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About TheKingD

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    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    North Carolina
  • Interests
    Pottery and Glass Collecting, Travel, Sports, Wine, History
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  1. Thanks, Rich for the nice quote. I always love a Duckhorn wine, and I'm sure your suggestion is a special one. With all our hot weather in NC, our blue hydrangeas are long gone, and we are now into the season for our limelight ones that grow really large with lots of flowers that range in color from creamy white to a pale lime. Once those start, along with the crepe myrtles, we know it is summertime. Be safe and kind, everyone.
  2. Thanks for all the kindness, prayers, lovely photos and wine suggestion. Take good care all, Cindy
  3. Good morning, dear people. Our coast of NC had a lot of water damage and some dangerous tornadoes but we are inland and fine. Roy and others up the Eastern Seaboard, the tornadoes are scary so pay attention to warnings. I've never met a chocolate chip cookies I didn't like. Cindy
  4. Thanks, Rich, for suggesting Sauvignon Blanc - one of my favorite summertime wines. I'm curious if you have a Falanghina to suggest because that is also a good summertime wine. I appreciate all the good cheer on this post, and I love the flowers, sunrises and sunsets and pets in the pictures. The hurricane will get to us in NC tonight sometime, and we are far enough inland that we will have rain and wind with the threat of downed trees and power outages, but hopefully everyone in the path will stay safe. Adding prayers to everyone, and stay kind. Cindy
  5. We were on the Debussy in June 2019, and we had extra shipboard credits because we chose to use cash for gratuities. The onboard excursion person helped us arrange a private car and driver for three of us, and it was our favorite day of the entire cruise. If there is a day that the excursions all seem more for larger groups or if you have already been to certain towns, I highly recommend having a private excursion, because you can get off the beaten path and have a very memorable experience. We had a van with a driver and a guide, and we went into the countryside and the guide was very good at planning most of the day as we went along, based on our input. We had lunch at a darling place where we were the only tourists, we toured a winery operated by a family the guide knew personally, and we visited an herb farm that also had fields of lavender. The guide was very knowledgeable and engaged us in conversations while we were riding, so it was truly a special day and very immersive in German history and culture. I'm also love a massage, but I would much prefer to spend time with a delightful German couple in their gorgeous countryside!
  6. Thanks to all for the pictures of beautiful flowers and scenery. Sending prayers all around for health, safety and happiness. It is hot as the dickens here in NC, and the storm is headed our way, but probably much weaker by the time it gets here, so we should be fine. Cindy
  7. Good morning to the regulars on this topic. Even though I've never cruised on HAL, I love looking at the cheerful and sweet messages on this board. I stumbled on a prayer that I now say every day, and I want to share it with you kind folks: Whenever I am downcast, O Lord, help me to remember the people I have enjoyed and loved. I hope I neither forget them when they are gone, nor take them for granted while they are alive. Those who have meant so much to me, may I mean increasingly more to them. Bind us together, O Lord, in such a way that our lives may share the glory and the pain that comes to each of us, and grant that as I walk in the strength of the ones who are stronger than I, I may also suffer for the sake of the ones who are weaker than I. Cindy
  8. SusieQft, we were booked on the Ravel for a cruise to begin on April 24, 2020, and we waited for Crystal to cancel, which they did on March 20 . We decided to receive 100% refund, and our TA advised us on March 27 that Crystal confirmed our decision and that we would receive the 100% refund. We are getting close to the 90-day mark, and I checked my AmEx account today and there is no mention of a refund yet. I'll let you know when the refund shows up. Thanks for doing this, and take good care. Cindy & John
  9. Notamermaid, is your family friend near Charlotte, NC? If he is, that is where we are, so if there is something we can do to help him, please let us know and we will do our best. We are not spring chickens so we are being really careful, but at the same time trying to carry on with some degree of normalcy. Sometimes it helps to be able to connect with a kindred spirit. Take good care, Cindy & John
  10. I received my survey and completed it and submitted it. My husband has not gotten one, but maybe Crystal has heard him emphatically state that "unless Crystal brings a river ship over to the Mississippi, he is DONE!" Crystal knows I will be back when I can. I breezed right through #12 because I'm a nerd CPA who has been interpreting the SBA's PPP language for several months now :) Cindy
  11. We were on the Debussy on the Rhine enjoying the Cologne skyline and bridge with the full moon shining down on us in June 2019.
