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  #1  
Old December 30th, 2012, 04:31 PM
UmaS UmaS is offline
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Default Uniworld, Avalon, AMA Waterways for Danube

Considering our first river cruise along the Danube. Have been to the Caribbean with Celebrity, and to Alaska and French Polynesia(on the Paul
Gauguin) with Radisson. We would prefer to travel in early September, for either 8, 10 or 12 days. Among Uniworld, Avalon, and AMA Waterways, who would you recommend for ships, cabins, itineraries, excursions and guides, food, service?
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  #2  
Old December 30th, 2012, 05:18 PM
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From everything I've been reading, those companies are all very similar (along with Viking), so try going for the best price and date for you. There may be minor differences in terms of the decor onboard, but the other elements you mentioned sound like they are consistent across nearly all river cruise companies. Maybe I'm making too broad of generalizations though?
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  #3  
Old December 30th, 2012, 05:26 PM
UmaS UmaS is offline
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I notice you will be taking a Uniworld Danube cruise next April. What drew you to this company?
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  #4  
Old December 30th, 2012, 09:40 PM
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Particular reviews aside I really don't think there is such a thing as a bad river cruise line. I believe it boils down to your preferences, wants and desires. As an Australian I get quite worried over the correct way to distribute gratuities and personally I don't like the "optional tours" offer on many lines. I like to pay up front and see what I'm getting for what I've paid - but that's just me. That's the reason I would look at Tauck, Scenic and the Aussie company APT which is a partner with AMA.

I'm sure after you've looked at itineraries and what you think is best for you you'll no doubt pick a cruise that you will give you great times and many memories. Happy sailing.

Rod
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Old December 30th, 2012, 09:58 PM
swamp1sg swamp1sg is offline
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We have done 3 Christmas cruises: the Rhine on Uniworld, the Danube on AMA, and the Main on Avalon. In addition we have done the Seine on Viking.I definitely felt that AMA went all out to see that we had a great time. It had the best food and many, many, holiday activities. Uniworld was also excellent but we went before they redid their interiors which I do not like. Viking was a very good value. They were very friendly and had excellent hotel staff, and tour guides.

We just returned from a Christmas cruise with Avalon which turned into a bus tour. They handled the problems of high water very professionally. The ship was beautiful. Everything was very professional. Professional is the word that I would use to describe a pretty corporate feeling to the cruise. However, there were no Christmas activities on the cruise, no cooking demonstrations, nothing special planned. There was a lecture on the EU! We had fallen in love with Christmas in Europe. We felt none of the warmth on the ship that we found in the towns in the area. We were very disappointed, especially when compared to all the wonderful, activities we experienced on AMA.

I'm sure that we will be doing another European cruise in the future. We would most likely look first at AMA and then Viking. We would certainly book with Uniworld again, even if we don't like the interiors. We might book with Avalon, if the price was right but we would not have great expectations about the cruise experience but would instead focus on the ports.

PS: If Cavairgirl reads this post: Her favorite chef Stephan, was on the Avalon to try out a new menu. He is now the corporate chef for the entire line. We bought his cookbook which he graciously signed.
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Old December 30th, 2012, 10:19 PM
UmaS UmaS is offline
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Appreciate everyone's input. Will do some checking on availability and pricing.
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  #7  
Old December 30th, 2012, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmaS View Post
I notice you will be taking a Uniworld Danube cruise next April. What drew you to this company?
I got a special deal on it, that's the only reason

My parents got a Viking catalog and it seems like their pricing is more competitive than Uniworld, but I haven't done a side-by-side comparison of dates.
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Upcoming:
Norwegian Getaway - Mar 2014, E. Caribbean
HAL Eurodam
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Sailed:
Norwegian Getaway - Inaugural CTN (Pics)
Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
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NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
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  #8  
Old December 30th, 2012, 11:19 PM
swamp1sg swamp1sg is offline
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We had a lot of fun on "The Big Red Boat"! Maybe the most FUN ever on a cruise ship.
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  #9  
Old December 31st, 2012, 12:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmaS View Post
Considering our first river cruise along the Danube. Have been to the Caribbean with Celebrity, and to Alaska and French Polynesia(on the Paul
Gauguin) with Radisson. We would prefer to travel in early September, for either 8, 10 or 12 days. Among Uniworld, Avalon, and AMA Waterways, who would you recommend for ships, cabins, itineraries, excursions and guides, food, service?
If you are looking at September 2013, availability might be a deciding factor. The Danube is a popular itinerary - and September a popular time to travel. You may find that options are limited.

Good luck with your planning!!

Fran

Last edited by franski; December 31st, 2012 at 12:49 AM.
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  #10  
Old December 31st, 2012, 02:59 AM
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Originally Posted by franski View Post
If you are looking at September 2013, availability might be a deciding factor. The Danube is a popular itinerary - and September a popular time to travel. You may find that options are limited.

Good luck with your planning!!

