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When I was researching this company, I could not find much info, so I will try to give details. The company is Luftner, an Austrian company. In Canada, they advertise in the Globe and Mail, and in the States, the cruises are available through another tour company. We booked the trip when they had a good sale on-- I believe it was cheaper than most other lines.
So, overall, it was great. Our room was really comfortalbe (we opted for the French Balcony), the food was excellent, we were lucky to have amazing weather in September, the included tours were very good quality.
I will mention a few quibbles, since different things are important to different people. First of all, I should mention that there were only 14 English speaking people on this cruise. It so happened that there were no Americans, six Canadians, two from South Africa, about four from New Zealand and I think two from Australia. I don't know how typical this is, but, as I said, I know the line is marketed to Americans also. It was actually an advantage having a small group, as we had our own guide and could move more easily as a group when on tours. At dinner, the six Canadians were placed at one table, which was fine, but we all agreed that it would have been nice to talk to other people too, and we were not to change tables! Announcements on board were in 3 languages.
Internet on the ship was very poor. There was a charge of 3 euros per hour, and you had to use it in one session. However, very often, we could not connect thorugh wifi. There were also 2 computers available, but they were not working. We were surprised by how difficult it was to find internet service when on land: the best bet was coffee shops offering free wifi with purchase. Still, don't plan on doing much Skyping!
Communication could have been a bit better. On the day we were to leave from Basel, we went to the docking site, and there was no boat! Another couple was watching the dock from their room, and they were not coming over because there was no boat! We wandered through a park and finally found a woman who let us know that the ship could not come through the locks, because of high water, and we were to be bussed to the first stop. A very big sign (there was NONE) would have helped! Also, the itinerary of our cruise was different than the one advertised, because we chose to go when we could take in the Rhine fireworks. However, people were not told this when they were booking, and it was rather disconcerting to most of us.
The fireworks, by the way, were amazing.
The excursions were sold in packages, or individually. However, at least for the Canadians, a group of about 6 excursions were included, and that was really enough. And they were good quality exursions. My only disapopintment was that the optional excursion to Alsace and the wine country was cancelled, due to not enough people. We were not allowed to book from home, and the excursion was to be on the first full day, so it may have been that people just didn't have time to organize themselves to sign up.
As mentioned, the food was great. There were always three choices (meat, fish, or vegetarian) at lunch and dinner. Presentation was lovely. Wine was included at dinner, and your glass was always full. Beer was not included, and so one of our group had to buy his beer at every dinner. Some lines include beer and wine at lunch; I decided it was probably a good thing that we were drinking midday!
As compared to large cruises, going on shore was very easy and you could always walk into town. Almost everyone did return to the boat for lunch, and often the itnerary was planned for there to be an excursion in the morning, lunch on board, and an excursion in the afternoon. Of course, you could choose to do your own thing. Overall, it had a more relaxing feeling than being on a large cruise.
A musical duo played every night, and we enjoyed some dancing.
By the way, I emailed Luftner with a number of questions ahead of time, and they were very helpful.
I will also mention that we spent much less money than we thought we would! You could, of course, buy drinks at any time, but we really didn't often have the time and/or inclination, especially after a dinner of flowing wine!
Overall, we felt it was good value for the money. If free booze at lunch, and free WIFI are important to you, you might look at another line.
As with all of the lines, make sure you understand that a French balcony is not a balcony, but a very large window that you can open. We did enjoy having it.
Thank you for your post. As you said info on the Leuftner cruises is hard to find.
I found your information very helpful. I was wondering if there was adequate storage space for clothes. I will be on the Amadeus Elegant in October. It is a 14 day cruise.
I did email Leuftner as you suggested and I got a response within 24 hours answering my questions.
Once again thanks for your help.
by the way, regarding the two dressier nights: things were very casual. OUt of 140 people, I saw about 8 sports jackets or suits. Lots of people did not dress any differently than other nights. I wore black pants with two dressier tops.
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