  12. There is definitely no need to drag formal wear or even "church clothes" because the daytime dress code is completely casual, and the dining room at night is no shorts or ball caps, and is probably close to "country club casual". I wore casual dresses sometimes or casual slacks and tops, any my DH wore khakis or slacks with golf shirts or dress shirts without a tie or jacket. Some men might have been slightly more dressy, but no one seemed to even notice. I think the evening dress code is collared shirts for men as opposed to just t-shirts, but I'm not sure. We went the beginning of June and were really lucky with our weather and the river levels, with no issues at all. Every evening was perfect weather for sitting on the top deck before and after dinner. Some of the afternoons were spent cruising, especially through the picturesque sections of the river, and most of the evenings were cruising, and the top deck was definitely the place to be for that. We had watched the information about river levels the year before our trip, because that was the time that a number of cruise lines had issues. Crystal does not have enough ships to do the "swaps" so their backup plan is to simply change the itineraries to avoid the low areas. We are glad we did not experience low levels, but if we had, we would have been much happier with itinerary adjustments as opposed to ship swaps and bus trips. The lower density on Crystal is apparent not only onboard the ship, but it is also really nice on excursions. Some excursions might have included only a handful of people, and some were maybe 20 or so, but we never felt as if we were being herded around. Even though the single supplement on Crystal is a bit pricey, our cruise definitely had a handful of singles in the mix, because some of the groups of people included some singles, so the 106 capacity ended up being in the 90's since some cabins only had 1 passenger. Crystal has adjusted their deposit and cancellation policies and they may continue to make adjustments, and their website stays current, so keep an eye out. We have always used our TA for bookings, because they are very familiar with Crystal, and they keep us informed with plenty of details and suggestions and even last-minute logistical tidbits.
  13. I totally echo tfred's comments. I have been on AMA and Crystal, and we were supposed to be on Crystal on the Danube this week. 😞 We did the Rhine (Basel to Amsterdam) last June on Crystal, and it was better than our expectations in every way. Tfred mentioned the ships are the same size, and Crystal has less than 100 guests, so you have a chance to meet most of the people, and that is really fun. We spent a lot of the cruising time on the top deck where there are very comfortable lounging areas and a bar, and the panoramic views are much better than trying to see it from a cabin. It is better being up higher, plus you can see both sides of the river. All the cabins have the same size windows, even though some of the cabins are smaller. The entire wall is a window that either opens with a screen or opens entirely from the top to half-way down. I love a veranda on an ocean ship, but I can assure you that you do not need that on a river ship. Our cabin last year was near the back of the ship, so we were very close to being able to walk outside directly from our deck, and a little seating area was a great spot to be in the morning or almost any time. It was like our own veranda, and the view was much better. The gratuities and most excursions are included, and there is usually a special evening concert in a famous venue that is just for Crystal and that is also complimentary. The drinks, wine and beer are included, with maybe some exceptions for really high-end spirits. The food is prepared to order and is as good as top-notch restaurants. Room service is also available as are 24/7 snacks in the Bistro or coffee area. Crystal has a complimentary self-service laundry room with high-end washers and dryers and everything you would need to do laundry. Crystal has pre-cruise and post-cruise hotel options, and they are at really nice hotels and are a bit pricey, but they include transportation to and from the airport to the hotel. At the end of a long night of being in airports and airplanes, sometimes it is reassuring to get your bags in the airport and see someone holding a tablet with you name on it! We started our Rhine cruise in Basel, and our pre-cruise days were in Zurich, and Crystal picked us up at the airport and took us to the hotel, and then they picked us up at the hotel and took us to Basel to board the ship. There were three of us traveling together, and the transportation was in a nice Mercedes passenger van with just the three of us and the driver. Our TA has scored us some shipboard credits, and those are rarely needed on Crystal River since everything is included, so we had the destination manager on the ship help us arrange a private excursion one day and that was the most memorable day we had. I think it cost us about $25 over and above our credits, and the kind young man who helped us arrange it apologized about that! We had a driver, a guide, and the three of us in a Mercedes passenger van, and we went to some local vineyards off the beaten path, a lavender & herb farm, and a lunch spot up on the side of a mountain accessible by a chair lift. I'm sure we were the only tourists in the restaurant. We are in our 60's, and we had our 32-year-old son with us, and he was not the youngest person and we were not the oldest, but maybe close. I would say the average age was 50's - 60's. There were plenty of groups of 4 or 6 or even larger, and there were plenty of couples. I encourage you to look at the Crystal offerings, and you will not be disappointed. Good luck, Cindy
  14. Thanks Notamermaid - I really needed that this morning too! Cindy
  15. Roy, count us into your cheering section as you make your way home. Cindy & John
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