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Author: cook45

Joined: 3/12/2010
Posts: 2
Traveler Since: 2010

June 26, 2013

Any opinions re the Luxembourg optional tour and the Alsatian Highlights tour?  I also understand that the Liberation Museum is now an optional tour in Nimjegen.  Has anyone been there?  We are scheduled on the July 17th tour.

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 486
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

June 26, 2013

 We have not done this cruise, but we have visited both Trier and Luxembourg several years ago, before we started traveling with GCT, on 2 different auto tours.. Luxembourg is a wonderful city to visit and is quite compact. Th palace is right on the market square and there is a wonderful museum that takes you down through the centuries on the side of a cliff. It is less than an hours drive from Trier. We would strongly recommend taking it.

Author: noyb01

Joined: 1/16/2012
Posts: 11
Traveler Since: 1997

July 09, 2013

I took the optional excursion to Luxembourg last October 2012 and enjoyed the town very much.  The mandatory lunch was a waste of time, not because there was anything wrong with the food but because so much time is wasted herding a large group.  The PD on the trip wouldn't tell me the meeting point to board busses for the return trip until AFTER the lunch, although it proved to be a simple matter and central location.   My Rhine and Mosel slideshow http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdqIgZrcX_k  (under flippyvicki in youtube) has several shots of Luxembourg about midway through.  There is an interesting Unexco World Heritage site which I did have time to see quickly but the lower part of the town also looked very appealing from a distance.  Overall, I'd recommend the excursion if you don't mind long bus trips and choose to skip the lunch in order to have more time exploring Luxembourg.

Author: jamesroddy

Joined: 7/10/2013
Posts: 1
Traveler Since: 2006

July 10, 2013

Will be going on Romance of the Rhine & Mosel trip in 3 weeks (Jul 29-31 in Bruge; Aug 1-14 on Rhine & Mosel.  Any one going on the trip interested in chatting before the trip feel free to contact me.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

July 10, 2013

We thoroughly enjoyed the Luxembourg optional tour and felt that we had plenty of free time in the city, even with the included lunch. The Alsatian Highlights tour was enjoyable and would have been more so with better weather. We took it in a cold, driving rainstorm. From Strasbourg we also took the Baden-Baden tour and wish we had skipped that one. I suppose it is good to be able to say we have been in Baden-Baden and the Black Forest, but that's all it was - we've been there.

On our cruise the Liberation Museum tour was cancelled due to lack of interest. We just spent more time in Njmegen and had more daylight cruising on the way to Bonn (we were on an Antwerp to Basil cruise). I can't say if the Museum is a good optional, but none of the other passengers with whom I spoke said they were disappointed that it was cancelled.

Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 71
Traveler Since: 2004

July 29, 2013

 We leave for Rhine/Mosel + Lucerne post-trip 9/25/2013, and appreciate the optional reviews so far, and would appreciate more with a focus on:

1-Trade-offs between the optional & missing port-town explorations: e.g. full day Luxembourg vs. Traben-Trabach, Marksburg Castle vs. Boppard, National Liberation Museum vs. Nijmegan, Augustusburg Palace vs. Bonn, Alsatian Highlights vs. more Strasbourg or..., and more Lucerne vs. optionals: Best of Switzerland. Swiss Idyll &/or Kleine Scheidegg vs. other Swiss day tours from Lucerne.

2-How good are the optionals' guides & are they native of their countries?

3-Any weather or shorter day considerations for late Sept to Mid Oct?

One of us took the Delta Works optional on the Holland Springtime cruise, which is recommended, but from a different port; so others should comment re Delta Works vs. Willemstad.

Thanks for your help!

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 386
Traveler Since: 2002

July 29, 2013

1-Trade-offs between the optional & missing port-town explorations: e.g. full day Luxembourg vs. Traben-Trabach

     At least 80% of the passengers on the ship took the Luxembourg tour. The ones who stayed in Traben-Trabach said they wished they had gone to Luxembourg. I expressed my opinion of the Luxembourg tour above.

Marksburg Castle vs. Boppard

     We did not go to Marksburg Castle because we had been there before. If you have not been, I recommend it. Boppard is interesting but not that interesting.

National Liberation Museum vs. Nijmegan

     The Museum tour was not offered on our cruise, but Nijmegan was not that interesting either.

Augustusburg Palace vs. Bonn

     The palace trip was not worht the price, but we took it and still saw all of Bonn we wanted to see.

Alsatian Highlights vs. more Strasbourg

     Tougher call. We took the Alsatian Highlights in a driving rainstorm, but it was still interesting. On the other hand, I would have liked more time in Strasbourg.

more Lucerne vs. optionals:

     I took all three optionals and still saw all I needed of Lucerne. Would probably go to Pilatis if I went back.

Best of Switzerland

     Weakest of the three, The boat ride was in a rain storm so saw nothing, The aerial tramway was fun as was the cog railway ride, but the dinner and entertainment were not that great.

Swiss Idyll

      This was my favorite. As someone said, it was "just a farm visit." I grew up on a farm, but not a Swiss farm. I loved every minute of it.

Kleine Scheidegg

      The time on the mountain was great. A clear day would have made it better. It was a long bus ride getting to and from the train.

Swiss day tours from Lucerne.

     Other than Mt. Pilatis, which is probably desireable, I know of nothing else.

2-How good are the optionals' guides & are they native of their countries?

     All of our local guides were good. Our guide in Luxembourg was an Englishman, but he had lived in Luxembourg for about 40 years.

3-Any weather or shorter day considerations for late Sept to Mid Oct?

     We were there in early May and the weather was cool and rainy. The hours of daylight were probably a little longer than you will experience. Can't help you much there.

One of us took the Delta Works optional on the Holland Springtime cruise, which is recommended, but from a different port; so others should comment re Delta Works vs. Willemstad.

     We decided against the Delta Works tour, and those who took it were mildly disappointed. Willemstad, on the other hand, is not a very exciting place to tour either. It's a small town with not much to recommend it as a tourist site.

 

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 263
Trips Taken: 0

July 30, 2013

Hello Rkauzlarich -

Thank you for posting about your experience in Luxembourg.  Somebody will be contacting you offline to discuss this optional with you.

Kind Regards,

Michelle

GCCL/GCT Forum Moderator

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 232
Traveler Since: 1995

July 30, 2013

We took this cruise a few years back, maybe 2006??  We did take the Luxembourg optional and enjoyed it very much.  Our restaurant for lunch was in a big square and I ate with the group but my husband didn't eat and just walked all round the square and beyond, and had a great time taking pictures.  At the cemetery, we really enjoyed that, and compared it's beauty to what we saw in 1962 when we visited Luxemourg and the cemetery.  It was beautiful then, but it was completed when we visited in 2006, with the chapel etc.  lIke my husband, one doesn't have to eat the included meal, just go out and have fun seeing the cathedral, bridges, and other sites, and grab a bag of pretzels and a drink for a bit in your tummy until the ship's wonderful dinner. Our program director told us to meet outside the restaurant in that square, so that's where we were.  We thought the wait was too long, and I even had the lunch; there were lots of entertainment with small group bands playing in differnet corners of the square, and Sunday walkers.  Fun 

Author: tomnat

Joined: 6/4/2010
Posts: 71
Traveler Since: 2004

July 31, 2013

 Thanks to all for the new feedback. We hope our late Sept to mid Oct weather is mostly sunny & not too rainy (weatherbase.com predicts 2-3"/mo. from Belgium to Switzerland).

We just re-checked the online itinerary & GCT made changes (since Feb), again without notifying its booked customers with an email (like for air changes):

1-Augustusburg Palace is closed on Mon & is replaced with Bridge of Remaden Peace Museum optional with no price or description. Let us know if the Remaden optional is good or suggest other sites to see in Bonn.

2-Day 9 "European Union" discussion is replaced with "Switzerland Today". Note that day 15 still has a "Switzerland & Its Traditions" discussion. We would prefer keeping the EU discussion to contrast with the non-EU Swiss, and doing "Switzerland Today" as part of our Switzerland post-trip.

3- Traben-Trabach Mosel ports have been replaced with Zell (17 Hunsruck wine villages??) about 5 miles as the crow flies further from Luxembourg. How long & scenic is the bus ride to the Luxembourg optional? Is the same route followed back from Luxembourg? Anything to do in Zell? There were a few postive reviews of twin towns Traben & Trabach.

4- The Alsatian optional is now PM day 13 after the included Strasbourg tour. Included Baden-Baden is now day 14 AM, followed by some free PM time in Strasbourg until the 3:30 PM sailing. Is this change better? Complimentary public transportation pass has been deleted. Maybe more free time in Baden-Baden to soak, etc.

Any reviews of the Liberation Museum optional in Nijmegen or other sites to see there? Did anyone take the ferry to explore St. Goar, Bacharach, etc. from Boppard? Are there similar ferries between towns on the Mosel, i.e. to see Traben-Trabach, etc.?

Author: cbass

Joined: 8/18/2012
Posts: 7
Traveler Since: 2013

August 20, 2013

We are heading to Lucerne for pretrip 9/9; river cruise 9/13 - my daughter and her husband have been in the area and recommended in Lucerne we do the Golden Circle, can buy tickets at train station - Mt Pilatus. They also recommended the hike in Rick Steves book.....easy hike in Alps, if it is a nice day.  Personally, I am hoping to go to top of Europe, weather permitting!

In Bonn, we plan to do city walk and spend the afternoon in Koln....seeing the Cathedral, and city center...having a Kolsch beer at local café. It is only a short train ride from Bonn, and station is right by Cathedral.

My first trip to Europe.....so excited to begin seeing new sights.

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