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  1. Week 151 - Thursday

    by , August 20th, 2015 at 08:40 AM (After a long rest)
    I had another good night of sleep and woke before the alarm went off.

    We upped the number of rounds of abs today and suspect we will do the same next week.

    5x(vasa swim trainer done as 1:30 on the machine, :30 rest)
    2xshoulder bands and light weights focused on rotator cuff on left shoulder joint.
    3x(flutter kick with arms extended(like back kick), oblique v sits, leg lift, one leg knee to nose planks, 90/45/15 leg lifts done as :45 seconds of exercise, :15 seconds rest). And 1min rest between rounds

    Swimming LCM
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on :50
    4x100 with paddles on 1:30
    8x25 open,close, easy, fast on 1min with fins
    200 easy

    I felt like jello when I dove in today. The abs were hard and I still felt Tuesday on the first round today. Its amazing how a really good long taper brings your fitness level down. It takes so long to build up fitness but so little time to loose it. Hopefully a couple of weeks and I will be back to normal.

    I finally made an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor earlier this week but could not get in until the middle of September. The particular doctor I choose came recommended and as it turns out is the orthopedic doctor for the Dallas Cowboys. One of my team mates worked with him on a shoulder issue and he said he is awesome; very thorough. My right knee still hurts but not as bad as it was going into the taper. If I want to get the swelling up it will take one leg workout. Don't know if I should deliberately enclave it by doing what hurts or just let it be what it is with no pain. I suspect the later makes most sense! I always worry when I go to see a doctor they will not see the problem.
    Swim Workouts
  2. A good set event though I didn't feel great

    by , August 20th, 2015 at 07:33 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    It is always good to have a good set even when your not 100%.

    500 free
    500 free kick w/zoomers
    10x100@1:40 free went 1:33, 1:34, 1:33, 1:33, 1:33, 1:30, 1:30, 1:30, 1:30, 1:28
    500 free kick w/zoomers
    500 free

    Total 3000 yards
    Swim Workouts
  3. Week 151 - Wednesday

    by , August 19th, 2015 at 09:05 PM (After a long rest)
    I had another good night of sleep and headed to the pool hoping for another LCM workout but alas it looks like we are done with Long course for the year. Tom did say there was talk about switching it at weekends but I have heard that before and it did not happen. Oh well, it is what it is!

    Warm up
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on :45

    Main sets
    4x200 kick on 3:15
    100 easy
    16x50 on 1min at 200 race pace
    100 easy
    12x25 with fins underwater on :40

    Warm down
    8x50 delay breath drill

    I felt pretty whacked after the kick set but did great holding 2:43-2:45. I was not anticipating 16x50s and mentally decided to swim them as 4 rounds of 4 increasing my effort as I went through the set. I started out with a :25 which shocked me. I then proceeded to hold :26s until the last 50 where I went :25 again. I did not feel that great at the end but that's the best I have done on this set. Very happy!

    I am taking my USAS coaching certificate tomorrow and have been working on the online portion the last couple of nights. I am really looking forward to getting my certs and I spoke to my wife about coaching one of the kids groups this season. I have a lot of upcoming travel but tom said he would appreciate the help so I am going to try coaching the kids in one of the groups as my schedule permits. I have about a month of travel already planned so I will be hit and miss to start with but will try to plan my travel around the coaching. I hope it works and as long as the kids are ok with me helping out I think it will be great fun. Watch this space!
    Swim Workouts
  4. Week 151 - Tuesday

    by , August 19th, 2015 at 08:50 PM (After a long rest)
    Back to dry lands this morning. My taper will be a distant memory by the end of this week.

    5x(vasa swim trainer done as 1:30 on the machine, :30 rest)
    2xshoulder bands and light weights focused on rotator cuff on left shoulder joint.
    2x(flutter kick with arms extended(like back kick), oblique v sits, leg lift, one leg knee to nose planks, 90/45/15 leg lifts done as :45 seconds of exercise, :15 seconds rest). And 1min rest between rounds

    Swimming LCM
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on :50
    4x50 open,close, easy, fast on 1min with fins
    200 easy

    I felt good in the water today!

