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Sea Mail from RHINE #250929
09/22/18 01:03 PM
09/22/18 01:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Ngaire  Online OP
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Well we have all been a little busy. Last night we were advised due to the water levels we would now be debarking in Koblenz, Germany instead of Basel, Switzerland. That means flying out of Frankfurt NOT Basel.

Crystal will offer up to $750 in change fees per person and also a $750 Future Cruise Credit per person. Everyone is scrambling to change their plans. We all have different issues.

It is just a short one hour flight from Frankfurt to Basel so many will just fly to Basel and pick up their plans if they were staying over in that area.
No one was flying directly from Basel to the USA so now instead of flying from Basel to an international gateway they can fly from Frankfurt.

But if they have to change their international flight then there is the issue of business seat availability. I am sure there will be stories as to the issues that people encountered with this change.

For us it actually worked out great! We were flying Basel to LHR - forced overnight - LHR to DFW. Now we are flying nonstop FRA to DFW. No need to spend a night. Same amount of miles and change fee of only $175.00. Hopefully others had good luck as well. At least Frankfurt is a major international gateway.

Leave today at noon. I think everyone else is already in Amsterdam.



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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250930
09/22/18 01:11 PM
09/22/18 01:11 PM
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Maitland, FL
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jbittle Online
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Maitland, FL
Are you going south from Koblenz and then back to debark? There are so many great places just beyond Koblenz.

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: jbittle] #250931
09/22/18 01:42 PM
09/22/18 01:42 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,769
Georgetown, TX
Marc Offline
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Ngaire et al; have a wonderful trip! The Moselle is a nice Plan B; hopefully you will get to see Rhine gorge, too.

Marc


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250932
09/22/18 03:02 PM
09/22/18 03:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Ngaire  Online OP
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New Itinerary - at least we do not have to bus!

Day Location Arrive Depart
Sep 23 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Embark
Sep 24 Amsterdam, Netherlands - -
Sep 25 Amsterdam, Netherlands - 1 pm
Sep 26 Cologne, Germany 1 pm Midnight
Sep 27 Koblenz/Lahnstein, Germany 9 am Midnight
Sep 28 Cochem, Germany 7 am 9 pm
Sep 29 Bernkastel, Germany 8 am Midnight
Sep 30 Mehring/Trier, Germany 8 am -
Oct 1 Mehring/Trier, Germany - 7 pm
Oct 2 Koblenz, Germany 3 pm -
Oct 3 Koblenz/Frankfurt, Germany - Disembark


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250941
09/23/18 12:20 PM
09/23/18 12:20 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,734
Fullerton, CA
petlover Offline
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This ship is over the top gorgeous! Every room is a suite (different categories vary in size of course) but so spacious, lots of storage, walk in closet, very nicely appointed, upscale and new. Really really nice.

So happy we're all here safe and sound. Let the fun begin !


Marcie

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250943
09/23/18 03:36 PM
09/23/18 03:36 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 928
Ohio
Anna B. Offline
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Ohio
To expand a little on Marcie's description, the bathrooms are wonderful, unless you prefer a tub.Very clean and modern looking with white marble, grey cabinets, double sinks, large stall shower with two shower heads, large brightly colored tubes of shampoo, lotion, etc. from Etsy AND HEATED FLOORS which were a great plus today! They also give you a choice of two styles of bathrobe. Traditional heavy terry cloth and lighter cotton Yukata (Japanese) style . More to come.....


Kathy
Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250944
09/23/18 03:59 PM
09/23/18 03:59 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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So nice to see everyone though there are a few I have not seen yet. Rainy day we blew off the tour and ended up taking a nap that we seldom do. Off for drinks then dinner. Lunch was great today a wonderful assortment of cold and hot foods.


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250945
09/23/18 06:16 PM
09/23/18 06:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 983
Maitland, FL
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jbittle Online
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Maitland, FL
At the confluence of the Rhine & Moselle Rivers is Deutsches Eck, which translates as “Corner of Germany”, is a massive statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I which overlooks the 2 rivers. Koblenz is a really fun town to visit. Be sure to see the "Spitting Boy" statue / fountain. In one square there's a clock on a tower with the likeness face of a man beheaded in the 1400s and he sticks his tongue out when the clock strikes. For a great German lunch check out Altes Brauhaus. It's an upscale local restaurant, not a tourist trap. The food is great and plentiful. The Moselle has a lot of locks so they are able to maintain the river levels. Other than the 30 mile stretch of the Rhine with over 20 medieval and earlier castles, the Moselle has much more interesting villages to explore.

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250946
09/23/18 06:23 PM
09/23/18 06:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 983
Maitland, FL
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jbittle Online
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Joined: Mar 2006
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Maitland, FL
Reichsburg Castle is the highlight of Cochem. The castle has a long history and several owners. The original part was built in 1000, taken over by the German King in 1151, owned by the Archbishop of Trier in 1294, owned by the Burgundians in 1332, owned by King Ludwig XIV in 1689, owned by Louis Ravené in 1868, taken over by the Third Reich in 1943, controlled by the German State in 1949 and turned over to the municipality of Cochem in 1978 and they run it as a museum / tourist attraction. The city is nice to explore on you own after the tours. For a nice lunch without the tourist trap atmosphere, walk across the bridge and go down the right side by the river to Weinhexenkeller. It has outdoor seating with a view across the river of Cochem and the castle high on the hill behind the town.

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250947
09/23/18 06:29 PM
09/23/18 06:29 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 983
Maitland, FL
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jbittle Online
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Maitland, FL
Bernkastel is over 2000 years old and is a charming picture postcard town. It's in the wine country (95% of the region's wines are Riesling) and you may be taken to Dr. Pauly’s Wine Cellar to sample a semi-sweet & dry Riesling and an ice wine dessert wine. The town has lots of interesting squares surrounded by restaurants & shops and it is really beautiful at night all lit up.

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250948
09/23/18 06:33 PM
09/23/18 06:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 983
Maitland, FL
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jbittle Online
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Maitland, FL
If you are offered a tour of Luxembourg from Mehring, do it. It's only about an hour scenic bus ride and the city is very interesting. Mehring is a place for riverboat docking and there isn't much to see or do there unless they are having a wine or Octoberfest festival along the waterfront.

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250949
09/23/18 08:25 PM
09/23/18 08:25 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Thanks Jim. I did the Mosel from Trier some time ago and loved it. Not been back so I am looking forward to going back.


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250951
09/24/18 01:02 PM
09/24/18 01:02 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 928
Ohio
Anna B. Offline
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Ohio
Jim, thank you so much for all the good recommendations! I'm especially happy for the restaurant suggestions.....your food pics from last trip made me hungry for a good German meal!


Kathy
Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250956
09/26/18 12:26 PM
09/26/18 12:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Dallas, Texas
Well the Crystal river boat has delivered.

Love the cabins, food has been consistently good, staff excellent. Even good Cabernets hard to find on a European river boat. We had a trivia today won with 18 out of 20. I love the coffee bar where they have food out all day, serve eggs in the morning and dinner at night as well. Nice casual restaurant and excellent coffee.

The first day it was rainy and windy but two perfect weather days In a row now. Loved our last afternoon in Amsterdam visited a windmill village. An open air museum. Today we are in Cologne. We just took the shuttle rather than do a tour.. Only been here for Christmas markets before. Visited the Cathderal again and really missed the giant Christmas tree and market.




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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250959
09/26/18 03:52 PM
09/26/18 03:52 PM
Joined: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,001
Tulsa OK
R
RachelG Offline
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Tulsa OK
The pictures of the boat on FB look fabulous. George is not a particular fan of river cruises, but I think I might be able to tempt him into this.

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250960
09/27/18 06:22 AM
09/27/18 06:22 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,734
Fullerton, CA
petlover Offline
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This really has been nice. We're loving having one full wall of window in our suite. You're always seeing something instead of just looking out and seeing nothing but ocean and horizon. We've enjoyed previous AMA riverboat trips but Crystal has really raised the bar! It's been a great trip!


Marcie

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250961
09/27/18 11:38 AM
09/27/18 11:38 AM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Another beautiful morning in Koblenz. We visited the fortress which we reached by cable car. Very good guide and interesting fortress. 99% mortality for anyone attacking this fortress. Little museum with the military uniforms through the years. Also saw the living quarters for the soldiers. Very interesting tour. It was finished off with wine or champagne and warm pretzel bread that was fantastic.

We walked into the town for a short while afterwards and then came back for lunch and Ken needs to post pictures.


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250962
09/27/18 04:23 PM
09/27/18 04:23 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Ngaire  Online OP
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Zaanse Schans is a neighborhood in the Dutch town of Zaandam, near Amsterdam. Historic windmills and distinctive green wooden houses were relocated here to recreate the look of an 18th/19th-century village.

Photos by Ken H.

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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250963
09/27/18 04:26 PM
09/27/18 04:26 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Dallas, Texas
Just a couple of photos from Koblenz by Ken H.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250964
09/27/18 07:38 PM
09/27/18 07:38 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Ngaire  Online OP
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Dallas, Texas
As it was in Russia we cannot see the pictures here on the ship as SmugMug is blocked. At least those of you at home can see the shots.


