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Host Jazzbeau

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    Cruise Critic Host & 20,000+ Club
  • Location
    New York
  • Interests
    Jazz, food, wine
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    the next one
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Farther
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Host Jazzbeau's Achievements

  1. Another delay: Villa Vie All Set For July 30; Updates Itinerary
  2. Thanks for posting this thorough review. Now I understand why you prefer Viking: they provide more of the things you value than Scenic. It also reinforces my belief that Scenic provides more of the things that I value than Viking. Choice is good!
  3. In your case you could see the bundling and could choose to avoid it. But generally when this is stated here it would be better phrased “You are paying for it, whether you use it or not.”
  4. So Silversea understands that the Philippine Call Centre isn’t good enough to handle the really important things (taking bookings = revenue) but once they have your money, poor service is good enough for you.
  5. Drinking does tend to cause blackouts. Maybe try it with a picture of zero alcohol wine! 🤣 [oops… posted before noting that @CPT Trips had already made the same joke!]
  6. New article on Cruise Industry News: Neonyx Delays Service Start to 2025
  7. This is Viking's standard policy. Only Viking does this. There are many other river cruise lines you should look at (see the Stickies at the top of this forum) who have 90-120 day final payment dates.
  8. I'm in the middle of a week in Nova Scotia, and we're really enjoying the scenery and the food – especially Digby scallops at a restaurant in Digby, right at the harbor where the scallop boats unload their fresh hauls. [This has probably ruined us for scallops anywhere else, just as we won't eat lobster anywhere except in Downeast Maine.] But I want to comment on something else: the metric system! I believe that continental European countries have gone whole-hog metric. But it seems that English-speaking countries have a more complex relationship with it. In England, the road signs all show distances in miles and people still give their weight in stone [some people, people my age, ok old farts!]. And in Canada, every hotel room on this trip has had one of those new through-wall AC units and the temperature settings are all in Fahrenheit [although the units are usually made by Fujitsu, which is Japanese where they are metric]. So although the US is considered the last holdout for the Imperial system, it turns out that we have company in resisting the total hegemony of metric.
  9. Reading your review and comparing it to my experience on Scenic's 10-nt Douro sailing (same itinerary that @pontac mentioned above), my reaction is that you chose the exact opposite of the cruise that my research led me to. I had read about the rafting – because most of the 7-nt cruises have similar itineraries and end up in the same ports – so I chose Scenic's 10-nt which alters that rhythm and is usually alone in port. I knew that the Douro is a short river, so even going from Porto to the Spanish border and back isn't a lot of miles [or kms] – but the Douro is also one of the few rivers where all sailing is in the daytime so you get to experience it [most other European river cruises depart during dinner and sail through the night] so in that respect you got more 'sailing' experience than most first-time river cruises. I also knew that there wouldn't be many ports to walk around from the ship [except Pinhao and Regua as @pontac mentioned, but maybe your cruise didn't stop at these?] and that a coach would be necessary to get up the steep embankment even to nearby attractions. My biggest worry about a Douro cruise [as also about our upcoming Bordeaux cruise] is that my wife has zero interest in wine – so I paid attention to the excursion choices. Some cruise lines offer very few choices [and my impression is that Viking is like that] while others offer many [AMA and Scenic in my experience]. That led me to choose Scenic for the Douro [we had very few winery visits, thanks to the alternative choices] and AMA for Bordeaux [where again we will select the non-winery choices] – this is only an example, since we are oddballs in not wanting winery visits on wine-area cruises, but it shows how you can select a cruise to suit your particular interests. The one thing I didn't know about Porto is that all the river cruise lines except Scenic dock across the river in Vila Nova de Gaia where rafting is common – I was pleasantly surprised to find that Scenic owns its own dock right in Porto, so we were never rafted there and we could walk off the ship to sightsee Porto [and to get to our post-cruise hotel, which was a few meters away from the ship]. None of this is to criticize you: it is very hard to research river cruising before your first cruise, because you don't know what to ask about. [Even after multiple river cruises I didn't know to ask about the docking situation in Porto – I just lucked out!] It is also possible that river cruising, under the best circumstances, isn't for you. But I think you had the bad luck to choose a cruise that ended up being a bad choice for you on several levels. Now you know what to ask, and for a second cruise you can avoid many of the problems you experienced. If you are willing to try another, I suggest the Rhône which has a mixture of interests (gastronomy in Lyon, Roman ruins like the Pont du Gard, Valrhona chocolate, Van Gogh in Arles, Les Baux and the Carrières des Lumières, cowboys in Camargue, and of course wine). But no Rhône cruise includes all these options – you need to compare the itineraries for many different cruise lines and zero in on those experiences that are most interesting for you. We did the AMA 7-nt cruise from Lyon to Arles, and I'm now considering going back to do the Tauck 13-nt cruise from Cannes to Geneva because it focuses on the southern part of the Rhône and the Saône and therefore doesn't duplicate much of what we did in the middle part of the Rhône on AMA.
  10. I loved that restaurant! Did you have the garlic ice cream? A very zen experience: the bite of the garlic contrasted with the soothing creamy mouthfeel and cold as yin and yang [or vice versa, I never remember which is which]
  11. They refunded my overpayment promptly after letting me cancel a prepaid booking to take advantage of a sale offer.
  12. New article on Cruise Industry News: Apollo Funds to Acquire The Travel Corporation, Including Uniworld
  13. That’s true, but usually the pricing works opposite because people want to be high.
  14. @zak477 Many people want to see Lucerne and Zurich before flying home, and for many US cities the flight selection from Zurich is better than from Basel. There is very convenient train service from Basel to Lucerne and to the Zurich Airport (there is a train station right underneath the airport). So my guess is that they have found that most passengers want to fly from Zurich.
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