    Updated August 20th, 2015 at 08:41 AM by StewartACarroll

    Swim Workouts
  5. Wed., Aug. 19

    by , August 19th, 2015 at 06:51 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Tuesday was a bit of a lost day for me. I was awoken by thunder storms at 5:00 am and couldn't get back to sleep. This wouldn't faze some folks, like Stewart. But when you're a night owl, it's brutal. All I could do was take my dog on a long walk.


    Swim/LCM/Solo @ Lebo

    500 various
    4 x (25 scull + 25 DPS free)
    4 x 25 fast + 25 EZ @ 1:15
    50 EZ
    24 x 50 w/fins
    odds = fast @ 100 pace
    evens = EZ
    4 x fly (29s), 4 x breast (33s), 4 x kick (29-31)
    150 EZ

    Total: 2300 m

    Heated Vinyasa Yoga, 85 minutes

    I went to a 75 minute class, but it ended up being more. It was extremely toasty and suffered bc of it.


    Going to keep going to Lebo, which is the only pool available this week. Next week, the only pool that I have access to is Sewickly unless I go to adult swim at night at Lebo. But 8:15 is not a convenient time, and a bit late to work out as well.
    Swim Workouts , Yoga
  6. Workout 08/19/15: noon

    by , August 19th, 2015 at 04:33 PM (Maple Syrup with a Side of Chlorine)
    It's tough getting back to work after vacation, especially entering my long week. I slept in today then hit the pool at lunch...

    200 free/200 back/200 im drill
    500 shark swim
    4 x (50 strong DPS on :50, 100 fast on 1:30) mixed in stroke/im
    200 loosen and out
    (Solo/Rec/1900 yds/40 min)

    Matt was finishing up a set (he's planning to hit up Nationals in the spring), and Kevin was also there. Not too much traffic in the pool.

    Hot and humid here in VT. Last week I preformed the marriage ceremony of my sister-in-law and her fiancé and dropped off the paperwork today. I also paid for the class that I will audit this fall at the Bible College, a Christian Counseling class called Spiritual Formation. The other classes held on Thursday nights do not really apply to me so I went with this one. Only two books, and I was able to get one as an ebook so I will be all set for the third year of the college!

    Updated August 19th, 2015 at 10:51 PM by rxleakem

    Swim Workouts
  7. A good mix for today

    by , August 19th, 2015 at 07:22 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    My fly felt strong again. Free without paddles is a little strange but NO paddles for the next 3 weeks.

    8x50@1:00 free
    5x200@3:30 free went 2:59, 2:57, 2:55, 2:55, 2:52
    12x25@:30 2 fly 1 free
    100 free moderate
    200 free fast went 2:49
    100 free easy
    6x50@1:00 IM
    200 free EZ

    Total 2600 yards
    Swim Workouts
  8. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout 08/19/2015

    by , August 18th, 2015 at 12:04 PM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    I am heading to Singapore for Junior Worlds tomorrow. This will be my last post until early September.

    WARM UP:
    1 X 250 4:00 3:45
    3 X 100 1:40 1:30
    4 X 75 descend 1:15 1:15
    Two rounds. Round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    1 X 200 kick

    1 X 100 moderate 2:00
    4 X 50 1:00
    Four rounds--choice
    50's: odd: fast even: moderate

    8 X 150 pull 2:15
    1-4: 100 cruise/50 fast
    5-8: negative split

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy

    Swim Workouts
  9. 4500 SCY, 25s and 50s

    by , August 18th, 2015 at 09:35 AM (Alex's swim journal)
    Today I got up early and headed to the Y at about 5:30; trying to get my schedule back on track since I'm going to have to start getting to work at a normal time toward the end of the week. But this year I'm determined not to put my swims off until after work... I have such low energy in the evenings. So early morning it is!

