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About Mura

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    Brooklyn, New York USA
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    music, photography, travel
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  1. Interesting. Some of us love aft cabins ... obviously not everyone does! It helps to know what you like and what you might encounter. Hence, the questions we see here. Mura
  2. Not so much a special menu but you can get hot dishes. Certainly that is true for PH and above, and I think it also applies to Concierge. Correct me someone if I'm wrong on that. So even if you don't see that you can have an omelet, you can write it in. And not just omelets. I'm talking about breakfast in the room, not "room service". All rooms can choose from the room service menu which you will find in the booklet in all rooms. Mura
  3. Many say yes, many say no. It depends on what YOU want and what you value. Yes, the laundry turn-around is 3 days, and in our experience (in a higher level cabin) it was often 2 days. Mura
  4. Our first cruises in modern times (i.e., 1999) were with Renaissance, so were on the "R" ships: the first on the R2 (now REGATTA), the second on the R5 (now NAUTICA), and the last on the R7 (now with Azamara, I believe). These were not TAs, but our first TAs (on Oceania) WERE on "R" ships. We had no problem with doing so on these smaller ships. For us there are a perfect size, although I admit we like just as well the extra facilities on Marina/Riviera. If you are afraid of the small size on a TA then I agree you should consider trying out Marina/Riviera first... but I wouldn't agree that it is absolutely necessary to do so, especially if you are aware of fewer onboard activities on sea days and that fact doesn't bother you. We've had "seasick" says -- well, *I* have, DH never does -- but we've had those on the QE2 as well! The route can also be a factor. I just checked and see you were asking about Southampton-NYC. We've done the reverse a couple of times, but only on Marina. Our "R" ships TAs were the southern route. Even so, I wouldn't worry about it. From what I saw of the last comments on this year's RTW cruise on INSIGNIA I didn't see any negative comments about weather or the condition of the seas for the last part of their trip. Mura
  5. I'm going slightly off-topic but I've been known to take my favorite hot salsa to my local diner. Now they carry decent salsa so I don't have to ... did I teach them something? I have no idea!
  6. Pinot, I wasn't trying to compare Viking River to any other line since Viking is the only one we've tried. We enjoyed the first two very much, but not the third. That was partly because of what we perceived as tight-wadiness on Viking's part as well as the overcrowded French rivers. (We assume that with the growth of river boat companies and lots of new ships that the French rivers aren't the only ones to have this problem.) And as I did say, on that last cruise we visited a number of places that we had done by car on our own and those car visits were far superior. Mura
  7. Neither DH nor I have any food allergies or restrictions, but I have to say that almost invariably comments here at CC have been positive about the gluten free options. I was surprised to see OP's opinion -- not saying you are wrong! We all have our opinions about what food is good and what is not. It's understandable that if you are unhappy with the food options you have, you don't want to return. I agree with the suggestions that you speak with the chef. Mura
  8. There is a set schedule for when you can first make reservations online. Someone will post them, I know! Or you should find them at the website. Insides will have to wait for all the higher levels to book FIRST, which can be a drawback BUT you are guaranteed a reservation in each restaurant (only 2 specialties on Insignia). The problem could be getting the time you want if you want to dine alone. Many of us will opt for earlier or later times, or also share tables. You can share with people you have already met (say at your roll call) or people who are assigned to your table. We've had good luck with both options. They do NOT book all the tables online. They hold back a certain number for those passengers who are not internet-savvy. Once on board there is always a chance you can get extra reservations. That is a CHANCE, not a guarantee.
