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About franski

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Travel (obviously....) - love the planning as well as the actualy experience!! Quilting, gardening,
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Most river cruise lines - although Avalon "fits" us these days....
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    I love any trip that takes us to Budapest....

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  1. That is good news!! I was very honest about the location of the hotel in my review of the trip - so maybe others voiced the same concern. A 10 minute walk to the Arc du Triumph sounds like a great location.... Fran
  2. The biggest issue in Paris with Avalon after that cruise (IMHO) was the location of the hotel. it was not central at all. It was great from the perspective of getting to the airport (airport bus stopped right outside) but it was horrible from a sightseeing perspective. Now, I have been to Paris a few times - so I am comfortable making my own way around the city - but there are definitely "better" places to stay if you are planning a stay on your own. Not sure if their hotel has changed since I was there with them (about 5 years ago....). I found their included tour pretty standard --> bus takes you to see many of the "major" sites (mostly drive by...), guides are knowledgeable etc. but, if you want an in-depth experience, you might not feel this meets your expectations. There is no way you can see even a fraction of Paris in the length of time you are there. If there is something you *really* want to see - and want to have lots of time to spend there, book on your own. But - if you have not been before, the included tour is a good way to get a taste of what makes Paris so magical. Fran
  3. I wonder how many bookings they will lose because of the lag time on this. We were actually looking at doing Egypt with them this year - and the price (initially) was quite good... but they kept delaying the release of their extensions, which means we couldn't book our air without confirming what extensions would be available. Extensions finally came out (contingent on number of bookings....) - but by then the price jumped significantly. We ended up booking with another company that could confirm prices before we booked. Fran
  4. There is so much to do in Budapest... It is one of our favourite cities in Europe - and we always find something to do. Much of the city is walkable. Although the Parliament tickets are best purchased in advance, there are lots of things to see and do that don't require pre-booking. Of course, a trip to the market is a must... and can take up a chunk of time wandering both the main and upper levels. Walk over to the Cave Church - just across the bridge from the market. On the Buda side, you can visit the Hospital in the Rock. By the Chain Bridge - walk over to the Shoes on the Danube memorial. A visit to the House of Terror is a sobering reminder of what the people is Budapest lived through. You can go out to Statue Park. We booked a tour that included that park - and were picked up in a Trabant for the tour. My DH was *very* excited about that!! And the food!! I would highly recommend a visit to Café Kor. In Amsterdam, a museum that is not as well known in the Dutch Resistance Museum. Walkable from Dam Square - and no line-ups to get in. We also did a WWII walking tour that was really interesting... We love river cruising... (#15 coming up this month....) - and have rarely (if ever) been bored. We will look at outside excursions if we have already visited a port that is included. If you have an idea of things you might want to see, the cruise director (and/or concierge, on a Viking boat) can assist with planning.) Enjoy!! Fran
  5. We went to Munich after a cruise on the Rhine a few years ago. We wanted to avoid Oktoberfest - as it increases the cost of everything (hotels, food, transportation) in Munich. What I discovered (much to my surprise....) - is that Oktoberfest *isn't* in October!! I agree with Coral about asking friends who are "well traveled" - and go from there. I consider myself fairly well traveled, and almost always use a TA. I like knowing I have someone "at home" that I can contact for support if needed. Fran
  6. I am not vegan - but did look at what was offered on our cruise out of interest... (We were on the Kong Harald). What I noticed was very similar to what Aliyah17 has posted... one or two items - certainly not a lot of options or variation. I must say that the dining room staff was very accommodating as far as allergies/food preferences. But, it was more "one offs" - instead of a specific diet plan. I would have felt cheated if I had booked expecting a robust menu that was not available. Fran
  7. We stayed at the First Marin. Found the location good for restaurants, and wandering around the Bryggen area. Close to the Tourism office, and the Funicular. We walked to the Hurtigruten dock - but sent our luggage with our cousins as one of them not particularly mobile (especially with cobblestones....). When we returned, it was pouring out, so hailed a cab at the terminal back to the hotel. Our flight the next morning was very early - the hotel provided us with a bag breakfast (too early for the included buffet) - and then we walked over to the bus stop to catch the bus to the airport. Fran
  8. We stayed at the Hotel Agneshof for 2 nights after we got off our cruise from Budapest (we had already been to Prague, so opted for extra time in Nuremberg). https://www.sorat-hotels.com/en/hotel/agneshof-nuernberg.html It was in the old town, very close to the old town square, and easily walkable to restaurants, the castle etc. They would be able to call a taxi for you to get to the boat. Fran
  9. We did our Tulip Time in Mid-March... Earlier than I wanted to go, but the deal was so good that I couldn't pass it up. We had amazing weather... the only times it rained was when we were sailing. The gardens were lovely - and although you could see areas that were not yet in full bloom, there were enough full gardens that we didn't feel as if we missed anything. We were given a bag lunch (there were multiple return options) - and we sat on a bench in the sunshine and enjoyed the view while we ate. We did see some of the surrounding farms in bloom on the bus ride there - but not all were tulips. Enjoy!! Fran
  10. I believe they will be starting in the new year. If you have travelled with them before, you can refer someone - they get $150 (I think) off their booking - and the person referring gets $150 off their next trip. Contact them and ask. If that is true - and you can wait to book - contact me off-line (franski@rogers.com) and you can use my name. Not sure if I will be travelling with Uniworld again any time soon, but don't really care. If you can get a discount - happy to help!! Fran
  11. We did Peru with Avalon earlier this year... Truly an amazing experience. My biggest regret was not having enough time on the river --> we only had 4 nights. Having 7 nights will make this a really memorable trip. Fran
  12. Will be following your posts. We leave for Egypt in just over 6 weeks - (not with Viking, however....) spending time in Israel and Jordan after. We have 3 nights at the Dead Sea - and have a private tour booked to Masada - so am interested in your thoughts after your visit. Fran
  13. Keith - The options in Normandy were all included excursions... so, you did not have to make a decision until the day before. Everyone got to go. True optionals will be available on the "My Avalon" portal about 3 months before you sail. But, again, you don't have to decide until you board. It is very seldom that an optional tour will be sold out. It would be more common that it would be cancelled due to lack of interest. That being said, we pre-booked an optional tour to Zaanse Schans when we did the Flanders Fields tour. There were only about 10 of us on the tour - but they did not cancel as they had that number confirmed - and so had pre-booked the guide. The Avalon Rep at the hotel said they usually don't cancel if tours are pre-booked. But, don't know how real that is. Category of rooms does not play into bookings. We almost always travel Aquarium class - and have never had an issue with booking, or had an optional fill up to the point we couldn't go. On our Paris/Normandy cruise, we did our own thing in Rouen, and back in Paris --> as we had already done the general "included tours" in both places. Fran
  14. We did Paris/Normandy with Avalon 2 years ago... We had done the Seine previously (our 1st river cruise) with Uniworld a number of years ago - and wanted to revisit the river. Avalon allowed us to sail the same river, but have a different experience. For the day in Normandy, there were 3 options. All were full day tours - and included lunch. One group went to the American sites, one group went to the Canadian/British sites - and the 3rd option was a tour to Bayeux to see the tapestries - and then to a distillery in Calvados to see how they made the apple brandy. My DH went on the Canadian/British tour. We had been to the beaches before, so I went to see the tapestries, then onto the distillery. Fran
  15. The Delta Works manages water flow (if necessary) before the swells even get into the canals. A pretty impressive bit of engineering. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delta_Works Fran
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