Background: The whole idea for the basic trip started with Leslie and her friend Ruthie considering a river cruise in Europe back over 2 years ago. It morphed from there to Leslie inviting friends from all over the country, many of whom have never met each other. Then she wanted to expand it to include a pre-river cruise tour of Europe for just the two of us, plus a return across the Atlantic on another ocean cruise instead of flying back, and for this she would also invite friends. To take it even further she originally planned (and fully booked) a start to the trip of an Atlantic crossing cruise from New York to England on the Queen Mary II! This would have made the entire trip about 74 days and although I agreed at first I starting thinking this was too long and we decided to cut it back to 45 days. Still pretty long.
Overview of the actual trip plans: So for the details of the actual trip we flew from Phoenix to Paris (through Dallas) on October 8th, arriving in Paris on Wednesday the 9th. From there: 3 nights in Paris; train to Amsterdam for 2 nights; train to Hanover, Germany for 2 nights; train to Berlin for 2 nights; train to Dresden for 2 nights; train to Vienna for 3 nights; train to Budapest for 2 nights. It is in Budapest that we met about 30 of our friends and board the Viking Tor for a seven night river cruise from Budapest up the Danube finishing in Nuremberg. Some of our group then head back home while about 18 transfer to Prague for 2 nights. Then we and 6 others fly to Barcelona in order to board the Princess Emerald for 15 nights sailing back to the US. In addition to the people who stay with us from the river cruise we are meeting several other people who are just sailing with us on this trip as kind of a reunion cruise from a trip we took several years ago. I will post more details on each aspect of the trip as we go, but this should be a great adventure for us!