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Host Jazzbeau

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  1. They have some lovely things in the gift shop – just don't leave it until the last evening because you may get stuck like we did when the captain decided to avoid some coming weather by pulling into port early [and thereby forcing the shops to close in mid-transaction].
  2. Lyon is the culinary capital of France. Paul Bocuse has a Michelin 3-star restaurant there [https://www.bocuse.fr/en/], the market is named to honor him [https://thisislyon.fr/food-and-drink/markets/les-halles-de-lyon/], and there is a tradition of neighborhood bouchons that proudly cook just like grandmama did [not my grandma, thankfully...] https://www.thefork.com/restaurant+bouchon-lyonnais+lyon Two famous recipes from Lyon: (1) Quenelles de brochet – pike is a delicious white fish with so many bones that you can't eat it, so they poach it and then push the flesh through a sieve to filter out the bones, then make dumplings [delicious]; https://www.regions-of-france.com/regions/rhone_alpes/food-gastronomy/lyon-quenelle (2) Andouillette – sausage made with tripe [avoid this at all costs, even starvation!] https://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/themes/food/93481824/andouillette-one-of-the-things-you-must-never-try-eating-in-france Lyon is also still a major silk fabric center, with the most amazing silk screening ateliers. [e.g., https://www.atelierdesoierie.com/en/]
  3. A further thought for Windstar re worldwide sourcing of Fevertree tonic: Amazon sells it by the case (with free Prime delivery): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016PQZOGC/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o09_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 Have it delivered to your port agents around the world, then calculate the net cost per bottle and offer it as an upgrade. Why should only 'call' liquor have an upcharge?
  4. And I had it (but didn’t drink it) on Ponant in August. Plus we know that Azamara’s attempts to root it out keep failing. It must be made with Kudzu — impossible to eradicate!
  5. It won't help it get built any faster, but Ritz Carlton did decide to change the name of the ship: Ritz-Carlton Renames First Cruise Ship I had heard that it is bad luck to change the name of a ship. In this case, the name change merely ratifies the bad luck...
  6. Another use for that duct tape! The only two tools you need: duct tape and WD-40. If if moves and shouldn't, use duct tape. If it should move but doesn't, use WD-40. Problems solved!
  7. I had heard [but maybe this was only for the first season] that they were using the Cruise Directors from the ocean ships on the rivers, which implied a higher level of onboard entertainment than most river lines. My cruises on AMA did not involve trivia or sing-a-longs [not sure this would be a big plus, but it does seem to reflect an oceans-to-rivers importation].
  8. I was hoping you would have made it to lunch as I wondered what "oven roasted pork feather" is. I didn't have the courage to try it on Seaview – waiting for the day that 'pigs fly'...
  9. I second the recommendation about Port du Gard, but would also suggest staying in Lyon for a day or two because there is so much to see (and eat!) there.
  10. I understand where you are coming from with all these questions, but want to gently suggest that you are over-thinking it. Even if you get the exact info you are seeking, low water may leave ships out of position and you could end up on a different ship [which may have a slightly different layout]. This is another part of river cruising – like port times and docking locations – that can't be nailed down in advance. Best to be ready to 'go with the flow.'
  11. There are lots of other ways to arrange this, but when visiting a country for the first time I find it comforting to have my hotel arrange the airport pickup – I like to have someone waiting with my name, and the hotel knows which firms are reliable [if not the cheapest].
  12. AMA has enough ships on the Rhine itineraries now that you aren't locked into every trip starting/ending on the same weekday, so it should be possible to find suitable interlocking dates for at least some of their Rhine and Danube itineraries. A quick check on rome2rio shows that there are cheap flights from Amsterdam to Budapest, and from Basel to Budapest. So you could take the Rhine cruise in either direction; the Danube cruise should be taken starting in Budapest [if it's the second cruise] or ending there [if it's the first cruise]. I would suggest that you study the AMA website to figure out which itineraries you want and then, with your timeframe in mind, call AMA and let one of their reps figure out how this would work for you.
  13. Good – you are closer to a 'natural river cruiser' than some of those who find they hate it because there are no casinos, no roller coasters, no theater shows or multiple venues with music and games. A river cruise is very intimate and laid back. Not necessarily relaxing though: every day there are 1-3 included shore excursions which almost always include walking on cobblestones and start right after an early breakfast – then back to the ship for lunch, then the second excursion – then back to the ship for a quick freshen up, cocktail hour and/or meeting about the next day's program – then everybody troops down to the dining room for the single sitting [and many river cruise ships have few tables for two]. After dinner, there will be a piano player in the lounge – and a few times per cruise a local group will come onboard to entertain for a night [e.g. a French chanteuse with accordion accompaniment or a classical trio]. Then everybody's tired, so it's back to the cabins for an early night to prepare for tomorrow's early morning. If you are sociable, it's wonderful – we have always met compatible folks early on and created our regular dinner table group. We've never felt like we were 'in someone's pocket' for the entire cruise, because you can easily get yourself into different excursion groups. Two other groups of folks who don't like river cruising are those like Garbo who 'want to be alone," and those who plan to skip all the organized activities and hire private tour guides at every port [this is logistically difficult because the schedules are at the mercy of the lock masters and the docking locations at the mercy of the harbor masters – sometimes the ship even moves from one town to another while everyone is off on an excursion]. Some compare the cost of a river cruise to an ocean cruise and complain that you have to pay more, for a smaller cabin – and if you don't take advantage of the included excursions the value proposition really falls apart. Those are all the negatives. There are obviously many more positives, or river cruising wouldn't be expanding at such a rapid rate. DW and I love ocean cruising, especially on small ships – and we also love river cruising. None of the 'negatives' I mention above bother us. But we also try to maximize our experience: we sail on AMA because the cabins are larger and the ships more spacious than some other lines, and the food and service are at the top of the game. AMA does split the shore excursions into fast-, regular- and slow-walker groups – and they strive to let the slow walkers see everything by minimizing down time [e.g. shopping]. AMA isn't all-inclusive, which helps keep the price down a bit [since the included wine and beer is all we need – and they now have a free 'happy hour' before dinner]. The other river cruise line we would consider is Crystal, which really strives to bring their ocean cruise experience to their river ships [e.g. food choices and onboard entertainment] – but with only four ships their itinerary choices are very limited.
  14. I would choose something other than Amsterdam to Budapest for 2 reasons: (1) that itinerary goes through the notorious low-water stretch and so maximizes the chances of disruptions, and (2) some people discover that river cruising just isn’t for them so a 2-week cruise leaves a lot of unhappy days ahead. If your frame of reference is ocean cruises, take a look at AmaMagna. It’s twice as wide as any other river cruise ship, so there’s more room for everything and more ‘things.’ It also stays in the deep water part of the Danube.
  15. If my taste buds didn’t fool me, they serve fresh-squeezed. [Which, BTW, Celebrity no longer offers in thei suites restaurant]. That could be why it’s only available at breakfast.
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