European River Cruise Operators

Old Nov 7th, 2013, 10:04 AM
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European River Cruise Operators

We are planning a River Cruise Amsterdam to the Black Sea (or vice versa) next Sept/Oct and need any help I can get to select the right Cruise Operator. I have looked at AMA, Avalon, Grand Circle, Viking, Uniworld to name a few - my head is spinning. Our room is very important and we want either a balcony or a terrace. Also which side of the ship is better for viewing the sights from your room? Of course great food and sightseeing is also important. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 10:31 AM
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You can read the reviews on Cruisecritic.com

We have taken one river cruise and that was on the Rhine this past July for one week Basel to Amsterdam. We traveled on Viking on a brand new ship.

We did not have problems with low water levels so we didn't have to endure any bus trip diversions or less than appreciated hotel stays.

We thought the food was fine; we enjoyed the open seating and conversing with many different folks. We've done a lot of ocean cruises and we've been along the Rhine several times but never extensively by boat.

This trip was relaxing for us.

As to which side of the the ship...well, that might change from day to day because those rivers are not all jam packed with sights every few miles.

I have read reviews of other Viking cruises and boats which were troubling. We have friends who have sailed with them twice both in Western Europe and in Russia who have raved about them.

I know the feeling...eventually you have to make a decision and hope for the best.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 10:41 AM
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There is not one good side and one bad side for the whole itinerary. For certain legs it's the one and for other legs the other. At spectacular places (like Iron Gate) it's better to go to the sun deck anyway.
Many legs (Rhine between Amsterdam and Cologne, Main river, Danube between Vienna and Esztergom, Danube between Budapest and Serbia, etc.) aren't particularly scenic.

http://www.rivercruise.com/ is a good address for comparisons of the different offers.

I suppose you know that late September/October mornings along the Rhine river can (but must not) be foggy with temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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rivercruise.com does not have reviews of ships from passengers that I am aware of. It is a division of vacationstogo which is a major cruise discounter
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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There is a Cruise forum right here on this site.

I took a Grand Circle Danube cruise a few years ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself. One drawback, which might be confined to the older sips, is that there are no "real" beds, just ones that drop down from the wall. They are fairly comfortable at night, but it you want to sit in your room during the day there isn't really enough room on the bed-turned-into-a-sofa. The lounge, though, had great chairs.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 12:25 PM
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We have always had a real bed, queen or king sized, on all four of the river cruises we've taken.
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Old Nov 7th, 2013, 08:27 PM
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We have taken several river cruises on Uniworld and we loved them. We always have had a King sized bed also.
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Old Nov 8th, 2013, 12:49 AM
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Viking is spending a fortune on TV advertising in the UK, so I assume you pay extra for those ads. I would look at Saga in the uk
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 09:37 AM
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HappyTrvlr - which cruise lines did you use?
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 10:44 AM
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At the time we cruised - Danube - Grand Circle was significanlty less money - for $2000 I can sleep in a converted twin for 2 nights. I don't doubt the other lines possibly have better food as well. One afternoon our ship was docked next to, I think, a Uniworld and we had to walk across their deck to get back onboard. The folks were enjoying a lovely tea! The one thing I did wish we would have had was bicyles on board to use when docked. But again for the price differential we were fine with Grand Cirlce and have done another river cruise with them. I do think there may be some reviews on CC. I think GC is the low end, then Viking then upscale some more to the others. Lately I have seen a new entry - Emerald Waterways - that seems lower priced maybe because they are new.
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 10:47 AM
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We recently returned from a Danube River cruise with AMA and could not have been more pleased. Food was great, staff outstanding, rooms very comfortable (with regular king beds), included shore excursions wonderful, and the choices of shore excursions was quite extensive. I highly recommend AMA to anyone wanting a delightful experience!! We are NOT cruise people, usually preferring independent travel, but this has given us a new perspective. We may even consider another river cruise at some time!!
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Old Jul 17th, 2014, 11:32 AM
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We have been on Viking twice, Russia and Danube, and AMA Waterways once, fhe Mekong which was our favorite river cruise. I would give tne edge to AMAWaterways but Ciking was fine.
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 06:31 PM
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We also were on an AMA Danube cruise in July. It was wonderful. The rooms were clean and a nice size and the bathroom was very up to date with a large shower. This was our first river cruise and especially liked the French balcony and other open balcony. Music every evening either in the lounge or on an excursion. We stayed 3 extra nights in Budapest and hired the guide who was with us on our tour of Budapest on the final day of our cruise. Our cruise manager recommended him and even contacted him for us. address: [email protected] You will not be disappointed in either AMA or this guide.
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