    I was still a little groggy when I pulled up at the Y, but my warm-up felt fairly normal. Then I went into 2500-worth of hard swimming. The 25s and 50s didn't feel nearly as smooth as last week, but until I get acclimated to the time and build my base a little I can't complain... I'm still forcing my body to swim a lot faster than when I do 100s and 200s.

    4500 SCY/90 mins

    WU (1100/22:00):
    400 EZ fr on 7:00
    4 x 100 IM on 2:00
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00
    4 x 25 fr on :30
    1:00 rest

    MS1 (1000/20:00):
    20 x 25 fr on :30 (w/ long fins, trying to maintain 100 pace)
    20 x 25 fr on :30 (:17-:19--mostly :18 with 16 strokes, 200 pace)

    MS2 (1000/20:00):
    20 x 50 fr on :20 rest (mostly :39, a couple of :38s--500 goal pace?)
    :40 rest

    MS3 (1000/20:00):
    10 x 100 on 2:00
    --alternated BK recovery 100s w/ hard fr 100s (1:22-1:24, goal 1650 pace?), I was running out of gas pretty badly on this.

    CD (400/8:00):
    100 EZ bk on 2:00
    6 x 50 EZ fr on 1:00
  10. 6 Days in a Row - 8/17/2015

    by , August 18th, 2015 at 09:32 AM (Workout Swimmer)
    No wonder I'm a little tired. I was thinking that I swam about 19,000 in 4 days (4600 on Friday, 5000 on Saturday, 5600 on Sunday, and 4100 Monday) but then when I went to log it in, I noticed I also had swum on Thursday (3000) and for a short while on Wednesday (got rained out at 1250).
    It was my birthday this weekend, and I did my usual 100 for every year. I think I'm going to have to get younger or start doing 50's or 75s per year soon. 5600 solo was ruff - but the water was cool, and the sky was beautiful. Same on Saturday, but not AS cool, and I wasn't swimming solo, so it went by much faster.
    Anyway, for the birthday swim I just did
    600 warm-up
    500, then 5 x 100 -- each various ways, including 5 x 100 IM's, and 10 x 50 fly/free - until I reached 5600 - or maybe 6100, I kinda lost track of my 500's after a while.
    Worked a very long day yesterday with my day job & moonlighting in the ER, so didn't get home until 11:30pm. Felt wonderful to sleep in this morning.

    Updated September 6th, 2015 at 03:20 PM by Celestial

  11. Some IM work not bad

    by , August 18th, 2015 at 07:21 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    My fly actually felt fairly good today.

    500 free
    500 free kick w/zoomers
    400 IM in 7:17
    200 breast kick
    400 IM in 7:08
    500 free kick w/zoomers
    500 free

    total 3000 yards
    Swim Workouts
  12. Week 151 - Monday

    by , August 17th, 2015 at 09:55 PM (After a long rest)
    After the after meet party my wife and I went to watch the movie "the man from Uncle". It was a pretty easy movie to watch and was good(not great). I was pretty beat after the meet and was not really in the movie mood and when the lights went down I struggled to keep my eyes open. The movie was entertaining enough I did not sleep but I was struggling in a few spots. I slept well last night but woke quite sore. The no warm down after the meet probably contributed. This morning the pool was setup LCM. I suspect our long course days are numbered unfortunately.

    Today i I had a meeting at work at 7:30 and had to get out a little early.

    Warm up
    400 free with snorkel
    6x50 catchup on 1min

    Main sets
    8x200 pull on 3mins descend 1-4,5-8
    10x50 drill working on breathing after the catch on 1min
    2x100 kick

    warm down
    100 easy

    I felt good on the pull set and descended from 2:20 to 2:12 and felt long and tapered. Oh how I love the feel when you come off a big meet and are rested and shaved. It's so unfortunate that this feeling does not last. The drill was interesting; Tom said he wanted us to work on a slightly later breath after the catch. I have never noticed a pause in my stroke but he said he saw one today. The kick should have been 6 rounds but I ran out of time. I made it downtown for my meeting by the smallest of margins,mouth I did make it.

