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  #1  
Old March 4th, 2012, 12:12 PM
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Janiekins Janiekins is offline
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Default Which cruise line is more upscale - AMA, Avalon or Viking?

I would like to take my husband on a Danube River cruise next year to celebrate his 60th birthday.

I am leaning toward AMA, Avalon and Viking. Can you please tell me which of thsese cruise lines offers the most upscale amenities and has the nicest boats?

Thanks so much!
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  #2  
Old March 4th, 2012, 01:14 PM
Barrheadlass Barrheadlass is offline
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May I suggest you take a look at Uniworld too?
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  #3  
Old March 4th, 2012, 01:31 PM
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Wendy The Wanderer Wendy The Wanderer is offline
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I was going to suggest Uniworld as well. I've heard Tauck is the most luxurious, with the best amenities, and is the most all-inclusive. I am also getting the feeling that Viking is perhaps the low-end of your list.
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  #4  
Old March 4th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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Maybe Scenic tours ..they are almost all inclusive
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  #5  
Old March 4th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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Thank you for your suggestions so far.

The highlights of my trip would be to see Prague, Vienna and Budapest.

So far AMA Waterways seems to offer the best itinerary. We would stay 3 nights in Prague in a hotel than cruise stopping in Vienna and other destinations and ending in Budapest.

Has anyone travelled with AMA? Do you know of any other cruise lines who offer this itinerary for 2013?

Thank you so much for your help.
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  #6  
Old March 4th, 2012, 01:48 PM
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Tauck seems to have a very interesting itinerary with all of the cities I would like to see including Prague, Vienna and Budapest but it is certainly way above my price range.
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  #7  
Old March 4th, 2012, 01:49 PM
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We did AMA in reverse - Budapest to Prague - and it was a great trip. If you want more information, I suggest you visit www.thepriesmans.com - as Mike has an amazing day-by-day picture/blog about his AMA cruise on his website.

Both Prague and Budapest are worth spending the extra time... But - be warned - you cannot see everything in a couple of days, and I am sure you will leave both cities wanting to go back!!!

I believe Avalon does a similar itinerary - with days in both Budapest and Prague.

Have fun planning!!

Fran
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  #8  
Old March 4th, 2012, 01:50 PM
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Default I also suggest you look at Uniworld

They were just voted the #1 and #3 out of all cruise ships (Not just river), in the world. They are truly unique ships and staterooms, nothing cookie cutter.
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  #9  
Old March 4th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by days@sea View Post
They were just voted the #1 and #3 out of all cruise ships (Not just river), in the world. They are truly unique ships and staterooms, nothing cookie cutter.
Do you mind sharing where you found that information? I thought I saw a similar list somewhere and I'd like to see which ships were highly ranked. From our experience each cruiseline has their "star" ships and those that do not rank highly at all with reviewers. That can make all the difference in the world when cruising with a specific line.
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Past Cruises:
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
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  #10  
Old March 4th, 2012, 03:46 PM
Keystonetraveler Keystonetraveler is offline
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Janiekins,

I think you have actually asked a question that is very difficult to answer. I have travelled on Avalon, Uniworld, AMAwaterways, and Viking and seen much of what there is to offer along the rivers of Europe. River cruising is growing in popularity and all these lines are continually adding new ships. Each new ship seems to be nicer than the last one and have more amenities. (This also comes with higher cruise fares.) So, each line seems to have a range of ships that vary a good bit. All of the ships, however, are nice.

I have found that it is actually quite hard to know in advance how things will go. The cruise manager on a ship can make a big difference, and you do not who this is going to be. Chefs also vary. For example, on one Uniworld cruise I had the most beautifully presented food I have ever had. It was bland. On another Uniworld cruise in France, the ship was not quite as nice, but the food was the best I have ever had. And the chef wasn't even French! Your fellow travelers also can make a big differenece. Sometimes you meet a group of people more to your liking than you meet on other trips.

Personally, I focus on what I want to see and when I want to travel. Then, I pick the line, looking at what is available and the price. In the final anaysis, what I really remember the most is what I have seen. One thing I have not done, but which I might suggest, is to look into the hotels if they are included before or after the cruise. They can vary as to quality and location. For example, I once spent a few days in Prague (great city) before a Viking cruise. The hotel was not in the best location for just walking around. On the other hand, I stayed in Budapest (another great city) after an Avalon cruise, and the hotel was not quite as nice but it was in an excellent location.
For me, the much better location trumped the slightly nicer hotel.

