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franski

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About franski

  • Rank
    3,000+ Club

About Me

  • Location
    Ontario, Canada
  • Interests
    Travel (obviously....) - love the planning as well as the actualy experience!! Quilting, gardening,
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Most river cruise lines - although Avalon "fits" us these days....
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    I love any trip that takes us to Budapest....

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  1. I saw a press release that said Viking has cancelled everything for the rest of this year... Fran
  2. If you book air with the cruise line, they include transfers. Some of them (Scenic & Emerald - perhaps more I am unaware of....) - provide transfers even if you book your own air. All companies will allow you to purchase transfers - but usually the cost is high. The one time we did that was when we went to China --> we did not want to get off a long flight and have to figure out transfers to our hotel. So, we paid Viking and they picked us up. Since we usually book our own air, I have gotten quite adept at sourcing out ground transfers. If you are looking to book your own transfer, you will find that a new thread here on Cruise Critic can help you find someone - and it is usually a referral from someone who has used the service in the past - so won't refer unless the experience was a positive one. Fran
  3. Viking has just announced that they are suspending operations for the rest of 2020. I expect others will follow... Fran
  4. The "tips in advance" is relatively new in the river cruise world. When we did our 1st river cruise - it was cash only... in Euros. We finally hit a cruise where we could pay by credit card, and then - pre-paying became an option. We will usually pre-pay if we can. As mentioned above, you can pay in your "home" currency, and it is one less thing to worry about at the end of the cruise. With Avalon, we could pre-pay up to about 30 days before sailing. And, we can always top up if we feel someone went "above and beyond". Fran
  5. It is all about the contact ... The passenger in Alaska tested negative before he left home - and had another test before he boarded the boat. It was that 2nd test that was positive. By the time he and and the cruise line were notified about the positive test, he had already been in contact with people on the boat. So - anyone he came in contact with had the potential to be become positive - and spread the virus. It was absolutely the right thing to do to return to Juneau and quarantine everyone. In the case of a cruise, it isn't just the passengers and crew who are at risk - it is the residents in the ports where the boat docks. Some of the ports have limited medical resources - and to bring Covid to an area like that is irresponsible IMHO. Fran
  6. franski

    Avalon

    No liquor package that I am aware of. But, as others have mentioned, they have a Happy Hour daily - and all drinks are half price (not just the "special of the day" drinks). You can bring your own bottle of scotch on board - and you are welcome to drink it in your room. They just ask that you do not consume your own liquor in the lounge, or in any common/public areas. I have found that their bar prices are quite competitive. No sticker shock when we close our account out at the end of the cruise. Certainly no where near the price we paid for a drink when we did the coast of Norway with Hurtigruten... Close to $20 for a beer!! Fran
  7. I can appreciate that the coastal voyages are important for the people of Norway... transportation, mail etc. But - are they still letting international travelers on board? In thinking back to our coastal voyage last October, I am wondering how passengers would be able to maintain distancing guidelines as some of the spaces are quite small for the number of passengers on board. Fran
  8. Given the patchwork of restrictions for international travelers, I imagine it would be difficult to continue to offer the current itineraries as they currently stand. For example - if Hungary isn't letting some international tourists in, how do you run a cruise that begins or ends in Budapest? Do you tell your passengers that they need to come in early (that is assuming that you can get a flight into Budapest) and quarantine before boarding? Do you ask the North American passengers to disembark a stop or two before the last port? Or - will the port refuse the let the boat dock if they know there are passengers on board that are from a country that is prohibited from entering? For many (and, perhaps all companies that market to the North American market) it might be more financially feasible to cut their losses - and plan for next year. Fran
  9. I am just east of you (Whitby) - and am gradually increasing my "contact" with the outside world. I have done some "non-urgent" shopping in person, but only go into stores that are quite strict with numbers inside the store. We continue to order take-out once/week from local restaurants - to support our local businesses - but no way will I venture into a restaurant. Church continues to be "on line" - but we are going to have a parking lot service in a couple of weeks. I have had some "back deck" visits with friends, and we attended our 1st Covid wedding a week ago. It was just perfect.... Sun shining, small group (around 35) - everyone working at keeping their distance from those outside their immediate household. We had individual small bottles of bubbly to toast the bride & groom. A success on so many levels... It is sad & scary to see the numbers start to increase again in so many parts of the world. I assume we will see it here as well - am guessing the jumping off point may well be when school starts. Here's hoping that things won't get entirely out of control before the government decides (if needed) to tighten things up again. I had made a small number of masks for my family - guess I may have to make a few (dozen) more. Doesn't seem like this is going away any time soon. The latest I have read on the Canada/US border is that it may well stay closed through the rest of this year - and perhaps part of next year as well!! Fran
  10. franski

