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Non Partisan Cruiser

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About Non Partisan Cruiser

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Why am I not on a cruise?
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Loyal to no one.

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  1. We've always wanted to check out the Christmas markets and the prices for those cruises seem like a bargain. We just need to decide if we want longer warmer days or the festive Christmas atmosphere. So many factors to consider . . .
  2. I hear you and I'm sure you're right. I read that a lot. I have a hard time giving up control of our vacation planning; even a little. lol More than once I've been accused of over-researching and over-planning. I say there's no such thing. Additionally, I'm a visual learner so I need to see the options. Spreadsheets are my friend. I also worry some agents steer clients to certain cruise lines based on incentives for the travel agents. I do see people occasionally describing good deals offered through individual agents so I will explore. The hard part is finding a good one. I do a lot of leg work and researching before contacting a travel agent and thus far have been disappointed in the agent's expertise. I know there are good ones, just need to find one who is patient, puts my interests first, and is very knowledgeable.
  3. Thank you for your input. Uniworld is still high on our list. Especially like that we can book through a well-known club warehouse for a discount.
  4. Thank you! The first cruise line specific itinerary I've added to my spreadsheet. I like it a lot.
  5. I'm glad to hear you've had several good experiences with Avalon, that's helpful input. The Panorama ship is the type of ship we're looking to cruise. Cabin size and layout is one of our most important criteria. Spending a week or more in a cramped poorly layout cabin is not for us. Add to that, a better chance at a lack of rafting is a definite plus, (assuming your experience is indicative of future conditions, but who knows?) Something for me to research. I'm not familiar with the Moselle and Rhine from Remich Luxembourg to Amsterdam route, but a cursory search on Google has me intrigued. Thanks for sharing that.
  6. No, I haven't signed up for brochures. Worried if I request brochures it'll be a lifelong commitment and we will be inundated with junk mail for all eternity. I was waiting to whittle down our list of prospective suitors before I took the big step. We love to take photographs so the slow walking tour is something we would be interested in doing. Commando walking tours and photography don't mix well. We are always stopping for photographs and running to catch up.
  7. We haven't given up on Viking by any means. I appreciate your input. Good to hear the service was top-notch. The Aquavit terrace experience is right up our alley. Eating a meal outside is one of our favorite ocean cruise pastimes. I fully expect we will do pre and post stays. Nice to hear Viking excels in that area as we will need a little hand holding. If we're going to travel that far, we're going to take advantage being in Europe and explore some.
  8. How to place a valuation on the Crystal "experience" is my quandary. Your characterization of the experience as not "too fancy for us" is what I would want to hear. We like exceptional service, but we don't want fancy of formal. The clientele is somewhat important to us as we don't want to deal with rude or selfish people. I would hope river cruising in general has a little better clientele than most mass market ocean cruise lines. That's the main reason why we don't cruise with Carnival. Too many rude people; one and done for us. So many are making a very compelling case for Crystal.
  9. In the event of low water levels I would much prefer not to do a ship or bus swap. Changing the itineraries to avoid the low water level sections sounds so much better as packing and unpacking does not appeal to us in the least. The dress code sounds perfect. Obviously the lower density pax comes with a dollar price, but it doesn't seem prohibitive. I'm trying really hard to stay objective, but Crystal is so compelling. lol
  10. I really hope all the cruise lines can survive this, but I fear the longer the shutdown lasts the less likely everyone will survive. I checked the company that owns Crystal and if I read correctly they had about $595 million in cash at the end of 2019. I wonder what their cash burn rate is for all their businesses. Hopefully they can weather the storm with their current cash balance or get additional financing.
  11. If I understand correctly and I'm playing the odds, going in the spring/early summer is more likely to not encounter water level problems. I've read that occasionally there are high water issues which I would assume occur in the spring?
  12. Great one stop shop info! Copied and pasted into my spreadsheet. Your list makes comparing so much easier. Crystal seems to be heads and shoulders above the rest and Gate1 is now much less appealing.
  13. That sounds terrible. Packing and unpacking defeats the purpose of a cruise in my view. I would hope I could reschedule to a later date?
  14. Wow, I didn't realize Viking had a year in advance deposit requirement. Good thing I'm starting my research now! I really don't put too much weight on negative reviews unless there is a pattern. I'm bad about only writing reviews when we've had a negative experience. After a bad experience I'm much more motivated, but I'm working on writing positive reviews as well. Still have a ways to go though. lol
  15. Viking's price point seems very reasonable and I'm still looking at them. After perusing Viking's cabin sizes I think we would pay more for the veranda cabin given the french balcony looks quite small.
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