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dogs4fun

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Everything posted by dogs4fun

  1. Agree - check carefully as tours with similar/same itineraries with lunches included are priced about the same regardless of with whom you book.
  2. It is a rather long drive - it takes about 3 hours by car - probably a little longer by bus (so maybe 3.5 to 4 hours). There is also a train option. We DIY to Prague - have not availed ourselves of any cruise add ons.
  3. Yes - your hotel can usually arrange airport pick-up/drop-off. Our hotel in Budapest arranged for our taxi to the airport (when we arrived via cruise and stayed an additional week).
  4. If it was my first river cruise and my first visit to the area, I would choose Amsterdam to Budapest. You can still add Prague at the end of your cruise to Budapest - Prague is absolutely amazing! Would you arrive AMS prior to your cruise - lots to see in AMS. Wondering why Paris? We love Paris but it seems that you may be adding too much - sometimes a little less is more. I would save Paris for another visit where I could spend 4 days to a week - so much to see and do in Paris - large city. So, if it were me, I would arrive AMS early, spend a few days in AMS, cruise to Budapest and spend an extra few days in Budapest & then several days in Prague.
  5. We docked in Linz and took the high speed train to Salzburg - one hour each way. Very inexpensive and had much more time to spend in Salzburg than those that booked the optional ship excursion (they departed after breakfast - we departed before breakfast). Plus, we actually toured all the sites in Salzburg that my family wished to visit whereas the optional ship tour is mostly a walking tour of the old town with some free time plus lunch. So - if one is a bit adventurous, there are other options.
  6. You've asked some really subjective questions. We have twice cruised the Danube and our favorite ports were Budapest (spent an additional week post cruise) and Vienna. "Favorite" really depends on your particular interests - for example, we love Salzburg (we are Mozart fans) whereas others prefer to spend the day in Passau or Cesky Krumlov. We prefer shoulder seasons due to crowding during the summer months.
  7. Yes - bon voyage and thank you for your informative posts.
  8. Same here. Dinner conversation is another matter - we enjoy meeting and conversing with others (often with beliefs/opinions differing from ours). Fortunately, we have never been subjected to that "ugly tourist" type that wants to argue or convert. Years ago, we recall being asked by some Brits (shared table at a restaurant in London) what we thought of Obama. This was after his election but prior to his inauguration as president. We were somewhat surprised because we usually find Brits far too courteous to ask a complete stranger a question that could be construed as intrusive. In any event, we answered truthfully but did not go into any detail - we then asked them what they thought and why they had an interest. Their answer was quite interesting.
  9. Full disclosure - an issue of which I am somewhat chagrined - I am a very picky eater (the only one in my entire family and they find me a quite a "pain"). I do not care for the Armenian food I have tried (notable exception being paklava/pachlava and some other pastries). Can't stomach even the smell of lamb let alone eating any, don't like rice, yogurt, couscous, pork ... will not go on with an endless list as I am sure you get my point. When I heard Anderson Cooper explain his attitude toward food (very finicky) I found that he was succinctly expressing my sentiments as well. The primary reason I responded to your post regarding food is due to the Georgian cuisine offered at the restaurant you visited - I am usually silent regarding food choices unless it is one of the rather few choices I like. For example ... we absolutely love visiting Israel & Greece but I practically starve if staying for any length of time as I don't care for most of the local cuisines offered. Absolutely detest sushi which the rest of my family loves. I can safely find something that pleases me in Georgian, Italian, German/Austrian, Mexican, Hungarian & French restaurants worldwide (probably left out a few). Pastries are another matter entirely - love almost anything sweet. Looks like you are "foodies" and experts at trying local cuisines (judging from your photos) - wish I were more adventurous regarding food but alas, I am not. My brother & SIL always take photos of their restaurant meals in europe & food/veggie items in european markets - I have never taken a photo of food in my entire life.
  10. Well, we must not rate very highly because we have never received our bill in a treasure chest (at least not that I can recall - memory sometimes fails me).
  11. I too would focus on Jerusalem only. There is so much to see in Jerusalem that a single port day will barely scratch the surface. Since you have an overnight in Haifa, depending on the time of your ship's departure, would a hotel in Jerusalem be an option? You could return the Haifa the next morning thereby allowing you more time in Jerusalem on the day of your arrival.
  12. Yes, according to the history listed on the restaurant's website, it was once a tavern. According to the website, it won "Best restaurant in St. Petersburg" in 2011. No matter - I was simply pointing out the literal meaning of the restaurant's name ... the food is great regardless of the name. Красный = red кабачок = zucchini Красный кабачок = red zucchini We loved their solyanka and we also enjoyed their cheese bread. Another favorite of ours is Tarkhun (Тархун) - a mere 5 minute stroll from the Faberge Museum. We really like their Georgian food too. Great solyanka and cheese bread (creatures of habit 😎). btw - great photos
  13. Great place - it is actually the Red Zucchini restaurant. кабачок = zucchini We like Georgian cuisine. Link to their website where one can find their menu: http://redkabak.ru/
  14. There was Bitburger Pils Draft on the Danube cruise last year. Also some German craft selections available (Maisel & Friends - not draft, of course : IPA - Pale Ale & some other that I can't recall).
  15. Yes, people have different ideas as to what constitutes a perfect vacation. Had to laugh at the "hogtied" comment as that describes my feelings toward the motorhome mode of travel. Years ago, we were somewhat hesitant to try our first cruise as we much prefer to DIY on land trips. Although we still prefer to DIY via land, we enjoy cruising as well and usually cruise with family and, occasionally with friends - it has always been a pleasant experience.
  16. For those of you familiar with Toms Port Guides, I see that he has now added his Saint Petersburg guide to his free PDFs. Lots of useful information - we used his port guide to Lisbon several years ago and it was an invaluable source of information - spot on. I will check to see if he has added the port guides for the other Baltic ports as well. Link to Saint Petersburg guide: https://www.tomsportguides.com/uploads/5/8/5/4/58547429/st-petersburg-russia-port-guide.pdf
  17. If you check the port of Saint Petersburg sometime after the first of the year you can see exactly how many ships will be docking in Saint Petersburg on your days in port. Of course, this will not include the ships (river cruises and smaller ships) that dock on the Neva and it will not include the largest influx of tourists that arrive by land/air (the Chinese are the largest middle class worldwide and they, along with other groups, arrive at the St. Petersburg attractions by the bus load)
  18. Welcome to Cruise Critic. This is the river cruise forum - in order to receive responses to your query, you would need to post on the RCCL forum here: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/51-royal-caribbean-international/ It would be helpful when posting to include the ports visited on your cruise - is it a Caribbean cruise, european cruise, etc.?
  19. Due to the distance from port (approximately 3 hour drive to Paris) and the need to return to your ship in time for sail away, most tours from Le Havre to Paris are of the drive by variety. Paris is a large, historic city and there is much to see - we love the city and have visited multiple times for extended stays. Is there something in particular that you wish to see or visit in depth? If so, perhaps it would be best to search for tours of that particular venue. The HOHO bus will allow you the opportunity to get off the bus and explore an area in a little more depth but keep in mind that you must make it back to your ship on time (unless, of course, you are disembarking in Le Havre and remaining in Paris).
  20. Yes, very stuffy with no air conditioning. Same is true for the Grand Palace at Peterhof.
  21. I've been to Russia multiple times (most recently just this spring) - we usually fly into Pulkovo & DIY for an extended stay (we have received our new 3 year multi entrance visas - our expired visas were also 3 year visas). After I visit Germany & Italy this year, I plan on visiting my friends in Moscow - mid November. It is much easier to fly to Russia from Europe than from the USA so I always plan my trips to Russia when we've planned a trip to Europe. However, we've been on 4 Baltic cruises and have another planned for 2020 (Celebrity Reflection). Our cruises included: Oceania Marina Oceania Nautica Celebrity NCL Honestly, we have enjoyed all of our european cruises - it is the itinerary and the time spent in each port of call that is most important to us. We actually spend very little time aboard the ship (with sea days being the only exception) so the onboard amenities are not very important to us. We love Stockholm - it is beautiful. Our favorite Russian city is Saint Petersburg - also unbelievably beautiful and interesting. I recommend getting a copy of Rick Steves Northern European Cruise Ports - it covers all the ports you will visit on your cruise. He offers some great tips on DIY in most of your ports of call. Also, check out Toms Port Guides - he visited St. Petersburg in 2019 and his free PDF guide contains a wealth of information: https://www.tomsportguides.com/uploads/5/8/5/4/58547429/st-petersburg-russia-port-guide.pdf
  22. If you are cruising, the smallest crowds will usually be found in early/mid May and the entire month of October. June through August sees the largest influx of visitors to St. Petersburg (the crown jewel in Baltic cruises) - even September is becoming quite busy in the city. Of course, December through February is the least crowded but there are no cruise ships entering the frozen port at this time. 😉 We pack layers & have no problems visiting Europe in the late fall (we also prefer cooler temps) - last year, we experienced wonderful weather in Budapest in mid November and, bonus, no huge crowds or long queues! Just a note: make certain that your ship docks in Stockholm and not Nynashamn. You definitely want to sail through the archipelago - it is gorgeous.
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