  9. Here is another vote for Kuoda to MP! Very reasonably priced for what you get. Our guide and driver were wonderful, as were the accommodations. On one day our guide asked us if a box lunch would be okay since finding a restaurant of any type would have been difficult and we all said yes. Instead he cooked a meal for us, imported a table and chairs, drinks, etc. This was service above and beyond! Off-topic, I had rattlesnake and "gray squirrel out of season" when at summer camp a few hundred years ago. As I recall, BOTH tasted like chicken! Mura
  10. Top suites DO have a couple of bottles beer in the fridge, but nothing harder.
  11. To be honest it was a "gift" because they wanted our PH on an Alaska cruise and they "bribed" us with a Vista on Marina (she was brand new and we'd wanted to try her anyway) for a Med cruise. Plus they gave us even more OBC than we'd already had ... The PH was half the cost of the VS so for us it was a no-brainer. Mura
  12. We were doing a land trip to Europe in 1998. Our plan was to start out in Bern, go with friends to Prague for several days, then go to Berlin to meet my Danish friend for the first time (we met online) for more time. Everything got turned upside down when our friend broke her ankle and had to cancel the trip with us. So we started out in Bern, then took the train to Prague. We spent several days there, then took the train to Berlin where our Danish friend "uninvited" us for our visit with her after Berlin and on top of that was unable to meet us in Berlin because of a family emergency. So we added on time in Berlin (we had a relative living there which helped) and then went BACK to Prague while we tried to change our flight reservations home from Brussels to Paris. When that worked out we went to Paris without any reservations and ended up having the best time we ever had there. Loved Berlin which was most unexpected, at least to me. The extra time in Prague was also worth it. We ended up with a week each in Prague and Berlin, and an unexpected several days in Paris. So, the moral is make lemonade out of lemons ... Couldn't have done this on a cruise!
  13. Amazing how these topics morph. I was replying and then saw that PaulChili had posted something so I looked at his post and then lost my answer here! It has taken a long time to find the thread although usually when I find the thread I find my beginning message ...not this time, however. (Not blaming you Paul! I should have waited to check out your post.) We did three Viking river cruises: Amsterdam-Basel in October 2003, China in May 2008 and Avignon/Paris/Normandy/Paris (a B2B) in 2012. We haven't returned to river boats since then but that was largely because of the overcrowded situation on the rivers, especially in France! When you are triple decked in a port and have to climb over the other 1-2 boats to get to land, it's not fun. On that cruise we also felt that Viking was saving money which affected our enjoyment. When you have 150 people at dinner with only 5 servers, it takes a VERY long time to finish your meal. But we did enjoy the river cruises. You don't have to unpack every night (just as with a "real" cruise) and you dock right in town. That is not to say that we didn't also thoroughly enjoy the self-drive trips we've done over the years. Yes, we had more time to spend if we wanted to stay on. A number of the ports we visited on the last Viking river boat trip we had visited on our own several years earlier, and I will agree those earlier visits were superior. Then again, having been there before we didn't mind not having so much time on the Viking trip. Our three days in Normandy in November 2002 were far superior to the half day we had on the river boat! BUT ... just as with ocean cruises where you have one day in port, it can give you an idea of where you could like to return. And it's so nice not to have to drag luggage in and out of a hotel! Still, based on our French river tour in 2012 we were turned off just because of the "overbuilding" of river boat cruises. It's not different from an "R" or "O" ship being in a major port with several behemoths ... Mura
  14. Once you are at the site there really isn't a lot of walking. I was having knee problems when we were there and I had no trouble covering the ground I wanted to. Climbing up to the top was not in my plans! So 4 hours might well be all you want to do. OTOH, it's a fascinating part of the world that contains MORE than MP ... So we were very happy to have done our 6 day tour with fabulous guides. I still advocate a post-cruise visit as well but I can't chose for you what to do! And we did do this part at the beginning, NOT the end. Mura
  15. I understand your unhappiness given the situation. Somewhere in the past I had an email address for the concierge on our ship. I was setting up a Meet&Greet and suddenly they wanted me to contact this person rather than just meeting the concierge on boarding. So I'd say that if you can find an email address for one of the officers on your cruise, that might solve your problem. But you might not need to do that! I had a birthday on a cruise a couple of years ago and I just told the concierge about that upon boarding. If your anniversary is not on boarding day, I think you could do that as well. They do make lovely cakes on such occasions ... If you want to surprise your spouse, I'm sure talking to the concierge could accomplish that as well. Mura
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