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About tvmovielover

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    North Florida
  • Interests
    Cooking and Travel
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Viking River Cruises
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Europe and Asia
  1. +1 on booking DV only if V is sold out. We had a V guarantee on our last cruise but got upgraded to DV - they are exactly alike except for position on the ship. Most of us that try to book V do so because it is cheaper and the same but they sell out quickly. We were happy in deck 3 V cabin that was foreward and happy in deck 6 DV a little past mid-ship toward aft. Both were quiet and stable. Deck 3 is nice because you are close to the theater and the Restaurant and Living Room etc. Deck 6 is nice because it is convenient to the World Cafe, Pool, Winter Garden, and Lounge. One floor up or down is good and you can get your exercise going from one end to the other.
  2. Paulchili, get the Viking App before you board, it is easy to make reservations or change them without having to stand in a line, etc. Viking and Oceania each have pluses and minuses. For me, Viking's biggest plus is all cabins have a balcony. O still has the best food and the "R" ships and sometimes better and more itineraries. I would be sorry to see either overextend the number of ships or cheap out any further.
  3. We went on this cruise in 2014, only the second year it was offered and were new to O. We took O air as offered and lucked out for coming from the East Coast of the US with an early morning flight to LA and time for lunch before boarding the afternoon flight to Papeete. Late at night was a good choice IMHO with dinner still on offer. I am always an early riser. At the time, no breakfast at Waves or the Terrace was available before 7 and Latte was not available until at least 6:30 so we few early birds could enjoy sunrise and some pastries without waking others. Coming back was a little less good (leave late at night and back to Florida late but we had a hotel-yes a custom air plan is better-we did not think it through then but Papeete or Moorea at the beginning and end is nicer). We could not get free internet at that time and paid very reasonable fees at each port for local internet which was variable with some good and some bad. It was less good than our next 2 "O" cruises though. It is still our favorite cruise that has brought us back again and again. This review shows how different even this one is each time so thanks. My next favorite "O" cruise was one that had a more mixed group (ie more younger cruisers)-it makes a difference in the atmosphere-not always a bad thing.
  4. The Midnight Sun cruise is a great itinerary but the included tours were not the best in most places so do look into private tours as mentioned above. Also in most of the Norwegian ports, you could take a local bus to some of the places the ship tours were going for much less and see some different views. Anybody who has not been to Edinburgh should think twice about the included tour. On our cruise, there were problems tendering so that the tours started late. The included tour had a rest stop at Holyrood Palace (not a visit), a quick ride on the royal mile and a stop at Greyfriar's Bobby before letting those who wanted to stay get off and heading back out of town. There is so much more to see and do even on a one day tour. OTOH, the Shetlands were great on included, paid extra ship tours and private tours. There are at least 2 good threads from last summer-do your research and enjoy.
  5. We took Thomas Cook airlines from MCO to Glasgow and back in 2017. They are restrictive about baggage (1 checked) and food and drink served on the plane. Dinner was a usual airline dinner with either 1 hot or 1 cold drink. Before that snacks and drinks were offered for a price-no free drinks except with dinner and breakfast (just okay). I knew about that so made do but I did not know the seats do not recline-I had a backache for 2 days afterwards. DH got the tickets because it was a non-stop 8 hour flight not because of the price which was not way less than some 1 stops. I made sure to eat a big breakfast and bring water on the return flight. Not sure I would use them again but they seemed stable at the time and left and returned on time.
  6. We are taking this cruise in Dec of this year despite what we read about the inaugural 2017-2018 cruises. We saw a small Amazon tributary in Ecuador a few years ago and would like to see a little more of the Amazon before we get too old to travel. We lived in South America for a few years when we were young and did not back pack but did go to some of these places (Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil-all of South America is worth a detour!) on trains, buses, etc. You cannot get those experiences from an ocean ship in one day or an overnight but sometimes that is the only way to get to see a little of some other place. We have enjoyed ocean cruising the last few years but it will never replace land trips unless all you want to do is check off ports on your personal map. I do like Viking but when planning a trip I think you need to keep in mind that the included trips do not work as well on the ocean as on the river and are more impersonal even with good guides. Their paid extra tours are better but still not as good as private small group tours so thanks Vinyard View, I will be looking for those Tripadvisor recs. When we hired guides in these exotic places when we were young, we just did it when we got to a new place, now there are so many tourists, you have to book ahead. Look at the birds, butterflies and plants too!
