kenthompson527

kenthompson527
Third Mate

Joined: 10/21/2015
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kenthompson527's Past Cruises

Crystal Symphony

July 2016 - Crystal Symphony to Europe - Western Europe

Excellent Itinerary for Exploring Ireland & Scotland and a Great Ship.

Overall, can't say enough great things about this itinerary and the Crystal Symphony team.  While the staterooms are a bit tired, the staff more than offsets this with their dedication to service and excellent food, beverage and entertainment experiences. The liquor and wine, included in the fare throughout the ship, we're all top shelf. 

 

You won't go wrong with this itinerary if you want to get a great taste of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Channel Islands.  My recommendation is to book your tours on your own as the savings will help off set the cost differential for those upgrading from mid-tier cruise lines to luxury cruise lines.

 

 

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Viking Njord

October 2015 - Viking Njord to Europe

A bucklet list item completed. / Would recommend, but not re-book myself.

Service B+ / Accommodations B / Transparency C-

I often wondered why Viking advertises so much, I now believe it could have to do with what I'll call the 'Bucket List Effect'.  Cruising the Danube was mostly at night so we really didn't see the vistas in the TV advertising.  The ad is actually the Wachau Valley leg and we did see that, but due to low water levels, we were bussed to Melk and boarded a dining sightseeing boat for that part of the tour and we also had to transfer ships between Passau and Melk.

PLUSSES: Food was very good; staff on the Viking Njord, our second boat was exceptionally hospitable.

NEGATIVES: The program director was not open and upfront about when we would transfer ships and even if it would occur until the day before.  The top deck of the ship was rarely open due to low bridges (even with low water) that made the crew clear the deck to clear the bridges. When in Budapest electrical failures aboard caused us to lose power 2x while docked and therefore we were unable to enjoy the night time tour of Buda & Pests beautiful illuminated castles & government buildings. Also was surprised that boats frequently dock "adjoining" one another which results in half the cabin verandahs having a view of only the cabin in the adjoined ship.

OVERALL: Thrilled to have visited beautiful cities including Nuremberg, Regensburg, Passau, Vienna & Budapest.  Disappointed that the experience was not quite what is advertised, but would recommend a river cruise with Viking or another line as a one time bucket list experience.

 

 

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kenthompson527's Tips

Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, Scotland - We found the people here less than friendly and we understand that Crystal will not be returning in future years ... A good decision. If you find yourself here Skapa and Highlands distilleries are interested. Do not go to the "Merchant Bar" in town ... The people are totally unfriendly and may well ruin your visit to Kirkwall.
Portree, Isle Of Skye, Scotland - This was a first call by Synphony to Isle of Skye and was among the best ports of call. No better scenery can be had in the hills and coast of Skye.
Belfast, Northern Ireland - We were able to engage a private car in expensively in this port. Do visit Bushmill's, but the Giant Causeway was a major let down and burned up a bunch of our time in this port. If you are not afraid of heights do the rope bridge. Be sure to experience the Crowne Bar!
Waterford, Ireland - You can do this port on your own and save money booking your tickets for the Waterford House and Waterford Museum on your own.
Liverpool, England - Great town ... Especially if you are a beer and Beatles fan. Wonderful pubs/bars to relive the Beatles early years. Here you can also take in all attractions on your own and purchase tickets in advance online.
Crystal Symphony Crystal Symphony - Don't miss casual dining in the Lido Cafe. It is only offered a few nights of any itinerary at present. It is not a buffet, all meals are prepared in the Cafe and the preparation was among the best meals we enjoyed.

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shared a quick tip for Crystal Symphony"Don't miss casual dining in the Lido Cafe. It is only offered a few nights of any itinerary at present. It is not a buffet, all meals are prepared in the Cafe and the preparation was among the best meals we enjoyed."

added Jul 23, 2016 cruise on Crystal Symphony to their profile.

reviewed their Europe - Western Europe cruise on Crystal Symphony and gave it 5 stars!

received a helpful vote on their Viking Njord cruise review - A bucklet list item completed. / Would recommend, but not re-book myself.

reviewed their Europe cruise on Viking Njord and gave it 3 stars!

added Oct 3, 2015 cruise on Viking Njord to their profile.