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  #1  
Old January 9th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Default Amsterdam to Budapest - Which Line/Boat is the best?

We have been active cruisers, but never taken a river cruise, so we are definitely newbies. We've read many brochures, and they all sound great. Which line/ship would you recommend for the Amsterdam to Budapest run? We are active adults that love to tour cities, photograph, etc. Good food, cleanliness, and service are important to us.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old January 9th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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You will get many different answers to your question. I just did the AMS to BUD with Scenic Tours and thought it was fantastic. They are all inclusive including your alcoholic beverages, and they have top notch tours at no extra cost. You must factor in all the extra costs with other lines. I have also done Prague to Paris with AMA and thought it was fantastic as well. Since I have only used these two lines and had very positive experiences with both, I would recommend either to you.
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Carnival Pride-Western Caribbean Feb 2015
Scenic Emerald-Paris to Barcelona Sept 2013
Freedom OTS-E. Caribbean March 2013
Scenic Emerald Amsterdam to Budapest Sept 2012
Emerald Princess-S. Caribbean Jan 2012
AMA Amalegro Prague to Paris Sept 2011
Oceania Insignia Venice -Barcelona -September 2010
Coral Princess Panama Canal FLL to LA Dec 2009
Emerald Princess Baltic Aug 2009
Caribbean Princess S. Caribbean B2B Nov 2008
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  #3  
Old January 9th, 2013, 02:17 PM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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Why not read the reviews for the lines/boats and see what appeals to you. Also use the Search feature as this question is asked and answered many times on this forum.

Then compare inclusions, size of cabin, port times, etc. to get a feel for real differences.

We are active travelers and among the younger demographic for river cruises. We appreciate great food, warm service, a lively atmosphere, great attention to detail and good sized rooms with high quality beds.

AMA is our choice as it is a great fit. I have written five reviews of our river cruises and they were all quite different.
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Last edited by caviargal; January 9th, 2013 at 02:19 PM.
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  #4  
Old January 9th, 2013, 02:30 PM
franski franski is offline
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Depending on how soon you wish to travel, you might find that your options are limited. For example, many sailings in September of this year are completely booked.

It sounds as if you know the itinerary - so next would be the date. If you are flexible, this will help... If you do not have a great deal of flexibility in dates - and you are looking at cruising this year - then my suggestion is to find a good TA (if you don't already have one...) and have them find out what is available.

If you do have a number of options, then I would suggest looking at all of the brochures - to see what the differences and similarities are. There are more similarities than differences IMHO - so it would be hard to identify the "best" line for the Danube.

We have cruised with Uniworld, AMA and Scenic - and would happily cruise with any of them again.

Fran
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  #5  
Old January 9th, 2013, 02:57 PM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franski View Post
There are more similarities than differences IMHO - so it would be hard to identify the "best" line for the Danube.
JMO, but we found the differences significant between the two lines we have sailed, enough that if we had not cruised with AMA and enjoyed it so much, it is highly doubtful we would have invested in another river cruise. We are independent and enjoy land trips very much so river cruising really had to fit our travel style and personality to make us solid fans.

Others may find more similarities based on their personal priorities and experiences.
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  #6  
Old January 9th, 2013, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
JMO, but we found the differences significant between the two lines we have sailed, enough that if we had not cruised with AMA and enjoyed it so much, it is highly doubtful we would have invested in another river cruise. We are independent and enjoy land trips very much so river cruising really had to fit our travel style and personality to make us solid fans.

Others may find more similarities based on their personal priorities and experiences.
Which was your second cruise line?
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  #7  
Old January 9th, 2013, 05:09 PM
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Totally subjective. After our Amsterdam to Budapest cruise in September 2011 with Tauck I wrote a review entitled "Simply The Best" and I still think so.
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  #8  
Old January 9th, 2013, 05:26 PM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozjohnno View Post
Totally subjective. After our Amsterdam to Budapest cruise in September 2011 with Tauck I wrote a review entitled "Simply The Best" and I still think so.
I do agree - this is a really subjective issue.

If you wish to get a sense of AMA, I would suggest you visit Mike and Carol Preisman's website - http://www.thepreismans.com . They did Budapest to Prague - and his blog + pictures are great. This was a strong factor in our decision to do the same itinerary with AMA in 2009.

River cruising isn't for everyone. If you have been active on big ships (and it appears that you have been) - then I suggest you think about what it is about big ship cruising that you enjoy. If it is the shows, gambling, formal evenings, spa services etc - then river cruising might not be your cup of tea.

Is there a certain stop (or number of stops) that you wish to make? For example, some cruises include Salzburg - and others consider it an optional (and therefore you pay to go....) If you want to stop in Bratislava, not all tours stop there. Some have extra time in Vienna - and many enjoy that. Vienna wasn't our favourite stop - so extra time there isn't a bonus for us. If you enjoy cycling, a number of lines have bicycles on board - free to use...

Lots to consider...

