Please help me choose river cruise for parents.

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#1
San Diego, CA USA
3,336 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Hello,

My parents have asked me to help them choose a river cruise for 2014. They would like to go when it's not too hot due to some medical issues.

Also, because of my dad's immobility, I am trying to figure out which is the best itiniary for them. I don't think they would be able to get off the ship at all or just very little. Which would be the most scenic itiniary that they could enjoy from the ship if they were to stay on board for the trip?

Also I am looking at Uniworld for them because they like to be spoiled. But I am open to any suggestions. They enjoy the more luxurious cruises.

Thank you for any and all advice!

Kath
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#2
307 Posts
Joined May 2004
Kath,

I would look at the Danube or the Rhine. Both have beautiful scenery. The Danube is the most popular because of the cities it visits.

Most lines have a slow movers group on the tours, so not sure if that would work for him, but the ships do,dock downtown in the city for the most part.

The biggest factor that may come in to pay for your parents is choosing a ship that has an elevator. Many of the river cruise ships do not, but some of the newer offerings will. If your fathers mobility issues inhibit him using stairs, this will limit your options.

That being sad most of the newer ships are being utilized on the Danube and Rhine, so am sure there are options for them.

Uniworld a newest ships such as the s.s. Antoinette and the River Ambassador both have elevators. These ships operate on the Danube.

If your parents are looking to be pampered, Uniworld is a great choice. But it's also worth mentioning that Vikings new longships all also have elevators.

Hope this is helpful.
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#3
White Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,580 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Based on your description, I'd say take a look at Tauck.
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Past Cruises:
Celebrity Silhouette - TA
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - Arctic Circle
Disney Fantasy - Souhern Caribbean
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
#4
San Diego, CA USA
3,336 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Can I ask why?

Also, which is more scenic from the ship, the Danube or the Rhine?

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
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#5
Mackay Australia
786 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
We cruised with Tauck in September 2011 on their Amsterdam to Budapest cruise and enjoyed all three rivers. The Rhine Valley with its castles and vineyards is I thought matched by the true beauty of cruising through the Wachau Valley on the Danube.

As for cruising with Tauck you will find others that disagree but we enjoyed the fact that the cruise was all-inclusive with a level of luxury we believe to be unsurpassed. Just to put a little dampener on those who will tell you that Tauck is the most expensive I can assure you based on the Australian dollar Tauck was cheaper than Scenic, APT/AMA and Uniworld. For what we wanted Tauck turned out to be the best.
#6
FL
14,124 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
For scenery we found the Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle we took with AMA in 2011 to be the most beautiful. We went in fall and had many sunny days of cruising and enjoying the lovely fall colors.

Other than that the Danube and Rhine were both nice but not as beautiful IMO.

I do suggest you make certain the boat you choose has an elevator, as many do not.
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142 cruises since 1964, 14 on the river.

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

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 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018

#7
White Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,580 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Originally posted by kath00
Can I ask why?

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
Here is a link to some member reviews of Tauck:
http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberre...ck-cruises/cl/
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Past Cruises:
Celebrity Silhouette - TA
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - Arctic Circle
Disney Fantasy - Souhern Caribbean
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
#9
Ohio
767 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
When you are checking about elevators, see if it goes to all floors. When we were on Avalon's Felicity, the elevator went from the level with the dining room to the level of the rooms but did not go all the way to the sun deck. The scenery on the Rhine was wonderful. I would suggest starting out with a 7 day itinerary to see how your parents like River cruising, especially if they can't get off the ship. They need to be aware that most lines do not provide activities for people staying on the ship as the assumption is that most passengers are taking advantage of the included excursions at each stop.
#10
Milton On Canada
938 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
I have only been on two river cruises, Nuremberg to Trier and Amsterdam to Budapest. In my opinion, the most scenic is the Rhine, the Moselle, the Danube, the Main in that order. As the OP mentioned, make sure you pick a ship where the elevator goes to the Sun Deck, otherwise your folks will miss the best part of the cruise and where hopefully they will enjoy their afternoons or mornings when everyone else is off the ship on tours. If they are not outdoorsy types, pick a ship with a Panoramic indoor lounge at the front of the ship where they could enjoy the scenery in comfort.
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Judy

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
#11
Coastal NC
3,151 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
I have been on many cruises and cruise lines and none, to by recollection, have had elevators to the sun deck. Some do have a lift-type seat to the sun deck. Have never seen anyone use it, though.

IMHO, the Castles Along the Rhine is the most scenic.
#12
San Diego, CA USA
3,336 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Thank you so much for all of the input! I will look into suggestions above. I don't think an elevator is absolutely necessary as he can walk, just not long distances due to his heart condition. I think walking tours are out. But around a smaller ship he should be ok.

Are all River cruises all inclusive (meaning including tours)? Could we book one without all the tours? Given that they prob would not be doing tours, I would love to not have to pay...

