European River Cruises - strategy

Jan 10th, 2017, 01:13 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 621
So now it's January and I haven't done anything yet - Sticky problem of a niece getting married and waiting for her to set a date. Now I know she's getting married in Sept, but is it too late to book a June river cruise?

Also, I went to see a cruise TA, and the prices she was quoting for Amawaterways seemed very high. Perhaps since I'm used to independent traveling, I wasn't prepared for the per head price to be so high for a 7 day cruise. She was quoting about $5K pp, can that be right? Once I include airfare, and a few days pre and post, that's more than I expected to spend.

She was VERY down on Viking, she said the long ships get stuck more easily than the smaller ships the other lines use.

I also emailed with a TA from Pavlus, my sister-in-law has used them before, but I was less than impressed. All the agent said was to pick a cruise and she'd get me a quote. Very helpful.

Amawaterways has a Romantic Danube cruise that's 7 days long, and we could spend a few days in Budapest before and a few days in Prague after (which I'd arrange myself). I went to the Ama site and the prices were exactly what the TA told me.

Meanwhile, I'm seeing half off fares from Viking just about every other day!

What to do?

Alice9 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2017, 05:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,085
I'd target a price in June of between $2,500 and $3,000 per person for a river cruise. If you book this month, you should have plenty of choices, but that's really all I'd spend. The prices I see for January bookings on AMA in June are around $2400 to $3400 per person, so I'm not sure where you're getting $5000.

This is prime booking season, and if you book in the next couple of weeks, there a lot of sales. The Basel to Amsterdam is often the cheapest itinerary.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jan 11th, 2017, 11:56 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,723
Amawaterways just drop their prices to $1749 pp on their 7 day cruise for June. Not sure if this is a time limited promo and how long it will last.
Eschew is offline  
Jan 13th, 2017, 06:49 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 621
Thanks very much, doug and Eschew. Now, the prices quoted are for the lowest level of cabin. One question is - how much does the level of cabin matter for a river cruise? I just need enough space to walk around.

Also are there mailing lists (other than the ones directly from the cruise companies) I should be on to see these sales?

Feeling more hopeful,
Alice9 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2017, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,281
If in a lower cabin, when docked the views would not be to my liking.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jan 13th, 2017, 11:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,098
We've been on river cruises where lower cabin occupants have complained about their windows being below water level and garbage floating past their view.
marg is online now  
Jan 14th, 2017, 07:29 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,723
Alice, the answer lies on how much you spend in your cabin and when. This question comes up all the time on ocean cruises. Should I save by taking an inside cabin or should I spend money and get a balcony.

There is never a right or wrong answer. If all you is you your cabin as a sleeping quarter and hardly spend time it, then by all means, save the money.

This is what me and DW do most of the time in our cabins but yet we have never ever been in an inside cabin. We both like and enjoyed a little of natural "outdoor light" so our choices are usually an "obstructed view" cabin. And from time to time, depending the price gap, we have book balcony and even suites.

The question you should ask is $5000 vs $1800 for a better cabin. In my mine, it would be no. I can take the same trip twice.
Eschew is offline  
Jan 17th, 2017, 08:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 621
Thanks much for the insights into cabin picking. It's beginning to seem like we are late to the gate for getting a cruise for May/June this year. Is that true? A lot of cruises seem to be booked already.

One choice that appeals, other than a Danube cruise, is a Douro cruise out of Portugal. Seems to me we could go earlier on that one, it would be warmer sooner.

But it it's really true that we should have started this earlier (with trip insurance, since something like my niece's wedding could have really messed us up!), is it worth looking at cruises late summer? We generally avoid Europe in August, lots of things are closed and it's more crowded (and depending on where you are, hot). Am I just uninformed about this? We might have more choices and better luck with prices in August.

The best thing I've learned here is that I do not need to spend $5K a person, and that is valuable information indeed!

Thank you thank you.
Alice9 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2017, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,723
It is not too late to plan for a summer cruise now. You may even get last minute deals.

Everyone is different, and we seldom buy travel insurance. The cost and benefits ratio does not work for us at this point. We may change our mine later as we get older. You should consider your own circumstances.

We have been through to Europe in all summer months and we found that June is the best. Weather is nice enough and it is not getting crowded yet. July and early August are the worst for us, way too hot and too crowded. Late August is not too bad and early September is good for the Southern Mediterranean, and can be cool for Northern and central Europe.

We have decided to forgo our trip for next winter to South America. The timing doesn't work. We are now just starting to look at a cruise for mid June in Europe. There are still plenty of time if you are not picky.

Determine what you like about cruising (or vacation) and spend the money on activities that you enjoy the most. For us, the shore activities are places where we won't go cheap. The cabin is a sleeping quarter and as long as it is comfortable enough, we don't want to spend too much money on it and makes the "rooming" the most expensive part of the journey. Of course, there are perks that goes along with the more expensive cabins, the question I would ask is it worth the extra? and can the money be better spent elsewhere.

Good luck on your search and feel free to keep asking more questions here.
Eschew is offline  
Jan 17th, 2017, 06:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 460
I booked my river cruise on fairly short notice. At first my agent told me they were all booked (I really wanted the Danube with AMA Waterways) for my timeframe of mid Sept-mid Oct. I called AMA personally and asked them if they had any room at all in that timeframe including Budapest and Prague. They had just had one cancellation on one ship. I had her hold it and called my agent. She booked it for me - one of the below deck rooms which I did not particularly want, but could live with. My DH was not happy with the room, but TA assured us she would put in for a room upgrade if it became available. I asked my DH if he would rather not go if the choice was the below deck room. He agreed to go.

Two weeks before the trip, there was a balcony room available - we wanted a mid ship window room, price wise. Our TA negotiated with them to lower the price - they were not going to sell that room - and they agreed and we paid about the price of the window room. This is why I like to use a travel agent. DH was very happy. That said, a balcony on the river cruises is very tiny and not necessary - but we did enjoy it!
ellenbw is online now  
Jan 17th, 2017, 09:18 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,085
We have done several river cruises and all have been in lat Aug. or Sept. and we really enjoyed going at that time of year. The weather has been fabulous. We also always use a travel agent and she has been fabulous getting us the cabins we want and the ships we want.
Cali is offline  

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 - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:37 PM.