River cruise concerns

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  #1  
Old 01-17-2015, 05:49 PM
salferg salferg is offline
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Default River cruise concerns

We are interested in taking a river cruise but have two concerns. One is that we really enjoy the evening entertainment aboard cruise ships and the second is the amount of walking we would have to do. We dont get around as well as we used to:] Do they have any kind of bus tours available in the cities you visit? Any thoughts on these subjects would be very much appreciated.
  #2  
Old 01-17-2015, 06:18 PM
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Madelaine Amee Madelaine Amee is offline
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Originally Posted by salferg View Post
We are interested in taking a river cruise but have two concerns. One is that we really enjoy the evening entertainment aboard cruise ships and the second is the amount of walking we would have to do. We dont get around as well as we used to:] Do they have any kind of bus tours available in the cities you visit? Any thoughts on these subjects would be very much appreciated.
We do River Cruises, they are nothing like an ocean cruise or cruise ship. Much smaller, usually no more than 124 passengers, no resident entertainment, the entertainment usually comes on board in the evening where you are stopped. There was dancing on one of our river cruises, but only because they asked a local band to come on board to entertain.

The excursions are very different from ocean cruises. You actually moor right in the center of the town or village for the day. You can get off and walk around, or we had the choice of taking a bus to something of interest, usually a castle or spectacular town where you walked around and were bused back to the ship. If I remember correctly, there were two types of excursions, one for people who had no walking problems, and one for people who had mobility problems.

I would suggest you get in touch with your travel agent and they will be able to answer all your questions for you. Also, this information should be printed in your River Boat catalog.

I have to add that we find the food to be spectacular. Most of it comes on board fresh every day.
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Old 01-17-2015, 06:40 PM
784caroline 784caroline is offline
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We are also trying a river cruise for the first time.....and we are experienced ocean cruisers. WE organized a river/land cruise group on AMA Waterways starting in Paris (3 nights), travelling through central Germany and ending in Prague (2 nights) for Early October. Its 14 nights but only 7 are on water. We chose this particular cruise because we did not know what to expect (ie would we be bored in the evenings) and it gives us a chance to see two key capital citices of Europe Paris and Prague.. River cruising is not cheap and we selected a cruise that is NOT a value river cruise..ie we did NOT select this based on price (although we got a good price number of incentives...its not the cheapest in town) We do expect better wines to be served with dinner along with better amenities such as bikes being offered at no cost at most ports of call. The cabin does not look like a college dorm room with sparce furnishings and 2 beds against separate walls but more like a upper class hotel room. AMA offers 3 levels of walking tours from the slow to aggressive and also offers in most locations, like the previous poster stated, a bus tour to some particular location.

We have 2 cabins still available for our cruise in October ...if interested drop me a PM. BTW the group is formed only to secure group pricing. The TA will assist in securing flight arrangemetns, and answering all questions, and once you arrive you will be under the control of an AMA representative.
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Old 01-17-2015, 07:44 PM
Carla B Carla B is offline
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We went on a Tauck River Cruise up the Rhine and Mosel Rivers from Amsterdam to Basel. We did that because the couple we were traveling with liked what Tauck offered. We booked the least expensive cabin and it was as large and luxurious as those on pricier levels, the only differences: our cabin just had a large window, not a sliding glass door, and you had to walk down to the room, not take the elevator. They even had wonderful Hungarian goose down pillows on a king-sized bed.

There were 114 passengers on our boat with four tour directors. Buses took us into villages and towns if the boat couldn't dock in the center of town. There was a provision to return to the boat by bus in the afternoon for those who didn't want to stay in town. None of the excursions were overly taxing and all the towns were varied and distinctive.

On several evenings local entertainers came on board. The food and wine were wonderful. And although the ticket price was initially a shock, everything was included. No gratuities owed to anyone, from maids to tour directors. Tauck even paid for us to use the restrooms in town (normally half a Euro). In Luxembourg City they gave each of us 20 Euros to spend on lunch at a place of our choosing. They also gave us a surprise elegant champagne reception (Moet et Chandon) at the Baden-Baden Casino with fabulous appetizers. In short, they treated everyone like royalty. During the day when we were moving, the tour directors educated us about the towns and region we were passing through.

After this experience, my bias is toward river cruising vs. ocean cruising. And I prefer river cruise tours (relaxing) vs. land tours (tiring). It's just a shame that some of the countries we want to see don't have navigable rivers for riverboats.

And although Tauck is wonderful, I imagine most any Euro river cruise line will offer a superior experience.

Last edited by Carla B; 01-25-2015 at 11:18 AM.
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Old 01-20-2015, 12:56 PM
NJblue NJblue is offline
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If evening entertainment is a significant issue, river cruises may not be for you. Yes, they quite often have local groups or individuals come on board for an hour or so and our boat with GCT had an onboard musician to provide entertainment, it is nothing like what you get on a large cruise ship.

River cruising is a totally different experience. They give you the ability to see the interior parts of Europe that you will never see on a large cruise ship and yet provide the ease of unpacking once and let your "hotel" do the moving from city to city. Having a team of dedicated cruise directors traveling with you and either providing or coordinating local tours gives you much better insight to the countries than you will typically get on a large cruise ship. These cruise directors are also like concierges at fancy hotels, helping you with any special activity that you may want to do before, during or after your cruise.

