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robinlynn

Jusr booked Viking from Amsterdam to Basel for next May 9

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Also just booked the Viking Rhine Getaway on Viking Gullveig for 9 May 2014. It is our first River Cruise. We have done many Ocean cruises mainly on Celebrity. Tom is retired Military and Joyce is a retired DODDS Spec Ed Teacher. Years ago we drove a portion of the Rhine from Wiesbaden to Koblenz which included a wonderful night in fantastic Rudesheim. We have always wanted to return and are excited about this cruise.

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Also just booked the Viking Rhine Getaway on Viking Gullveig for 9 May 2014. It is our first River Cruise. We have done many Ocean cruises mainly on Celebrity. Tom is retired Military and Joyce is a retired DODDS Spec Ed Teacher. Years ago we drove a portion of the Rhine from Wiesbaden to Koblenz which included a wonderful night in fantastic Rudesheim. We have always wanted to return and are excited about this cruise.[/QU

 

So glad to see your posting. We are Robin and Larry from Parkland Florida.

Our last two cruises were on Celebrity, which we loved, but were ready for a change.

This will be our first visit to Germany. My husband recently retired and this will be our first trip back to Europe since his retirement. Very busy using new found free time visiting our kids and grandkids!

Getting excited and beginning to do a little research about some of the ports.

Robin

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Well, its been 5 months since my initial posting, and very little new posting activity on this cruise.... Any new cruisers going on this trip, and any new information from those of you who already posted earlier this year or have recently come back from this cruise??

 

It looks like we will be taking the train from Basel to Montreux, staying at the Fairmont Palace for significantly less than the Viking offer.

 

I have been doing research about the trains for day trips to Gruyere and maybe even Chaminox (Mont Blanc). The lake steamers go to Lausanne, Geneva, and all of the beautiful towns on the lake from Montreux.

 

With the holidays coming up fast, I know the next several months will fly.

With a little less six months to go, I am starting to get a bit excited already.

 

I hope fellow cruisers can keep this thread going!!

 

Robin

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Looking forward to hearing about our new ship by March/April?

Thought by now I would have been "clued in" through one of my forums "followed" regarding fall cruise participants, but I guess I'll go to do some river cruise forum review in a while?

Have attempted to influence Cruise Critic to improve its structure for river cruises, to no end. Have actually emailed a senior VP at Viking and can report some kinds of news, a little of benefit here, other stuff just reminding all of us that most companies are just top down and we are pretty much not viewed as providing much of value -- EXCEPT when we complain loudly! Who knew? Of general interest, much of what is mailed out 4-6 weeks ahead of time will now be proudly posted on their website (look for stuff in the near future). As to water levels and the viability of Basel (vs the necessity of Breisach) as well as the problems with high/low water levels on the Danube, apparently Viking doesn't believe in global warming and does not expect similar problems in 2014! (I've been reading about Norway for next June/July and just as in Alaska and British Columbia, the Norwegian glaciers are also becoming smaller -- recently also saw a program on Nepal/Tibet and problems regarding melting snow pack as well.

Apparently river cruise companies don't have a trade association and Viking has no interest in promoting better structure for river cruises on Cruise Critic, although they want to make their own website more information-rich.

Obviously past passengers on river cruises cannot see any way to post about common river ports, nor is it easy to at least find others with the same itinerary/company or even the same ship. Obviously a traditional Roll Call only makes sense if companies like Viking suggest to their customers to go to CC and post -- AND they obviously have no motivation to do so (could obviously just give them more problems?).

I also discussed at Breisach the possibility of a choice between two morning tours (Colmar and Black Forest) that sounded like a possibility -- but only in 2015! Oh well.

 

Currently doing last minute planning for our December 14/28 vacation and need to be helpful for Thanksgiving dinner and family who also stay with us. Have been busy organizing the week between the end of this river cruise and our 26 June Norwegian cruise. (Ghent, Bruge, Amsterdam) And then there is Norway and 8 ports!

 

Hope anybody following this thread who finds a report of a Viking Rhine cruise this fall/winter, return and notify us where to look?

My best,

DJ:)

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huntersyaya

 

Thank you for the detailed review. I am hoping to book for late June or early Sept. for 2015. Think after reading these posts we will book a hotel in Basel and take the train for a day trip to Lucerne.

