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sbjornda

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About sbjornda

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Canada
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Scenic
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe

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  1. The river cruises are more like bus tours than ocean cruises. It's quite structured. You're in a different town or city every day, you have 1 to 2 hours of guided walking tour followed by 1 to 2 hours on your own, followed by a (usually) strict departure time. You can forego the walking tour and go wherever you want (optionally using the Scenic Tailormade software for guidance), but with Scenic you've already paid for the guided tour so it's up to you whether you find value in that. Only a few times per cruise will you be moored in one place in the evening or overnight to give you an opportunity to explore at your leisure. The main difference from a bus tour, of course, is that your hotel moves with you; no need to pack and unpack every day or two, and you have much nicer amenities and more space to move around while travelling. And butler service, unlimited coffee, alcohol, snacks... River cruising, like bus touring, is not to everyone's taste, but you won't know for sure until you try it. If you want to explore a particular town or area more deeply, you could consider making it part of a pre- or post-cruise vacation stop. We treat it as sort of an "overview" of an area, identifying places we might want to explore more deeply in future years.
  2. In Budapest it was nice to be on the starboard side because we had a great view of the parliament buildings. Other than that spot I don't think it matters much.
  3. There's a 2018 version at https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/main/sc3/AGN_map_2018.pdf. I found it by browsing the UNECE site; it's linked from this page: https://www.unece.org/trans/main/sc3/where.html so hopefully one can always find the most recent version from there. Sterling
  4. The Scenic Jasper was supposed to be in Regensburg today, but she appears to be stuck downstream at Passau. My guess is there's a ship swap happening. Sterling
  5. Here's a rather large map of Europe's inland waterways. You can zoom in and see where the locks are along that stretch. https://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/trans/main/sc3/AGN_map_2018.pdf Sterling
  6. Scenic's ships are likewise split level. That's the only company I've used so far, so I thought that design was common. Just goes to show that I still have one or two things left to learn in life. 🙂 Thanks, Sterling
  7. I haven't done it myself, but I have seen some folks who were not feeling well stay on board. Apparently often those stretches of sailing are through territory that is industrial or otherwise uninteresting to most cruisers, and/or going through several locks (including possibly waiting hours in a queue). I'd rather explore a European town, but if I had a sprained ankle or something I can imagine far worse ways to spend time than being waited on while reading a good book aboard a river cruise ship.
  8. I tracked the Scenic Jasper on that route last month, and it arrived in Basel at 1:30 a.m. Of course as other posters have said, there are a lot of variables. If you have the time and money you could spend a night at a hotel in Basel or Zurich that would give you a bit more control over your timing. You could also consider using Scenic as your travel agent for booking the flights; then they have a degree of responsibility to help you out if things go bad. Sterling
  9. Interesting - when I've been tracking Scenic's ships on that route they appear to dock close to the Three Countries Corner, which is downstream from the Mittlere Brücke. Now I'm curious. Thanks for digging that up. Sterling
  10. Bamberg! Rauchbier! Dozens of competing breweries! But the one thing in common: They all taste like beer plus bacon. Mmmmm. OK, it`s a bit of an acquired taste. 🙂
  11. I've only been on one Scenic cruise so far, but I didn't feel compelled to tip anyone at all. There were some folks for whom that simply felt so "wrong" that they convinced the cruise director to accept tips that would be divided amongst the staff and crew. I don't know how common that is on Scenic cruises; our second one is coming up this summer and I'll be interested to see if that happens again. I did not see or hear of any direct tipping; certainly not the bus drivers and city tour guides. I think the butler would have taken it as an affront. Folks may have left a tip in their cabins for the hotel staff but if so they weren't talking about it. If you time your laundry right, or are in a more expensive cabin with unlimited laundry, you truly do not need your wallet from the time you're picked up at the arrival airport to the time you're dropped off at the departure airport. Unless you want some souvenirs, or need premium spirits from the bar. Our experience was that they were very much a first class customer service focused group of people.
  12. We really liked Scenic and made use of all the amenities. We like the way the balconies can be configured in the suites - there are inner glass door and an outer window that can roll down, so the space can be either part of the cabin or closed off from it - handy if one of you wants fresh air and the other doesn't. They truly are all-inclusive; you could leave your wallet at home except for souvenirs or airport expenses before you get picked up or after you get dropped off. Not cheap, but we think they provide good value.
  13. All Diamond Deck passengers get an invitation to the "Table La Rive" degustation meal. If you're not excited about a fancy meal with wine pairings - or if you find the price difference between similar cabins on those two decks is more than you would pay for a fancy meal in a restaurant - it's probably not worth it. That being said, we had 14 nights in a Royal Suite on the Diamond Deck and only heard noise above us a couple of times. So we're going to do it again!
  14. Do Rhine mosquitoes carry any diseases to worry about? Here in Saskatchewan we have a growing concern with West Nile Virus; in neighbouring Manitoba there is also long established Western Equine Encephalitis. Just wondering if we should be bringing insect repellent with us. The last cruse, Amsterdam to Budapest, we barely ever laid eyes on a flying insect, and no mosquitoes. The upcoming cruise is Amsterdam to Basel with side trips down the Maas and Mosel, departing July 31st. Thanks, Sterling
  15. On our first Scenic cruise when the Cruise Director did the straw poll, the guests were 75% Aussies, followed by Kiwis, Brits, Canadians, then a few US couples.
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