Fran
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  #9  
Old January 9th, 2013, 05:56 PM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sabresailor View Post
which was your second cruise line?
ama
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  #10  
Old January 9th, 2013, 10:30 PM
Talisker92 Talisker92 is offline
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I am admittedly a Vantage cheerleader, but after 4 river cruises with them, they are still my favorite. We did the Budapest to Amsterdam cruise and loved it, even though we got stuck in Deggendorf for 2 days.
The tour managers arranged alternate excursions that we enjoyed.
The trip story and pictures are on our website. We are always happy to answer any questions.
We just booked the Russian Rivers cruise with them for the fall.

Last edited by Talisker92; January 9th, 2013 at 10:31 PM.
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  #11  
Old January 10th, 2013, 04:15 AM
the english lady the english lady is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SabreSailor View Post
We have been active cruisers, but never taken a river cruise, so we are definitely newbies. We've read many brochures, and they all sound great. Which line/ship would you recommend for the Amsterdam to Budapest run? We are active adults that love to tour cities, photograph, etc. Good food, cleanliness, and service are important to us.

Thanks!
we are doing this cruise in April?may this year. We are with Avalon. Never done a river cruise beofre, but we liked the look of their vessels. As others have said read reviews etc, and remember people are more likely to post a review if they didn't like something, than if they did..
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  #12  
Old January 10th, 2013, 05:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the english lady View Post
we are doing this cruise in April?may this year. We are with Avalon. Never done a river cruise beofre, but we liked the look of their vessels. As others have said read reviews etc, and remember people are more likely to post a review if they didn't like something, than if they did..
We were on Avalon in august, BUD to AMS on the Panorama...ship and staff were fantastic, loved our cabin and the french balcony...tours were very informative and well organised, meals and wine were varied and very good, I would definitely cruise with them again and plan to in 2014
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  #13  
Old January 10th, 2013, 09:17 AM
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The top rated river cruise company by Conde Naste Traveler magazine is Grand Circle, based on reader reviews, and their own evaluations. Their ships are not as ornate as many others, but they are spotless with great food and top notch trip leaders. Their pricing is straight forward, no phony two for one deals, etc. We have taken 6 of their river cruises, along with 7 other trips with them. They do not sell through travel agents and do not do any mass marketing. It is significant that they do not even advertise in Conde Naste Traveler, despite being its top rated cruise line. They have a very high percentage of repeat travelers. On our most recent trip with them, on the Seine, I would estimate that about 95% of the passengers had at least 3 previous trips with them. I did a blog /trip report on the Seine cruise. It is http://jackthetravelingman-seine.blogspot.com. We had previously done cruises from Vilshofen to Budapest and Amsterdam to Vienna with them. They seem to spend more time docked in the towns along the way than other ships. They show their sailing schedule on their web site, which most companies do not. Their web site is www.gct.com.
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  #14  
Old January 10th, 2013, 09:27 AM
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Thanks to all!
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  #15  
Old January 10th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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We've taken several river cruises. We've done Amsterdam to Bucharest (Black Sea) but not all on one sailing, it was 3 separate cruises. We've gone on Vantage, Grand Circle and Viking. All we thought, were wonderful and pretty similar in all respects. I would take any of the 3 and date/itinerary/price/availability would be the factors that would make me choose one over the others.
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  #16  
Old January 10th, 2013, 02:45 PM
franski franski is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beverlyjack View Post
The top rated river cruise company by Conde Naste Traveler magazine is Grand Circle, based on reader reviews, and their own evaluations. Their ships are not as ornate as many others, but they are spotless with great food and top notch trip leaders. Their pricing is straight forward, no phony two for one deals, etc. We have taken 6 of their river cruises, along with 7 other trips with them. They do not sell through travel agents and do not do any mass marketing.
I do find this interesting... given that Grand Circle really is not marketed at all outside of the US. Not sure where the OP is from, but Grand Circle may not be readily available if he/she does not live in the US.

Also - depending on what type of cruise experience you are looking for, the mix of passengers on Grand Circle is quite homogenous. I know that many people enjoy a wide passenger mix, and Grand Circle (and others such as Vantage) will not provide that.

Fran
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  #17  
Old January 10th, 2013, 05:36 PM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franski View Post
I do find this interesting... given that Grand Circle really is not marketed at all outside of the US. Not sure where the OP is from, but Grand Circle may not be readily available if he/she does not live in the US.

Also - depending on what type of cruise experience you are looking for, the mix of passengers on Grand Circle is quite homogenous. I know that many people enjoy a wide passenger mix, and Grand Circle (and others such as Vantage) will not provide that.

Fran
Agreed as it is primarily AARP.

I have seen their boats and they appear very basic. For us, the demographic and ambiance would not a good fit, and we do prefer a more international mix.
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  #18  
Old January 10th, 2013, 05:44 PM
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On our cruise with Avalon in august we had a mix of nationalities, Australians, Americans, English, Canadians, New Zealanders and a couple from Mexico.
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  #19  
Old January 10th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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The Conde Naste Traveller magazine has been mentioned on these boards on a number of occasions but I've never been able to find it on sale anywhere in my part of Australia. This does make me sceptical of any recommendation of any product that only covers Nth America. In Australia we have no access to Grand Circle, Vantage or Gate1 as they are not marketed down our way. How is the vote taken to decide who's the best?

On another note on our Tauck cruise we had US, Canadian, British, New Zealand, Bahamas and Australians in our group of 108 travellers.
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