Fran
When we tried to book for Sept 2013 we found that darn near everything was sold out or cabin availability was extremely limited. Don't delay if you are serious about booking.
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  #11  
Old December 31st, 2012, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UmaS View Post
Considering our first river cruise along the Danube. Have been to the Caribbean with Celebrity, and to Alaska and French Polynesia(on the Paul
Gauguin) with Radisson. We would prefer to travel in early September, for either 8, 10 or 12 days. Among Uniworld, Avalon, and AMA Waterways, who would you recommend for ships, cabins, itineraries, excursions and guides, food, service?
There are many similarities and differences. What may be important to others, may not be important to you. For instance, we were very attracted to the more individualized tour aporoach on AMA, rather than one size fits all. AMA offers gentle walkers, active and late riser options and has bicycles available onboard.
Be sure to read through reviews.
This thread may be of help to you
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1744727
Also, check pricing carefully. The "2 for 1" specials offered by some are really no bargain at all (just their regular pricing).
Good luck, and as nana says, don't delay. We've already booked for 2014.
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Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
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  #12  
Old December 31st, 2012, 08:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana541 View Post
When we tried to book for Sept 2013 we found that darn near everything was sold out or cabin availability was extremely limited. Don't delay if you are serious about booking.
Ditto. Tried a couple months ago to get October sailing on AMA on Danube and it was a no-go. Will try again once we know spring of 2014 schedules.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sippican View Post
There are many similarities and differences. What may be important to others, may not be important to you. For instance, we were very attracted to the more individualized tour aporoach on AMA, rather than one size fits all. AMA offers gentle walkers, active and late riser options and has bicycles available onboard.
Be sure to read through reviews.
This thread may be of help to you
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1744727
Also, check pricing carefully. The "2 for 1" specials offered by some are really no bargain at all (just their regular pricing).
Good luck, and as nana says, don't delay. We've already booked for 2014.
We were debating between AMA and Avalon, and AMA offered a special. The staff were professional, and in particular I liked the tours. Having three levels at the time meant that you could go at your pace, whether fast or slow.
If two companies are very close, I would be swayed by itinerary.
It was unseasonably cold when we went, so for September be prepared for some chilly weather just in case.
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  #14  
Old December 31st, 2012, 01:55 PM
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Ditto. Tried a couple months ago to get October sailing on AMA on Danube and it was a no-go. Will try again once we know spring of 2014 schedules.
AMA has 2014 schedules out. (Or were you referring to knowing your own 2014 schedule?) Just booked for July on the new AmaPrima.
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Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
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  #15  
Old December 31st, 2012, 04:37 PM
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AMA has 2014 schedules out. (Or were you referring to knowing your own 2014 schedule?) Just booked for July on the new AmaPrima.
Yep, our schedule. It's so hard! I coordinate time away with my sister so that one of us can be here for our elderly (80's) parents, but thinking about a year and a half away is impossible! Maybe when we retire it will be easier to manage.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 09:10 PM
swamp1sg swamp1sg is offline
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Avalon and Viking also have gentle walkers. One of the best things about being in this group is that it is usually small and you can ask questions to your guides.
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  #17  
Old January 1st, 2013, 06:53 AM
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Yep, our schedule. It's so hard! I coordinate time away with my sister so that one of us can be here for our elderly (80's) parents, but thinking about a year and a half away is impossible! Maybe when we retire it will be easier to manage.
Ahhhh, I know that all too well!
We are both recently retired and planning time away has become much easier to coordinate now. I'm sure you'll be able to find a trip that works for you.
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Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
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  #18  
Old January 1st, 2013, 08:28 AM
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PS: If Cavairgirl reads this post: Her favorite chef Stephan, was on the Avalon to try out a new menu. He is now the corporate chef for the entire line. We bought his cookbook which he graciously signed.
That is good news as the Avalon cruise where he was head chef had the best food of our 4 Avalon cruises by far.

We have been on 6 river cruises now and AMA is by far our favorite. While it may appear that the lines are much the same, that was not our experience, and I have reviewed all of the river boats we cruised with for anyone that wants the details. AmaDante, AmaCerto, Avalon Luminary, Avalon Panorama, Avalon Affinity (B2B).

Our recent AmaCerto cruise was simply superb, best ever in every way. My mom told us that she tossed out all of the other river cruise line brochures she had been saving after this last cruise with AMA - her third overall and first with this line.

Food, staff, entertainment and attention to detail were all superb on AMA and that is who will cruise with in the future. We won't look elsewhere as we know what works for us.
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Last edited by caviargal; January 1st, 2013 at 08:29 AM.
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  #19  
Old January 1st, 2013, 11:13 AM
swamp1sg swamp1sg is offline
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Cheers to AMA!
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  #20  
Old January 1st, 2013, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
That is good news as the Avalon cruise where he was head chef had the best food of our 4 Avalon cruises by far.

We have been on 6 river cruises now and AMA is by far our favorite. While it may appear that the lines are much the same, that was not our experience, and I have reviewed all of the river boats we cruised with for anyone that wants the details. AmaDante, AmaCerto, Avalon Luminary, Avalon Panorama, Avalon Affinity (B2B).

Our recent AmaCerto cruise was simply superb, best ever in every way. My mom told us that she tossed out all of the other river cruise line brochures she had been saving after this last cruise with AMA - her third overall and first with this line.

Food, staff, entertainment and attention to detail were all superb on AMA and that is who will cruise with in the future. We won't look elsewhere as we know what works for us.
What makes AMA superior to the others? It appears your only other frame of reference is Avalon, unless I'm missing something? Have you done Viking, Uniworld, etc?
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Norwegian Getaway - Mar 2014, E. Caribbean
HAL Eurodam
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Sailed:
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Celebrity Reflection - E. Caribbean
Uniworld SS Antoinette - Rhine Christmas Markets
NCL Breakaway
- Bermuda
NCL Breakaway - Inaugural CTN (Review w/ pics)
Uniworld River Beatrice - Danube (Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- E. Caribbean
NCL Star - Bermuda
Ruby Princess - Grand Mediterranean
(Review w/ pics)
NCL Epic
- W. Mediterranean (Review w/ pics)
Crown Princess - S. Caribbean (Review w/ pics)
NCL Gem - Bahamas (Review w/ pics)
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