    Avalon

    Hi there - With a river cruise, it seldom happens that you need to choose between included or optional tours. It is often set up in such a way that you can do both. Avalon does a very good job of organizing this. We have done both parts of the Grand France itinerary, however we did them separately. The Normandy Beaches are so worth a visit. Avalon does offer options - based on your interest/nationality (ie: US citizens visit the US beaches, Canadian/British visit different beaches...). We had already done the beaches on an earlier cruise, so when we re-sailed the Seine, my DH opted to go back to the beaches - I went to Bayeux to see the tapestry... Just amazing!! If you have a love affair with chocolate, the Valrhona chocolate factory is a great place to visit when you stop in Tournon. The outlet is in Tain l-Hermitage --> just across the river from Tournon, and an easy walk to do. Everyone in my family got chocolate when we returned!! And, there are LOTS of free samples as you visit the store... Just (perhaps) something to consider. And, if you have some extra time in Paris, I would suggest going to the Orangerie to see the Monet's canvases of his water lillies... Really worth a visit - especially if you will also be going to Giverny to see where they were painted. Also - sort of a fun excursion - going *under* the Eiffel Tower to see how the lifts work. You also get on top of the restaurant on the 2nd level - so a little different outlook. Enjoy!! Fran
  11. Thanks, notamermaid... We continue to practice social distancing (went to our 1st Covid wedding on the weekend... outside, less than 50 people, lots of room to distance, masks for those who wished them...) - and limit shopping to necessities only. Coffee with friends is by Face Time - meetings by Zoom. We are, I believe, safer at home. Our numbers here continue to slowly decrease - as Canada continues to limit travel across the country, and the Canada/US border remains closed. I have lots of time to do more research on future travel options - but, who really knows what travel will look like this time next year... or even 2 years from now? I am thinking that much will depend on where/when 2nd wave hits - and when a vaccine is available (although, then we will enter a new challenge... as not everyone will get the vaccine even if it is available - and then, do we want to travel with them if they haven't been vaccinated - and come from a hot spot!!) Interesting times, for sure... I want to take this opportunity to thank you (and steamboats as well) for your ongoing snippets of information. These are a part of any travel discussion that involves Europe. Fran
  12. Interesting read... And the information about exclusions just confirmed the position our company has taken (exclusion for government prohibition). I wasn't aware that some places in the US are not able to purchase an annual plan. I was very pleased when I was able to source and access one for DH and myself. Helps not only for "big" trips - but also give me some peace of mind when I visit my friend in KY. When our Avalon cruise was cancelled 2 years ago, we had an insurance plan just for that one cruise --> and our TA was able to get that premium back. But - then we found an annual plan, and never looked back!! I am always surprised that some people are comfortable putting large amounts of money into travel - and don't feel an insurance policy is necessary.... I have heard a number of horror stories of lost funds. Fran
  13. Thanks, Daisi - It seems strange to not have something booked for next year - but, without knowing what will be "open", we will just take some time to do a bit of research, and perhaps revise the "bucket list"... I am so thankful that we were able to make it to Egypt and cruise the Nile before the world changed so drastically!! Fran
  14. We have an annual plan. They have really good, reasonably priced coverage - for multiple trips/year - but they were very clear that if we book at this time, they will not cover us. I think it comes down to risk. We are considered "seniors" (although I am not yet 65...) and my DH has some health issues, so insurance isn't as easy to come by as it was a few years ago. If we have to wait to book, we will wait... Fran
  15. Yeah... our trip to Eastern Europe cancelled as well. Can't say I am surprised. We will be asking for our deposit back. We can't move the booking - as it is considered a "new booking" if we do that - and our travel insurance won't cover anything booked during a travel advisory. This is twice that we have had this exact cruise cancelled by Avalon (1st time was due to low water...). I am starting to think that we should just look at a different itinerary. Fran
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