adds to the cultural experience of the city we are visiting. - We did not get tickets for the Anne Frank House, so we visited the Resistance Museum, which we found riveting. We also visited the Nemo Science Center when it rained in the afternoon, and enjoyed that as well. There is a lovely spot on the roof with a cafe and bar, and expansive city view, which you can access from exterior stairs if you do not want to experience the museum itself. - The only paid excursions we did were the bike tour through the countryside near Amsterdam (wonderful), and the Maginot Line tour that @s35flyer mentioned. We also found that fascinating, a highlight. We are also history buffs. Our guide said that Avalon is the only line to still offer the tour. - Upon arrival in Basel, we took a cab to the train station and the train to Zurich, where we spent two nights at Hotel St. Josef, another great choice. Easy walk into the shopping/dining areas of the city, very large rooms, very nice included breakfast. We just explored Zurich the day we arrived, and the next day we took a tour through Viator to Lucerne and Mount Pilatus. Another highlight! The next morning we walked to the train station for the train to Zurich airport for our flight home. Here's a link to my photos, if you are interested: AVALON RHINE CRUISE 2019 Let me know if you have any questions for me!
  3. To be honest, it was just that the timing worked out well for us, and we liked what Avalon offered. Again, I have exactly ONE river cruise under my belt right now, so I cannot fairly compare lines, but reading @Host Jazzbeau's list for Ama, there are a few differences: - Avalon does not include ALL excursions -- some are an additional cost -- but they do offer a "gentle walking" option for all included excursions, and active and other specialty ones at some ports. One of our favorites turned out to be the extra cost tour of a Maginot Line bunker from Strasbourg, which our guide told us only Avalon offers now. It was fascinating. - Avalon does not offer anything like a Chef's Table, but we found the food excellent in the dining room. The grill lunch offered on the top deck one day was outstanding. - Avalon also offers complimentary sparkling wine at breakfast (and at the welcome and farewell receptions), and beer and wine at lunch or dinner. There is a happy hour each day, but the drinks are not complimentary. Our servers were also happy to top off our glasses at the end of dinner or lunch, to bring our drinks elsewhere. - We enjoyed our cabin very much. My sister and daughter shared an inside stateroom (they did have windows), and it was fine at 172 sf. We had what they call a panorama suite, which we felt was quite roomy at 200 sf. We loved the way the floor to ceiling window opened 7 feet wide, to create what they call an "open air balcony". No wasted space! - There were about 150 passengers on board, and it never felt crowded. I don't know how that number compares to other lines. There were bicycles, walking sticks, and binoculars to use. -
  4. We just completed our first river cruise, and as @Host Jazzbeau wrote, we adored it. So I can't help between the two you listed, but we did Avalon from Amsterdam to Basel, and enjoyed everything about it! Have you looked at Avalon?
  5. We just did the opposite with Avalon -- From Amsterdam to Basel on the Vista, July 13-20. Marvelous experience, one of our best vacations ever! Here's a link to my photos, if you are interested: AVALON RHINE CRUISE 2019 No issues with water levels at all, of course. Just a lovely cruise with wonderful staff and guests.
  6. Popping back in, as we are checking out of Banks Mansion now to head to our ship. Amazing stay, wish it was longer. The hospitality and service are second to none. As @Needzavacation noted, the wine and cheese reception at 5 is just lovely. Easy access to the tram, and good location for exploring. For those interested, we bought 3-day transit passes at the airport (€28 each), and used the train to Centraal, then the tram to Banks. Then used the trams all day, went to the Nemo Museum, and tonight to the Latin District area, and stumbled on a wonderful place for Mediterranean food for dinner, Bazar. We topped off the night with some shopping at that European marvel, Primark. Checking out this morning and heading to the Avalon Vista, so glad to have another couple days to explore this amazing city!
  7. Although we haven’t experienced it yet, we have Banks Mansion booked for our pre-cruise night next week. We are very excited, the hospitality sounds amazing in all reviews. Complimentary snacks and drinks in the lounge and rooms, and full breakfast. Seems to be a very convenient location, too.
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