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Keith1010

LIVE FROM CRYSTAL MOZART - MAY 10, 2019 SAILING

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42 minutes ago, Keith1010 said:

I  wanted to share some good news.  Well, I think it is  good  news.

 

We just arrived to London  Heathrow  and starting last night they eliminated the  landing cards from seven  countries including  the  USA.  Todays' flight  arrived to terminal 3.   There  were no lines.  That might have been coincidental  but this does reduce significant  cost, allows  for efficiency and is supposed to free up resources to do other things.  

 

Keith

That really sounds like good news, we were in Terminal 3, last week, after our Mozart cruise, and were in line for 90 minutes...hope your "no-line"  encounter was not just a coincidence !!

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49 minutes ago, docmark said:

That really sounds like good news, we were in Terminal 3, last week, after our Mozart cruise, and were in line for 90 minutes...hope your "no-line"  encounter was not just a coincidence !!

A  couple of weeks ago  we arrived to Terminal 5 on our flight from Athens and the  lines looked to be 90 minutes as well.  We  used an airport concierge so fortunately we breezed  through.  From what  I've been told  there were no lines for all of today so not sure if its a coincidence or if this helps. It should help though either way.

 

I guess this is when I say time will tell.

 

Keith

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Looks like you had great timing... as per Wikipedia (had to look up what a Landing Card was) : "In August 2017, the UK Home Office announced that landing cards will be completely scrapped as part of digital border transformation and modernisation. It was expected this change would come into effect by the autumn, [15]. On the 16th May 2019, it was announced by the Home Office that the change would come into effect on the subsequent Monday (20th May)"

 

I've been following your journey and really enjoyed it....thanks for the great write up, hoping we can hit the Danube for our next cruise in 2021.

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41 minutes ago, Daisi said:

Looks like you had great timing... as per Wikipedia (had to look up what a Landing Card was) : "In August 2017, the UK Home Office announced that landing cards will be completely scrapped as part of digital border transformation and modernisation. It was expected this change would come into effect by the autumn, [15]. On the 16th May 2019, it was announced by the Home Office that the change would come into effect on the subsequent Monday (20th May)"

 

I've been following your journey and really enjoyed it....thanks for the great write up, hoping we can hit the Danube for our next cruise in 2021.

Thank you for the additional background on this and we are happy it happened when it did.

 

The Danube is really something special.  I am so glad we did this River Cruise and we hope to do more of them.

 

Keith

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One thing I wanted to say was that IMO - Crystal sort of runs their river cruises like their ocean cruises. 

 

For example, on my first river cruise and from what my friends tell me of other companies recently - you don't sign up for excursions in advance.  You do it on the ship. I was waitlisted for one excursion when I booked and was telling friends and they were like "we didn't sign up for anything until the ship". I cleared my waitlist but from what I gathered most people sign up for excursions until the ship. Additionally - they have a gathering to discuss shore excursions the first night.

 

Also - most river cruises have a short gathering every night before before dinner to talk about the following day. While it is not mandatory, you are expected to be there. Crystal leaves something in your room about the following day.

 

On my other river cruise - the CD played a different role than on ships. They were in charge of everything all the time and were constantly re-arranging things. Everyone knew who they were. On Crystal - I think we had a main tour guide but it didn't seem like the same thing. Things seem to run incredibly smooth on Crystal. Maybe she was just that good. I did see her out in the morning with the buses and I did see her on some tours. She scolded me once for not charging my audiovox (I deserved it).  Maybe because we didn't have a tour meeting and didn't have nightly gatherings, I minimized her role. My guess is she was incredibly hard working and due to this, things ran so smooth but it wasn't the same as a CD on my other river cruise or what my friends describe on theirs.

 

Just some general comments.

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Coral  you are correct.  You  see so much similar with the Crystal products.  That even includes the process they use on board the vessels when you use up a shampoo. 

 

On top of that they do a  few things on the River Cruise vessel that they no longer do on the ocean vessel but again most practices are the same.  They also try their best to do this across all the vessels.  For example, Caviar at the Society  Party is across all the River Vessels.

 

Keith

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WE'RE ON OUR WAY HOME

 

I thought this title was fitting as we make our way home. There was a Beatles song (you know I love The Beatles) sung by Paul McCartney and John Lennon) originally called We're on our way home before it became two of us. I like the lyrics and enjoy how they are singing to one another. 

 

We are at the conclusion of another amazing adventure. As they say all good things must come to an end or as The Beatles sang "All good things must pass". 

