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Tips for Travel to Tulip

 

2010  - TIPS ON CRUISING
Tulip Time Cruise
MS Amadeus Princess
 
To our “Valued” Passengers!
 
Traveling is always an exciting time - new places to visit, people to meet and things to do. However, to get the most out of your travel experience, preparation is the key! Therefore, we have compiled these Travel Tips to address some of the most frequently asked questions.
 
 
We hope the information provided will help you prepare for your river cruise adventure in order to make it your most memorable and rewarding vacation experience ever!
 
Welcome aboard!
 
In selecting one of these river cruises, you have chosen one of the most relaxing and fulfilling ways to see modern Europe. There is no packing and unpacking and your “floating hotel” takes you to the heart of historic cities and quaint villages.
 
You will enjoy the continuous and ever-changing scenery as you encounter a colorful world of legendary waterways, picturesque landscapes, splendid castles and local markets. You will meet the local people and enjoy their various cultures and history!
 
However, depending on your chosen itinerary, you may be traveling through several countries with various histories, customs and cultures different from each other and to what you are accustomed to back home. It is therefore important that we advise and prepare you for some of the cultural and social differences you may encounter. These Tour and Travel Tips have been designed to provide useful information and helpful suggestions to ease your adjustment and help you get around any obstacles you may encounter. Your journey will be greatly enhanced if you take the time to prepare for it. Thoroughly acquaint yourself with the information provided herewith - but also talk to others who have been in the countries you will visit, or study one of the many comprehensive guide books available – or browse the Internet. The effort you put into planning your trip before you go will make all the difference.      Thank you!
  
 
GENERAL TRAVEL INFORMATION
 
Vouchers: If traveling within a group, vouchers may not be required or issued. If traveling as an individual and/or deviating from the regular itinerary, we may issue vouchers for services paid for. When included, vouchers will be listed on the check-off list sent with your final documents.
 
Air Tickets: Whenever air tickets are issued by our company, they will be included with your final documents. In some instances, when tickets are issued directly by the airlines involved,
they may be sent to you under separate cover. Please see the check-off list.
 
Transfers: If you have purchased your airfare or have prepaid your arrival transfers through us, please look for Tour Guides holding a SMARTOURS sign after exiting the Customs Area of the airport!
 
If you have purchased land/cruise only and are arranging for your own arrival and departure transportation, the port location will be listed on the Contact Sheet sent with your final documents.
 
TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: Before leaving home, please ensure that you have your valid PASSPORTand appropriate VISAS. Based on our programs and countries visited, US citizens do NOT NEED VISAS for traveling the Netherlands and Belgium. However, please make sure your US passport has a validity of at least 6 months beyond your scheduled travel dates and check for visa updates with the U.S. State Department or the appropriate foreign consulates at least 90 days prior to your departure. If you are a foreign national – please check with each country’s consulate as requirements may be different. Remember: obtaining any visa and proper travel documents are YOUR responsibility!
 
BAGGAGE: Make a detailed list of everything you pack for the trip, and then leave this list at home. We cannot be responsible for lost baggage, but most airlines will make every effort to recover baggage or make proper compensation if you are able to itemize the suitcase contents. It is also a good idea to tape a piece of paper INSIDE your luggage, which shows your full name, home address and telephone number. The purchase of Travel Insurance is strongly recommended!
 
BAGGAGE WEIGHT: Please remember that weight allowances vary and are lower when flying domestic, and intra-continental routes, utilizing smaller aircraft. Check your airline ticket for instructions and pack accordingly – or you may face overweight surcharges!
 
PASSENGER MIX: Most of our European sailings have been reserved for our North American clientele and most, if not all, passengers will be Americans or Canadians. On some dates, however, there may be a mix of European nationalities but either way the primary language is always ENGLISH.
 
 
CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS: The dress code on our cruises is mostly INFORMAL!
 
