Avalon European River Cruise Specialist
Daniel & Shirley
Rather than rehash many blogs on river cruising we are going to concentrate on the things that made our Avalon Waterways river cruise so special.
We arrive in Budapest two days early. We stayed off the water about a mile for about a quarter of the price of river front luxury hotels.
The Three Corners Bristol was a boutique hotel between two subway stops, thus a lower price point due to location. Nearby was the Hussar Restaurant where we dined on Hungarian goulash, both beef and chicken. It was served with a side of pickled vegetables.
AS far as I know, we were the only couple on the ship that went to the Gellert Spa. The hot pools were just what our chilled bones needed. It was not really that cold. We left Arizona at 105° F, so anything below 70° is cold for us. The hot mineral water, sauna and steam room exceeded our expectations. In season with the outdoor pools may have been more enjoyable. The historic building was a treat in itself. Before going to the spa, we dropped our laundry off at the cleaners. We picked it up after the spa and headed for the Avalon Expression.
Due to an expected overnight bridge closure, our ship had to depart earlier than usual. We could have taken an all-day coach tour or stay on the ship. About 40 of stayed on the ship. We had more waiters than necessary for lunch and enjoyed the hot tub on the top deck sailing up the Danube.
In Vienna we did the usual tour and saw the Lipizzaner Stallions we returned to the ship for lunch. We took the subway back into town and went to the market where our big purchase was Hungarian paprika. The stalls contained many items and we felt safe the whole time. We also went to the H & M store to purchase sweatshirts. We have become wusses living in Arizona. Not to be missed was the first bakery where we could by apple strudel. We purchased apple strudel and the Avalon staff was more than happy to heat it up for us in the morning. We did this about 5 times on the cruise.
Regensburg was our most favorable stop. We left the ship before breakfast for a walk. We did a loop and stumbled upon the Kepler House-Kepler the astronomer. Great we will come back later. We crossed over the river on the lovers lock bridge. Here there were thousands of padlocks with lovers names engraved upon them along with dates of weddings, I presume. I have seen these bridges in photos and on the television, but this was our first encounter in person. After our tour with the guides, the Kepler house was closed as it is only open on the weekends.The Rhine Gorge is the main attraction of many river cruises.
At Wurzburg castle we saw the Room of Mirrors. Along with the tour came commentary about how it was terrible of the Allies to bomb the castle. The mirrors and artwork were moved to caves for safe storage during the war. We photographed many castles along the Rhine. Close to dusk we came upon the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen. Actually we saw the remains of it on each side of the river. Our Captain said he would slow the ship down so we could take some photos. We cruised by it pdq. I was intrigued by the cable car over the river. Perhaps on another tour I will ride the cable car.
Our cruise ended in Amsterdam where our cruise director warned us of “killer bicycles.” She was spot on and “ding, ding, ding –zoom.” After our bus tour and canal cruise we went to the Van Gogh museum. The canal cruise would never be allowed in the USA. Either OSHA or the Coast Guard would shut it down. As near as I could tell there was one way in and one way out. I saw no way to open the windows. What if we crashed into a Killer Bike? They told us how many bicycles they fish out of the canals every year. We took the streetcar to the Van Gogh museum and back. We could not figure out how to pay. There were too many folks aboard to even get to the pay station aboard.
One thing Avalon Waterways does right is its’ “Gentle Walker” program. The slow moving folks has a trolley or short train available for them at many ports to keep walking to a minimum. Avalon had the White group on the coaches when touring too. This way both the active and Gentle Walker folks can enjoy the experience.
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Special trip with special care
Thank you for your kind words. We found a faster way to take oversears payments by using VEEM. It is faster than banks and much less expensive than credit cards or Pay Pay. An Irish client used NicePay and that was fast and efficient.
A very memorable trip
Thanks T. We have matched several men and women over the years to save them both money. I hope you enjoyed my talk in Idaho Falls.
The best trip of my life
Thank you for your kind wordsl
July 2, 2019 Total Eclipse
A country wide tour to remember.
Thank you for you kind words.
An Amazing Tour Experience
Thanks Dave, I think you may have left a note earlier. Ok not to approve.
Thank you for the kind words.
All Three Times Were A Charm!
Thank you for your kind words. I wish I could have been with you on the first two trips. As you know we had multiple groups for each tour.
Total Eclipse Cruis: Turkey
sailing on ther Mandalay
Thank you M. I was my pleasure to help with your sailing adventure.
Dan the man
An Amazing Eclipse Experience
All places stated were visited, nothing was any trouble for the organisers and we enjoyed a fabulous coach drive throughout the tour with detailed and friendly commentary highlighting landmarks and other important points of scenic interest.
We Started from Salt lake City, traveled into Utah, and Wyoming against the backdrop of the Grand Tetons, onward into Yellowstone National Park. I had the pleasure of lecturing to and guiding a fantastic group of passengers throughout the eclipse experience. I'll always remember the camaraderie we shared.
I’ve traveled extensively with many tour companies but never felt more comfortable or confident as I have with Dan and Shirley’s company, Tropical Sails. R
Encouraging, knowledgeable, but not pushy
Great tour – hope to book again!
Some little thing (but that's outside the reach of Tropical Sails and the subcontractors): while the accomodations were ok and nothing to complain about – in terms of value for money –, it's amazing how little space some hotels avail to the guest, not for the persons, but for the things these persons want to unpack....
All together: great! We'll recommend Tropical Sails to many!
Thank you for your kind words.
First total solar eclipse
Excellent Vacation by Dan
Gre experience with Dan and Tropical Sails Corp
We were on the Sultan, which was (is?) a wonderful gulet (yacht) with an expert crew (the cook was fantastic!). The location on azure seas, great food & drink, fun and enlightening shore excursions, and Dan (Tropical Sails) ensured we all enjoyed our entire trip. The itinerary was well thought out, and somewhat flexible... We didn't go on one shore excursion but stayed on the yacht and swam in the indescribably turquoise blue Mediterranean... During the walking tour of Ephesus I walked off to explore several alleyways on my own... Fantastic!
For the eclipse we sailed to the center line and had perfectly clear view!
I fully credit Dan (Tropical Sails Corp) for setting up the cruise and trip. It is one of the most unforgettably wonderful experiences of my life
Thank you John. See you August?
Fun Tour of Turkey
The trip in several ways was one on my favorites. The tour guide and driver were so kind, timely, and professional… more than I was expecting. The quality of the hotels and the food were once again more than I was expecting. A couple times I had a balcony facing the Ocean. The itinerary was just as advertised. It seems the people are working to get return customers and good reviews. I am not used to getting more than I expected.
I really think Daniel’s company is doing the research to find the best deals. I found that Daniel is an honest person. I plan to check with Daniel again to ask him what good deals he has co
Charles, I am pleased that the tour went well. Thank you for your kind words.