One final comment. I am fortunate in that I have always had flexibility as to when I can travel. There are often some river cruise deals with great prices. I try to take advantage of them when I can if they go somewhere I would like to go. By saving money, I can afford to travel more often and see more of the world.
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  #11  
Old March 4th, 2012, 03:59 PM
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Tauck, Uniworld and Scenic Tours include more amenities than the others and are usually considered to be a cut above. AMA is would be next followed by Avalon then Viking IMHO.
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  #12  
Old March 4th, 2012, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sippican View Post
Do you mind sharing where you found that information? I thought I saw a similar list somewhere and I'd like to see which ships were highly ranked. From our experience each cruiseline has their "star" ships and those that do not rank highly at all with reviewers. That can make all the difference in the world when cruising with a specific line.

Hi Sippican,

I should have also been more specific, they were award by Conde Nast Traveler. Which, like all ratings, should be taken with a grain of salt. But they have consistently been on the list and this year ranked very high, with lots of top spots. Their website has links to it:
http://www.uniworld.com/why-uniworld/company-awards

Also, being a foodie, I know that Uniworld is the only river cruise line that is Zagat rated.

Am looking forward to my first cruise on them in 4 weeks. Will let you know how it is.
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  #13  
Old March 4th, 2012, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by days@sea View Post
Hi Sippican,

I should have also been more specific, they were award by Conde Nast Traveler. Which, like all ratings, should be taken with a grain of salt. But they have consistently been on the list and this year ranked very high, with lots of top spots. Their website has links to it:
http://www.uniworld.com/why-uniworld/company-awards

Also, being a foodie, I know that Uniworld is the only river cruise line that is Zagat rated.

Am looking forward to my first cruise on them in 4 weeks. Will let you know how it is.
Thanks, I do think that is where I saw it. I have been impressed with the comments I've read about Uniworld. I usually choose location and itinerary first, then look at the lines that have those itineraries. Being new to river cruising, the choices are a bit overwhelming.
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Past Cruises:
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
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  #14  
Old March 4th, 2012, 08:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by days@sea View Post
They were just voted the #1 and #3 out of all cruise ships (Not just river), in the world.
Maybe because more people take them than other cruise lines does not make them better

I take all polls with a giant box of salt
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  #15  
Old March 4th, 2012, 11:07 PM
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We've only done Ama Budapest to Prague and had no complaints.
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  #16  
Old March 5th, 2012, 08:38 AM
alexandra cruiser alexandra cruiser is offline
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Thumbs up I had similar question re same itinerary,and chose AMA

after much searching,,,have been on Avalon,Uniworld,Viking,Gate 1..and really didnt see much difference in quality,,just boats and each country.Food and service was good,,not GREAT..cabins fine and very similar.So I wanted to try AMA and one of the new boats with more restaurants and 2 balconies,,,asked on Regent board(Luxury line I like) and a few mentioned AMA as being similar to it...so booked May 27 Prague to BUdapest on the new AMAcerto.Hope it lives up to my expectations.Will post review when I return.

Know Tauck,Scenic,,etc. get good reviews but DIDNT want all inclusive,,tours,etc...since we go on our own much of the time and didnt want to pay for extras we wont use.But,,many to chose from,,,good luck.
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  #17  
Old March 5th, 2012, 11:11 AM
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No doubt about it - TAUCK! Tauck is 5-star all the way, be it land touring or river cruising!

Last edited by nyfeds; March 5th, 2012 at 11:12 AM.
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  #18  
Old March 6th, 2012, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by alexandra cruiser View Post
.so booked May 27 Prague to BUdapest on the new AMAcerto.Hope it lives up to my expectations.Will post review when I return.

Know Tauck,Scenic,,etc. get good reviews but DIDNT want all inclusive,,tours,etc...since we go on our own much of the time and didnt want to pay for extras we wont use.But,,many to chose from,,,good luck.
We also do not pay for all inclusive as we are independent travelers and the inclusions from Tauck would be a waste of money.

We are also on the AmaCerto BUD to PRG for the markets this winter. Having cruised several times with Avalon and last November with AMA, we were thrilled with our AMA experience. Overall, the attention to detail and overall quality was excellent and for us, the devil is in the details.
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  #19  
Old March 6th, 2012, 09:26 AM
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Wendy The Wanderer Wendy The Wanderer is offline
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Caviar and Alexandra, I'm confused about Tauck being all-inclusive. Don't all the lines provide excursions while on the ship? Are you talking about the pre- and post-cruise extensions, or what?
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  #20  
Old March 6th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Don't all the lines provide excursions while on the ship? Are you talking about the pre- and post-cruise extensions, or what?
I too am confused
When i researched the different lines they included tours
Some lines charge extra for optional tours that a couple of lines included at no charge

I know there was a line that catered to the European market that does not include tours at all but not many here are comparing those

Lyn
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