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Not sure what time of year you're traveling and this is my opinion only but if we're sailing in winter or less than optimal weather the lower deck is fine, can be a nice savings and you don't/won't spend much time in your cabin. That said, if it's during a nicer time of the year I'd look at a French balcony at the very least, I like to be able to open the sliders and get fresh air. Like I said, only my opinion. We leave tomorrow for Eastern Europe and will have a French balcony. Whichever you choose, enjoy your travels.
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5.2011 Viking Emerald/China
2.2011 Carnival Triumph/Mexico
9.2009 Uniworld River Ambassador/Rhine
12.2008 Grand Circle Provence/Saone
12.2006 Grand Circle River Rhapsody/Danube
10.2005 Louis Hellenic Perla/Greece & Turkey
12.2003 M/S World/Egypt
We have been in those cabins on two AMA boats as our friends always book the most budget friendly cabin available. Cabins were as well appointed as the more expensive French balcony cabins, just a bit smaller and with less natural light - they had no complaints and booked the same for our next AMA cruise.
138 cruises since 1964, 9 on the river.
Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary - Christmas Markets on the Main
Avalon Affinity B2B - Christmas Markets Main and Danube
Avalon Panorama - New Years Cruise on the Danube
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg
AmaBella - Tulip Time
AmaDagio - Provence
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine
Looking forward to:
SS Catherine Provence July 5, 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine November 25, 2015
Thanks for taking time to reply. Would be looking at Prague to Istanbul early May. This would be following a wedding in UK so a bit restricted with dates. I don't think we will spend too much time in the cabin.
Ditto what Franski says. We've had aquarium class and a French balcony, which was nice, but we spend so little time in our room the extra cost isn't worth it to us. Others, of course, may differ. Oh, I nearly forgot. Once on a winter cruise we had a full balcony. We actually sat on it a couple of times, but we do still feel that aquarium is fine. It is fun to have swans peering in!