During the day, good shoes and comfortable clothes are recommended. Dinner on board and special events such as the Welcome and Farewell Dinner are the only times that call for a more formal attire. Still, please PACK LIGHTLY! Combine a few tee shirts, several shirts, a turtleneck, some wrinkle free slacks, one skirt, one sweater, a pair of shorts, a wind-breaker and a sports jacket - and you are done! Tuxedos and evening gowns are unnecessary! In the evening or on special occasions, a jacket and tie for gentlemen, and a cocktail dress for the ladies will be fine. But generally, the dress code is informal (and that goes for excessive jewelry too!) Remember - you are traveling to see - not to be seen! Keep it simple and you'll thank yourself later!  DO pay particular attention to footwear - you should have a good pair of comfortable walking shoes with thick rubber soles and firm arch supports. If you buy new shoes, "break them in" before the trip. Suitable footwear aboard the ship would be sneakers, deck shoes, tennis shoes, and similar rubber-soled shoes.  Our cruises involve extensive walking during visits ashore, so you need to be comfortable!
 
PHYSICAL DISABILITIES: Please note that the majority of the passenger vessels sailing the various rivers of the world (including those featured in our programs) have limited services for the physically impaired. Entrances to cabins and doorways may not be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. In addition, due to their small size and shallow draft, the ships often anchor at remote ports and stops. While this ability enhances the itineraries, it also means that most of the shore excursions are done on foot. Therefore, severe walking disabilities may limit the passenger’s overall enjoyment on these programs.
 
Regretfully, we do not recommend this cruise to
severely disabled or wheelchair bound passengers!
 
 
 
CRUISE RULES
 
River cruising is a unique form of travel. Some General Rules to know are:
 
1.     Maritime Law - As with a pilot on a plane, the Captain of a ship is the ultimate law. He/she is responsible for the ultimate safety and comfort of the vessel and its passengers. It is within the Captain's jurisdiction to change the sequence of stops and ports if necessary due to inclement weather conditions, high or low water levels, dock and lock schedules, technical reasons, etc. The Captain has the right to remove unruly passengers, quarantine the ship in case of disease and similar. Therefore, although unlikely, certain changes in schedules may happen. Although we expect to provide sightseeing of all the major attractions listed in our cruise programs, there is always a possibility that the sequence of ports may be altered to take into account the operating hours at museums, galleries and monuments. Shore excursions may be changed in response to sailing conditions and other factors. Your understanding and cooperation in such instances will be greatly appreciated!
 
2.     Cultural Differences - Remember that you may be traveling through countries whose political, social and cultural backgrounds may be different from your own. Do not let political differences govern your perspective. Instead, travel with an open mind, and you will satisfy your curiosity about the people, their lands, their history and their culture.
 
3.     Service - If you receive poor service at any point, try to take it in good humor and solve it directly.
If you have any serious complaints, take them to your guide and/or Cruise Director.
 
4.     Bureaucracy - Expect a little bit of red tape, and try not to be bothered by bureaucratic rituals, which may be different from country to country.
 
5.     Do not compare things you see by American standards. The diverse river vessels were all specifically built for cruising the narrow rivers, low laying bridges and tight locks that dot the routes. Therefore, although clean and comfortable, they are small and practical and should not be compared with huge ocean faring vessels. Above all, keep your sense of humor and enjoy the cultural legacies, physical geography, and rich variety of the people as you sail through these unique and different lands!
 
 
ABOUT OUR SHIP
 
Launched in 2006, the deluxe MS Amadeus Princess is one of the finest vessels to ply the waterways of Western Europe. All 76 tastefully appointed staterooms are outside facing. Its standard staterooms measure 160 square feet and hence are more spacious than those typically found on other river ships. Staterooms feature two twin beds (convertible to one double bed), private bathroom facilities with shower, air conditioning, telephone, television and writing desk. The two 236-square-foot Junior Suites are designed with a lounge area, sofa bed and minibar; the four 322-square-foot Princess Suites feature a separate room with sitting area, sofa bed and two bathrooms.
 
