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About philw1776

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Hampshire
  • Interests
    Astronomy, History, Ancient History, WWII
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking, Silversea, Uniworld
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call

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  1. Follow Viking's passport advice. It is port dependent and a function of that day's THREAT level often posted on port signage. Italy most always request that cruise lines tell passengers to take their passports. Other Western European countries not so much. That said, only on one Italian port did they ask for our passports. Didn't bring it that day? You're taken out of line to be dealt with after all busloads of returning tour guests are processed.
  2. Bordeaux is focused on wine tours. Several. HOWEVER be aware that although we found this to be fun there is very little river cruising on this route starting & ending in Bordeaux. Tides may even eliminate much of what little "cruising" happens. We did a Loire Valley Chateaus pre cruise extension which we loved. You could rent a car and do this on your own. Our Chateaus & Bordeaux cruise photos. Wineries start on page 4. https://www.flickr.com/photos/seacoast_nh/albums/72157687175936724/with/37397944551/ Rhone river cruises offer wine tours. Less than the Bordeaux winery focused cruise but still some. It's hard to tell with Viking because they only list each day's INCLUDED in the price tour. They do have optional pay for wine excursions on the Rhone (Southern France) cruise but you or your TA need to call for specifics.
  3. TJ Tours in St Petersburg we paid by credit card AFTER our 2 day tour
  4. Just finished Alaska with Silversea's Silver Muse, excellent ship. I agree with the differences cited in the previous post. I would not consider Viking expeditions until they have experienced a few seasons in these new territories. I'd pick Silversea for expeditions until then.
  5. Couple problems with Viking @ St Pete. First there is no way you can schedule the Viking tours over the 2 days where you see the same # of places for a long a stay that an agile private tour can get to in the 2 days. Much prefer the small Mercedes van with 12 people vs a 40 person bus logistics. Very personal. You have close access to your guide. Then there's the price ~ half Viking's. Paid at the end after 2 wonderful full days with professional and friendly TJ Tours. I'm a big fan of Viking excursions but St Pete with TJ was vastly superior for this 2 day port city.
  6. Just a nit. I've been on Uniworld (excellent) and at least on one evening we had a trivia & dance contest after dinner. I know because we won. The other evenings I can't say because I never went to the lounge after dinner those nights. Also was at one Viking after dinner trivia contest. If there are local entertainers coming aboard (couple times per cruise) we do try to make the show as most are entertaining.
  7. At least it's not like river cruising with no tables for two where you can end up seated next to folks who've just sweated through their day touring clothes and join your table. Fortunately, this is rare and never happened to us. Closest call was with a guy in a sleeveless sweaty shirt 2 tables away. Vast majority are cleanly dressed on all cruises. Occasionally, someone is a victim of lost luggage. You never know.
  8. No secret source. He & his wife told me they were going to be on that cruise. I too would like advance notice, where possible, of cruise directors, historians, etc. Maybe Viking feels tha=ere would be lots of cruise critic & MyFace social media complaints when inevitably plans change.
  9. Lectures can be fantastic. One lecture was by a British couple who did formerly classified work at Bletchley Park. Easy to go up and have a personal conversation post lecture. Our favorites were by Oxford Prof Jeremy Paterson. His lectures were a hoot. Informative & entertaining. After So much so that we booked the 2020 In The Wake Of The Vikings where he'll be featured. Several evenings after dinner he's host a "bull session" up in the Explorer Lounge. Great discussions. After one morning lecture about 20 of us followed him to the stairways where he gave a floor by floor explanation of the Bayeux Tapistry scenes on each landing.
  10. Kept changing TAs until I got Viking River OBC. Just spent it booking optional excursions.
  11. Read here & elsewhere of occasional Viking, et. al. overbooking. Some weeks in advance they send out offers of improved cruise accommodations a year later. Forget the details. Some folks take the offers.
  12. Done 6 river cruises. My responses above. I hope you enjoy your Rhine cruise on AMA. One afternoon will be spent sailing by fantastic castles as your tour director provides a running commentary. Get out on top deck and enjoy beer or wine as epic scenery glides by.
  13. Same here but with the Belgrade Viking bike tour. Was gonna take the bike tour to Monet's garden last July but early lock closings for Bastile Day meant our ship had to boogey north early to get thru the lock making the ride back to Monet's too long for a bike tour.
  14. Ships have visual sensors by crew, radar with alarms and GPS beacon displays which let Captains see around river bends combined with very decent mobility of river ships with thrusters. Difficult to see how this happens. It may be very crowded channels, a minute's inattention by the crew and other close by ships prohibiting evasive maneuvers. The physics of low friction momentum is brutal.
  15. River cruising is more regimented than ocean cruising. Mostly set dining times. One or maybe 2 dining site options. Open seating with few or zero (Viking) tables for 2, so you do meet others. Not many onboard activities, sometimes a lecture, or a cooking demo, etc. No production value entertainment at night. Small cabins vs ocean. Sometimes, but not often, you can be docked in a noisy setting. Me, I love river cruising, so if these are problematical, do not book.
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