Katherine
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#13
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
For the mobility impaired, I would strongly recommend the Seine, with whichever cruise line you choose. None of the stops involve steep gangways or high river banks that you will encounter in some ports on both the Rhine and the Danube. For the most part the towns are smaller, except for Paris and Rouen. The tours could be more characterized as strolls rather than walks. We have taken 6 cruises with Grand Circle, and this is the most sedate. The Bizet which Grand Circle sails on the Seine has two interior deck connected by an elevator and a sun deck which has a chair lift. It is either 2 or 3 steps to the dining room. For a look at our cruise with them, see my blog/trip report, http://jackthetravelingman-seine.blogspot.com.
#14
San Diego, CA USA
3,336 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Originally posted by beverlyjack
For the mobility impaired, I would strongly recommend the Seine, with whichever cruise line you choose. None of the stops involve steep gangways or high river banks that you will encounter in some ports on both the Rhine and the Danube. For the most part the towns are smaller, except for Paris and Rouen. The tours could be more characterized as strolls rather than walks. We have taken 6 cruises with Grand Circle, and this is the most sedate. The Bizet which Grand Circle sails on the Seine has two interior deck connected by an elevator and a sun deck which has a chair lift. It is either 2 or 3 steps to the dining room. For a look at our cruise with them, see my blog/trip report, http://jackthetravelingman-seine.blogspot.com.
Excellent blog, thank you! Do you have any pix of the ship floating down the river by any chance? I'd love to see some views of the river from the boat...

Kath
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#15
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Originally posted by kath00
Thank you so much for all of the input! I will look into suggestions above. I don't think an elevator is absolutely necessary as he can walk, just not long distances due to his heart condition. I think walking tours are out. But around a smaller ship he should be ok.

Are all River cruises all inclusive (meaning including tours)? Could we book one without all the tours? Given that they prob would not be doing tours, I would love to not have to pay...

Katherine
One other thing to consider is looking for cruises that include some bus tours. If your father can manage short distances, then he could make it from the boat to the bus - and still see some of the sights. For example, the included tour of Paris is often a bus tour. Same with Budapest.

Take a close look at the configuration of the boats. Most of the newer ones do have elevators, but they often do not go to every deck.

The suggestion about the front lounge is a good one. Perhaps you could look into one of the Viking Long ships - as your parents could sit up front - and outside - if the weather is nice.

Fran
#16
San Diego, CA USA
3,336 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Thank you!

Is it cool in June still? Or does it start to get warmer? Are the ships well air conditioned?

Much appreciate all advice...
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#17
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Originally posted by kath00
Excellent blog, thank you! Do you have any pix of the ship floating down the river by any chance? I'd love to see some views of the river from the boat...

Kath
At the end of each day in the blog is a link to picasaweb, with all of the pictures for the day.

See https://picasaweb.google.com/1115479...21/Seine201243

I have not captioned them at this time, but I may get around to it some day. We leave for India with OAT in a week, so all of our attention is on that trip.
#18
2,437 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
The shoulder seasons, spring and fall are really the best weather wise--mid May-mid June and Sept. We have been on 15 river cruises with #16 in June. We have seen a lift on only on trip that went to the sun deck--the Elbe wirh Viking. Walking short distances doesn't always mean someone can climb a flight of steep stairs to get to the sun deck.
I would be leary of Viking only because they have their own dockage at most ports--this can lead to rafting of more than 2 boats--can make for difficulty geting ashore.
Have seen lines where wheelchairs are provided, but cobbles make for hard pushing.
I am not trying to be negative but realistic. When you have narrowed it down to 2 or3 lines, call them and tell them of your parents' needs.
River cruising is very relaxing. Good luck finding just the right trip for them. They have a wonderful daughter to be doing this. Pat
#19
FL
14,124 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
On our recent AMA cruise, the "gentle walkers" group was often met with a trolley and taken to where the shorter walking tour began. This was especially helpful to those who used this option in places like Durnstein where we (active group) climbed a lot of steps to get to the center of town. My mom, who is 81, decided to go to mass and ended up having to climb 90 steps to get there. Sometimes you just don't know so it is important that they ask the right questions.
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142 cruises since 1964, 14 on the river.

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

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 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018

#20
Ontario, Canada
2,709 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
On our Christmas market cruise with Uniworld (on the Rhine) we met a couple that looked long and hard before booking a river cruise. The husband had a stroke a few years before - and was left with significant mobility issues. He walked with a cane, and could not manage long distances. Stairs were also a challenge.

The wife spoke with Uniworld before booking their 1st cruise, and booked the 2nd one after the success of the 1st. She said that the staff of Uniworld worked with her to customize the shore excursions so that her husband could accompany her on quite a few. They always had an "escape plan" (ie: if her husband was tired, they would take a taxi back to the ship...) - and felt that the cruise experience was wonderful.

They never looked elsewhere after the service they got from Uniworld.

Fran