COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Land tour o fGermany, Switzerland, Austria VS. river boat trip

Land tour o fGermany, Switzerland, Austria VS. river boat trip

Old Aug 18th, 2014, 06:44 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 35
Land tour o fGermany, Switzerland, Austria VS. river boat trip

My husband and I want to take a trip next fall to Europe. We have seen some countries, but are interested in Germany, Austria, and maybe Switzerland. I have been looking at tour companies as I am tired of all the planning. A friend mentioned a river Cruise to see the area. Has anyone done this or taken a tour by land? The boat looks really pricey, but there is the advantage of not moving around and getting all the meals on board. They apparently have a guide to go to certain places along the way. If anyone has done either land or river, would you let me know the company name and what you liked and disliked? We are 70 and 73, but in good physical shape for walking. One River boat company is running a special now if we book by the end of the month, so would like some input soon. Are there any hidden fees I should know about?
landfree1 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 06:51 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Why not give links to both the river and land tours you're look at an people can give comments. Even if someone has not taken these tours there are some travel savvy people here who can look over the itineraries and advise.

I've not taken a river cruise but the drawback to me is not enough time on land. I like to wander around, especially after dinner and look at the towns in a different perspective.

Hidden fees? No. There is full disclosure otherwise it would be false advertising. But you do have to read the tour information and not just look at one page.

Any specific questions should be directed to the tour company as they are the most knowledgeable about their product.
adrienne is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 07:36 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,160
I looked into river cruises but was put off by the same thing Adrienne didn't like: too short a time at each stop. They only stayed one day in each city, really part of a day, which is not nearly enough for the larger places.

We do our own planning (well, I do it) and pick up walking tours at our destinations. But I loooove doing the research, finding the nice places to stay.
Mimar is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 07:57 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
Another drawback, although you probably won't encounter this in the fall, is if the river water is too high the boats can't run and you'll be taken by bus.
adrienne is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 08:20 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 133
I took a river cruise through Germany and Austria and was skeptical for the reasons discussed - not enough time in each place, possibility of needing busses. I went in May. It was lovely. I would say most passengers were in your age group. The only large city we stopped in was Vienna and the boat was docked there overnight so we had 2 full days there. The smaller towns I found I had enough time to explore. I really enjoyed not having to pack/unpack, all meals on board if you wished, and travelling in between destinations was very relaxing - a slow pace passing beautiful scenery. There are advantages to both methods, but I thought I'd share my river cruise experience.
kalnalcl is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 10:17 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 35
Thanks for your responses so far. I was concerned about the River Cruising for the reasons mentioned. I have always done ALL the planning for our trips, even our adventures in Italy a couple years ago. We have traveled extensively out West to the majority of National Parks. We have thoroughly enjoyed our trips, but I think I am ready to let someone else do the planning this time. I did see a tour offered by Go Ahead Tours of the regions we are interested in seeing. The reviews were good.Has anyone actually booked a tour with them or another land tour? Their web is:www.goaheadtours.com/europe
landfree1 is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 10:22 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 562
My husband and I have not done a river cruise but we have several friends who have and they loved the experience. It can give you a taste of the places you visit and you may decide to return to some of them for longer stays. Do make sure how much of the sightseeing is covered as sometimes there are extra costs for some land tours. Also, it you are on land during the day, you may not want to return to the boat for lunch and that will be an added expense. You may also have the cost of admission to sights you want to visit that are not included.
You could also consider something like a Monograms tour, for which the hotels and travel from place to place are booked for you but you have the freedom to do whatever you want once you are in a particular place. http://monograms.com/
Enjoy your travels!
drchris is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 10:50 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,969
I get river cruise brochures all the time. I can't remember a time where they were not running "limited time specials" that seem to go on and on until the departure date

I think what you see are somewhat a self-fulfilling recommendations. Those who have done it like it, and those who haven't or were hit one of those high/low water foul ups don't like them. If you read numerous Cruisecritic posting on river cruises, each companies deal with foul ups in different ways. The low end companies seem to pretend cheap bus tours at remote budget hotels to be acceptable substitutes when the river turn not navigable while high end companies would outright cancel them.

