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About travelgenie

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  1. Spending a few days in Venice before a cruise in October, we have been to Venice twice so we are looking for recommendations for tour operators for a day trip into the wine country, maybe a tasting and smaller villages, etc. Planning to take the train to Verona, looking for something more quaint and in the countryside. Thanks!
  2. We are traveling with 2 other couples and have purchased the Ultimate Dining Package on the Anthem. Has anyone experienced problems with getting the reservation times and restaurants of your choosing? Have called RCCL and one agent told us that we would be assigned times and locations, the info in our cabins when we arrive. We would really like to be in control of where and when we eat, thanks for any input.
  3. We are cruising the Star in the fall, Venice to Athens. After several Viking river cruises, this will be our first ocean experience with them. Our port stops will be Venice, Koper, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Katakolon, Santorini and ending in Athens. We have cruised out of Venice twice with other lines, so I am familiar with that situation but am wondering the docking locations of these stops. The convenience and possibility of exploring on our own? Long bus trips with ships excursions? While I appreciate the port intensive itinerary, I am now questioning the process of the up early, long bus rides, rushed tour, very little or no free time, that we just experienced on our last river cruise this past fall. To be fair, our fall river cruise was impacted from extreme low water levels, the reason for the long bus rides and condensed tours. Having booked the Empires of the Med prior to our river cruise, it is still too fresh in my mind and the thoughts of getting back on a bus is not pleasant at the moment. I would appreciate any feedback and suggestions concerning this itinerary.
  4. We are looking for a small boutique style hotel with a day pass for the beach and a nice lunch. Not looking to go to large crowded beach, just somewhere relatively quiet and upscale. Suggestions???
  5. We were on the Anthem last February...we were really disappointed with the main dining rooms, we had My Time Dining. I miss the 2 story dining rooms on the smaller ships that have a grand feeling. The atmosphere in these dining rooms in nothing special with rushed service, of course this is just my opinion. We are going again this winter and have purchased the Ultimate Dining package so I think we will have a much better dining experience. I do believe if you have a suite, you can dine in The Coastal Kitchen which seemed to have a much better and quieter set up, but this is just my observation from sticking my head in the door.
  6. Just back from Viking, took my curling iron, no problem. This was our third trip on Viking and this was the first time someone pointed out that is says that in the paperwork, saw somewhere on these boards that they are removing that statement. No one mentioned the curling iron situation...
  7. We just returned Tuesday from Viking's Cities of Lights, left Prague and boarded in Bamberg on the Main River. We made it to Mainz and the ship could go no further, many other lines were also stranded there as well. Our next three planned stops were done by bus, we missed cruising the Rhine and Mosel to our final destination of Trier. Our trip continued to Paris from Mainz with a stop in Luxembourg, a long bus trip. Viking did arrange an smaller excursion boat with lunch to see the Rhine Gorge, still so lovely but the water levels were shockingly low, some areas so very narrow for boats to navigate, once you see for yourself, you can understand why this is such a nightmare for the River cruising industry. We were bussed to our planned stops thereafter, not ideal but we were at least able to stay on the same boat and no hotels. We were joined with some other Viking boats and heard stories of changing boats, long bus rides, a lot of unhappy people. We were notified before leaving that there might be a possibility of a disruption, the cruise before ours was not interrupted and Viking was very good and I felt honest about keeping us updated. Talking with guides and locals, they have never seen anything like this and say that it could take months for the rivers to recover. However, we had an amazing trip, the weather was totally awesome and while not so happy about long bus rides we did not let it ruin our vacation. We came home to a nice voucher that we can apply to another cruise that we had already planned for next year. Totally happy with our Viking experience, I wish everyone good luck with their planned cruising.
  8. We are just back from Vikings Cites of Lights, Prague to Paris. We made it as far as Mainz on the Main River and could not continue on the Rhine and Mosel as planned. Viking arranged a smaller local boat trip with lunch so we were able to do the Rhine Gorge, it was very apparent how low the water levels are, shockingly so in some areas, but still a beautiful trip. We were bussed to our other planned stops and spent all of the remainder nights on the boat. The worst for us was the very long day to Paris from Mainz, 3 hours to a stop in Luxembourg and another 4 1/2 hours to Paris. There were boats all over just stuck doing bus trips, I am sure it is a nightmare for Viking and other lines to figure out mid trip. Another Viking boat docked next to ours and I spoke to someone who was on their 4th move to a different boat, I am grateful we were at least able to stay on the same one. Everywhere we went the locals were talking about the extreme drought and heat this past summer, and it will take months or longer they say for the rivers to recover, not just one good rain fall. Prior to leaving we were told that we could be affected, the week before the trip went as planned, we were updated daily about the situation and hoped for the best. I think Viking did the best they could, it is a bad situation which I imagine is costing them quite a bit to make last minute changes to the itinerary. Wishing everyone who has a trip planned good luck...
  9. We leave for Vikings, Cities of Lights, Prague to Paris on Tuesday, wondering what the river levels are currently on that itinerary. We received an email a few days ago concerning the possibility of a disruption in our cruise. Does anyone here have any current information?
  10. We are ending our Viking cruise this fall with an extension in Paris. We are a group of 6 and I have been researching small group/private day tours to Normandy. Any recommendations for tour operators, I have seen many online but am looking for prior experiences from someone here. Also looking for one that we can customize as well, thanks for any tips!
  11. Considering this trip in 2019, the website does not give times in ports, has anyone been and know? Trying to make some comparisons with other lines before deciding and time in ports are important to us.
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