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  #1  
Old October 23rd, 2012, 04:19 PM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Default Has anyone tried A-Rosa?

We're checking out A-ROSA, a German-oriented river cruise line, in late November because the company is interested in expanding to the English speaking market. I'd love to hear from you if you have tried the line (I've admired its newest vessels from afar, they're just gorgeous), what you liked, etc.

What we know from afar:

*There will be three ships oriented to the American market beginning next year (date TBD).

*A-ROSA already does host some English speaking cruises through the British line Swan Hellenic (which also markets to North Americans).

*It aims to be more inclusive than any other line -- offering open bar all day, not just at mealtime, plus flights tips, transfers.

*And this is most welcome news: Shore excursions, which are included in cruise fares, will include the usual but also more active opportunities, such as hikes, kayaking, quad exploring, and horseback riding, as well as food, wine, history, the arts, etc.

Any questions you have please post below and I'll be happy to try to answer them when I return in late November. Thanks!

Carolyn

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Old October 23rd, 2012, 04:36 PM
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Their ships looked very nice, saw a couple of them on my recent AMS to BUD cruise. I was impressed. Seems like more and more lines are going fully inclusive. While I think this concept appeals to the Australian market, I am not so sure that it is as appealing to the North American market.
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 05:38 PM
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We were wowed by the ARosa docked next to us last year. Gorgeous decor, swimming pool, multistory spiral staircase and chandelier.

Love the idea of a more active focus - river cruising needs to market to a younger audience.

I will be looking forward to your report!
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Old October 23rd, 2012, 07:17 PM
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We saw a couple in Budapest at the start of our Avalon cruise, they looked very impressive..we were berthed beside one in Amsterdam, what we did notice was the cabins looked alot smaller and more crowded than ours, this ship carried well over 200 passengers, compared to 168 that we had, so space for the extra cabin space had to come from somewhere.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 02:37 AM
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Carolyn,

I haven´t cruised with A-Rosa yet but DH has. The main difference to other river cruise lines is that all meals are buffet style. A-Rosa tried to tend to a more younger crowd and therefore there are much more activity excursions. They also do have bikes onboard. Also very nice is that most of the cabins are available for triple occupation.

From your post I suppose that those special cruises are for English speaking guests only as there´s no open bar or any included drink for the regular cruises on the German market. Neither are the shore excursions included.

The Danube ships are very nice. The Rhine ships... not a perfect layout. The decor is much more colorful and "younger" than on other river cruise ships.

steamboats
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  #6  
Old October 24th, 2012, 03:35 AM
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Quote:
A-Rosa tried to tend to a more younger crowd and therefore there are much more activity excursions. They also do have bikes onboard. Also very nice is that most of the cabins are available for triple occupation.
I saw a documentary about an A-Rosa foodie cruise on the Rhone / Saone. More or less they had the same age structure as everyone else
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  #7  
Old October 24th, 2012, 11:12 AM
editor@cruisecritic editor@cruisecritic is online now
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Interesting point, Steamboats, about the buffet. Germans love the buffet (in fact, just finished writing a new review of Hapag-Lloyd's Europa, where the buffet in the elegant main restaurant, at least to this American, seemed odd, but certainly part of the culture). In a letter from the firm that's going to market A-ROSA to Americans, David Morris notes that "another area that is perfectly suited to the North American traveler was the outstanding level of quality in their cuisine," but he didn't say anything about the buffet tradition. Now mind you, all river lines lean heavily on buffets (though not exclusively) so this will be interesting to see and I'll report back.

Carolyn


Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboats View Post
Carolyn,

I haven´t cruised with A-Rosa yet but DH has. The main difference to other river cruise lines is that all meals are buffet style. A-Rosa tried to tend to a more younger crowd and therefore there are much more activity excursions. They also do have bikes onboard. Also very nice is that most of the cabins are available for triple occupation.

From your post I suppose that those special cruises are for English speaking guests only as there´s no open bar or any included drink for the regular cruises on the German market. Neither are the shore excursions included.

The Danube ships are very nice. The Rhine ships... not a perfect layout. The decor is much more colorful and "younger" than on other river cruise ships.

steamboats
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  #8  
Old October 24th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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Interesting comments about their boats looking gorgeous. We docked next to one three times on the Rhone and I was less than impressed. We were on Uniworld's River Royale which had just been refurbed and the difference showed.
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  #9  
Old October 24th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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Caroyln,

Actually I don´t like buffets for dinner. It´s o.k. for me for breakfast and lunch. But for dinner I do prefer being waited. That´s why I´m not a big fan of AIDA (and A-Rosa tried to implent the AIDA club concept to river cruise ships, A-Rosa once operated the A-Rosa Blu which was sold to AIDA to become the first AIDA blu - the current AIDAblu is the second ship bearing this name).

DH has been on the A-Rosa Luna in France (on one of the gourmet cruises, Ingo). And he´s been on the A-Rosa Silva for the christening. You can find some photos here.

On the Columbus 2 they only had a small buffet section for breakfast and lunch (but also a small menu) in the main restaurant (Albert Ballin). So for lunch you had salad (o.k., not really very much choice) and dessert on the buffet. The buffet restaurant (Lido) had a wider variety of food with two appetizers, soups and three or four entrees (but as for the salad... green leaves, some tomatoes, maybe corn and pickels). The quality was much better than on mass market ships but all in all the buffet was way to small for the crowds.

All other river cruise lines on the German market do have buffet for breakfast and partially for lunch (meaning there´s a menu and the buffet is mainly for salads). Dinner is usually off the menu and no buffet.

steamboats

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  #10  
Old October 24th, 2012, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newlondon View Post
Interesting comments about their boats looking gorgeous. We docked next to one three times on the Rhone and I was less than impressed. We were on Uniworld's River Royale which had just been refurbed and the difference showed.
They have new builds that are impressive IMO. Not sure what generation you were docked with but the ones we cruised with were very nice indeed.

That being said, I dislike buffet dining in general and would not cruise with a line who only offered that option for dinner. Nor would I choose a line that has 200 passengers on a boat that other lines use for 150.
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  #11  
Old October 24th, 2012, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
They have new builds that are impressive IMO. Not sure what generation you were docked with but the ones we cruised with were very nice indeed.
This also goes for other river cruise lines as well. It's easy to generalize about a cruise line after briefly seeing one or two ships and drawing the conclusion that all ships in the fleet are the same.

The first Viking ship I walked through was very basic and did not appeal to me at all. Subsequently, when I toured another Viking ship later, I was very impressed and came away with a positive impression.
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Old October 24th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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Good point Oysterdam and caviargal. Just commenting on the one we saw on the Rhone. Actually had never heard of yhem until they showed up alongside.
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  #13  
Old October 24th, 2012, 08:57 PM
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Interesting point. I don't remember seeing A-ROSA anywhere but on the Danube, and those boats, sublime. I have (or rather my husband has) a gorgeous shot of an exterior, outside of Vienna, of three of its new boats tied together and we both got Seabourn (Odyssey-class) flashbacks Loved the exterior spaces. You just don't see a lot that, aside from the new Viking Longships, on river boats.

Carolyn

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Originally Posted by newlondon View Post
Interesting comments about their boats looking gorgeous. We docked next to one three times on the Rhone and I was less than impressed. We were on Uniworld's River Royale which had just been refurbed and the difference showed.

Last edited by editor@cruisecritic; October 24th, 2012 at 08:58 PM.
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  #14  
Old October 24th, 2012, 09:01 PM
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Default Buffet

As an American (and though I hate to generalize I think most of us are pretty much on this page, at least for luxury and river cruising), I'm not a big fan of the buffet. It's okay in the morning, when you're rushing off (as long as you can order something off the menu if you're not in a hurry) and same goes for lunch. But dinner should be the culmination of the day, IMHO. I'm expecting more tweaks than A-ROSA's US reps have mentioned. But will say that when on a short cruise on Scenic, there was one night that was all-buffet at dinner. While I remember really enjoying my dining companions, I thought the effort fell short. Someone was always getting up to get something new and it disrupted the ambience.

Maybe I'm old

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Old October 24th, 2012, 09:04 PM
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Oysterdam, in a nutshell, you capture the conundrum that river lines are facing now, just as other cruise ops did (big ship, luxury) have been experiencing. A cruise on Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas is different than on Allure of the Seas. Same goes for Seabourn Legend via an Odyssey-class ship.

River lines that operate their own ships in Europe have the extra challenge of sizing boats to fit restrictions, so while you might find the most state-of-the-art vessels on the Rhine, you won't get 'em on the Moselle.

They are going to have to learn to market differently. That's my take, anyway. Happy to hear dissent

Carolyn

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Originally Posted by oysterdam View Post
This also goes for other river cruise lines as well. It's easy to generalize about a cruise line after briefly seeing one or two ships and drawing the conclusion that all ships in the fleet are the same.

The first Viking ship I walked through was very basic and did not appeal to me at all. Subsequently, when I toured another Viking ship later, I was very impressed and came away with a positive impression.
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Old October 25th, 2012, 02:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
As an American (and though I hate to generalize I think most of us are pretty much on this page, at least for luxury and river cruising), I'm not a big fan of the buffet. It's okay in the morning, when you're rushing off (as long as you can order something off the menu if you're not in a hurry) and same goes for lunch. But dinner should be the culmination of the day, IMHO. I'm expecting more tweaks than A-ROSA's US reps have mentioned. But will say that when on a short cruise on Scenic, there was one night that was all-buffet at dinner. While I remember really enjoying my dining companions, I thought the effort fell short. Someone was always getting up to get something new and it disrupted the ambience.

Maybe I'm old

Carolyn

Totally agree with you, Carolyn . I must be getting old too (I´m just a few years younger than you) but I prefered set dinners when I was in my 20ies either .

Which ship are you going on and which itinerary? The newer Rhine ships have an odd layout with the lounge being midships. The latest one, the A-Rosa Silva, has a different layout and is similar to the Rhone/Saone ships - split level and lounge back to the front of the ship. Also the A-Rosa Silva is able to go through the Canal and operate on the whole river system. The Danue ships are too wide to go through the Canal locks. Same with the Rhine ships.

It´ll be definitely interesting to hear what A-Rosa will change for those cruises.

steamboats
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Old October 25th, 2012, 12:35 PM
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I saw two A-Rosa ships when I was on the Rhine earlier this year on Avalon. They looked nice from the outside. I tried to talk to some passengers but they spoke German, which I don't.
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Old October 26th, 2012, 11:07 AM
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Hi, don't know which ship -- will ask.

Laughing re dinner....

Carolyn

Quote:
Originally Posted by steamboats View Post
Totally agree with you, Carolyn . I must be getting old too (I´m just a few years younger than you) but I prefered set dinners when I was in my 20ies either .

Which ship are you going on and which itinerary? The newer Rhine ships have an odd layout with the lounge being midships. The latest one, the A-Rosa Silva, has a different layout and is similar to the Rhone/Saone ships - split level and lounge back to the front of the ship. Also the A-Rosa Silva is able to go through the Canal and operate on the whole river system. The Danue ships are too wide to go through the Canal locks. Same with the Rhine ships.

It´ll be definitely interesting to hear what A-Rosa will change for those cruises.

steamboats
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Old October 26th, 2012, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by editor@cruisecritic View Post
We're checking out A-ROSA, a German-oriented river cruise line, in late November because the company is interested in expanding to the English speaking market. I'd love to hear from you if you have tried the line (I've admired its newest vessels from afar, they're just gorgeous), what you liked, etc.

What we know from afar:

*There will be three ships oriented to the American market beginning next year (date TBD).

*A-ROSA already does host some English speaking cruises through the British line Swan Hellenic (which also markets to North Americans).

*It aims to be more inclusive than any other line -- offering open bar all day, not just at mealtime, plus flights tips, transfers.

*And this is most welcome news: Shore excursions, which are included in cruise fares, will include the usual but also more active opportunities, such as hikes, kayaking, quad exploring, and horseback riding, as well as food, wine, history, the arts, etc.

Any questions you have please post below and I'll be happy to try to answer them when I return in late November. Thanks!

Carolyn

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Hi Carolyn,

This is off topic, but I wanted to put this here so that you can see it.

Is it possible to designate in the CC Ports of Call threads where port questions for inland Europe should be posted?

For instance, if I wanted to post a question about Vienna or Passau, there is not a designated area that fits. Should it be Northern Europe? It's certainly not Greece, France, Spain, or Mediterranean.

I think you see were I'm going with this. Most Rhine ports, central and southern Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria ports don't have a category to post in.
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Old October 27th, 2012, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oysterdam View Post
Hi Carolyn,

This is off topic, but I wanted to put this here so that you can see it.

Is it possible to designate in the CC Ports of Call threads where port questions for inland Europe should be posted?

For instance, if I wanted to post a question about Vienna or Passau, there is not a designated area that fits. Should it be Northern Europe? It's certainly not Greece, France, Spain, or Mediterranean.

I think you see were I'm going with this. Most Rhine ports, central and southern Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria ports don't have a category to post in.
Isn't that why there is a board for River Cruise Ports - Europe? ... http://boards.cruisecritic.com/forumdisplay.php?f=440
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