Since the number of passengers is significantly less than a large cruise ship, the ability to form friendships for the duration of the cruise or the rest of your life is much better.
  #6  
Old 01-20-2015, 02:11 PM
luvmagic2 luvmagic2 is offline
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All previous comments are valid.....I've been on AMA from Paris to Normandy and it was wonderful. The excursions, all included and broken down into categories based upon physical abilities, were great. Never felt pressured for time. Nightly entertainment, as stated earlier, is local entertainment at different stops.
Been on many big and small cruises...and as a matter of preference...I would go for a balcony...nothing like feelingthe air as the boat is moving. Food was always exquisite from the taste to the presentation. Service couldn't be beat.
Am going on a longer one this summer....from Budapest through Austria, Germany and finishing in Amsterdam...taking a few weeks.
Not inexpensive but riverboats are a wonderful way to travel.
If you want any more personal insight just PM me
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:18 PM
kansasr kansasr is offline
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Default I prefer river cruises to ocean cruises

We have done 2 river cruises now, one on AMA Waterways and one on Viking River Cruises. I'd highly recommend both.

I like the fact that with river cruises the ships are small (usually less than 150 people) and much more intimate. They are able to pull up to a dock in smaller cities where you have the option of getting off and exploring the city yourself, taking an excursion (sometimes local by bus, sometimes a walking tour of the city) or even using the bicycles on board to explore the countryside.

These are smaller ships, so at best you'll have an onboard piano player or maybe a singer in the lounge for the duration of the cruise. But since they make several stops, they are always bringing in local entertainment or even local artisans to do demonstrations on the ship.

Food was always spectacular with wine usually included and in Germany they prided themselves on bringing in different local regional wines for dinner.

Be sure to check the details of your cruise line, but unlike ocean cruises where you're nickled and dimed to death, most everything is included on river cruises (at least the ones I've done.) It makes for a pleasant change and you can then tip for really exceptional service when someone goes above and beyond the call of duty!
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Old 01-20-2015, 04:13 PM
geri317 geri317 is offline
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We have taken three river cruises with Grand Circle and loved all of them.
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Old 01-24-2015, 05:47 PM
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Thanks! We are looking for a good river cruise recommendation. Had to be someone other than Viking!
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:46 PM
swrinfla swrinfla is offline
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Originally Posted by salferg View Post
We are interested in taking a river cruise but have two concerns. One is that we really enjoy the evening entertainment aboard cruise ships and the second is the amount of walking we would have to do. We dont get around as well as we used to:] Do they have any kind of bus tours available in the cities you visit? Any thoughts on these subjects would be very much appreciated.
All the previous posts are certainly valid. However, most don't address your issue of walking. Please note that many European River cruises somehow assume that all passengers are walkers! Non-walking Americans may very well find distances and difficulty-levels under-stated. That said, be aware that the 90-year-old couple on our Viking River Cruise in Aug. '11, took every excursion and put many younger guests to shame!

My bottomline advice about shore activities is to 1] seriously assess your own capabailities, and 2] make sure that those match your payment capabilities! :-)

SWR
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  #11  
Old 02-01-2015, 07:59 AM
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Thanks! We are looking for a good river cruise recommendation. Had to be someone other than Viking!
We river boat cruise with Uniworld, but only because we started with them through AAA. We liked them and stayed with them. But, I have to believe that all the river boat cruises are very comparable because you never see any complaints about a river cruise.

I would point out another thing about cruising on the rivers in Europe. When you pull into a town and dock you never see the poverty that is prevalent in the Islands on the ocean cruises. You are never surrounded by people trying to sell you something or pester you to use their transportation. In our case, we just walked off the boat and walked into the town, or took an organized excursion bus. It really is a totally different way to travel. This year we are doing the Portugese Douro River Cruise which is new on their itinerary.
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Old 02-02-2015, 08:22 AM
TonyC TonyC is offline
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I too can recommend Grand Circle. I have taken one River Cruise with them last June on the Rhine and Mosel and am booked with my wife on the Great Rivers of Europe river cruise this June.

It is a completely different experience than an ocean cruise. I have put some photos from the cruise I took into a short 15 minute video on You Tube at [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzThUO9x1fI"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzThUO9x1fI[/ame]

Please PM me if you would like more feedback.

Tony
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:07 AM
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Default Weare considering a river cruise

My husband wants a river cruise but I want a land tour. I want to see Rome, and other Italian areas but they don't seem to have those cities. I can see where the lack of entertainment in the evenings might be a problem.
Do you know if they can accommodate special dietary restrictions?I suggested mixing two types together. One after the other.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:08 AM
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Default Weare considering a river cruise

My husband wants a river cruise but I want a land tour. I want to see Rome, and other Italian areas but they don't seem to have those cities. I can see where the lack of entertainment in the evenings might be a problem.
Do you know if they can accommodate special dietary restrictions? I suggested mixing two types together. One after the other.
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Old 02-02-2015, 12:27 PM
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Madelaine Amee Madelaine Amee is offline
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Originally Posted by SALYBOW View Post
My husband wants a river cruise but I want a land tour. I want to see Rome, and other Italian areas but they don't seem to have those cities. I can see where the lack of entertainment in the evenings might be a problem.
Do you know if they can accommodate special dietary restrictions? I suggested mixing two types together. One after the other.
Salybow - if this link Splendors of Northern Italy, Venice, Florence & Rome Overview | Uniworld Boutique River Cruises opens for you it should show a Uniworld River Cruise from Venice to Rome. Now how you get from Venice, which is an island to Rome which is inland, I have no idea. This is the first time I have seen this river cruise and I like it ........... might have to do this one next year!

I am sure the other River Boat companies are doing this same cruise. Ask your travel agent for details.
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