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Hi we just booked the Basel to Amsterdam on Avalon for July. It seems that the Avalon itinerary and Viking itineraries are almost identical. I look forward to following this thread. We are planning a day or two post cruise in Amsterdam. Will report back what I find out on trip advisor.

 

We are hooked on River cruising to enable us to see much of Europe in an enjoyable and relaxing manner.

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huntersyaya

 

Thank you for the detailed review. I am hoping to book for late June or early Sept. for 2015. Think after reading these posts we will book a hotel in Basel and take the train for a day trip to Lucerne.

 

Depending on your schedule, you might just find that a hotel across from the train station would minimize your stress? Nothing life just walking across the street to the train and on return? We have reserved the Hotel D because it is modern and located near old town (in case we have any energy the night after arrival or the morning before the ship). Starting now for 2015 and perhaps working through TripAdvisor you might have some luck in finding both the logistics and a marginally reasonable price? Because we have the time, we selected Amsterdam as an end-point and added 12 nights of Norway for our mountains/lakes/snow-covered peaks experience.

Good luck,

DJ:)

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Hi we just booked the Basel to Amsterdam on Avalon for July. It seems that the Avalon itinerary and Viking itineraries are almost identical. I look forward to following this thread. We are planning a day or two post cruise in Amsterdam. Will report back what I find out on trip advisor. We are hooked on River cruising to enable us to see much of Europe in an enjoyable and relaxing manner.

 

Hello,

As an anticipating novice to river cruising, wanted to start with a shorter experience (than Budapest/Amsterdam) and decided to end at Amsterdam (a city in which we are reasonably comfortable as we spent a week there 3 summers ago after a Baltic cruise). So far, find the ports often the same, but there are differences. A couple I've found includes one company that gives a choice of tours at Breisach (France vs Germany) and although all apparently visit Cologne, for some it is an evening visit (after dinner) and I anticipate for Viking it is a most-of-day visit with open time in the afternoon. I see some tour companies include a day in Amsterdam (a city that deserves at least three and in which we had no trouble remaining busy for most of a week with one day to Arnhem) and another actually starts the tour in Zurich. If we get hooked, maybe we will do a cruise in France with a following Mediterranean cruise?

 

REALLY hoping that folks do a detailed posting on their experiences on the Basel/Amsterdam, Amsterdam/Basel river cruise (and then I also hope that we can find them).

DJ:)

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Hello

 

We did the Amsterdam to Basel last May the same week as you. The tulips at Keukenhof were spectacular. Not to be missed. Also Colmar was a treat. We'll worth the visit. Relax and have a wonderful time.

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Hello

We did the Amsterdam to Basel last May the same week as you. The tulips at Keukenhof were spectacular. Not to be missed. Also Colmar was a treat. We'll worth the visit. Relax and have a wonderful time.

 

As you are going Amsterdam to Basel, maybe if you air is not set you could arrive a couple of days earlier? If you've visited Amsterdam before, maybe a day in Keukenhof the first week in May will still be wonderful? I believe that you can research how to reserve such a day with either train or bus. Until MDW stops teaching, we will miss as mid- to late-May will be our earliest date.

 

Am hoping that Viking will allow choice between Black Forest and Colmar next June. What did you do in Colmar? Looks like a lovely town and just not somewhere to learn about wine making of review WWII (thankfully, although history-sensitive, you perhaps have to be in your 80s for such an emphasis: for example, in our last day's visit to Le Havre, we visited Rouen and Honfluer, having no interest is revisiting Normandy Beaches and memorials.).

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As you are going Amsterdam to Basel, maybe if you air is not set you could arrive a couple of days earlier? If you've visited Amsterdam before, maybe a day in Keukenhof the first week in May will still be wonderful? I believe that you can research how to reserve such a day with either train or bus. Until MDW stops teaching, we will miss as mid- to late-May will be our earliest date.

 

Am hoping that Viking will allow choice between Black Forest and Colmar next June. What did you do in Colmar? Looks like a lovely town and just not somewhere to learn about wine making of review WWII (thankfully, although history-sensitive, you perhaps have to be in your 80s for such an emphasis: for example, in our last day's visit to Le Havre, we visited Rouen and Honfluer, having no interest is revisiting Normandy Beaches and memorials.).

 

I had looked up a while back about Keukenhof and I believe the peak is about a month before our cruise. We were going to try to go to Amsterdam 3-4 days before the cruise, but couldn't get seats on the plane for those dates (we use frequent flyer miles, this time in fact ,going free Business on AA):) so we had to compromise on the dates a bit.

We are going 2 days earlier...first day to get used to the time difference...I don't do great with jet lag, maybe just go on a canal cruise. If we feel up to it, we may take a taxi to the History of the Resistance museum on the other side of town near the zoo.

 

For our second day ,we have made arrangements with WOW tours for a small group walking tour emphasizing the history of Amsterdam. We heard about him on CC and he got great reviews of Trip Advisor. It is a three hour tour from 10:00 to 1:00

and from there we will go back to our hotel next to the docks, the Moveinpick, pick up our luggage and go to the ship to start our cruise, hopefully, they will still be serving lunch or something to eat!

I understand we can't go to our cabins before 3:00. We had spent 4 days in Amsterdam on a previous trip and saw most of the "must see" sights then.

 

As far as the optional tours, we are leaning toward the WWII tour. We had made a day trip to Colmar on a previous two week trip to the Alsace and it is a very pretty town, but I am afraid by then my DH may get a little bored with all of the "pretty little towns" and would enjoy the site of the Colmar battle.

Also, both of us really enjoy WW2 history. His Dad, now deceased, was a decorated war veteran who served under General Patton, so we always find this type of site especially interesting.

 

Am looking forward to the Black Forest, and I am hoping there will be a guide to take us on some trails in the forest to explore it a bit more. No desire to see a glass blowing or cuckoo clock demonstration. Maybe end with a piece of Black forest Cake and some hot chocolate in a local café!!

 

Getting excited about this cruise! Down to 5 months .....

Our first ever river cruise. Just hope we luck out with the water levels on the river this year....

 

Have a nice weekend....we will be in front of the TV all day watching football...we are Seminoles fans!!

 

Robin

Edited by robinlynn

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I had looked up a while back about Keukenhof and I believe the peak is about a month before our cruise. We were going to try to go to Amsterdam 3-4 days before the cruise, but couldn't get seats on the plane for those dates (we use frequent flyer miles, this time in fact ,going free Business on AA):) so we had to compromise on the dates a bit.

We are going 2 days earlier...first day to get used to the time difference...I don't do great with jet lag, maybe just go on a canal cruise. If we feel up to it, we may take a taxi to the History of the Resistance museum on the other side of town near the zoo.

 

For our second day ,we have made arrangements with WOW tours for a small group walking tour emphasizing the history of Amsterdam. We heard about him on CC and he got great reviews of Trip Advisor. It is a three hour tour from 10:00 to 1:00 and from there we will go back to our hotel next to the docks, the Moveinpick, pick up our luggage and go to the ship to start our cruise, hopefully, they will still be serving lunch or something to eat!

I understand we can't go to our cabins before 3:00. We had spent 4 days in Amsterdam on a previous trip and saw most of the "must see" sights then.

 

As far as the optional tours, we are leaning toward the WWII tour. We had made a day trip to Colmar on a previous two week trip to the Alsace and it is a very pretty town, but I am afraid by then my DH may get a little bored with all of the "pretty little towns" and would enjoy the site of the Colmar battle. Also, both of us really enjoy WW2 history. His Dad, now deceased, was a decorated war veteran who served under General Patton, so we always find this type of site especially interesting. Am looking forward to the Black Forest, and I am hoping there will be a guide to take us on some trails in the forest to explore it a bit more. No desire to see a glass blowing or cuckoo clock demonstration. Maybe end with a piece of Black forest Cake and some hot chocolate in a local café!!

 

Getting excited about this cruise! Down to 5 months .....

Our first ever river cruise. Just hope we luck out with the water levels on the river this year.... Have a nice weekend....we will be in front of the TV all day watching football...we are Seminoles fans!! Robin

 

Sounds like you have your logistics down well? Looking for some April combination with Dutch bulbs is quite hard. You need to start with an open jaws air with arrival at Amsterdam and final departure where? I'd prefer in April to be in the Mediterranean, so some activity that most certainly ends in a warmer climate? Hope you make some report here on your cruise. As we start in Basel, we'll just be up for both morning and afternoon at the first port, but really like the idea of a structured mainly walking visit often distant from the river, return to ship for lunch, then a self-guided visit to the town where docked (and thus extra flexibility?). Also, although others disagree, will enjoy the likely reassurance that the on-board food will be well-received by my body (at any event its prepaid), later on when we do Norway, happy to have a lunch or a late breakfast rather than what people brag on as the $40 hamburger (yes, understand that the value of the USD is not what it should be, nor do we pay service industry in the US a living wage). When absolutely stuck (like the cafe under the glass pyramid at the Louvre, we have already had our $45 hamburgers and fries!