Meals are served in a single seating in the Panorama Restaurant, where guests can enjoy continental delights while enjoying views of the passing landscape. The ship has two bars, one featuring nightly musical entertainment; a sun deck with ample lounge chairs and walking track; a hair salon; boutique; fitness center with masseuse services; and small pool.
 
The vessel’s experienced European crew offers an unmatched level of service distinguished by professionalism, efficiency and personal attention.
 
Some general on board “A, B, C’s”
 
·       Air conditioning & heating
All staterooms have individually controlled air units to suit your personal preference.
 
·       Beverages
Ice water is provided for free at all meal times. Sodas, bottled water or alcoholic beverages are at extra charge (they will be charged to each passenger’s individual shipboard account).
 
·       Beds
Beds are hotel style twin beds with European bedding. The beds can be converted to one double bed.
 
·       Cuisine
All food aboard is prepared by our superbly trained European chefs and feature an international assortment peppered with local delicacies of regions you will be sailing through. Breakfast is served buffet style featuring a wide variety of hot and cold eggs, meats, cereals and fruits. Lunches are also mainly buffet style consisting of salad and sandwich bars as well as pasta dishes, hand carved meats, and dessert trays. Dinners are multi-course meals with a selection of appetizers, entrées and desserts.
 
·       Currency/Credit cards: ON BOARD CURRENCY ON ALL SHIPS IS THE EURO          
Major credit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Yet, it is STILL a good idea to take some cash with you for stops off the beaten track and for smaller purchases at souvenir stands or other smaller local vendors. Please note that money cannot be exchanged on board.
 
·       Dining
All meals are served at one seating. The restaurant manager is in charge of the seating arrangements. If you are travelling with friends and wish to be seated together, please bring it to the attention of the restaurant manager at the first onboard dinner.
 
·       Electricity
Onboard electricity is 220V. Although a hair dryer is provided in each cabin, you will need an adapter pin plug for other small personal items such as a razor or curling iron.   If your appliance does not convert between 110 and 220, you will also need a converter/transformer. The ships have neither adapters nor converters available for rent, so you must bring your own. Please note: Many recent laptops, cameras, etc. are able to automatically convert between the currents----please check!
 
·       Embarkation
The vessel has a 3 pm afternoon embarkation time. In case of an early arrival, please alert us ahead of time. Then you may check your luggage onto the ship and explore the port city a little on your own before your cabins are ready.
 
·       Gratuities
Tipping is a personal way to show satisfaction for good service and is always appreciated. The suggested amount is 5 to 7 Euros per passenger/per day, which is shared and distributed among all of the ship’s Crew. For Cruise Directors that take care of you throughout the program, we recommend 2 to 3 Euros per person/per day. For local tour guides/drivers in ports of call 1 to 2 EURO per person, per excursion is suggested. Please keep in mind that these are suggestions only- you may tip as much or as little as you want.
 
·       Hairdryers
All cabins are equipped with hairdryers.
 
·       Handicap Facilities
Handicap facilities on board are extremely limited. The vessel is not equipped with wheelchair ramps, and hallways and doors onboard may not be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Additionally, motor coaches and mini-buses used for shore excursions may not be equipped with wheelchair ramps. Any condition requiring special attention must be reported at the time of booking. Cruise participants requiring special assistance must be accompanied by a person who will be responsible for providing such services.
 
·       Keys
There is one key per cabin. Please hand it in at reception every time you go on shore so that the boat can keep track who is on board and who is not.
 
·       Laundry
Laundry services are available aboard at a nominal additional cost. Price lists can be obtained at the reception desk. We regret that clothes cannot be dry-cleaned.
 