  7. Thanks to pcur and this thread, our recent FLL-BOG flight on Spirit went okay. I do not know if I would risk it again (we went one way on Spirit with return on Jet Blue because pre-holiday Dec Florida flights to Bogota were mostly booked by Aug) but I would definitely use Spirit for a short flight if I did not need to arrive exactly on time. Our flight was on time and as said above, once you are on the plane-they do not care much what you put overhead or under seat and the flight attendants were nice. We did bring food, drink, and entertainment so did not care about their offerings. Jet Blue for the similar 3 hr flight charges less for 1 checked bag and gives chips and a drink with slightly more comfortable seats but costs more. The only reason I would hesitate to take the international flight again is that they really did only have 1 flight a day and maybe could not have given a flight the next day if this one did not go. Still in a pinch, it does not hurt to give them one chance. What did Jet Blue do better? They gave announcements in both English and Spanish while Spirit said almost nothing in Spanish and the attendants did not speak Spanish unless forced. They should fix this for the South American market as there is reliable competition that is not that much more expensive.
  8. We loved our Nautica cruise around the Iberian Peninsula in fall of 2017 that we chose for the itinerary. The cabins are small and the showers smaller (if that is important and you do not want a suite, the R ships may not be for you no matter what the itinerary). I thought of the decor as old fashioned rather than tired. What is wonderful is the intimacy of these smaller ships. On the Marina (also wonderful but different), the area around the espresso bar does not really lend itself to an interesting conversation but the more open area near the MDR on Nautica did. We hit at a time when the crew had been together for some time and that worked well in all the dining areas as well as with the rest of the staff-that is just luck and may be a difference between one cruise and another. I would love to cruise on Nautica again with the right itinerary. At the end of our cruise, Nautica stayed in port a few days for some cosmetic work so they do try to keep things updated when possible. Maybe try Marina or Riviera if you are worried. I like the O ships and Viking but what I really keep checking for is another cruise we would like on Nautica.
  9. Re: Shopping for a good TA. We happened to see a great offer on a cruise we were interested in on another line about 3 years ago. The TA was part of a group that specializes in cruises. She got us many perks we never got before and was able to get us good prices and a hotel for a pre-cruise land visit. We left our old rebate TA who did not specialize in cruises and have been happy with this one ever since. There is something to be said for using cruise specialists if you cruise a lot (we like land as well as sea travel so were late to find out about this). Within cruise specialists you probably do have consult more than one to see who suits you best. Our rebate specialist only had a working relationship with one cruise line and it was not the one we wanted to cruise on.
  10. :) We so need a "like" button for posts like this!
  11. I read both the Regatta and Nautica threads from beginning to end. I am so glad this cruise went as might be expected. This thread was a joy to read even though we have been to many of the ports visited. It brings back good memories and points to this particular itinerary being a real bucket list special. It especially brings back memories of our much shorter Nautica cruise last fall. Nautica is my favorite O ship. Thanks to all from this cruise who made such interesting posts.
  12. We took the Remich to Nurembourg portion of an Avalon trip in May. This cruise is very flexible going either way. You can add pre or post Paris or London or Prague depending on which way you go and stay on the ship to continue to Budapest or do a day in Prague tour or Nurembourg before the cruise continues. We took a high speed train from Paris to Luxembourg (about 2 hours and tickets can be gotten online for either direction before you leave for the trip) and the next day (we wanted to see the city on our own though Avalon offers a tour of the city the next day) took the bus to Remich in the afternoon. You pay 2 Euros when you board the bus and it takes something like half an hour and you get off at the last or second to last stop. We took this cruise for the Moselle which was really pretty and quieter than the Rhine. The Rhine (3rd time in scenic part) was not as busy as it will get as summer comes and the Main/Danube canal was also pleasant despite many locks. In other words, early May was a good choice this year. We took the Avalon Visionary which is a smaller older ship with the cheap down by the water rooms-fine for us as the viewing really was better in the public rooms. Our cabin was very nicely decorated and the crew in housekeeping, dining, and bar were wonderful and seemed happy. The walking tours and specials were good. One highlight was a wine tasting at Bernkastel. We were allowed to taste what we wanted of different Rieslings-dry, medium, sweet-with at least 40 choices (skip the reds). We are not great fans of Rieslings but came away with a real appreciation of the wine and some new favorites. For the Moselle part alone, this is a great cruise but the options for more travel make it even better. I would choose Avalon again the right itinerary. It was good value for what we paid.
  13. +1 on not counting on a cruise for a bucket list destination-stuff happens. River cruises are not always better-we just had too short a time on a bucket list river cruise destination-damn the locks and sometimes low or high water. On O, we missed Hiva Oa in 2014 when O was first cruising French Polynesia etc. They were able to substitute Fakarava on that cruise and by the next year were no longer trying for Hiva Oa. Sometimes a port is not doable-I too would never try for Pitcairn Island after what I have read here.
  14. We also have just returned from a river cruise where our small bathroom had a glass door instead of a curtain-I love Nautica and the more intimate size but a glass shower door would be nice. Incidentally, on our Iberian cruise on Nautica last fall, the casino was used (even by my DH) which was not the case on our Marina cruise. It must depend on the mix on a particular cruise. I think DH went in because there were actually more people there. The current Nautica cruise sounds wonderful and the reporting is terrific.
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