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250965
09/28/18 12:37 PM
09/28/18 12:37 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Last night the lobster was outstanding. Probably the best I have ever had. Those that had the caviar also said it was excellent. Food really has been terrific.

Woke up to a foggy morning and a little chilly. We went on a tour to the Reichsburg castle and a walking city tour. The fog lifted and the temperature warmed up and the sun came out. Loved the castle and the town was really as nice as I remember it. We walked around after the tour. The wine harvest is starting in a few days. They except a very good harvest this year.


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250966
09/28/18 03:28 PM
09/28/18 03:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 794
Dallas, Texas
K
Ken Offline
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Ken  Offline
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K

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Posts: 794
Dallas, Texas
Perched high on the hill over the Moselle River in the picturesque town of Cochem is the beautiful Reichsburg Cochem Castle dating back nearly 1,000 years.

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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250967
09/29/18 12:07 PM
09/29/18 12:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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So today we were in Bernkastel. It felt very cold in the morning but it soon warmed up.

I remembered this beautiful town as soon as I arrived. This is where they had the advent calendar on one of the houses during our Trier to Amsterdam Christmas market. Absolutely a picture postcard village. Some hiccups today due to a rowing regatta and we had to leave early. However tomorrow they will have a 30 minute shuttle back to Bernkastel and we are going back. There is a medieval castle I want to see and I want more time in the town. Pizza is calling me!!

So now we are sailing down the Mosel and this is a beautiful river. Need to go up on deck and take in the beauty of our surroundings.


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250972
10/01/18 02:37 PM
10/01/18 02:37 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 794
Dallas, Texas
K
Ken Offline
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Ken  Offline
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K

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Bernkastel is a well-known wine growing center on the Middle Moselle Valley.

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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250973
10/01/18 02:40 PM
10/01/18 02:40 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 794
Dallas, Texas
K
Ken Offline
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Ken  Offline
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K

Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 794
Dallas, Texas
Trier is Germany's oldest city and ancient Roman capital. Founded by Augustus in 15 B.C.. The Black Gate, built around 170 A.D. is the only gate to the city that has survived.

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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250974
10/01/18 09:39 PM
10/01/18 09:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Well we did not go back to Bernkastle. The next day was Sunday and all the stores were closed. We moved to trier and tied up right in front of a RV park. The people in the park were looking at us and we were looking at them. Strange place to dock? I think it may have had something to do with a fresh water source. I saw other ships docked at RV parks along the river so that makes logical sense. Later that night we moved about two hundred yards so we were not looking right at the RV park.

Went to Trier the next day a big town but we did a walking street tour. Fabulous cathedral and nice local market. The ship offered the Trier tour and the Luxenburg tour on the two days we were docked here. Second day since we had done Trier and did not do the eight hour tour to Luxenburg we made it a card day.

That night Kathy and Al and Tom and Marcie were in the not so new newly wed game. It was fun. Tom and Marcie won with seven out of eight questions right.

We are sailing now to the Koblenz area but cannot dock in Koblenz as the water level is now too low. We have a castle tour tomorrow and the next morning we debark.

Crystal is a great ship as far as cabins, food and staff are concerned. They need to communicate a little better and increase their tour offerings but I think that will come with time. It would be my choice now as far as river boats go.




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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250975
10/02/18 04:18 PM
10/02/18 04:18 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Ngaire  Online OP
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Dallas, Texas
Dinner aboard the Crystal Debussy with Cheron, Mark, Polly, George, Ken and I.

[Linked Image]


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250989
10/05/18 08:36 PM
10/05/18 08:36 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Ngaire  Online OP
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Dallas, Texas
Ngaire, Elvir, and Ken aboard the Crystal Debussy

[Linked Image]

The staff on Crystal were really outstanding. The waiters were excellent. Food was great and lovely dining room.

That said, Elvir was really a special person. Lots of personality handled some of my crowd who were giving him a "fun hard time" absolutely perfectly. We asked him to take the picture above - he did that but when he showed it to us it was a very upclose picture of his face That is on here as well. Never had a waiter do that before and so serious. Of course he took the real picture too. A really witty and intelligent person. Not even a blink when I did my normal "I want this with this" routine. Waiters struggle most of the time with these types of requests (being the princess that I am) but everything was "no problem at all" Plus he always got it right. Very efficient and fast yet always seemed to have time to visit. I absolutely loved him. I truly think one of the best waiters I have ever met and you know how many waiters I have met over the years with all my cruises.