    Tonight i started my USAS coaching certification and worked on the online course. It was a lot of common sense stuff so far but it was good to hear. I need to finish this tomorrow since the water portion is on Thursday.

    I am am back to crazy abs in the morning but will build back into it so hopefully I won't be too sore tomorrow.
    Swim Workouts
  13. Sat-Mon, Aug 15-17

    by , August 17th, 2015 at 05:23 PM (The FAF AFAP Digest)
    Saturday: Heated Vinyasa, 90 min

    It was really more like an 80+ minute class. I would love some 60 min classes. That really would be plenty for me with my other training.

    Sunday: Swim/LCM/Solo @ Lebo

    500 various
    6 x (25 scull + 25 free w/paddles)
    4 x (25 fast @ 100 pace + 25 EZ)
    10 x 50 various
    8 x 50, 2x IM order drill
    8 x 100 kick w/fins
    100 EZ

    Total: 2800 m

    -- After attempting to do some 100 pace work early on, I decided I was still too tired to do any sprinting and went into recovery mode. I haven't yet shaken off the fatigue from overdoing it with the weights, etc.

    Monday: Swim/LCM/Solo @ Lebo

    500 various
    4 x (25 scull + 25 DPS free w/paddles) @ 1:10
    4 x (25 fast kick + 25 EZ @ 1:15)
    50 EZ
    20 x 50
    odds = fast @ 100 pace
    evens = EZ
    50 EZ
    6 x 50 DPS free w/paddles
    50 EZ

    Total: 2350


    rehab ex
    straight ar dips, 90 x 3 x 15
    deadlifts, 80 x 4 x 6
    captains chair leg raises, 3 x 20
    seated row negatives, 100 x 4 x 4
    explosive fly pulls on double cable machine, 22.5 x 3 x 5
    explosive leg extensions, 120 x 4 x 5
    glute isolator, 60 x 3 x 5e ach side
    kneeling ab crunches, 150 x 4 x 8
    bulgarians in streamline, 1 x 10 each leg
    -- my thighs were screaming at this point and I didn't do anymore


    I felt tired in the pool again this am, but pepped up this afternoon and went to the gym. I only stayed 50 minutes instead of the 70 I did last time. I think that works much better or me as I'm building strength again. Looking at my blog, I am substantially weaker than I was back in 2012. Lots of injuries (labral tear, elbow tear, subscap tear, broken finger) have impeded any forward progress. I really hope I can stay healthy and injury free for awhile. With Lil Fort now in high school, I should also have more time to do things like rehab exercises, stretching and yoga than I have in prior years.
  14. Post-meet loosen up swim

    by , August 17th, 2015 at 01:09 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    Didn't feel as stiff as I thought I would this morning. Just tired. I did 3000 SCY/53 minutes with a lot of backstroke at the end.

    6 x 200 fr on 3:20 (alt. fr/pull w/ buoy)
    6 x 100 kick on 1:40 (used long fins and alt: front w/ board, side, back streamline)
    4 x 250 on 4:40 (250s swum as 200 BK + 50 pull recovery--200s averaged mid 3:20s)
    4 x 50 fr on 1:00 (asc. :40-:43--this was my cool down)
  15. Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 AM Workout 08/18/2015

    by , August 17th, 2015 at 11:40 AM (Sarasota Y Sharks Masters 5:30 a.m. Workout)
    WARM UP:
    4 X 100 1:40 1:30
    1 X 200 3:00 --
    Two rounds, round 1 intervals left, 2 right.

    8 X 50 kick 1:10
    #5-8: 25 fast/25 moderate

    10 X 100 free
    3 on 1:30
    3 on 1:20
    3 on 1:15
    #10 is easy

    8 X 200
    odd: IM 3:30
    even: free 3:00

    WARM DOWN: 4 X 50 easy

    Swim Workouts
  16. I am actually going to post a workout…

    I was wide awake at 4AM and all I could think was “Go to the 5:30 AM Aquatic T2 Masters Workout.”

