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Author: rnhassman@msn.co...

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 7

February 18, 2014
Which optional tours come recommended? When would I be better off skipping optional tour and further exploring the city we are docked in? Optional Included Delta Works Willemstad Liberation Museum Nijmegen Augustusburg Palace Bonn Marksburg Castle Boppard Alsatian Highlights Strasbourg If we join the optional tour(s), do we have any time in the port cities? We definitely want to see Luxembourg so I didn't include that optional tour! Thanks for your voice of experience, Nancy

Author: dgevry

Joined: 9/4/2010
Posts: 59
Traveler Since: 2010

February 19, 2014

We all have different likes and dislikes, so it is hard to give advise on which optional tours to choose. We took this cruise last September when the weather was generally cool, overcast and damp, but enjoyed the trip nevertheless.  As a rule we usually take most of the optional tours.  We skipped the Delta Works and Marksburg Castle this year as we had done them on previous trips. Personally, I did not find the Delta Works that interesting, but it is an engineering feat, and some of the men were fascinated. We really enjoyed the Marksburg Castle optional on Great Rivers cruise, so we stayed in Boppard this time and took the Sesselbahn chairlift to the top of a mountain where we had a beautiful view of the Rhine.  However, to enjoy Marksburg Castle you do have to walk up some steep steps and cross some uneven ground at the entry.  The Alsatian Highlights Tour was also enjoyable.  Stork Park is not a "kiddie park" as a previous reviewer wrote, but a conservation center devoted to reintroducing the storks to the Alsatian countryside. Requiwihr is a cute, picturesque, although touristy, village in the wine countryside.  If you like Rococo Architecture, you will enjoy Augustusburg Palace. After the palace tour there is time to tour the gardens which should be lovely in the summer - the flowers were limited in late September, but it was still pleasant to walk the grounds.  We took the optional Luxembourg Tour as did most travelers. You spend the morning at the Battle of the Bulge Cemetery which is very moving.  Then you have lunch in Luxembourg, followed by a walking tour. That left us with only a short time to explore the beautiful historic areas.  I'm glad we went, just needed more time.  Personally, I would rearrange the optional: start in Luxembourg with the walking tour, followed by free time and lunch on your own, and then visit the cemetery on the way back to the ship in the late afternoon. It almost sounds like you are planning to do Luxembourg on your own. If so, it was about an hour bus ride from Zell where the ship was docked.  The Liberation Museum optional was not offered on our departure, as the ship had to dock in Tiel, instead of Nijmegen.  Which optionals to skip? It's up to you. I tend to go on most because I don't want to miss anything, and I enjoy them all. Some are just better than others.  Have a nice trip.

Diane 

 

Author: rnhassman@msn.co...

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 7

February 19, 2014
Thanks so much for your input, Diane!

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 164
Traveler Since: 2002

February 19, 2014
Totally agree with all of Diane's observations. I will just comment on Marksburg. If you like castles, this is a stellar example. BUT. if you have ANY issues with walking and/or climbing, be aware that it is a long pile of steps or an enormous, difficult ramp just to get up to the castle. It just begins there. As you enter the castle, you will find that the concrete walkway (and you cannot avoid this) is all chopped up and a little dicey. We did not need anything to balance when we did it, but if you have any balance issues, it would be wise to take a cane or poles. Balance is everything but the castle is so worth it. Don't want to be an alarmist, but if you are paying for this Optional you should be aware of any conditions.

Author: rblume8351

Joined: 10/27/2013
Posts: 34
Traveler Since: 2007

February 19, 2014

 On other itineraries we did both Delta works and Marksburg Castle.  Delta Works was quite impressive and I found it fascinating.  I could have spent more time in the reception center displays . . . The down side is that it is more time on the bus than at the site.  Marksburg was really interesting also.  As mentioned it is a steep uneven approach and also steep stairs.  At at least one couple never made it to the castle, but they signed up for it against their PD's advice.

 We are leaving for Rhein and Mosel in less than a month . . . when is your trip?  We only plan to do the Alsatian and Luxenbourg optionals.  We plan to visit Remagen on our own while in Bonn and walk up to Vierseenblick while in Boppard (Sesselbahn probably won't be running yet.

Author: rnhassman@msn.co...

Joined: 2/16/2014
Posts: 7

February 19, 2014
We are on the May 26th sailing. Let us know all about your trip! We would appreciate hearing all the details when you return. Have a most enjoyable time and thanks for responding to my inquiry. Nancy

Author: rblume8351

Joined: 10/27/2013
Posts: 34
Traveler Since: 2007

February 19, 2014

 Keep an eye on the reviews . . . ;)

you our might also want to go over to CruiseCritic.com look around on their river cruise threads for info on some of the stops and excursions.  There are lines that do similar things to GCT . . . You'll get the opinions of a wider group of travelers.

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