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Author: loubarbv

Joined: 1/14/2014
Posts: 1
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2013

January 14, 2014

We thoroughly enjoyed our first river cruise experience. Our pre-trip in Basel, Switzerland was well worth it. Our tour director took us on a half day trip to Freiburg, Germany one afternoon. Then, he arranged and guided us on a day trip to Luzerne, Switzerland and a tour of Mt Pilatus. Back in Basel, we enjoyed walking around that beautiful city and experiencing our first Christmas markets.

The Alsace and Germany really know how to celebrate Advent and the spirit of Christmas. The towns and markets were magical. Strasbourg is beautiful. Kaysersburg and Riquewihr were quaint. Speyer has a wonderful medieval church. Morning Mass at a convent was a touching, solemn event. The day trip to Heidelberg was worth every penny. Cologne has lots of markets to choose from. While in Cologne we had a high school choir and band come on board and entertain us with lively Christmas music. Awesome.

Our one complaint was the complimentary wine or beer with dinner. It was totally undrinkable. But, the ship's crew and meals were stellar.

We highly recommend this tour.

Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 57
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

January 14, 2014
Hard to imagine German (or any other) wine or beer being undrinkable.

Author: sealionlady

Joined: 8/1/2010
Posts: 130
GCT Trips Taken: 6
OAT Trips Taken: 7
Traveler Since: 2001

January 14, 2014

 I was just on the "Christmastime on the Seine" trip and the wine at dinner really was terrible.  There's been a lot of complaints about it in the reviews and in this forum.  That said, it was a wonderful trip and I'm looking forward to another Christmas cruise (works so well with my schedule).  But in the future, maybe I'll bring my own wine on-board.

 

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 977
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
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

January 14, 2014

 The wine on the Paris to Normandy cruise last summer wasn't terrible.  Not very good, but drinkable.  The wine in the bar on the upper deck was much better.

Author: tickledpink

Joined: 9/10/2013
Posts: 58
GCT Trips Taken: 3
OAT Trips Taken: 1
Countries Visited:

Rhine & Danube Christmas markets cruises, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, UK, Ireland, most of Western Europe, Scandinavia, Leningrad no-visa cruise from Helsinki in '78, Hawaii, Alaska, NYC, Florida, Seattle, Arizona & Utah national parks, Sedona and North Dakota.

Traveler Since: 1995

January 14, 2014

Yes, it's a wonderful trip! I enjoyed the Christmas Markets in Alsace over most of the German ones surprisingly, the best Glühwein was in Strasbourg, best and only Glühbier was in Koblenz (!), pre-trip in Brussels/Bruges was wonderful with Thijmen and the post trip in Basel with Johannes also a great time. Thijmen was our PD the whole cruise, too, and he was excellent. Our Lucerne day didn't include as much as yours, because Johannes had made reservations for us at the Fondue hut in the Christmas market.

I agree about the wine! I was on the River Concerto Rhine cruise, too, and the wine was not great. We called it German box wine, but that didn't stop most of us from drinking it though. I should have been going for beer instead, as it was much nicer as I discovered near the end of the cruise. Everything else with the meal service was wonderful, and the quality of the wine is a minor thing. 

An added note, I was on Amawaterways' Amalegro in 2008 (Danube Christmas Markets) and the free wine with dinner on that ship was even more undrinkable. And it was supposed to be local wines picked up at each stop. Most of the people in my group called it watered down and wouldn't drink it after the first dinner. I found it sour and unpleasant. 

Just my two cents. I love good German wine, by the way!

Jane

Author: noseycat

Joined: 5/18/2012
Posts: 57
GCT Trips Taken: 5
OAT Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2007

January 14, 2014
I don't pretend to be a wine or beer expert or snob, but I belong to several California Napa Valley wine clubs and have a decent cellar. That said....On my GCT/OAT trips I generally call for the house wine (whatever the local version of Two-Buck Chuck is) and enjoy it. On one such trip, another traveler pitched a fit about his wine and demanded to have whatever I (as "that gentleman" at the other end of the table) was having. The barman graciously exchanged his glass for another, and the traveler was ecstatically pleased. Little did he know that all three glasses (his two, and mine) had been poured from the same bottle. By the way, my favorite wine (and beer) is the "OP" brand--"Other People's". Always, in my opinion, a good choice.

Author: ed watts

Joined: 3/30/2010
Posts: 149
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

All seven continents, 113 countries and all states except Idaho.Plus some interesting places that are not countries such as The azores, Antarctica, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, etc.

Traveler Since: 2010

January 15, 2014

That is funny noseycat...I have a friend that claims to be a wine "expert" but I knew it was more "wine snob" as you put it and I knew most of his wine  "knowledge" was bluff (bs).   I have a wine I really like that I get at Wal-Mart for the excessive price of $4.97 a bottle.  When I have him over I pour this wine into an empty bottle for a wine that he claims is a great wine.  As usual, he does not know the difference! (on these occasions I must admit that I do not go for the $2.97 wine that I sometimes buy at Wal-Mart!!) 

Author: jayge

Joined: 3/10/2010
Posts: 150
GCT Trips Taken: 11
OAT Trips Taken: 0
Traveler Since: 2004

January 15, 2014

 Would love to know the brand you like from Walmart.

 

Author: ed watts

Joined: 3/30/2010
Posts: 149
GCT Trips Taken: 1
OAT Trips Taken: 2
Countries Visited:

All seven continents, 113 countries and all states except Idaho.Plus some interesting places that are not countries such as The azores, Antarctica, Falkland Islands, South Georgia, etc.

Traveler Since: 2010

January 15, 2014

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