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maggiesueb Sep 30th, 2005 12:16 PM

Danube River Cruise
Whew, I really would love some help. I'm trying to figure out the differences among Grand Circle, Amadeus, Avalon and Uniworld before I choose a river cruise for 2006. They sound so similar! Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you,

Underhill Sep 30th, 2005 04:22 PM

Well, I can't tell you the differences, but I'm taking a GCT cruise from Vienna to Nuremberg in December. I expect most of these Danube cruises are quite similar; so I think the thing to do is look at the ships to get a feel for room size and layout, as well as other ship features. Then take a look at scheduled and optional activities to see what interests you the most.

Finally, if it's important to you, check out the age group at which the tour is aimed. GCT caters to "experienced American travelers," which means middle aged.

Berea Nov 7th, 2005 11:00 AM

I checked out some of the river cruises and found that although they start in Budapest and end in Nuremberg, Prague was not on thier list. I am taking an Avalon Cruise this week and as part of the cruise, once we are done in Nuremburg we are transported to Prague for 3 days, which I like immensely. This is not a post river cruise excursion, but is part of the package. I will let you know about this cruise and the ship which is a year old. The ony thing that bothers me is they only allow 1 large luggabe and a carryon. When I used Peter Dielman, ther were no restrictions. The Avaon Cruise is called the Blue Danube on the Artistry.
Good luck in chosing and see what is in included. This cruise, including Prague, is 14 days.


diann Nov 7th, 2005 03:15 PM

I am very interested in these cruises as well. Please post when you return. I hope you have a wonderful trip.

suze Nov 7th, 2005 05:32 PM

My folks recently went with Grand Circle and had a very pleasant experience.

DCCW06 Nov 22nd, 2005 06:22 PM

Hi Maggie

I have gone over the same catalogs that you have and found it equally confusing. My wife and I have travelled with Uniworld twice before so we have some prejudice. We ended up choosing the "Ultimate Black Sea Journey". This is a 21 day Danube River Cruise from Bucharest to Prague. We fly out of Boston on Aug 5, 2006 and leave Prague Aug 25. Our choice was based on two key elements; first and foremost we felt that the itinerary best fit what we wanted to see, secondly; we have had very positive experience with Uniworld on two prior trips. I appreceiate that this does not give you any comparative information between the cruise companies but it is what we have decided. Hope this is of some use to you.

Happy River Cruising


ed Nov 22nd, 2005 08:13 PM

We have traveled on the Danube, Rhine, Rhone & Main with GCT, Vanatage, Uniworld & Viking and are hard put to tell any great difference in the companies.

They are all fine and we have enjoyed ourselves

Whichever you take have fun.



Fredisimo Nov 26th, 2005 04:24 PM

Hello Maggie,

Amadeus and Avalon are two different companies who use the exact same ships—they charter the ships from European owner. Same cruises, same prices (usually), just perhaps slightly better customer service when booking with Amadeus. Amadeus has all new (or practically new) ships, nice beds.

Uniworld offers more itineraries, more destinations, similar prices. Uniworld also offers a few cruises without included shore excursions/sightseeing, so you can save a few $ this way—good for people who just want to explore on their own. Uniworld has a couple of older ships (one is being renovated, but still not as cushy as the new ones) and some new ships. It’s a good company, with prices comparable to Amadeus. Uniworld often includes the pre-cruise hotel stay in a city, but does not offer it as “optional” the way Amadeus does. Uniworld quotes prices with air usually, but will sell without air.

Grand Circle is lowest price, but there are some “cut corners.” Beds on Grand Circle are NOT as comfortable—they are typically two “day beds” that fold out of wall at night. They can’t be set up as a king bed. And GC has a lot of excursions that are “optional.” Another difference is that Amadeus puts you right in the center of town in a 4-star hotel during the land portion (as in the 3 nights in Prague on their “Legendary Danube” cruise). Grand Circle has you on outside of town in a 2 or 3 star hotel, so you need to take a bus or subway to get into town. This can be very inconvenient. Grand Circle gives price with air included, but they don’t mention how much the taxes are……when you come up with the grand total, it is always more than you think (taxes can be a few hundred $$).

Uniworld has a whole series of city stays for pre-post-cruises. That is, in addition to any that are included in the cruise package. They are nice, but pricey. One can do better booking independently, but many people like the idea that they can buy the whole package from Uniworld and just not worry.

As for luxury cruises……There are two true luxury lines. Peter Deilmann is a German company with 5-star and 4-star ships. Very nice. They don’t include excursions in their pricing, so people can choose to do it alone or buy a package/individual excursion (s). Only potential problem with Deilmann is that you might find most of passengers speaking German….it’s a gamble. They will put you on excursions with English guide, so no problem. They do assign a table for dinner, which means you eat with same people each night. They will give you English-speaking table mates. Other cruise lines have open seating at dinner.

Other luxury is River Cloud. Very expensive. Very high-end service and amenities. Costs maybe twice as much as others. They have some golf cruise itineraries that are popular. Also other theme cruises.

There is also Viking River Cruises. Very nice. Nice itineraries. Pretty much same itineraries as Uniworld, with some differences. Viking gives good value. Nice beds except in cheapest category, where they are the daybed type in a slightly smaller cabin. A good company.

Tauck has river cruises, but they charter a ship from another company. Some are older ships. Tauck gives good service, uses excellent hotels when a hotel stay is included, breaks group down in to smaller numbers for sightseeing. But they are also more $$.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to ask me. I don’t surf this Website very often so it would be best to email me directly at [email protected]

Hope this helps. Fred

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