I run into river cruise people all the time whenever I visit attractions along Danube or Rhine. The age group of the people I see wearing "so and so Rivercruise" name tags are about your age.

Getting all the meals on board is a mixed bag. If your trip goal does not include having local specialties at local restaurants, then it would be an advantage. Do read fine prints about meals. Unlike ocean cruises where meals are inclusive while shore excursions are not, the river cruises are the opposite. They seem to provide inclusive shore excursions while providing only a part of lunches and dinners, of course, depending on companies.
greg is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 12:23 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,821
I suppose you know the average age of river cruise passengers.
neckervd is offline  
Old Aug 18th, 2014, 12:44 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,508
My friends took a Uniworld river cruise about a month ago. They enjoyed it very much -- their route included the Rhine, then the Main, and from Nuremberg a bus trip to Prague. They enjoyed it all, especially staying on the river boat (they said the food was very good). Prague they found too crowded.

We're thinking of doing a European river cruise some day. We're holding out for the right operator to do the newly opened special route from Ascona to Venice on a small canal boat. http://stresasights.blogspot.ch/2009...-one-boat.html
WeisserTee is online now  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 07:51 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,160
WeisserTee, that boat tour from Ascona to Venice sounds great. Do you have a link to the tour operator?
Mimar is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 08:07 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,508
No, I can't find one at the moment. I'm waiting to see if one turns up. My understanding is that the only ones who've done this route (beyond the inaugural tour I linked to above) are people with their own boats or who've charted a boat specifically for the trip.
WeisserTee is online now  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 09:17 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,429
I have no experience with GoAhead tours but also check out some of the other big ones, Trafalgar, Globus and Insight.
MarthaT is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 10:46 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 203
We did an Avalon Waterways cruise last summer, right after the huge Danube floods. It was our first cruise and we loved it. We started with 3 days in Prague then were bussed to Nuremburg to begin the tour. We ended in Budaoest where we had 2 nights on the ship. We spent an extra night in Budaoest. We met some wonderful people and saw lovely sites. Wine and beer is free with dinner. We stayed in a lower level "aquarium" room and were very pleased.

We enjoyed it so much we are booked on another Avalon cruise next July.

Check out the River Cruising section on Cruise critic.
cobbie2 is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 11:37 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,821
ASCONA - VENEZIA BY RUBBER BOAT:
May be you have a look at http://www.tcs.ch/it/viaggi-camping/...na-venedig.php
http://www.asconavenezia.org/fileadm..._Touring_I.pdf
neckervd is offline  
Old Aug 19th, 2014, 12:31 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 3,508
Neckervd, thank you but no. We've been on rubber boats and that is not the "cruise" experience we want. And before you get the idea that we're too wimpy for a rubber boat, we've done plenty of canoe trips.
WeisserTee is online now  
Old Aug 20th, 2014, 07:13 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,821
You are free to do whatever you like and I would never criticize that.
I just couldn't believe that it could be possible to go by "normal" boat from Sesto Calende to Cremona without running into serious problems and did therefore some research.
neckervd is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2014, 07:41 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 35
Am thinking of doing the Globus Alpine Countries Tour next August or Sept. Has anyone done this Globus tour? We will be gone 15 days and see some of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I think this time around, I am ready for a tour rather than try to get around on our own. There are several excursions we can see on our own: Linderhof Castle in Munich: Heurigen dinner in Vienna; Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore; Temmelbach Waterfalls in Interlaken; Gornegrat in Zermatt; Mt.Pilatos in Lucerne.If anyone has done this trip to these countries, how was the weather? August better than Sept? Thanks for all the advice so far!
landfree1 is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
ddschur
Cruises
11
Nov 8th, 2013 01:02 PM
ozwald
Europe
5
Feb 22nd, 2012 08:56 AM
fosterag
Cruises
17
Feb 18th, 2012 10:41 AM
pauljagman
Europe
12
Aug 9th, 2009 06:53 AM
oremstango
Europe
6
Sep 22nd, 2006 03:32 PM

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 - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO