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Author: jacvail

Joined: 7/29/2012
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 8
Traveler Since: 2005

October 02, 2012

 We are leaving for this trip in a few weeks. Could anyone recommend which optional tours to take?

Author: dgevry

Joined: 9/4/2010
Posts: 62
Trips Taken: 5
Traveler Since: 2010

October 03, 2012

We took the Great Rivers of Europe cruise in 2010 from Vienna to Amsterdam. It was our 1st time in Europe, and we took most of the optionals and enjoyed them. We did not do the Documentation tour in Nuremburg, as there were many places we wanted to see in Nuremburg that afternoon. Only a few people took that optional, as the majority stayed the entire day in the historic center. Melk Abbey is stunning, not to be missed. The Bavaria, Baroque and Beer tour includes the Weltenburg Monastery, a Danube Gorge boat tour and a visit to the Liberation Monument, as well as a beer and pretzel in the Beer Garden of the monastery. Marksburg Castle sits high on a cliff overlooking the Rhine. The tour of the castle is interesting, and you get an excellent view of the surrounding countryside from the castle. However, if you have mobility issues, poor balance or a heart condition, you may not want to take this tour. There are quite a few steep stairs to climb to reach the castle proper from the parking lot, and there are many stairs in the castle. The entrance to the castle is an uneven rocky area, which is quite dark.  Some people found this passage difficult. The program directors warned us that this optional was for the mountain goats. A smaller number of people took this tour, but those who did enjoyed it. We took the Musical Vienna optional on the Vienna pretrip. It was a tourist show, held in a lovely palace. My husband and I and the rest of our pretrip group enjoyed it.  If you are a music critic, expecting a high quality performance, you might be disappointed. We are all individuals with our own likes and dislikes. As I said, it was our first time in Europe and we wanted to experience as much as we could in the time available.  We were not disappointed. The Great Rivers is a wonderful trip. Enjoy. 

Diane 

 

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 140
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

October 03, 2012

Jacvail, click on search.  Put Great Rivers Optional in the search box, choose "Match All Words" and ask for 50 per page.  You will get more information about the Great Rivers Optional Tours than you ever wanted to have! 

One do-it-yourself optional on the Great Rivers trip is the Roman Museum in Cologne.  Do not miss it!  It is one of the best Roman collections in Europe, beautifully displayed, and definitely worth your while.  After your morning walking tour is over, there is plenty of time to spend more time in the cathedral, have some lunch, see this museum, and walk along the river bank. 

Have a great trip!

 

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 405
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

October 03, 2012

My knowledge is a little stale since I took the cruise in 2006. But I agree with Diane that the Marksburg Castle tour is the most physically taxing. But almost all of the optional tours, in fact, most of the included tours as well, involve a great deal of walking, and little of it is smooth and level. However, the pace is typically slow enough that you don't need to be an athlete to keep up. And if you find you cannot keep up, the Program Director will provide all the assistance he or she can short of making a major modification to the tour that will be detrimental to the rest of the tourists. I was a mere child of 63 at the time, but I was also a member of the "zipper club", having recovered from open heart surgery. I had no problems with the pace or rigor of the tours.

I would suggest that you read all you can about the optional tours and then take all of them in which you are interested. Chances are pretty good that you won't be going this way again, at least not soon. So check it all out, but eliminate all that do not interest you. For instance, we skipped the Rudesheim "night life" tour because that did not interest us. Among those who went there were mixed reviews. Nobody was really that much upset by it, and the ones who liked it really loved it. So, be selective but do as much as you feel comfortable with.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 970
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

October 03, 2012

Don't forget that your PD will give you a much more complete description of the optionals.  And if you sign up for one and later find it will be too much, you can cancel and you'll be credited for it. 

Author: jacvail

Joined: 7/29/2012
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 8
Traveler Since: 2005

October 06, 2012

 Thank you all for your responses. You were most helpful.. I am sure we will have a great time.

 

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