 

We have visited places for the first time, returned to locations we have previously visited, and experienced so much at sea and on land. We have laughed. We teared up when we visited the concentration camp and I felt emotions on the walking tour of the Jewish Cemetery/Synagogue & Old Town. We have increased our knowledge about world events. We have grown. We have seen things through our own eyes and not the lens of a camera. We have met several guests for the first time and we have renewed friendships. We have seen our family living in Australia and kept up with our family in the USA. We have created memories which will last for the rest of our lives. We have sailed on a River Cruise Vessel for the first time and we have reached 100+ Crystal Society Milestones during this adventure. 

 

We have now sailed the equivalent of four years.

 

There is so much going on around the world that sometimes  gets lost or forgotten back home. We have shared what is happening with investments by China in places such as Africa from the Ocean Voyage although I have seen the same during the River Cruise.  We have seen first hand issues related to the global environment. These are some of the benefits of travel.

 

I hope my narrative and photos have conveyed much of what we experienced  for those  who followed our trip either during the River Cruise or for  the entire  5+ month trip.

 

There is so much to see around the world and to remind ourselves that our home country and home areas represent only a portion of the world. The world is full of diversity which makes us all that much better if we take the time to learn from others about the cultures from around the world. 

 

We enjoyed our last night of the cruise at the Sofitel Hotel at London Heathrow Airport The first night of our adventure began at a hotel airport for our local airport so it was fitting that the last night end at an airport hotel. We enjoyed our final dinner of this trip and toasted our love for each other and our love and appreciation of travel. 

 

Dinner was not three or four courses as we enjoyed on Serenity and Mozart. We kept to two courses; salad and a salmon entree. Oh and I could have lived without the French fries. LOL but very true.

 

IMG_7116.thumb.jpg.8c491ec0831d7e9ca8a20372a3bf8048.jpgIMG_7115.thumb.jpg.55da824c51bfb58a5d676a0fd44cc8a0.jpg

 

We read and wrote before we went to sleep and awoke early for our final day away from home. After getting ready we went down to the lobby of the hotel where we could check in for our flight and drop off our luggage. This is a new service which British Airways offers at the hotel which began six months ago. We had no wait. Since our bags were large they asked us (me) to place each bag on a luggage scale and to read off the weight. We were given our boarding passes.. From there we walked the long corridor and took the elevator up four floors and entered terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport. 

 

We went through passport control, through security and made our way to the British Airways Club Lounge. We were fortunate to not have additional checks as the two passengers in front of us did. The only item was security wanting to do a scan of Anne Marie's 3-2-1 bag. No big deal.

 

We just finished breakfast at the lounge. We kept this to the same breakfast you are familiar with by now; cereal and a banana. LOL. They had a full service menu with table service.

 

IMG_7118.thumb.jpg.615c830c1dbdb3831deb65fa296a2ec2.jpg

 

We hope you have enjoyed following our adventure.

 

We have a challenging time ahead in a couple of months. If all goes well we will begin a new adventure later this year. Until then.

 

Cheers and best wishes to the members of the River  Cruising board from around the world.  Thank  you  to  those who have given me advice starting a few years ago about river cruising (including  the host of this board) and to those who gave me advice more recently after  we booked the Mozart River Cruise.

 

While  we all don't agree (that might be an understatement) what does unite most of us is our enjoyment of cruising.

 

Enjoy life.

 

Remember, life is like a book and each of us does not know when that last chapter will be written. Another reason to enjoy each day.  1f642.png?_nc_eui2=AeGDcRF8dhp05FOD3xJk2

 

Cheers,

 

Keith

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14 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

While  we all don't agree (that might be an understatement) what does unite most of us is our enjoyment of cruising.

 

Enjoy life.

 

Remember, life is like a book and each of us does not know when that last chapter will be written. Another reason to enjoy each day.  1f642.png?_nc_eui2=AeGDcRF8dhp05FOD3xJk2

So true! 

Thanks again so much for all of your time and efforts to provide us with such wonderful reporting. 

We will be thinking of the two of you and extend our best wishes as you face your challenges ahead. 

Bob and Jeannie 

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Thank you so much Bob and Jeannie. 

 

We landed just just a little while ago and are being driven home. 

 

Ill probably do do an additional post in the next couple of days. 

 

Best to you both. 

 

Keith

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Just an FYI.  Landing cards have been done away with for a few years out of most of Europe to the US.

 

We absolutely use the concierge service to whisk us through LHR.  Terminal 5 can be a nightmare.  We use Emirates as much as we can.  Far superior to British or American Airlines.  

 

Anyway, thanks for the interesting posts on the river cruise.  I think we will pass on them as we have been to many of these places on land vacations.  We will stick to Crystal’s ocean ships for sure.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
41 minutes ago, MalbecWine said:

Just an FYI.  Landing cards have been done away with for a few years out of most of Europe to the US.

 

We absolutely use the concierge service to whisk us through LHR.  Terminal 5 can be a nightmare.  We use Emirates as much as we can.  Far superior to British or American Airlines.  

 

Anyway, thanks for the interesting posts on the river cruise.  I think we will pass on them as we have been to many of these places on land vacations.  We will stick to Crystal’s ocean ships for sure.

 

So I flew to London once last year and through London once last year and both times I had landing cards to fill out.

 

I do have a question about concierge service to whisk through LHR. I am very interested in this because LHR can be a nightmare. Can someone elaborate. I am stuck with United, American or British. I am looking at flying this fall through London on British as I can't get FF miles with AA.

Edited by Coral

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We were not passed out any I-94 forms on our last flight a few months ago from LHR.  Go figure and no customs agent asked for them.   

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Keith & Annmarie-

I really enjoyed your adventures. Wishing you good luck now and in the future.

I know I speak for the others when I say that we hope to travel (  at least vicariously)    with you soon. 

Nancy 

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When we landed in both Dublin and Reykjavik on recent trips, cards were handed out and never collected by anybody.  Waste of time.

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Folks all I was talking about was London where landing cards had been issued and used up until the night we arrived.  Please move on.  I don't want this live thread to be a who's who about landing cards.  Please. 

 

Thank you.


Keith

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Nancy thank you for your comments and for following along.  They are most appreciated.

 

I will update our blog again later today.

 

Keith

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5 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

Cora. there are various airport concierge services you could use.

 

In our case we use a company called Royal Airport Concierge in selected airports such as London.

 

https://www.royalairportconcierge.com

 

Keith

Thank you!

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many thanks for the daily reports  - also on Vienna where I was the last time some 18 years ago.

 I did visit quite some  river ships in my hometown from extremely basic ( bathroom limited to a zinc and toilet ) up to the Crystal Bach

I always thought it was not for me  -so far

Reading your reports and blog , I maybe must give it a try on Crystal as service seems to be similar as on the ocean ships.

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13 hours ago, vistaman said:

many thanks for the daily reports  - also on Vienna where I was the last time some 18 years ago.

 I did visit quite some  river ships in my hometown from extremely basic ( bathroom limited to a zinc and toilet ) up to the Crystal Bach

I always thought it was not for me  -so far

Reading your reports and blog , I maybe must give it a try on Crystal as service seems to be similar as on the ocean ships.

vistaman, you are very welcome.

 

I used the word often to describe the experience but it was truly amazing.

 

It was our first River Cruise so I can't compare it to another line but I can compare it to experiences we have had on land and at sea.

 

It far exceeded our experiences and that says a lot because if the weather was better that would have further added to the experience as we could have enjoyed the ports even more but also spent time outside on the sun deck with the retractable bar.

 

Service was tremendous and the cuisine was delicious.

 

Keith

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Keith,

 

I echo everyone else and thank you for all the time you spent on your Blog, and posting here.

 

Sorry, off topic, but wonder if you happen to know how do the river cruise ships get repositioned to different regions?   I don't think they are capable of sailing in the oceans.  Perhaps they are lifted onto a cargo ship, and transported?

 

Thanks

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2 minutes ago, andydates said:

Keith,

 

I echo everyone else and thank you for all the time you spent on your Blog, and posting here.

 

Sorry, off topic, but wonder if you happen to know how do the river cruise ships get repositioned to different regions?   I don't think they are capable of sailing in the oceans.  Perhaps they are lifted onto a cargo ship, and transported?

 

Thanks

andrydates I am glad you enjoyed the Blog and thank you for the feedback.

 

That is a good question and we asked about it.

 

The Crystal vessels are not moved.

 

I suspect that is true for the other ones but someone with more knowledge would have to answer that.

 

Keith

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1 minute ago, Keith1010 said:

andrydates I am glad you enjoyed the Blog and thank you for the feedback.

 

That is a good question and we asked about it.

 

The Crystal vessels are not moved.

 

I suspect that is true for the other ones but someone with more knowledge would have to answer that.

 

Keith

I think the Mozart will have to be moved once transferred to another company for Genting.  I hope they move it to China to do the Yangtze River cruises.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, andydates said:

I think the Mozart will have to be moved once transferred to another company for Genting.  I hope they move it to China to do the Yangtze River cruises.

 

 

It won't be moved.  It will remain where it is.

 

Keith

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5 hours ago, andydates said:

I think the Mozart will have to be moved once transferred to another company for Genting.  I hope they move it to China to do the Yangtze River cruises.

 

 

 

My understanding is that it will remain on the Danube but will serve the Chinese speaking market with all that entails.

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