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The Danube …. continued

As we mentioned in our last post, Bill Edwards is cruising on the Danube this week onboard the Scenic Jasper and is sending us some sample photos.  Enjoy these, as we all wish that we were there with him……….

Danube River lock with Scenic Cruises

approaching Vienna in one of many locks along the Danube River

Vienna with Scenic River Cruises

Stunning Vienna

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna with Scenic Cruises

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna

Rack of Lamb, onboard Scenic Jasper with Scenic Cruises

Rack of Lamb, onboard Scenic Jasper

Durnstein with Scenic Cruises

Scenic Jasper approaching Durnstein

Durnstein church with Scenic Cruises

One of the Danube’s most picturesque churches in Durnstein

Durnstein with Scenic Cruises

Quaint, charming Durnstein

….let’s all hope Bill sends us some more photos soon!

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One Picture is Worth …….

by Don McCann

This week, our own Bill Edwards is on a preview cruise with Scenic Cruises‘ new ship, the Scenic Jasper, sailing from Budapest to Vienna.  Even though Bill is not here yet to share his thoughts and review of the ship & itinerary, he’s been good enough to send back some photos as a preview of this trip.  Here are just a few examples to view until he returns next week when he can share some ‘words’ to accompany these great photos………

Scenic Jasper in Budapest with Scenic Cruises

Scenic Jasper in Budapest

Bill Edwards enjoying the balcony on Scenic Jasper with Scenic Cruises

Bill Edwards enjoying the balcony on Scenic Jasper

Scenic Jasper Portabello's alternative Dining Room with Scenic Cruises

Scenic Jasper Portabello’s alternative Dining Room

Budpest's famed Parliment building with Scenic Cruises

Budpest’s famed Parliment building

Matthias Church in Budapest with Scenic Cruises

Matthias Church in Budapest

Heros' Square in Budapest with Scenic Cruises

Heros’ Square in Budapest

Chain Gate Bridge in Budapest with Scenic Cruises

Chain Bridge in Budapest

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A Special Treat

by Don McCann

Obviously, we love talking about cruises (duh, right?).  However, we also love it when we can have a guest cruising expert talk about cruises with our clients.  Next week is one of those special times.  Sheila Bielich of AMA Waterways is going to be here in our office next Tuesday, April 21, 2015.  Sheila is a wealth of information on many destinations worldwide and she always provides for lively, enthusiastic presentation when we are lucky enough to host her.  We really hope that those in the DFW area will be able to join us for a great talk on river cruises, both in Europe and some other exotic locations.  We’ll have some great wines and cheeses to sample and we’re sure you’ll enjoy the evening (and maybe learn a thing, or too, as well !).

If you wish to RSVP, just click the link here and we’ll see you next week!

AMA Waterways in Durnstein

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The Grand Canal of Venice….by John Lane

 

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One of the most exciting ports of call in the Mediterranean to sail into is Venice. Your ship slowly sails the Grand Canal of Venice, towering over the small restaurants, shops and hotels on each side.  The excitement builds as you glide by St. Mark’s Square, a true highlight of your cruise.  It brings an air of excitement among your fellow passengers that are all lined up along the ship’s railing.  This cruise experience will soon be coming to and end! 

 The Italian government announced that it will begin limiting ship traffic in the lagoon. That means 20 percent fewer ships in front of the Piazza San Marco (beginning in January), a complete ban on ships larger than 96,000 gross tons (starting next November). Although cruisers might be disappointed, this is a welcome move for the crumbling city of Venice.  So if you truly want to enjoy this experience before it goes away…summer and fall Mediterranean are available with Venice on the itinerary!  This is truly one of the most beautiful port to sail in and out of and don’t miss it! 

