Differences in River Cruise Co. in Europe

Old Dec 8th, 2009, 09:50 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,495
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Differences in River Cruise Co. in Europe

We are looking into taking a river boat cruise with Vantage. Someone on the Europe forum asked why I picked a tour co. rather then a river boat co. I didn't know I did. Can I get some opinions on the quality of the various boats serving Europe, like Uniworld, Amadaeus, Viking, and Vantage. We want a nice boat, clean & safe and we want a good tour. We are looking at Eastern Europe going from Budapest to Bucharest. Why wouldn't I pick Vantage and is there a co. out there that's much better? Thanks in advance.
zwho is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2009, 09:32 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 234
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Our TA has an excellent site comparing many of the River cruise lines; see http://www.bkrivercruises.com/. She is escorting a River cruise trip right now on AMA that began in Paris and is ending in Amsterdam. She is escorting another trip that we have signed up for on AMA between Prague and Budapest next September. By coincidence, I recently came across a reference to an outstanding review of a trip on AMA between Budapest and Prague; you can find it on http://www.thepreismans.com/ and click on Danube.
Dreps is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2009, 08:52 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,185
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There's also a lot of cruise info on the boards at cruisecritic dot com -- there's a section there on River cruises that might be helpful.
Leslie_S is offline  
Old Dec 11th, 2009, 06:34 PM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,495
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, yes I've been looking at crusiecritic. I still can't get the feel of a river cruise. I think I may have to post another question. I can't tell by the itinerary desciption if the included tours are like horrible daytrip tours I have taken where you are captive to what the co. wants you to see. Free time is 15 mins. in the shopping area & the tour takes you to a store where they prefer you shop. We are independent travellers but because I have had 2 surgeries this yr. not having to plan everything seems enticing and so did the small boat. We have been on giant cruises and when the ships dock, it seems the ship tours take over the stops including the sidewalks. ICK! I know we won't have that because there are only about 200 on the ship, but what about the tours? Couldn't care less about the food on board or wine, or decor as long as it's clean & comfy. I care about what we'll see and the quality of the info and not just being bussed past monuments! Sorry, had to make sure if someone actually reads this, they know what I'm asking! Thanks.
zwho is offline  
Old Dec 12th, 2009, 06:31 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,030
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
ttt
fmpden is offline  
Old Dec 13th, 2009, 06:52 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,185
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
zwho - I've only been on one river cruise, to China with Viking this year. I think comparing that to the European river cruises might be apples to oranges. The tours we did were satisfying to me because with that particular destination I didn't want to have to plan everything and worry about logistics. I thought the compromise of settling for what they took us to and not seeing everything I would have wanted and dealing with forced shopping was worth it for that kind of trip. But really, there was a good bit of that mandatory shopping which could make you crazy if you let it - I just tried to go with the flow and look at the stops at the silk rug factory, jade store, silk embroidery shop, etc. as 'educational' - haha.

I think the difference with the European cruises would be being able to get off at the different stops and not going with the tour but rather doing your own thing if you want to. Or else do the tour - I think they sound like they don't take up the whole day - and then go off alone afterward. So you could have the convenience of the ship moving you around to different destinations and only having to unpack once, but then also plan independent days on shore.

You're probably right about the smaller number of passengers not having anywhere near the same impact as when the big cruise ships dock. And with the tours on river cruises I think they keep you in smaller groups, say 20-30 vs. what those big ship cattle-calls are like. Some of the companies seem to get higher marks - AMA, Tauck, Uniworld -- maybe they use small groups and provide better tour info than the companies not so highly regarded.