·       Medical services
The on board personnel are trained in First Aid and can assist with minor medical problems. In the event of an emergency or more serious illness, passengers may be evacuated to the nearest medical care facility on shore at the passenger’s own expense. Existing medical problems which may require treatment by the vessel’s staff must be brought to our attention at the time of booking. Neither we, nor the vessel’s owners and operators, will be liable for any act or omission in regards to medical assistance. If you require special medicine, please remember to bring a supply with you. There is no medicine available for purchase on board, and there is no on board physician.
 
·       Money aboard ship (cashless)
All purchases and services aboard are signed to your personal shipboard account which can be paid with cash or charged to a credit card prior to disembarkation. (Visa, MasterCard). Please note that money cannot be exchanged on board.
 
·       Onboard language
The onboard language is English. All staff and crew speak fluent English as do the tour guides.
 
·       Room Service
Room service is not available.
 
·       Safes
Cabins are equipped with in-room safes. It is recommended to keep any valuables you brought with you in the safe when away from the cabin.
 
·       Souvenirs
Please remember European TV/Video systems (Pal/Secam) are different than in the USA (NTSC). Make sure you bring along enough blank tape/memory cards! Important: European DVDs are encoded differently from US DVD. If you purchase a DVD in Europe, even if it is without a Region code, you may only be able to play it in laptop computers but not your DVD player.
 
·       Schedules of tours and activities:
Daily schedules are posted on board and also distributed to each cabin the night before. For last minute changes, pay attention to the onboard announcements.
 
·       Smoking
Smoking is only allowed outside on the Sun Deck. The interiors of the vessels are non-smoking.
 
·       Special Diets
Passengers requiring special diets, such as vegetarian, low salt or low cholesterol meals, should advise the Maître D’ when on board. The chefs will make every effort to accommodate all requests. It is advisable to inform your travel agent of any food allergies or dietary meal restrictions in advance.
 
·       Stamps, postcards and mail
Stamps and postcards are available at the reception desk, and mail is sent from port each day.
 
·       Sun Deck
The Sun Decks are located on the top of the ships. For your enjoyment, there are plenty of deck chairs, a mini-golf putting area, a fun pool and a walking track.
 
·       Televisions
All ships are equipped with satellite systems. There are color TV’s with English channels in each cabin.
However, please bear in mind that reception during sailings is sometimes limited.
 
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
 
 
General Conversions
To Change                                 Into                                  Multiply by                      
Kilometers                                  Miles                                0.621
Miles                                          Kilometers                        1.609
Centimeters                                Inches                             0.394
Inches                                       Centimeters                      2.540
Meters                                        Feet                                 3.280
Feet                                           Meters                              0.304
Liters                                          Gallons                             0.264
US Gallons                                 Liters                                3.785                               
 
 
PACKING TIPS & SUGGESTIONS
Items You May Wish to Bring Along:
·       Facial tissues, shaving cream, and washcloths, as they are not supplied on board. Your bathroom will carry soap, shampoo, and conditioner and will be re-stocked when necessary.
·       Skin cream and other cosmetics for sun protection & insect repellent.
·       Spare set of eyeglasses for emergencies. If you wear contact lenses, bring a pair of eyeglasses for occasions when contacts are bothersome to wear, such as in strong wind or dust.
·       Medications, which are vital to your health. A letter should accompany these from your doctor (signed and dated), certifying that such medications are vital to your health. Always pack any personal medications in your carry on luggage, not in your checked baggage.
·       Common remedies such as laxatives, indigestion tablets, aspirin and travel sickness pills
·       Sunglasses.
·       Plenty of film, memory cards, and blank video.
·       Sewing kit, cosmetics, first aid kit, and paper towelettes.
·       Binoculars (excellent for viewing scenes from the rivers).
·       Batteries for cameras, shaver, etc.
·       Electrical extension cord (if needed).
·       Transformer, if needed, and plug adapters (purchased at K-Mart, Thrifty, or other appliance stores)
 
Updated February 24, 2010 – DA  @ Property of Value World Tours, Inc @ All rights reserved
Information provided herewith was correct at the time printing but is subject to change without notice