    So I did:
    600 Swim
    1x150 Kick
    4x50 Drill Swim r;20—Reverse IM order
    500 pull 4x25 Drill r:15 –1 of each stroke
    Rest 20
    3x50 Drill Swim @ 1:15

    12x25 @:50 Kick- Build,Blast,Easy,Fast x 3

    6x50 Pull @ 1:00
    3 x 100 Pull @ 2:00 with flippers, yes my favorite!

    3 x 100 Free descending
    75 mix stroke
    50 mix
    25 mix

    4x75 underwater 25/50 easy
    Approximately 3500
    Blogging gets me doing. Don’t know how or why it just does. Thank you Blogworld!

    The people at 2T are extremely friendly, patient, and encouraging.
    I hope I keep going....
  17. back at it

    by , August 17th, 2015 at 07:32 AM (Mixing it up this year)
    I have been swimming just not blogging my workouts last week. Last day using paddles was Friday. Now I am paddleless until my swim. I have one more week of on-call which means this week is sets of 500 so I can check my pager frequently enough. I know this really bites for a distance swimmer.

    500 free
    500 free kick w/zoomers
    10x100@1:40 free holding 1:27's
    500 free kick w/zoomers
    500 free w/snorkel as kick to 15m then swim the rest of the 100

    Total 3000 yards
    Swim Workouts
  18. 200 miles ytd, 1500 LCM (RAM meet)

    by , August 16th, 2015 at 07:56 PM (Alex's swim journal)
    According to my GTD FLOG, I went over 200 miles for the year today (probably at some point during my 1500 at the meet in Rockwall).

    Really enjoyed the meet... they have a beautiful facility there and it's pretty convenient to Dallas. I drove up early this morning (leaving Waco around 5:30) and was able to pick up my son north of Dallas (can't believe he's now a sophomore at UT-D), he's been my reliable lap counter and company on so many drives to meets over the last 4 years, it was a great excuse to see him again. I had to pay him back by taking him grocery shopping afterwards.

    From UT-D it was only a 30-minute drive over to Rockwall. I got in for my warm-up around 8:10 and took my time, since I knew I'd have a break before my first event anyway... did about 900 and worked on starts.

    GOGGLE SAGA... My old vanquishers, which I'd been using since the start of 2013 SCY season, vanished earlier this summer. I've been experimenting with a couple of other models over the last couple of months because every time I run across a sporting-goods store I run in to check and inevitably they don't have "my" vanquishers... today it was the Dick's Sporting good, for example, which had a bunch of different models but somehow only carried the vanquishers and vanquisher 2.0s in "women/femme/damas." Alas, Pink is not my color. Sigh. Anyway, I tried some starts with the Nike remora I've been using for practice... not too bad, but there was a lot of leaking. They just don't fit my face like a well adjusted pair of vanquishers.

    100M... So I got to the start of the 100 (after doing some 25 bursts in the warm-up pool, and another practice start off the blocks during the 10-minute break), and half expected to have an eyeful of water coming into the first turn. I was resolved just to suck it up and swim with one eye open if need be. As it turns out, the start went off and the goggles stayed firmly in place. The aura of the remora? Would I be a sucker for the suckerfish-named goggle in symbiotic relationship with my eye sockets? Final verdict to come. My 100-meter free felt pretty good until about 75 m... then, pain fest. Anthony got video of it (accidentally in slow motion mode), so I got to see it... I held form pretty well, but the thighs were screaming for mercy by the end... I'm not used to swimming that pace after a year of "fitness" swimming. I eked out first in the heat and swam 2 seconds faster than my seed time with a 1:19.xx, which converts to around 1:10 SCY (according to the converter on the Swim-Swam site). This is not bad for me at all; it's basically where I started my last (2014) SCY season.

    1500M... Long story (and event) short: 26:29. I would have been happy with anything under 27:00. It wasn't a PR, but it was by no means the worst I've done in the last 2-3 years. My son Anthony said I looked smooth throughout. When I finished Stewart said I was mr. Consistent... can't wait to see the splits. It's something to build on; and now I know where I am after a year out of competition.

    Great to finally meet Stewart and some of his teammates; they had some great swims... really fun to watch!

    FINAL VERDICT on the suckerfish goggle? Well, for me it just sucked! It probably works great for some, but I had all kinds of trouble in the first 500 of the 1500 with it (as I have in practice). Had to roll over on my back a couple of times to clear them out and adjust on the fly (using some open water skills here). So I'm going back to vanquisher. I know Nike and Speedo were lining up for my endorsement (not!)... in good conscience I'll have to turn down that big offer I know Nike was going to make for this middle- to back-of-the-packer. Ha, ha. If it's any consolation, Remora, you were the best of the rest of the goggles I tried this summer, and whose names I won't mention here. Of course, as my wife always says... "sounds like a user error to me." Hmm... saga continues.
  19. RAM Summer Long Course Meet - Day 2

    by , August 16th, 2015 at 05:20 PM (After a long rest)
    After the meet yesterday we went for a team lunch I had arranged at a local Italian restaurant with a few of our out of town visitors. It was a lot of fun! After lunch I had a nice relaxing afternoon and evening with my wife and went to bed pretty early. I woke up a little later than I had hoped this morning and seemed to be running 15minutes late all the way upto the meet, however it all worked out just fine. I was a little sore this morning but nothing bad. I usually feel a little stiffness on a multi day meet and today was no better or worse than usual.

    Once again I did my normal meet warmup and felt good in the pool.

    400 free
    8x50 catchup on 1min
    4x50 open,close, easy,fast
    2x50 at 400 pace
    200 easy

    First up today was the 400 free and my goal was to beat my good friend Mr Unruh's #1 time of 4:28.91. I felt strong the whole way and other than a bad turn at 250 felt great. I finished really strong and was happy with my 4:28.05. looking at my splits, my 2nd 100 was too slow but my second 200 was great. I credit a lot of my consistency to the race pace work we have been doing and will definitely continue to work on this. I may add one more aerobic workout this fall on either Tuesday or Thursday morning but I will speak with Tom.

    Next up up was supposed to be the 100 breast but at the last minute I decided to skip it. My legs, and my right one in particular was very sore and stiff and I took the extra time to stretch ahead of the 50 fly. The challenge when you have a meet with low numbers(we had 85 swimmers) the meet goes really fast.

    The 50 fly is another off event for me and my real reason for entering this one was to push one of my team mates in the lane next to me, Scott Carpenter. we had a great race and he got me on the finish, going 28.5 vs my 28.6. I had a lot of fun on this one despite my time being a few tenths slower than I went a couple months ago.

    Last up up we had the 400 free relay and once again I was the anchor. Step Stone did the 200 back in a new best time the event before the relay so we were able to delay the relay start 5 minutes but it was always going to be a tough record. we needed our first two swimmers to be out in 58.5 and 1:04.0 but unfortunately they were both off. Our young ringer had a great swim but there was too much left for me to do to get the record but my 54.9 split was the best I have done as a master and I felt awesome the whole way. It was disappointing to not get close to the record but it was still a lot of fun and our team did awesome.

    I really enjoyed our meet and my team mates had a great time. One of our team held a short after meet party which was a nice conclusion to a great weekend. I am already looking forward to doing the meet again next year.

    Updated August 17th, 2015 at 02:22 PM by StewartACarroll

    Masters Swim Meets / Events
  20. Viking River Cruise & Swimming

    by , August 16th, 2015 at 02:58 PM (Chowmi's Blog)
    I had no where else to post this. shut me out for some reason, and tripadvisor was surprisingly not very good about a dedicated Viking thread. So i'll add some swimming stuff and post it all here:

    Viking Longships do NOT have pools! FYI there is a very close pool where you might be docked, Piscine Keller (google it for info. there is a good blurb that tells you exactly where to go and how to get from the front through the lockers to the pool). It is about 7 minute walk from the dock and open to the public, 3 Euros.