 

Leaving in a week for San Juan. Our weather here in Houston threatens to be under 32F several evenings (not as bad as Dallas) and will begin to shake off the cold towards the end of the week when we drive to the airport.

DJ:)

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River cruising might not be perfect but when you factor in the time you would be traveling by bus train or auto between Switzerland and Holland there is no comparison. I also love not have to worry about where and when we will eat. We hope to experience an authentic biergarten at least once though but it will be flexible.

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A heard from Viking that a taxi from Basel to Montreuix should be about $ 330, still an awful lot, but better than the original outrageous amounts I got quoted previously.

 

I am still hoping another couple might want to share a ride with us. If we can get a reasonable van/taxi to accommodate 2 couples and split the cost, it won't be as bad. It is worth the trade-off to get a MUCH nicer room at our hotel by booking on our own in Montreuix . We are staying there for 4 nights after the cruise, using it as a base to visit Lausanne and Geneva and , of course enjoying all that Lake Geneva and the Fairmont have to offer.

 

I don't want to go by train with all of our luggage and really don't want to go through the hassle of a car rental for a 2 hour ride.

 

Thanks for the suggestions.

 

Robin

 

Hi Robin. I agree it's a royal pain dragging luggage all over. That's one of the reasons we started traveling light. I found I didn't need all the clothes and stuff I thought I couldn't do without. Now I find it easier to take public transportation (and a lot cheaper ) without heavy luggage. We both travel with one small carry on and a backpack. We just returned from a Transatlantic cruise and were traveling for 18 days....I even packed too many clothes!

 

Marion

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Hi Robin. I agree it's a royal pain dragging luggage all over. That's one of the reasons we started traveling light. I found I didn't need all the clothes and stuff I thought I couldn't do without. Now I find it easier to take public transportation (and a lot cheaper ) without heavy luggage. We both travel with one small carry on and a backpack. We just returned from a Transatlantic cruise and were traveling for 18 days....I even packed too many clothes!

Marion

 

Greetings Marion (and All Others):

My first thought is that Rick Steves' packing guidelines don't take into account the established tendencies of women (NO criticism intended, please) of repeated wearing of the same top (for example) or the demands of either cruise ship travel or differences in climates within the same vacation.

 

From our travel (Thalys) between Paris and Amsterdam (week stay and RT Baltic cruise) we know our current luggage (stores within each other) is too heavy and clumsy (bad old-fashioned fixed wheels, etc.) and we are seriously looking for an improvement (not necessary for simple vacations, like just completed direct flight to San Juan, on cruise ship, off for a second week in San Juan, fly home). Our trip next summer has built in many steps where suitcase lifting, storage, uneven surfaces etc. are expected. We truly appreciate cruise ships with passenger laundries, as we just don't like to handle clothes to a "butler" for service. For example, a little past midway on our next vacation we will be at the Amsterdam Marriott where guests purchase tokens to use their washers and dryers (so an evenings activity, versus a day trip to a laundramat in any other city). Obviously guys are more than willing to put on the same shirt and tie for more than one 3-hour dinner and skilled eating of a bowl of soup is necessary or soup should just be passed by? Have found that one black sport coat and dark slacks goes even with a grey t-shirt!

 

We plan this week to reference Consumers Reports when picking up new reading materials at our library. Any recommendations for upgraded luggage (trains are definitely in our future and my wife can roll a suitcase, not lift it)? Also really interested in practical recommendations (or references to articles) for clothing (yes, for a cool month don't need bathing suits we won't wear and our July/August heat at home can wait. June 11/July 9 for us will include flight Houston/Basel, river cruise to Amsterdam, train to Ghent, Brugge, and back to Amsterdam with 12-night Norwegian cruise before return home. Have a sense that one pair of short, jeans, dress slacks seems optimal but truly wonder how dangerous? Men can easily get away with one pair of sturdy leather-top rubber-bottom and pair of sturdy gym shoes (like Rockport), but women need at least another pair of "dress."

