Stepping outside of the box?

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#1
Jacksonville, FL USA
48,295 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Hi...I normally cruise with Celebrity and decided to look around
at some other things......anyone with thoughts on River Cruising?
I know the ships are much, much smaller and so much less people.
I cruise on my own...thoughts on solo cruisers on this type of cruise?
I am in my mid 50s and am very outgoing.....would love to hear
(read) some 1st hand information

Thanks!
#2
Vancouver Island, Canada
639 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
I think you would like River cruising. I always went on large ships and now I have been on three Viking River Cruises and have one more booked.
You get to know a lot of people as the ships are smaller.
I always seem to find a friend to travel with me but I would go alone on a river cruise.
You are with a group when they take you on tours so you aren't alone.
#3
Jacksonville, FL USA
48,295 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by travelfirst
I think you would like River cruising. I always went on large ships and now I have been on three Viking River Cruises and have one more booked.
You get to know a lot of people as the ships are smaller.
I always seem to find a friend to travel with me but I would go alone on a river cruise.
You are with a group when they take you on tours so you aren't alone.
Hi...I know my sis and bil have done at least 2 River Cruises and loved
them both.

I did some research and it looks like VIKING has single cabins so it is
less $$ than usual......which ships have you been on? I love
cruising solo....to be honest with you I don't have anyone I would
want to share a cabin with...I love my own space
#4
Beverly, ma, us
325 Posts
Joined Feb 2012
Lois,

We have only done river cruises with Grand Circle, so we can't speak to the other cruise operators.

Grand Circle generally targets the 50 and over traveler, with some younger and more older, sometimes much older. There are always a significant number of women traveling alone or with friends. Grand Circle claims to have better solo pricing than the other lines, but, as we always travel as a couple, I can not verify that. Seating is always open at meals, generally with tables for 6 or 8. We have never seen singles being isolated, but rather welcomed. Grand Circle does not sell through travel agents, so if you go to a TA they will not be mentioned. You can generally do cruise only, cruise with airport transfers, or cruise with air and transfers. Most cruises have optional pre and/or post trip land extensions. Their ships are usually between 120 and 180 passengers, some with rooms for singles, but most are doubles, where you can pay extra as a solo (i'm not sure how much the premium is), or they will do room mate matching. Our most recent cruise was The Seine: Paris to Normandy. I did a blog/trip report on the trip, with many photos and some videos. It is http://jackthetravelingman-seine.blogspot.com. Their web site is www.gct.com, but they do not sell directly through the web site. You have to call them on the phone.

We have thoroughly enjoyed river cruising. At least with Grand Circle it is much more relaxed and informal than ocean cruises, with more emphasis on the frequent port stops.

Last year Conde Nast Traveler had an issue comparing cruise lines and itineraries. It is http://www.cntraveler.com/cruises/20...ise-revolution

If you try it, I think you will love river cruising.

Good luck
#5
Jacksonville, FL USA
48,295 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Hi, BeverlyJack, not sure which one of you posts
Thanks for the reply and I will take a look at the website. I appreciate
the information
#6
New York
8,119 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
AMA also has single cabins, and most comparative reviews put them above Viking in terms of food and service.
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Email me: [email protected]
Blogs: Jazzbeaux Blogs

I am not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for Cruise Critic. All opinions are mine alone. Also, I'm only a Host on the various River forums -- everywhere else I'm "just plain Jazz."

Booked:
Crown Princess Classic Canada & New England 10-2017
Azamara Quest Costa Rica 1-2018
AMA Discover Africa 5-2018
Viking Sun British Isles Explorer 8-2018
Celebrity Edge Caribbean B2B / Celebrity Equinox Caribbean B2B 1-2019 [will choose one!]

Completed:
Norwegian Pride of America Hawaii 10-2016; Azamara Quest Norwegian Fjords 8-2016; Celebrity Constellation Greek Isles 5-2016; AmaDagio Provence 9-2015; Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos 5-2015; Celebrity Eclipse Southern Carib 3-2015; Fresco Tours A Kinder Camino walking tour 9-2014; Crystal Serenity Mediterranean 5-2014; Coral Princess Panama Canal 1-2014; AmaCello Rhine 8-2013; Coral Princess Alaska 6-2013; Ireland Fly-Drive 9-2012; Norwegian Dawn Caribbean 3-2013 / Celebrity Summit Caribbean 1-2012 / Oceania Insignia Mediterranean 5-2011 / Fair Dinkum (Erie Canal bareboat) 7-2003 / Costa Italia Caribbean 5-1974
#7
Brooklyn
1,671 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Many cruise lines will waive the single supplement on select cruises to move cabins. Keep an eye out for that too because then you're getting a full-sized cabin for half the price you would normally pay!
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#8
Vancouver Island, Canada
639 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by Lois R
Hi...I know my sis and bil have done at least 2 River Cruises and loved
them both.

I did some research and it looks like VIKING has single cabins so it is
less $$ than usual......which ships have you been on? I love
cruising solo....to be honest with you I don't have anyone I would
want to share a cabin with...I love my own space
I have been on Viking Spirit, Viking Emerald (to China), Viking Odin and am going on Viking Helvetia in November.

I went to All-Inclusive resorts in Cuba, Dominican Republic and St Lucia by myself and the first ocean cruise I went on was by myself. I met a lot of people and we had fun.
#9
FL
14,384 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Hi, Lois. Nice to see you here and hope all is well.

I think you would enjoy a river cruise for both the overall experience and the social interaction. The small boats make it easy for singles to mix and mingle and the informality contributes to the friendly onboard atmosphere.

As you know, we used to cruise mass market a lot but gave it up 6 years ago as we just do not care for today's ocean cruising on large ships. We made an exception last year and it was even worse than we expected.

We have been on 6 river cruises so far, with another booked for 2014. AMA is our favorite for the overall quality and attention to detail, as well as the younger demographic and more energetic vibe. We have had a lot of fun in the evenings on AMA, which was not the case on the other line we tried previous to our AMA experience. We also enjoy the active tours they offer and the younger and more social staff and crew.

AMA offers sailings with no single supplements (we look for these when my mom is coming with us, as she is next year).

Last year we had a group of 13 that cruised with us in November, 5 couples and three singles. Half had previously cruised with Avalon and two with Uniworld. All agreed that AMA was a significantly more enjoyable overall experience. Of that 13, 8 are coming with us next year and two of those couples are bringing other friends. My mom was with us last year and told me that when she arrived back home, she threw out her stack of river cruise line brochures as she enjoyed AMA so much (her third river cruise and first on AMA) that she would not consider another line based on her experiences.

Since you are an X fan, IMO you would not enjoy GCT or Vantage which are value oriented lines.

The cruise we are doing next year in France is a wine theme cruise. We did one with AMA two years ago and it was so much fun! Lots of extra activities were included that were wine focused, and more than half of the passengers were in their 40-50s as the wine host was St. Francis Vineyards and the CEO and marketing director were aboard as well as some of their wine club members. We had a blast!

The only other line we would personally consider is A-Rosa as they are gearing their cruises to a younger and more active demographic, which suits us best.

Vikings new boats have too many passengers aboard for us - in the same space as other lines who have ~160 - and their French balcony cabins on the new longships are only 135 sq ft. Also, from what I have seen and read and heard in discussions with friends and clients that have cruised with them, IMO Viking is not up to AMA standards for food, wine, entertainment, service, and range of activities and excursions.

For us, AMA is the best fit and we are really looking forward to our next cruise with them.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017
Crystal Esprit, February 2018

Amadeus Provence, November 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

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
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017
#10
Jacksonville, FL USA
48,295 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Hi Kim, nice to see too

I still love the cruiseline experience It is not about not enjoying
myself....more about just looking at something else. We have not been
in touch for a long time so, no, I had no idea it has been 6 years since
you have sailed on the larger ships. Nice there are other options for you
to enjoy

I did a google search and AMA is part of another large online agency
we are not allowed to name on here?

You have to remember though, 160 passengers? Or 300? Both are
much smaller than I have ever sailed with

I will do some more research and see what I can find. Thanks so much
for reply and hope you are both doing well too.
#11
Jacksonville, FL USA
48,295 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by travelfirst
I have been on Viking Spirit, Viking Emerald (to China), Viking Odin and am going on Viking Helvetia in November.

I went to All-Inclusive resorts in Cuba, Dominican Republic and St Lucia by myself and the first ocean cruise I went on was by myself. I met a lot of people and we had fun.
Oh, I sail on my own every cruise I take....been sailing solo for 10 years.
I did all inclusives way back in the mid 90s....long, long time ago.
I much prefer cruising to an AI....much easier (for me anyway) to meet
people and being on the ship? I love being on the water.......
#12
FL
14,384 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
<I did a google search and AMA is part of another large online agency
we are not allowed to name on here?>

AMA is most definitely not part of any online agency. They are privately owned and the owners are lovely. We have sailed with them and met them on several occasions and IMO the reason for the overall attention to detail is due to their hands on approach to running their business.

Their boats carry 138-168 passengers, depending on the vessel. The newest boats, AmaCerto, AmaPrima and AmaBella, are the largest. AmaCerto was simply stunning and we were wowed with everything about that experience. Our friends used the heated pool daily, even though we sailed in late fall.

I know that you will always enjoy your X cruises but a river cruise is a worthwhile adventure with a much more personal feel and worth a try IMO.

Yes, it had been 6 years since we took a mass market cruise as we were just over the size, lines, restrictions, extra charges and constant nickel and diming, as well as the continued decline in quality - in our opinion. Last Christmas we booked a last minute cruise on Princess with modest expectations based on our last few big ship cruises and while we enjoyed the time away, it was even more of a let down than we expected. I cannot imagine doing another as for us, it is simply the least enjoyable way to vacation.

We have been enjoying all inclusive adult only resorts for years, as well as land trips to Europe and have now added river cruising to the list of vacation styles we enjoy. It is not for everyone, but worth a try and worth the research to choose the line that is right for you. There are as many differences on river boats/lines as there are on the mass market lines IMO and IME.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017
Crystal Esprit, February 2018

Amadeus Provence, November 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

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
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017
#13
Vancouver Island, Canada
639 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by Lois R
Oh, I sail on my own every cruise I take....been sailing solo for 10 years.
I did all inclusives way back in the mid 90s....long, long time ago.
I much prefer cruising to an AI....much easier (for me anyway) to meet
people and being on the ship? I love being on the water.......
I haven't been on an all inclusive holiday for years either. I like cruising also, I have been on 15 so far but I see you have been on many cruises.
I like the river cruises best now. There are no crowds and lining up for anything.
#14
Jacksonville, FL USA
48,295 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
Originally posted by caviargal
<I did a google search and AMA is part of another large online agency
we are not allowed to name on here?>

AMA is most definitely not part of any online agency. They are privately owned and the owners are lovely. We have sailed with them and met them on several occasions and IMO the reason for the overall attention to detail is due to their hands on approach to running their business.

Their boats carry 138-168 passengers, depending on the vessel. The newest boats, AmaCerto, AmaPrima and AmaBella, are the largest. AmaCerto was simply stunning and we were wowed with everything about that experience. Our friends used the heated pool daily, even though we sailed in late fall.

I know that you will always enjoy your X cruises but a river cruise is a worthwhile adventure with a much more personal feel and worth a try IMO.

Yes, it had been 6 years since we took a mass market cruise as we were just over the size, lines, restrictions, extra charges and constant nickel and diming, as well as the continued decline in quality - in our opinion. Last Christmas we booked a last minute cruise on Princess with modest expectations based on our last few big ship cruises and while we enjoyed the time away, it was even more of a let down than we expected. I cannot imagine doing another as for us, it is simply the least enjoyable way to vacation.

We have been enjoying all inclusive adult only resorts for years, as well as land trips to Europe and have now added river cruising to the list of vacation styles we enjoy. It is not for everyone, but worth a try and worth the research to choose the line that is right for you. There are as many differences on river boats/lines as there are on the mass market lines IMO and IME.
Hi Kim....I must be looking in the wrong place on the net....does
AMA have their own website?
#16
Brooklyn
1,671 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by Lois R
Hi Kim....I must be looking in the wrong place on the net....does
AMA have their own website?
www.amawaterways.com

If in doubt, just type a company name in an add ".com" and that usually works...
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Upcoming:
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Inaugural CTN

Sailed:
HAL Eurodam - Baltics
Norwegian Getaway - E. Caribbean
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
- 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)
#18
Elmwood Park, NJ, USA
358 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
Hi Lois . . you will love river cruising. We took our first last November on Viking's Helvetia.
Absolutely loved it. We had singles on our cruise. We all had a great time together whether it was on a tour, dinner or just sitting in the lounge after dinner. It is totally different than an ocean cruise. We would definitely book another one down the road. You'll love it.

Maryann
#19
Vancouver Island, Canada
639 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Originally posted by MareT
Hi Lois . . you will love river cruising. We took our first last November on Viking's Helvetia.
Absolutely loved it. We had singles on our cruise. We all had a great time together whether it was on a tour, dinner or just sitting in the lounge after dinner. It is totally different than an ocean cruise. We would definitely book another one down the road. You'll love it.

Maryann
I am going on the Rhine Getaway on the Viking Helvetia this November in a Cat C cabin.

Was it cold on the tours? Any tips? I have never gone to Europe in November.
#20
Elmwood Park, NJ, USA
358 Posts
Joined Jun 2003
We left NJ on 11/8 so temps on our cruise were mostly in the low 40's, some were in the high 30's. We wore our winter jackets so we were comfortable. Just make sure you have comfortable walking shoes/boots as we did lots and lots of walking. We did a pre cruise in Amsterdam and a post in Lucerne with Viking. We had a cat C room as well. Rooms were spacious with a huge picture window that opened. Crew was awesome. Breakfast and lunch were always buffet style. Dinner was at 7 pm each evening. We had tours each morning with local guides then spent the rest of the day on our own sampling the local cuisine and shopping. There were some days we went to two cities in one day. There were only a handful of optional tours. We would definitely do another river cruise.

If you have anything other questions, please let me know. I still have all my books and dailies Viking gave us.

Maryann