    Viking River Cruise, Paris to Paris & Normandy (P2PN) 07/19-07/26/2015

    My review is tailored for the Paris to Paris and Normandy (P2PN) on Viking, the same principles apply to any of the inclusive river cruises of this category (Viking, Uniworld, Tauck, AMA Waterways, Grand Circle, A-Rosa etc). I will stay away from boat specific comments, because the Viking Pride (along with Neptune, Spirit, and Legend) will be retired after this year. Welcome to the age of the Viking Longships (more on that later)!

    Do you whisper to friends, “I hear it’s all really old people. Like 70!”, and that is one of the only limiting factors (not price, or time)? The answer is, “Yes, pretty old!” But, you can still have a ton of fun!!!!

    Before the specific stuff and helpful hints, this entry will focus on general stuff you need to know about river cruising:

    River vs. Ocean cruising: Ocean cruises have 700-5,000 people on board. They are usually a destination in themselves, with multiple restaurants, activities, spa, pools, theatres, etc. A river cruise is essentially a floating hotel (150-200 on European rivers). It’s not intended to have a lot of entertainment on board, just to get you from one place to the next. I’m paraphrasing from other sites, but here are two examples: You go on an ocean cruise to drink yourself silly. You go on a river cruise to enrich your mind with the culture of the locale. You can workout on a cruise ship in the gym, pool, or deck space. On a river cruise, there are limited amenities on board, but all of Europe is your gym. Viking in particular has refrained from adding bikes, pool, gym, spas to their Longships. They do a have a walking track on the deck.

    If you read various reviews and the bad ones, you should realize that what they are complaining about are things (1) you would have known if you bothered to read any of these reviews; (2)not Vikings fault, and/or (3) haters gonna hate.

    What happens if your cruise is interrupted or cancelled??!!! Why does this happen??? River cruising IMO has very little margin for error. If the river levels are too low/too high, then you simply can’t sail in certain areas. You must be bussed, housed in a hotel, or do the river cruise Chinese fire drill (switch ships!) The ship will either be lightened enough without passengers and baggage to sail and meet you, or you will literally switch ships on the other side of the bridge/lock/low water level. The Viking Longships are identical, so they will literally take one ship and swap with the other, you get your same room number, and everyone goes on their merry way! (ie, your boat can’t fit under a bridge due to high water. the cruise going the opposite direction also has this problem. So you switch ships, since theirs is on the other side of the bridge in the direction you want to go, and vice versa!) You also get to meet an entirely new crew!!!

    River levels and conditions change on a dime, so that is why they don’t cancel them with much notice. If the river conditions are not conducive to sailing, then yes, it’s a real challenge to all 150 of you plus Uniworld, Tauck, and AMA W’s passengers a nice hotel room in a quaint little village, not to mention the complains about hotel quality.

    One of the benefits of river cruising is you literally dock by the small towns. All you do is step of the ship and you are there. In Andeley, it took about 50 steps from the ship to the center of town. But on the flip side, you will have other ships dock right alongside you and your window may be 6 inches from the other ship, or that quaint pub you saw from your window – yep, they are drinking and singing in your ears at nighttime. (And I heard other passengers complaining to Viking staff about this – but I think the passengers should have known this happens – and brought earplugs!)

    I would not get a verandah room on Viking Longships. I hear you get a bit more space inside with the french balconcy rooms. Always go for the bigger room at the cheaper price (ie, 2nd floor vs. 3rd floor, go with 2nd floor cheaper room). It’s a crap shoot whether you’ll get a good view from your room or not. My girls almost never got a good view. They were docked along the pier or had another ship next to them the entire time. If you are traveling with others, get rooms on opposite sides so someone may have a view! The top deck is the very best place to watch, anyway!

    People complain a lot about other ships docking by yours and having to go either over the top deck or through your lobby to get to their ship (and vice versa). River cruising 101 – you should have known about this! I thought this was fun and part of the comraderie of river cruising! Waving like an idiot to other ships, especially another Viking ship, where they will toot their horns, wow, that was fun!!! Plus you get a sneak peak at other cruise line ship!