 

 

 

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We’re Published!

by Don McCann

What is it about seeing your name in print that kind of gives you maybe just a little tingle?!  Come on, admit it, you know what I mean.  Well, leading Dallas wedding blogger, Emilie DesJardins, recently published an interview with me about honeymoon Cruiseship private balcony honeymoon couplecruises.  It’s always great to share expertise on our favorite topic, cruises, and it was flattering to be asked; we appreciate the opportunity.  Take a look: Honeymoon cruises: An option with many possibilities

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Smoke free verandas….by John Lane

ImageOne of the things that I love most about being on a cruise is sitting out on my veranda.  Whether it be eating breakfast or just sitting out there at any time of day or night just watching the world go by–I love it!  What does bother me is when I am enjoying the peace and quiet of my veranda and my neighbor decides to enjoy their veranda too and lights up a cigarette.  The smoke immediately clogs the air and the entire atmosphere is changed by the smell of their smoke.  My normal reaction is to leave the peace and quiet of my seaside sanctuary and retreat inside to my cabin.  Why should someone else’s actions determine how I use my cabin?  Well, more and more cruise lines are curtailing smoking on verandas too!  What’s your opinion of on board smoking?  Should it be limited to a few outdoor spaces on the upper decks and keep all cabins and verandas smoke free?  Let me know! 

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Do As I Say …….

by Don McCann

I think we’ve all heard “do as I say, not as I do”, right?  Funny how that rings true, time after time……

Whether boarding your ship in Miami, or Barcelona, we always suggest that you fly in the day before.  The airlines track record has become less stellar in the last few years and the lost and/or delayed baggage claims are noticeably worse these days, too.  So for these reasons, we have heard too many ‘stories’ which illustrate why you should listen to us and GO THE DAY BEFORE (not to mention you are a bit more rested to begin your cruise and you eliminate the stress of maybe ‘missing the ship’).

So my last blog was about MY upcoming agent preview cruise of the new Norwegian Breakaway in New York.  Even though I have preached the ‘day before’ thing for years, I booked flights to go the day of the cruise itself, arriving at a safe sounding 11:45am for our 4:00pm departure (and besides my traveling companion had to work, so that going the day before thing was not an option this time).  Our Southwest flight was scheduled to depart at an eye-opening 6:05am, but it was worth the EARLY hour to arrive in plenty of time for the cruise.

The flight left the gate right on time for our first leg to New Orleans.  After we backed out from the gate, the captain turned the plane toward the runway, just as expected.  However, we did not proceed and  instead just sat there for about five minutes.  Then came the announcement “Well folks it seems that New Orleans is in the midst of some thunder Delayedshowers right now and we’re in contact with our dispatch folks to see how soon they think it will be safe for us to continue”.   Note:  “thunder showers” is pilot speak for “STORMS and it is too bad to tell you just how bad it really is right now”.  Sure enough, in a few minutes we were advised that we would be pulling back into the gate, as ‘dispatch’ thought it would be at least 30 minutes before we could proceed.

If you’ve been in this position, and most of you surely have, you first think “well, that’s it, we’re going to misconnect “ (and now we’re going to miss our ship).  Depending on how you are wired, it may take a few seconds, or maybe a few minutes, but eventually you probably realize that “hey, if we are delayed due to weather there, then the plane we are connecting to should be delayed, too! (hope, hope)”.  Sure enough, after we took off, the announcement came that Newark, Nashville, and Orlando passengers would all make their connections as those planes were being delayed, too.  “Whew” was our first thought and since we did not have checked luggage, the ‘but will our luggage make the short connection” question was irrelevant this time.

After having the flight attendants be seated three separate times during our short, bump ridden flight, we finally arrived almost exactly an hour behind schedule.  We dashed to the connecting gate, different than originally posted, and made it JUST as they were about to begin boarding.  Again, WHEW.

Our arrival was just more than an hour behind the planned time in New York, but we made it to the ship just past 2:35pm (the requested boarding time was no later than 2:00pm, but we were welcomed just the same).  Many of the activities and specialty dining options, which could be reserved only onboard, were already filled by the time we arrived.  Disappointing and unfortunate, but at least we made it and could enjoy the next two days onboard this truly wonderful ship.  However, there was anxiety and stress which would have all been moot if we’d simply gone a day early.  The point being
“Do as I say and always GO THE DAY BEFORE!”

Details and photos on the cruise to follow in my next post.

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