In fact I sent a message into Crystal executives sharing this information with them - he is truly an asset to have onboard.

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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250990
10/07/18 03:12 PM
10/07/18 03:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,734
Fullerton, CA
petlover Offline
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Agree with Ngaire about Elvir, he was an excellent waiter for sure and made my birthday dinner very special the last night. Actually all the waitstaff was great except one waiter (Mikki) who seemed a bit argumentative when Kathy and I requested splitting a sandwich at lunch. He had a "my way or the highway" attitude.

All of the Crystal staff was outstanding IMO, really went out of their way to keep us happy. At least half of our group had the same butler "Octavian" since our suites were on the same floor. He was always pleasant, helpful and knew each cabin's occupants by name the first day and quickly learned our daily habits and needs. We loved that he was always available.
The bar staff was also great. When I showed up in the lounge pre-dinner they'd always greet me with "Hello Ms Marcie, would you like a Cosmo? " After dinner, they ask if I'd like a Sambuca. They were a quick study !

After the first couple of days...each day thereafter was a surprise where we'd be docking due to the low river water levels. That's OK....it is what it is. Tom & I are experienced at expecting the unexpected when traveling and just go with the flow. They're still working some of the bugs out being so new to river boating. The helpful staff and outstanding accommodations truly stand out above other riverboat cruise lines.

We wouldn't hesitate to book another Crystal riverboat cruise.


Marcie

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: petlover] #250992
10/07/18 07:52 PM
10/07/18 07:52 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,769
Georgetown, TX
Marc Offline
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Marc  Offline
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Georgetown, TX
Marcie, as you were on Debussy and also on PARIS back in 2009 doing almost same itinerary; can you compare them? We are thinking of doing the Amsterdam to Budapest (and maybe Black Sea) cruise and still looking at river cruise lines.

thanks,

Marc


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250993
10/08/18 01:04 AM
10/08/18 01:04 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 983
Maitland, FL
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jbittle Online
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Maitland, FL
Marc we are booked on Uniworld from Bucharest to Amsterdam next August, look at that we can talk on Circle Australia

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250994
10/08/18 06:52 PM
10/08/18 06:52 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,734
Fullerton, CA
petlover Offline
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Marc, it's almost hard for me to remember our PARIS cruise on AMA. I remember how cold it was but really enjoyed seeing the Xmas markets and we had lots of fun. As for the ship itself, I don't think there's any riverboat in existence that can compare with the Crystal product. The entire ship is upscale, it's all inclusive and the best crew we've ever sailed with. I like that the maximum passengers is 104 (going by memory). It makes for a really nice, intimate experience on a gorgeous new ship. Including liquor is always a nice perk for us thought not a deal breaker.

On the other hand, AMA is nice. In 2015 we went on a Paris to Normandy cruise on AMA and it was great, no complaints whatsoever. There will likely be more AMA passengers onboard but with more passengers, they may offer a better selection of tours? We had a Queen bed on AMA which was fine for us...not as good as the king we had on Crystal.

I think you're going to have to weigh the price, number of nights, and itinerary and make your decision from there. I'm not familiar with Uniworld but cruising with Jim and Pat sounds like a great option too.



Marcie

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #250999
10/10/18 08:40 PM
10/10/18 08:40 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 9,734
Fullerton, CA
petlover Offline
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To those on RHINE with us....have you given thought to the $750. FCC we were given ? Are they sending us some kind of certificate?


Marcie

Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #251000
10/10/18 09:51 PM
10/10/18 09:51 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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We have created a record of the credit in everyone's files in our database. Once you book we will ask for it to be applied. However, we did not get a letter so if any of you still have that letter we would appreciate you sending that to me. You can just take a picture of it with your phone and send it that way.


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Re: Sea Mail from RHINE [Re: Ngaire] #251001
10/11/18 03:30 PM
10/11/18 03:30 PM
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 7,521
Dallas, Texas
Ngaire Online OP
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Dallas, Texas
Not to worry. I was thinking that you all may have been given an official letter or certificate on the ship I did not know about. I have the original notice that states the $750 pp FCC so that will suffice if you decide to redeem the FCC's. We are good. We know the terms it was laid out on the original notice.

"Although this situation is beyond our control, we wish to apologize for any inconvenience your clients might experience, and as a gesture of goodwill, we are pleased to extend them a Future Cruise Credit in the amount of $750 per guest, valid towards any Crystal Experience (Ocean, River or Yacht Expedition) embarking on or before September 30, 2020"


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