    Trip interruptions happen periodically, not rarely- this is why it’s so important to read up on your exact itinerary before you go. I would go so far as to map out and identify hotels in the areas you would be going, and see if there are rail service or other means of transportation. This is the apocalypse scenario where you get to the cruise only to find out it’s cancelled.

    Our room was 170 square feet, 2nd floor. On the Longships, the comparable priced room is 150 square feet. The room size met my expectations – we asked for 2 twin configuration. I still had just enough space to have my yoga mat fully placed, albeit at an angle towards the doorway. I was too shy to do yoga on the top deck. I was able to do yoga everyday if I wanted, but I did a routine about every other day. In the future, I would have no qualms about taking my mat and going to the top deck – I don’t think it would fit in a 150 square foot room.

    I didn’t see the lowest level rooms, but from what another passenger told me (and snarky reviews), those rooms are tight. But I don’t have any sympathy for those that write bad comments – you were too cheap to upgrade, and weren’t able to transition to a positive attitude of just enjoying the outside space. Next time, pony up for a better room size! It’s right there on the website for you to see the deck plan and room size! That all said, I’m actually interested in staying in one of the lowest class rooms to find out if the price differential is worth it. I think it would be fun! I’d just be mentally calculating how many more souveniers I could buy with the room savings. Maybe that cockoo clock on the Rhine Getaway!

    There were ample free toiletries; shampoo, conditioner, lotion, soap, shower cap. You could steal a bunch and they'd just bring you another set. It got tedious after the first three days of stealing 2 sets a day, so I gave up after that. Plus it was getting too heavy for my luggage.

    Viking Air/Viking Transfers:
    If you buy air through Viking, the transfer is free. We booked independently, and bought the Viking transfer. The transfer was more expensive than other options, but totally worth it. They were very reliable, a price we pay a premium for in a foreign country. I may try booking with Viking air at some point, but will probably try to use miles and get biz class seats. That still costs plenty for a family of 4 in the required taxes, etc. I just priced DFW – AMS return on BSL – DFW (Rhine Getaway) for 4 and the taxes/fees are about $2,000 USD even with miles. The bad reviews using Viking are that they won’t tell you until very close to the flight what your exact flights are, and the connections are too tight. I worry about short connections so that is why I would chose to book air early and on my own for a family of 4. If I were a solo traveler or just with one other adult, and/or having a few days pre-cruse in the departure city, I may try booking through Viking air.

    We all know there isn’t such thing as full price. It’s always ½ price of the brochure. The specials are when there is free air (or a surcharge based on departure city). However, the fine print also says you can’t get frequent flyer miles. I suppose you can always ask, but who knows. For free airfare, it may be worth it, but also depends on what fees/taxes/charges you still have to pay, even with “free airfare”. Your transfers are free when you book with Viking air. We paid 120/PP

    Big Box, travel agent, or through Viking directly? In the future, I may try the big box or a travel agent. But for now, the trips and confidence in the booking is too important, so I would book directly through Viking. The finer point is that if you book anywhere else, you aren’t really booking with Viking. You are paying someone who hopefully is going to turn around and buy it from Viking on your behalf. Your contract is with them, not with Viking. God forbid that person, business, or big box goes out of business. And it does happen. I’d rather pass on the onboard credit and gift card extra to make sure my next several trips are booked directly with Viking and to have that peace of mind.

    If possible, I would book pre and post extensions, and on my own. We simply didn’t have the time. But the P2PN trip was a good one for getting flights right when the cruise started, because you were in port the first night, and sailed at midday the next day, so worst case is you could probably still catch the boat in Paris before it started sailing. For any other cruise in the future, I would always book a pre-cruise extension. The ones through Viking are really expensive and so I’d do that part on my own.

    I'll post more on the details of the excursion, probably something on food, and day-by-day commentary, particularly how to fit in exercise/swimming if possible.