Not sure if that helps!
Leslie_S is offline  
Old Dec 14th, 2009, 01:58 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 63
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Have gone on 2 river cruises - Vantage and Grand Circle. 2 brothers own these companies. Just returned from Celebrity 2 wks., yesterday. Completely different experiences. We will only cruise with another couple as we are also independent travelers and can't bear to listen to personal life stories at every meal.
River boats are smaller in every way. At night you can be docked in a city and can get off the boat and see the area. I personally find meal times much too long on all boats as there is no entertainment on river cruises after dinner the evening can be dull. No after dinner show.
I would advise you to look at the layout of the boat. The restaurant is postioned up front with a narrow corridor that leads to it with the more expensive cabins on each side. People line up to get into the restaurant, as there are no fixed tables, and block the passengers in those rooms. There is a mad dash for tables and 1 of our group is the designated table "getter". There are not many tables for 4.
You are right to take this kind of trip as it will be easy on you.
Another great river trip is the Nile. Would repeat that one in a heartbeat. Superior to the above.
ympepe is offline  
Old Dec 15th, 2009, 06:01 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,495
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you for relating both of your experiences. I have been on cruisecritic and am beginning to get a feel for river cruising. The down side I'm finding is that we only have so much time to vacation at 1 time. 12 days is about the max time because my DH isn't retired and we need 2 travel days. So I'm finding cruises that meet our needs, but I'm a brat! When I see the cruise begins in Budapest, I want to spend more time there, and when I see we end near Draculas castle, I want to spend more time there. Everyone should have my problems, right? I go back & forth thinking maybe I should forget about the whole cruise thing and spend 5 days in Budapest and 5 days in Romania and do a couple of daytrips from each place and use my 12 days that way. BUT, I also want to go on a rivercruise! I just need to make up my mind. Thanks.
zwho is offline  
Old Dec 16th, 2009, 08:38 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 18,047
Received 22 Likes on 4 Posts
As far as the tours, you can go off independently if you prefer and look at the boat as a floating hotel with some meals. We never went back to the boat for lunch and often skipped the included tours doing the towns on our own.
In Russia, when we were skipping the guided tours,Viking would give us any admission tickets that would be used on the tours.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Old Dec 18th, 2009, 09:25 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We had experience with Viking Cruise in late September from Basel to Amsterdam. Accommodations and service were excellent on board. Guided on-shore tours so-so. HOWEVER cruise was aborted halfway through due to low water levels on the Rhine. Ship's crew claimed they knew nothing beforehand about a problem, but later review by us showed drought in Rhine basin this summer. Complaints to Viking home office have been met with silence. Would not trust Viking Cruise in future.
saminy is offline  
Old Dec 19th, 2009, 09:27 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 57
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We cruised from Amsterdam to Budapest with three days in Paris and 3 in Prague either end in March of this year. It also included free return airfare to Europe. The Rhine was flooded in places and the ship the Armadante, could not get under some of the bridges. Disappointed - yes but we were bussed from Linz, through Vienna to Budapest and given 15 euro a day for lunch by the company. They accommodated us in 5 star hotels breakfast and dinner (and wine) included. On our return to Australia we were greeted with a letter from APT apologising for the inconvenience and as a consequence offering us a free return cruise to be taken by December 2011. We are doing the return cruise next July and adding Istanbul to Budapest to the itinerary (we are of course paying for this bit). We were quite stunned as we never expected this but all who were on our cruise were offered the same deal. SJF
skfavas is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2011, 09:58 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are their certain times of year that you would be more likely to have the issue with drought and your river cruise would end of being a bus tour? We are planning on Amsterdam to Budapest the end of August with Vantage?
Sher48 is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2011, 10:09 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,020
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The last post on the thread is December 2009. I imagine the OP has long ago sailed or decided against it.
Giovanna is offline  
Old May 2nd, 2011, 06:03 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 117
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I can't see that they could "keep you captive" ;-) just walk away once you know what time you have to be back to avoid missing the boat.
madgicsh is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
SpainTraveler
Cruises
22
Apr 28th, 2014 02:05 PM
Percy
Cruises
13
Apr 20th, 2011 10:11 PM
lovemykids
Cruises
4
Apr 15th, 2011 10:02 AM
Robertalee
Cruises
5
Jul 26th, 2008 07:10 AM
jenky
Cruises
20
Nov 25th, 2007 06:30 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -