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Vacations - Vacation Planning - Discussion

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Post by Sprite Wed Apr 20, 2022 9:38 pm

@Doats My friend and I are just starting to plan our next vacation and we are looking at the Viking Rhine cruise. We are hoping to go end of September to early October during the grape harvest, which coincidentally is also Octoberfest time. Would you recommend the Viking cruise? How did you find the excursions and the food? About how long did you have in each port?

Did you book the cruise with the air or separately?

Any info/suggestions would be much appreciated!


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Post by Doats Thu Apr 21, 2022 12:22 am

@Sprite I highly recommend Viking. We just did the Romantic Danube, 8 days and seven nights. We had originally booked the Rhine Getaway in 2019 for April 2020 but then Covid hit and Viking canceled all cruises. They did the cancellation right though; they offered 100% refund or 125% credit for the amount originally paid. We took the credit and did some major upgrades by flying business class. My husband also wanted to change to the Danube cruise as he is very familiar with Budapest and wanted to show me the city.

The food is wonderful. Meals are in the dining room or on the Aquavit Terrace. Beer, wine and soft drinks are complimentary with lunch and dinner and there is usually a bottle of champagne next to the juices for breakfast. We originally thought we wouldn't enjoy sharing a table for meals but that turned out to be one of our favorite parts and we've made some good friends.

One free excursion is offered in each port and they offer other optional excursions for an additional cost. We have done 2 river cruises now (1st one was Paris-Normandy) and always go on the included excursions. Then we tend to pick and choose from the optional ones since they can be time consuming and we found doing 2 excursions seven days in a row quite tiring as we got to the end of the trip.
Time in ports varies with the cities but you can find the timing in the itinerary on the Viking website.

We've always booked the cruise with air as we found the prices cheaper with Viking and this includes pick up and return transportation to the airports.

I suggest going to vikingrivercruises.com and looking at the Rhine cruise. You'll find a day-by-day itinerary as well as a listing of excursions for each day. The website will also tell you what staterooms are available as they sometimes fill up quickly--that's why we plan at least a year ahead.

My husband and I like Viking so much we have already booked a 2-week ocean cruise, the British Isles Explorer, for April 2023.

I am excited for you if you do the Rhine cruise! One of the days this trip passes through the Middle Rhine, a UNESCO site, with all the castles. Please post here after you go as I'd love to know if you enjoyed the experience...

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Post by Doats Thu Apr 21, 2022 9:52 am

@Sprite Please check Viking's passport requirements. For the US, passports must be good for 6 months after the end of the cruise.

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Post by Sprite Thu Apr 21, 2022 10:14 am

@Doats Thanks for all the info. We are in Canada and since my passport was stolen in Venice on our last trip I have to get new one ASAP.


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Post by GuardianAngel Thu Apr 21, 2022 8:36 pm

@Doats thanks for the detail info. I don't plan on cruising but reading all that was certainly a feel good and very enjoyable read!!



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Post by Sprite Thu Apr 21, 2022 11:40 pm

@Doats I forgot to ask about the dress standards. Do people dress up for dinner or is it casual? I pretty much live in jeans and particularly for the time of year we are going when it is cooler, I don't want to have to pack a ton of stuff.


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Post by Doats Fri Apr 22, 2022 9:49 am

@Sprite Dress code on Viking is quite casual and people wear jeans and shorts during the day and to breakfast and dinner. They do ask for no jeans in the Dining Room during dinner but I've never seen this enforced, never seen people turned away or even approached about this subject.

On our first river cruise (Paris-Normandy-Paris) in June, we were in France during the time when temperatures hit 100+ degrees. People were wearing shorts and the coolest clothes they had. Having said that, one of our favorite things was to go up on the top deck after dinner and watch the world go by. I had brought a shawl with me "just in case" and I needed it as temperatures got cooler at night on the river and with the breeze from sailing.

Anyways...At least on the cruises I've been on, Viking prides itself on people feeling comfortable. Some people dress up and some dress down. My husband and I wore khakis and shirts to dinner and fit right in. We did change out of our tennies/walking shoes but that was it.

Hope this helps and I am so excited for you. Have I mentioned that you will probably love going through the locks--they are remarkable! Please let me know if more questions pop up and I will try to answer.

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Post by Sprite Fri Apr 22, 2022 11:40 am

@Doats Thanks so much for all the info. I am going stir crazy since I haven't travelled since covid hit. Can't wait.


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Post by Doats Fri Apr 22, 2022 12:39 pm

Sprite wrote:@Doats Thanks so much for all the info. I am going stir crazy since I haven't travelled since covid hit. Can't wait.

@Sprite We felt the same. I used to be a Flight Attendant and flew all over the world. These past 2 Covid years were rough on me and everyone else who loves to travel.

And just FYI, we plan to do the Rhine cruise in 2024 so I'll be anxious to hear your thoughts and reactions.

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Post by albean99 Fri Apr 22, 2022 3:11 pm

I loved reading about your Viking cruise, @Doats! We're planning on doing that in a couple of years. Trying to catch up on the things we missed during the Pandemic.

We leave next week for a big cruise/trip. We're going to be in NYC for 2 days with our friends from Kitchener, Ontario and traveling with 2 more friends and 8 of their curling friends (they're all from Ottawa). We have the best itinerary and we're on the NCL Dawn (Norwegian cruise line).
Day 1: NYC 2: sea day 3: Halifax 4-7 sea days  8-9: Reykjavik, Iceland 10: sea day 11: Belfast, Ireland 12: Dublin (Dun Laoghaire), Ireland 13: sea day 14: Amsterdam (Ijmuiden), Netherlands 15: Brussels / Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium  16: Paris (Le Havre), France 17: London (Southampton), England

When we arrive we're doing a tour that will take us to Salisbury, Stonehenge, and Windsor (going to the Castle) and then drop us off at our hotels. My husband and I are taking the EuroStar train to Paris and staying a few days because I've never been. We're so excited to travel with our friends and see so many wonderful places. Hoping that none of us gets Covid or anything else that would stop us from making our trip. Someone on our Facebook group for the cruise had to cancel for that reason. :fingersarecrossed


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Post by Doats Fri Apr 22, 2022 4:19 pm

@albean99 Your cruise sounds amazing!! About 10 years ago when the kids were all self-supporting, my husband gave me a trip to England as a Christmas gift and we've been going back to Europe once a year since then.

You're going to so many places I love. Stonehenge is awe inspiring. Windsor Castle is so much more beautiful "in person" than on tv. Bruges is medieval and charming. And London is our favorite city in Europe. I could go on forever...

We also had the "Covid fear" but trusted our vaccinations and boosters. Plus they tested us (saliva samples) every day so we knew we were OK. I believe all cruise lines now have air filtration, hand sanitizing stations, etc. to help with staying healthy. Am sending you and your sailing partners much good karma to stay healthy.

Please, please post about your trip when you get home. I'd love to hear all about it.

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Post by GuardianAngel Fri Apr 22, 2022 9:24 pm

Great discussion going on!!

Doats wrote:snipped.. Have I mentioned that you will probably love going through the locks--they are remarkable! Please let me know if more questions pop up and I will try to answer.

Where exactly are the locks you're referring too?

I live in an area along the Welland Canal which has 8 locks. I see big 740 foot ships come through the locks every day. It's a sight that never gets old.

@albean99 have a great times. Sounds fantastic!



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