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Just the kind of info I wanted to hear!  Thank you so much...  if you don’t mind, when was your sailing?  We will arrive in Amsterdam May 2 and I hope the Gardens will still be open...

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32 minutes ago, NKS50 said:

Just the kind of info I wanted to hear!  Thank you so much...  if you don’t mind, when was your sailing?  We will arrive in Amsterdam May 2 and I hope the Gardens will still be open...

Keukenhof is open until May 10, 2020

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NKS50 - I think we are on the same sailing.  I am part of a family group of 12.  We are going early.  Part are arriving 2 days ahead and part one day ahead.  We are all going to Keukenhof but not sure if before we get on the boat or after we check in.  So many good places to see and experience.  I'm waiting to hear what Avalon offers.  The flowers all depend on the weather as to what we will see.  I had a good friend go about the 10th of May in 2018 and it was still beautiful.  I'd like to see the Alsmeer flower auction but Iit is only open certain days of the week.  It is an early morning trip.  Trying to corral this group is like herding turtles.  We are down to excursions.  Everything else is pretty well booked.  Look forward to meeting you on board.

Michelle

 

 

 

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We are traveling with another couple, but not on the same flights.  And we are staying for several days after the cruise in Lucerne.  Another poster said the gardens are open until May 10 so we should be in good shape to enjoy them- many thanks for that info!  🦃 Happy Thanksgiving!

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seashell, we were there 2 days after your friends!  It really does depend on the weather, our niece & nephew went the year before us (like us, on the last weekend) and all the tulips were gone.  Unfortunately, for us, most of the fields of tulips had been picked.  We did see a few small fields on the flight in, but it was rainy.  

 

 

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6 hours ago, Daisi said:

seashell, we were there 2 days after your friends!  It really does depend on the weather, our niece & nephew went the year before us (like us, on the last weekend) and all the tulips were gone.  Unfortunately, for us, most of the fields of tulips had been picked.  We did see a few small fields on the flight in, but it was rainy.  

 

 

The bulb fields in the countryside are chopped off quite early. These fields are used for harvesting bulbs. Flowers in Keukenhof are grown for beauty, and they try for a mixture that will bloom throughout the period when it is open. Also, there are flowers in the buildings that aren’t dependent on the outside weather. 
 

I went to Keukenhof in late April 2010. There had been a late spring, and it seemed like absolutely everything was in bloom then. 

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gnome, the joke for our nephew is we all live about 1/2 hour from the largest tulip festival in the world...so it's not as if we "need" to see tulips!  I was just wanting to see the gardens, and was expecting something like the gardens in Hamilton.  They were beautiful to see.  

 

There is also a spot in PEI now that is growing and cultivating tulips...not up to the standards in the Netherlands, but I guess if you catch it at the right time (which hopefully we will be able to soon when we no longer have to work) it's quite something to see.

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1 hour ago, Daisi said:

gnome, the joke for our nephew is we all live about 1/2 hour from the largest tulip festival in the world...so it's not as if we "need" to see tulips!  I was just wanting to see the gardens, and was expecting something like the gardens in Hamilton.  They were beautiful to see.  

 

There is also a spot in PEI now that is growing and cultivating tulips...not up to the standards in the Netherlands, but I guess if you catch it at the right time (which hopefully we will be able to soon when we no longer have to work) it's quite something to see.

I have never been to the Ottawa Tulip Festival (which I assume is the one you referred to), except after a bad storm which knocked all the blossoms off. 

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Yes, that's the one.  We make the drive up every couple of years, but we are lucky enough to pick and choose our weather. 🙂

 

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I have my TA checking fares for me for as a solo on Avalon.  I'm looking at either the March 26, 2021 Tulip Time itinerary (Amsterdam to Amsterdam) or the March 28, 2021 Tulip Time Highlights from Brussels to Amsterdam.  This would be my first time on Avalon.  Both dates show the single supplement being waived for certain categories.  

 

2021 sounds far away, but it really isn't.

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Roz, They often waive a certain number of single supplements on some cruises. I’m glad you were able to snag one. 
We’ve done four Avalons In the last five years and love it. Will probably do the next one within a year. You’re going to love it. 

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I was able to get one for May 2020.  I think it is a great program.  I believe I was told there were 5 cabins available for the single program on my cruise.  I can't wait for my cruise.  I hope you can get one Roz.    

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18 minutes ago, seashell said:

I was able to get one for May 2020.  I think it is a great program.  I believe I was told there were 5 cabins available for the single program on my cruise.  I can't wait for my cruise.  I hope you can get one Roz.    


i stayed in one of the Avalon panoramic view cabins at the single rate and it is a great deal for a river cruise. Loved the tulip cruise but would recommend the sailings mid April when the tulips are in full bloom and the weather is a little warmer. March could be really freezing.

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1 hour ago, ptrpanpens said:


i stayed in one of the Avalon panoramic view cabins at the single rate and it is a great deal for a river cruise. Loved the tulip cruise but would recommend the sailings mid April when the tulips are in full bloom and the weather is a little warmer. March could be really freezing.

 

I'm assuming that's why the fares are lower in March. 😜  I've been to Amsterdam in November, so I think I'll be OK.  I understand the tulips won't be in full bloom. 

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2 hours ago, Kenster said:

Roz, They often waive a certain number of single supplements on some cruises. I’m glad you were able to snag one. 
We’ve done four Avalons In the last five years and love it. Will probably do the next one within a year. You’re going to love it. 

 

I have my TA getting quotes, so I haven't booked.  Will report back when I do.

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5 hours ago, Roz said:

 

I'm assuming that's why the fares are lower in March. 😜  I've been to Amsterdam in November, so I think I'll be OK.  I understand the tulips won't be in full bloom. 

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

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While I'm waiting for my TA to call or email me, I've been scouring the Avalon website and checking out this thread (all 42 pages!).  I kind of get the idea that gratuities aren't included in the fare, but I can't find anything that says this directly.  If they aren't included, are they automatically added to your onboard acct. or can you prepay them?

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If you prepay your gratuities, you pay in US $, if you pay on board after the cruise, you pay in Euro's.  For us, it made a difference (of course we paid in Cdn $, but I also liked the idea of coming home and only having an 8 Euro charge on our cc for drinks we ordered) due to our dollar.  The tips are a "pool" for all the staff, and the Cruise Director is tipped separately (can also be done ahead).  We gave a bit extra to our "regulars" on the last day.

 

I don't remember them being added to the on board account, but you did get envelopes to put in boxes at the front desk to put the tips in.  If you prepay, you get a card that says so, you just put the card in the envelope.

Edited by Daisi

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Thanks to both of you for the info on gratuities.  Very helpful.

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On 9/23/2019 at 5:58 AM, hmcrn said:

I have a few questions about getting your airfare through Avalon.  Have any of you done this?  We signed up for an airfare deal (very inexpensive!) since we are arriving in one city and flying back from another.  

Do you know if you can stay extra days prior to the cruise without using the Avalon hotels? 

What about upgrading your plane tickets with miles if you have a bunch to use?

Do they actually set everything up or does your travel agent do it?  How much does your travel agent have to do with any of the flight choices, etc?

I would appreciate any and all answers with this!

Thank you!!

I usually like to book my own air, as I am very picky about the flights I choose. I suppose you can ask for changes if you don't like the flights they arrange, but I don't like having numerous back-and-forth conversations. My guess is that the pricing is no better than doing it on your own and probably worse. However as others have said, if they book the flights, you will be taken care of. I like to tell this story of a previous Avalon cruise. The cruise started in Passau, Germany. I flew into Munich Airport, took a bus to the train station, took the train to Passau, and then couldn't find out where the boat was docked. Finally another river cruise line had their agents at the train station, and they kindly called to find out the boat docking location and got me a cab. I arrived an hour before the boat left.

 

On another river cruise on the Irrawady River in Myanmar, I flew into Shanghai, took another flight to Kunming, but when I tried to board my flight to Mandalay, I was denied boarding. They have electronic visas in Myanmar, and unfortunately I got stuck with a fraudulent visa. It took me two days to get a new visa, and by the time I arrived, the boat had long gone. Fortunately I had also arranged for a local travel company who drove me around until they found the boat, and I was welcomed aboard.

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Hi. We are getting ready to pay our full fare for the Burgundy- Provence trip in May. We also booked 2 days inParis and 1 in Marseilles . My question for anyone who has done the land portion with Avalon is: 

how thorough are the included excursions of Paris? Should we be looking to make our own plans ?

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We are on the April 4 Tulip Time ...aka Beer enthusiasts cruise out of Amsterdam. Flying into Brussels for three days ahead and then train to Amsterdam the day before.  After the cruise we are heading to the Hilton Schiphol ahead of flight the following day. My question is airport transport. We didn’t book flights through Avalon so can we sign up for the airport bus ...don’t mind paying...when the cruise ends?  We usually get the train to the airport in Amsterdam, but the bus sounds a lot easier. 

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The train station is literally across the street from docking in Amsterdam.

 

if you mean sign up for the bus, I.e. the Avalon transfer, we did that on the boat and had to pay in advance in cash.  We didn’t understand it wasn’t included.  

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1 hour ago, Spideysmum said:

We are on the April 4 Tulip Time ...aka Beer enthusiasts cruise out of Amsterdam. Flying into Brussels for three days ahead and then train to Amsterdam the day before.  After the cruise we are heading to the Hilton Schiphol ahead of flight the following day. My question is airport transport. We didn’t book flights through Avalon so can we sign up for the airport bus ...don’t mind paying...when the cruise ends?  We usually get the train to the airport in Amsterdam, but the bus sounds a lot easier. 

Why would you want to get to the airport with people that are flying out a day before you are? Spend the time in Amsterdam (either leave your luggage on board - make sure that they would store it that long -  or store it at the train station) and take the train to the airport after dinner.

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