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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Christmas cruise on the Danube River - Dec 16th....

Last year, we followed this cruiser to Bangkok/Myanmar -  he lives in Florida, and went on a Christmas cruise between Budapest and Amsterdam from  December 15 to January 2/2015.  In his own words, "The Christmas cruise was an excellent trip" and here is his blog.

I used air miles for the flight - business class over but the return was economy.  The cost of the cruise, with a single cabin, was American $5621.  During the layover in Amsterdam, I converted US dollars to Euros.  Because the Euro had been so weak versus the dollar, I expected to pay about $1.25 per Euro, but it was $1.4073.   However, I did not have to convert any more money during the rest of the trip and the amount which I converted turned out to be close to exact:

Departed Jacksonville at 2:30 pm, and then a two hour stop over at  Minneapolis/St. Paul.  The flight to Amsterdam was with KLM - Airbus A330-300.  The flight departed at 7:15 pm and arrived at Amsterdam at 10:30 am on December 16th.  This was about an 8 ½ hour flight. 

This is the first time that I have flown business class with a flat-bed seat and I felt like a pauper in the palace.  The food was excellent, including a welcoming glass of Champagne .  We also had an excellent personal entertainment system with a wide selection of movies, TV shows and computer capabilities.  This is the first trans-oceanic flight that I was sorry to see end.

The layover in Amsterdam was about 4 hours.  The KLM flight -  Boeing 737-800  - from Amsterdam to Budapest  was delayed leaving Amsterdam and did not arrive in Budapest until about 5:00 pm.  Again, I was in business class.

Since I was arriving a day early, my travel agent made arrangements for an airport pick-up and hotel through a company called Travel Bound.  I have used them twice before for airport pick-ups in Paris and Athens.   For this trip, my travel agent booked the airport pick-up and the same hotel (Sofitel, Budapest)  used by AMA Waterways for pre-extensions - all at a cheaper price than AMA’s.  The buffet breakfast was included.

I arrived at the Sofitel about 6:00 pm.  The Sofitel is a luxury hotel which was decorated for Christmas.  I skipped dinner and just turned in early.

Photos belong to Phil Bianco

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