 

After all, the experience of effective planning is to be enjoyed both in the planning stages and then during the planned vacation! My best for a most pleasant 2014!

DJ:)

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I bring a lot of tops that fold up to nothing and don't wrinkle. I shop at Chico's and their travelers clothing line is excellent. I rinse clothes in the sink and usually everything is dry the next morning. Everyone packs too much when traveling - we have learned over the years what we can leave home.

 

DH's luggage was lost by Delta when we were flying from Toronto to Rio for a transatlantic cruise several years ago. I will NEVER again have our luggage leave my sight when we travel. We never want to go through that experience again. So, carry-on it is and it has made our traveling life so easy. It wasn't fun spending our time shopping in Rio trying to find men's underwear for DH. He is 6-3/250 pounds. I think all the men in Rio wear a S-M. The cut of the underwear isn't the same as what is sold in the states. He spoke with a high pitched voice and we still laugh about it!

 

Good luck packing!

 

Marion

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Hi Robin. I agree it's a royal pain dragging luggage all over. That's one of the reasons we started traveling light. I found I didn't need all the clothes and stuff I thought I couldn't do without. Now I find it easier to take public transportation (and a lot cheaper ) without heavy luggage. We both travel with one small carry on and a backpack. We just returned from a Transatlantic cruise and were traveling for 18 days....I even packed too many clothes!

 

Marion

 

I am planning on scaling way back on what we are bringing.

Planning on packing 2 pair of jeans (wearing the 3rd), 2 or 3 light pullover sweaters (very thin cashmere), 1 or 2 pair of thin dress pants, and a few light tops, sneakers, and cute pair of shoes for evenings when I want to "dress up" just a bit. But its the other stuff...special shampoo and conditioner for my "special needs" hair, a bag full of OTC meds for every possible scenario

(we have had a tough time getting some of these as needed in Europe, all our prescriptions, and so on. Can't forget my fleecy North Face zip-up for cold days and evenings, and a little nicer lightweight jacket when I might want to look a little dressier. Then there are undies and lots of sox.

And of course, my cosmetics and personal care items.

I would love to use a backpack, but don't think all of this would fit.

We are planning on taking a small 20 inch and medium small 24 inch rolling, plus a tote for each. This is less than we have ever taken before.

Each time we travel to Europe, we downsize a bit more

 

We'll be gone 15 days in May, where the average temps for where we are going ranges from 40's to 60's.

 

What size backpacks do you use, and would they be kind of heavy for two 66 year olds? Any special brands you could recommend?

 

Also, is there room to hang laundry in the stateroom? I don't think it would be appreciated hanging over our balcony! We plan on using the ships laundry service for clothes, but it is all of the small stuff.

 

Any advice appreciated!!

 

Robin

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Hello robinlynn,

 

that sounds like a well-packed suitcase for a Rhine tour in May! As regards bags I cannot be of much help as I did not need to fly to my embarkation port of Passau. My problem was the narrow aisle on the fast train. I scraped people's seats and coats with my large trolley suitcase. It is much easier when the wheels on the suitcase allow you to pull it sideways.

 

A note on the temperatures: the average temperatures you have given seem right for May. If we get a spell of hot weather the temperatures could peak at 65 to 75 in the afternoon. Heavy rain is not so likely at the beginning of May, but possible of course.

 

Oh, and make sure to bring sturdy shoes for those dreaded cobblestones.

 

notamermaid

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Well Robin it looks like you are doing great with your planning for this trip.

 

We both take one backpack each- a normal size - nothing large. The backpack is very lightweight so we can fit a lot of stuff in it....like meds, cosmetics, toiletries, etc. BTY - I only bring the basics and leave most of what I use at home at home - I really do travel light. It is a must since we don't check any luggage. We are both older than you and have no problems with the backpacks. I wear a lot of clothes on the plane and take them off and place them in the overhead bin or use them as a pillow during the flight- like a jacket and fleece. I must have my fleece and get a lot of use out of it. Keep downsizing and soon you will be traveling like us!

 

The showers on the ship have clothes lines for you to dry your clothes. If you can't find it ask your stateroom attendant to open it for you.

 

Marion

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Anyone who has been on the new Viking ships know if the showers can accommodate a clothes line?

Thanks

Robin

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