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  #1  
Old March 19th, 2013, 11:28 AM
Novice2cruise Novice2cruise is offline
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Default 2014 Rhine River

We are new to river cruising and would like advice. We are planning a Rhine river cruise in April/May 2014. What is the best time to go (weather, river level, crowds, etc.)? We are thinking about Avalon - any recommendations? For example is the Visionary ship worth $500/couple more than the Felicity or the Affinity?

Thanks for any help.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 11:51 AM
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Default Rhine

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Originally Posted by Novice2cruise View Post
We are new to river cruising and would like advice. We are planning a Rhine river cruise in April/May 2014. What is the best time to go (weather, river level, crowds, etc.)? We are thinking about Avalon - any recommendations? For example is the Visionary ship worth $500/couple more than the Felicity or the Affinity?

Thanks for any help.
We did the Rhine a couple of years ago at the end of April, because we wanted to end in Amsterdam while the tulips were in bloom and see the magnificent Keukenhof Gardens. It was wonderful and would do it again. We started in Nuremberg. It was very cool (even had a tiny bit of snow in Bamberg - but other than that, the trip was great. We have done 3 river cruises and this is the one we would repeat with no second thought. As far as Avalon goes, we were on the Visionary this past December for Christmas Markets and the ship and staff were top notch. Can't address the difference, but you can't go wrong with Avalon. Enjoy!
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  #3  
Old March 19th, 2013, 12:36 PM
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We did the Rhine on Avalon's Felicity in 2010. The ship was nearly brand new at the time and we were treated very well. The accomodations and food were very good, the staff was outstanding and the included tours were ok. Trouble is the trip goes so fast and you don't have lots of time to explore the small towns on your own. But that's the nature of river cruising. We would definitely do another Avalon tour.

Visionary or Affinity/Felicity? Tough call. Do some homework on what you expect. Personally we would prefer to use the extra funds saved to add to our next tour in Europe.
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Old March 19th, 2013, 02:23 PM
pacmom pacmom is online now
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A good item to remember the locks undergo maintainence in April of each year. We sailed from Antwerp-Basel--by the time we got to the Rhine all the work was finished. In Amsterdam, we went along with another couple to the gardens on our own. Bought our tickets at the train station--took the train to Schipol, then the bus to the gardens. Bus stops right at the gate of the gardens. Admission to the gardens was included in the price--spent the whole day and it was wonderful. Going east to west gets you closer to home at the end of the trip--not as long plane ride. Enjoy. Pat
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Old March 19th, 2013, 04:39 PM
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We traveled on the Rhine last year at the end of April and it was cool and very rainy. The cruise ended in Basel on May 10 and by the then the weather was improving. From that experience I would suggest starting mid May and you should have warmer weather, less rain and still be ahead of the school/vacation crowds.

We traveled on Uniworld and they were fabulous.

Have fun planning!
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Old March 20th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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I did the Rhine last year - end of May on Avalon's Felicity. I had an amazing time. There was plenty of room in a standard cabin - made up with two twin beds. The staff and itinerary was equally amazing. I did Zurich to Amsterdam. The weather was actually a bit warmer than we anticipated. We had rain for a bit along the way and then on disembarkation day in Amsterdam. We had no issues with high / low water, however 1 or 2 cruises after us did have some issues with high water.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 11:21 PM
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We traveled on Avalon Felicity in late September 2010. We too were very confused as to which line we should travel on. We did a spread sheet so we could compare. They were very similar but from what I remember, the rooms on Avalon were larger. Not that we planned on spending a lot of time in the rooms but when we are both getting dressed for the day or dinner, it is nice to have a little bit more room.

We went from Amsterdam south so we would be going to a little warmer weather. It wasn't cold but it was cool. I had a fleece and a windbreaker when needed. I actually liked this weather since I didn't get "hot" while touring but stayed comfortable.
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Old March 20th, 2013, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Novice2cruise View Post
We are new to river cruising and would like advice. We are planning a Rhine river cruise in April/May 2014. What is the best time to go (weather, river level, crowds, etc.)? We are thinking about Avalon - any recommendations? For example is the Visionary ship worth $500/couple more than the Felicity or the Affinity?

Thanks for any help.

Hi,

I was under the impression it was the dates and seasons that the extra $'s was for, not the ships...I know that some sailings and months are more expensive than others and often the cruises early/or late in the season are cheaper.

We travelled with Avalon on the Panorama in August last year from Budapest to Amsterdam , the price of our cruise was a bit more expensive than some other dates as it was in the 'high season', summer in Europe.

Summer can have problems with water levels, which we had..and towns are crowded, but thsi was never a problem for us, we loved the warm weather.

We loved Avalon, food and wine were great, cabins, ship and staff were exceptional..CD was fantastic too.

We are taking another cruise with Avalon in June 2014

Deb
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  #9  
Old March 21st, 2013, 11:05 AM
Novice2cruise Novice2cruise is offline
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Thanks for the replies. Youa all are very helpful.
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  #10  
Old March 21st, 2013, 11:07 AM
Novice2cruise Novice2cruise is offline
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Default Post or starboard?

Any thoughts on which side of the ship is best. We are traveling from Switzerland to Holland.

Thanks again.
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  #11  
Old March 21st, 2013, 01:26 PM
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Most people don't really spend much time in their cabins. The lounge is a wonderful place to watch the scenery go by--also the sundeck--weather permitting. Just pick a midship cabin away from bow and stern thrusters. Enjoy, but be careful river cruising can be addictive, we go on #16 in June. Pat
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:10 PM
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Novice2cruise, I totally agree with Pacmom. Part of the experience in river cruising is meeting new people. You won't find them in your cabin. When we went we made new friends from Vancouver, Canada and Kent, England. Awesome experience and made the trip a lot of fun.

It also doesn't matter which side of the ship because the ship might dock on one side or the other on different occasions. You will more than likely only use your room for sleeping and resting.

Like pacmom suggested use the sundeck and lounges to view the scenery. And take a pair of small binoculars if you want to view the landscapes. Have fun!
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:14 PM
Novice2cruise Novice2cruise is offline
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Default Cat. A vs. B rooms

We have all but finalized our cruise on the Avalon Visionary going from Basel to Amsterdam leaving on 5/3/14. There will be 8 of us. We want to have sliding glass windows. Any thoughts on Category A vs. B rooms? The ship is new so I don't expect much engine or thruster noise, but I don't know. We are leaning toward the B rooms, as close to mid-ships as possible.

Thanks.

Last edited by Novice2cruise; March 21st, 2013 at 02:15 PM.
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  #14  
Old March 21st, 2013, 02:17 PM
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Novice2cruise ~ having been on only one river cruise I'm far from an expert! But I think its hard to say which side of the ship is best since the ports that you'll dock at can be on either side of the river. We'll be going from Basel Switzerland (east side of the Rhine) to Amsterdam (left side of the river) with Breisach on the east; Strasbourg & Speyer on the west; Heidleburg & Rudesheim on the east; Koblenz & Cologne on the west and who knows about Kinderdijk. And that's presuming that the ship doesn't turn or go into a slip to dock.

When we took our first Ocean Cruise (a one-way Venice to Barcelona) the TA suggested getting a cabin on the "land side" - the starbord/right side of the ship. That was so when we were close to land we'd see "something" even if it was just lights. But River cruising is SO different since the river is so narrow (not dangerously!) you can see either side from your cabin.

And I agree with pacmom - you'll be spending most of your time in the lounge or on the top deck.

Have a fabulous trip!!!
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Old March 21st, 2013, 02:42 PM
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That's what we had - Category B mid ship (not mid hallway). As we were going from Amsterdam to Basel, we preferred the port side so that we were always looking out into the river rather than the side that we would dock on.
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  #16  
Old March 25th, 2013, 06:28 AM
tvmovielover tvmovielover is offline
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Default You want good weather on the Rhine

Long ago on our honeymoon, we took a day trip up the Rhine in early summer and it was glorious. In Nov 2011, we took the Basel/Amsterdam trip up the Rhine and the weather made it less so. Particularly on the most scenic leg of the Rhine trip, I felt sorry for people who had not seen it less foggy. We loved the Basel/Amsterdam trip and towns but take it when there is the best chance of good weather (maybe mid-May or Sept for less crowds?) or opt for Dec when the Christmas markets are open (they were just beginning to construct the booths in early to mid Nov). While our particular cruise dates missed the worst of the low water that year (and it got bad), you also have to guess when low or high water will be a factor (from what I see, it is not always Nov) but weather is not always that predictable. It may be worth it to pay a little more and give up the good bargain if there will be a better chance of good weather.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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tvmovielover ~ This December we'll be Basel for 2 days pre-cruise - asking all who've been there for any suggestions of "what to see" (besides Christmas Markets, that's a given!), where to stay and where to eat.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
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Old March 25th, 2013, 01:10 PM
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I too am planning on a Rhine river cruise in July or August, 2014. Does anyone know anything about Arosa Cruise Line, which is a European company but are going after the American market for this year and next? I always heard that Viking was the best cruise line, but I was thinking of AMAcruises and Avalon as well. Any information will be greatly appreciated.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 03:39 PM
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Novice2cruise, I am with a group of 21 sailing on the Visionary April 12, 2014 Amsterdam to Basil. I don't know if you are aware, but Avalon has a sale of $250 pp off through April 8th. Also, they are running a promotion of a full fare off for every 10 passengers. Also, their regular group discount is 1/2 fare off for every 8 passengers. With 8 in your group, you should get the 1/2 off, and you may want to recruit another couple for the full fare off.
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Old March 25th, 2013, 04:00 PM
Novice2cruise Novice2cruise is offline
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tilly's mom

Thanks for the info. Luckily I already had it but I appreciate your input. Needless to say, I hope you have a GREAT trip.

I am curious, what category of cabins did you decide on and why April 12? Any other recommendations?
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