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About jrkstl

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    Cool Cruiser

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    St. Louis, MO
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  1. Just returned home from Viking's "Passage to Eastern Europe" itinerary from Budapest to Bucharest. We loved the trip, especially seeing things that weren't so "postcard" perfect. I found most areas to be quite beautiful, and the people encountered along the trip were very warm and friendly. And we totally fell in love with Romania (especially the Transylvania region.) I would highly recommend this trip - especially to those that are looking for a different, less-traveled slice of Europe. Jeff
  2. Just a couple more notes 🙂 The first night in Bucharest is actually part of the cruise, so the night in Brasov is actually the first night of the extension. We were staying in Bucharest at the JW Marriott Grand Hotel (VERY nice!), and they stored our luggage in a locked room near the check in area. Again - you have the option to take all of your items with you. If you decide to do this itinerary - PLEASE don't miss Transylvania! It was a very striking part of Europe, and not to be missed. Agree re: Climate Change, and it's getting to be a tad scary regarding weather patterns, etc. I've noticed that air turbulence is happening more frequently as well. Scary stuff! Jeff
  3. They gave us the option to leave whatever we didn’t want to take, but you could bring everything if you wanted. You check out of the hotel in Bucharest after the first night and they put your bag in storage (if you want). You then have your night in Braşov and then come back to the same hotel in Bucharest and then check in again for your two additional nights. Mind you, check in consisted of them handing you an envelope with your room keys. For us it was nicely done, and once we walked into our new room in Bucharest, the bags we left behind were waiting for us in the room. Regarding the waves, it was extreme for a river cruise (been on five now and have never felt anything like it) but nothing compared to what you experienced! We felt it more since we were in the lower level rooms. Regardless, it was an unusual weather event, and I doubt that this sort of thing is very common. We never felt unsafe, mind you. Jeff
  4. Hello again. Once we disembarked from the ship in Giurgiu, we were taken to Bucharest for our tour of the city, village museum, lunch, and then inside the Parliament. You had the option of Parliament, or Old Town walking tour - both included lunch and the village museum. After Parliament, we were taken to our hotel for the night. The trip to Transylvania left the next morning. We headed to Bran Castle on the first day, overnighted in Braşov, then toured Peles Castle the next morning before heading back to Bucharest. The order of castles may vary depending on time of year. We did Peles second since it was still during their Winter schedule, and they were closed on the first day. You will then come back to the same hotel in Bucharest, which is nice as they let you leave luggage there so you don’t have to schlep all of it to Transylvania. We then had a full free day in Bucharest, early bedtime, then very early wake up for our transfer to the airport. We thought the schedule was ideal, as it gave you extra free time to see what you want in Bucharest. Would have loved a bit more free time in Braşov, but you still get a good feel of it for the time that you’re there. If you’re considering this trip extension, please beware that it sells out far in advance. We booked our “Passage” cruise plus extension one year in advance. Hope this helps! Jeff
  5. Hello! We we did the cruise from Budapest to Bucharest, and then did the trip extension to Transylvania. LOVED it! Please ask away 🙂 Jeff
  6. Greetings! Just back from this itinerary (home last Friday) and we LOVED it. As pontac linked to above, there is a ton of info on the thread in the Roll Call section. If you have a specific question that I can answer, please let me know. Jeff
  7. Chateau des Flecheres was a major highlight for us too last year! Highly recommended! Hope that your trip continues to go well 🙂 Jeff
  8. Our first cruise (of any type) was the Romantic Danube, from Budapest to Nuremberg in August of 2015. I would highly recommend it as it includes quite a few of the highlights along this part of the Danube. Maybe you could do a pre-cruise stay in Budapest, then I would recommend the post-cruise trip to Prague. We did this and it was a great trip, and a perfect way to end our cruise. Regarding non-stop flights from New England. I kinda doubt that it would be possible as non-stop flights into Budapest/Prague, etc. aren't as easy to come by. I'd do some research first and then purchase Viking Air Plus to have a say in your flights. Since we usually have to connect (from St. Louis), we prefer doing this in Amsterdam as it is a much easier airport to deal with than say CDG (Paris) etc. Regarding time of year to travel - keep in mind that it might be hot. We experienced 100 degree days in both Germany and Prague... Enjoy! Jeff
  9. I absolutely second the rave review for the Top of Cologne tour. It was a major highlight of our trip! I would love to do it again too 🙂 Jeff
  10. Cruiselvr, Our very first cruise of any type was the Romantic Danube in 2015, and due to low water we encountered a ship swap midway through the trip. You know what? The lunch we had in a lovely beer garden in Passau was one of our favorite things, and Viking handled the swap so beautifully that we really didn’t care. In a few days we are embarking on Viking cruise number 5, so obviously it didn’t turn us away 😀. You’ll be in very good hands, so please don’t worry! Happy travels! Jeff
  11. This is correct. Since river cruise ships are typically under 200 passengers per sailing, it is extremely rare when two forum members are booked on the exact cruise. Having all sailings for a particular year allows for a full discussion, and is a great way to keep up with cruise info on a specific itinerary. Jeff
  12. I know that I'm in the minority, but I think that the drag cruise could be a ton of fun 🙂 Although, Phi-Phi O'Hara would need to go away... YMMV 😉 Jeff
  13. We leave for our 5th Viking cruise in three weeks - it’s the “Passage to Eastern Europe” itinerary from Budapest to Bucharest. Doing the post-cruise trip to Transylvania. Can’t believe that time is almost here Jeff
  14. We did the included tour in April of 2017, and thought that it was very good! It didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely picture perfect 🙂 Jeff
  15. FWIW, on our Rhine Getaway in April of 2017, we were originally booked at the Movenpick, but a few months prior to the cruise we were moved to the Renaissance Hotel, just across from Centraal Station. We absolutely loved the location and were quite happy with the move. I have no idea if they still use the Renaissance, but it was a good choice for us. Jeff
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