Newbie question re Booking a River Cruise

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#1
West Coast, Florida
1,106 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
As a total newbie to river cruising, but longtime ocean cruiser, are there any advantages to using our regular cruise agent for booking, or does one work with the river cruise company directly? Are there any advantages either way? Many thanks to all!
#2
FL
14,143 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
I advise that you work with an agent who actually knows and has experienced river cruises for themselves. There is a world of difference between a mass market cruise agent and a river cruise specialist.
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142 cruises since 1964, 14 on the river.
Looking forward to:
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
Amadeus Silver II - Magic of Advent, December 2017
Oceania Marina, South Pacific, March 2018AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018




Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016



#3
Westerville, Ohio
554 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
I've done it both ways and very happy with both outcomes. Many ta's may have a relationship with certain cruise lines and may offer additional discounts. They can also help with flight arrangements and offer help if something goes wrong on your trip. You can also book with the company who will book your cruise and flight as a package or you can book air on your own.
Seeing the fact that you're new to rc you may want to research as many of the cruise web sites to see the ships and gather as much info so you'll know what questions and concerns are important to you. I've been on 7 river cruises throughout Europe and each one was different as toamount of time sailing, amount of tours and sights visited so reading the itineraries will help you zero in on places and counties that may appeal to you.
Best of luck with your search.
#4
FL
14,143 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Originally posted by kruising karol
I have tried to use a home town travel agent twice and she was defintely out of her element re river cruises. My experience now is that the experts in the field is a big online cruise site. They are amazing and truly know their stuff. .

That is painting all agents with a broad brush and is a gross generalization IMO and IME. Agent experience is very individual and there are a fair number of agents now who specialize in river cruises and have personal experience.

The last place I would ever suggest to turn to is a big online cruise site. That may work for you but to claim that they are "the experts" is hardly accurate.
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142 cruises since 1964, 14 on the river.
Looking forward to:
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
Amadeus Silver II - Magic of Advent, December 2017
Oceania Marina, South Pacific, March 2018AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018




Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016



#5
24,238 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
I used my regular cruise agent. While she does more with major cruise lines, she has been a river cruises before and has established relationships with her river cruise reps.

If you have a cruise agent you trust, ask them if they are familiar with river cruises or if they can recommend someone to you.

I saved a lot of money by using an agent.
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#7
Ontario, Canada
2,728 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by caviargal
That is painting all agents with a broad brush and is a gross generalization IMO and IME. Agent experience is very individual and there are a fair number of agents now who specialize in river cruises and have personal experience.

I must say I agree....

Actually booking the cruise itself is only part of the package... What about flights? Transfers? Hotels pre & post? Travel insurance?

Yes - you could (most likely) book all of these things through the river cruise company itself - but it would probably cost quite a bit more than doing it yourself, or with the help of a good TA.

We have an amazing TA - and although she did not claim to be an "expert" in river cruising when she booked our 1st river cruise (in fact, our 1st was her 1st as well!!) she brought a wealth of other knowledge - and we have learned together.

Fran
#8
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I am admittedly a Vantage cheerleader, but I have been on a number of cruises with them and have been very happy. They have their own ships and do not pay commissions, so there is a saving. They can include air, transfers, and excursions.
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.