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  #1  
Old October 4th, 2013, 05:38 PM
vareseitaly vareseitaly is offline
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Default Viking or AMA Waterways for Danube river cruise

Hello,

This is my first post and first time planning a river cruise! I am a well-versed traveler by air and land, but not by sea or river.

I am planning a Danube river cruise for 2014 - likely August or September and all along had been focused on researching Viking's options. Now after reading through many of the forums I have learned of AMA Waterways and they seem to have very good reviews.

I am torn on which cruise line to select. Has anyone experienced both cruise lines and have a recommendation either way? If so, can you give the pros/cons of the line you selected.

Thank you in advance!

Kim
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  #2  
Old October 4th, 2013, 05:53 PM
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nana541 nana541 is offline
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Kim welcome to Cruise Critic and the River Cruise boards!!!
You will find many fellow cruisers who have experienced both lines (sadly I have not).
However, you should know the August and September 2014 dates on all lines across the board are likely to have few open cabins remaining. Find what itinerary you really want and then see who has any cabins remaining...

There are several lines that market to North American travelers, Canadian, UK and Australian cruisers.

Check out, AMA, Uniworld, Avalon, Scenic, and of course Viking (oops forgot Tauck). All have loyal followers and many many reviews on these boards.

Have fun researching your journey!
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  #3  
Old October 4th, 2013, 06:34 PM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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We have not cruised with Viking and are not likely to do so. We have seen their older boats in port and they do not appeal and their longships have 30% more passengers on the same size boat as AMA with 168. Their standard French balcony cabins are significantly smaller than the same cabins on AMA and even AMA's fixed window cabins are larger than Viking's pricier French balcony cabins on the new and much hyped "Longships". Also, their way in advance payment requirements are a turn off as well as the many negative reports of how they have historically handled crisis situations.

We have been on a total of 6 river cruises, 2 with AMA, and have two more AMA cruises booked. For us, they suit our travel style, taste and priorities very well and we have been extremely satisfied with our AMA cruises. Great food, wonderful crew and staff, good entertainment, nice variety of both active and slow excursions, and excellent attention to detail have all contributed to our satisfaction with AMA.

I have written detailed reviews on all of our river cruises if you are interested in reading more.
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Last edited by caviargal; October 4th, 2013 at 06:37 PM.
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  #4  
Old October 4th, 2013, 06:43 PM
cruising grandma cruising grandma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
We have not cruised with Viking and are not likely to do so. We have seen their older boats in port and they do not appeal and their longships have 30% more passengers on the same size boat as AMA with 168. Their standard French balcony cabins are significantly smaller than the same cabins on AMA and even AMA's fixed window cabins are larger than Viking's pricier French balcony cabins on the new and much hyped "Longships". Also, their way in advance payment requirements are a turn off as well as the many negative reports of how they have historically handled crisis situations.

We have been on a total of 6 river cruises, 2 with AMA, and have two more AMA cruises booked. For us, they suit our travel style, taste and priorities very well and we have been extremely satisfied with our AMA cruises. Great food, wonderful crew and staff, good entertainment, nice variety of both active and slow excursions, and excellent attention to detail have all contributed to our satisfaction with AMA.

I have written detailed reviews on all of our river cruises if you are interested in reading more.

I'm interested in a Christmas Market Cruise review. If you have experienced any of them(any ship), would you please share a link?
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  #5  
Old October 4th, 2013, 08:16 PM
vareseitaly vareseitaly is offline
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Wow, I didn't realize that cruises next Aug/Sept would be almost full at this point. I had better get on it!! Thanks for the info!
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  #6  
Old October 4th, 2013, 08:35 PM
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Last edited by we're sailing away....; October 4th, 2013 at 08:36 PM.
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  #7  
Old October 4th, 2013, 08:47 PM
franski franski is offline
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Hi Kim -

I have cruised with both Viking and AMA. I would cruise with either again if the stars aligned.

I know that Caviargal is an AMA cheerleader - as are many on this board - but, it was probably the "weakest link" in our chain of river cruises. We have also sailed with Scenic x 2, and Uniworld x 3. Our first cruise with Avalon is booked for next June.

Caviargal does make a very good point about the higher passenger count on Viking - but, if you have never done a river cruise before, you would not notice that the boat has more people. If space in a cabin is a priority for you, then AMA might be a better choice. But, as someone who travels lowest category (ie: Aquarium Class) that doesn't really factor into our decision. All river boats have well laid-out cabins that maximize the available space.

I have indicated before (and I apologize to those that may feel I put too much stress on this point) that the biggest single impact on any river cruise is the Cruise Director --> and you have no control over that. That is probably why my AMA cruise wasn't as memorable as others - as our CD was the weakest of any we have traveled with to date. The food was good - not great. And, almost the entire wait staff arrived the day we did --> so service in the dining room was VERY slow. Perhaps the cruise ahead of ours might have better - when the wait staff was more experienced...

We did have issues with our Viking cruise - but feel that they were addressed in a manner that was satisfactory to us. Again - this is subjective - so can't speak to others' experiences.

Nana541also brings up a good point that many lines are sold out for next year (our June sailing on Avalon has been sold out for a few months now....) August might have more availability - and can be a bit cheaper - although flights are often more expensive.

The comment re: Viking's payment policy is also "bang on". They are the only line that requires full payment within 30 days. Some will offer a better discount if you pay in full - but it is a choice.

Hope this helps.

Fran

P.S. Welcome to Cruise Critic!!

Last edited by franski; October 4th, 2013 at 08:48 PM.
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  #8  
Old October 5th, 2013, 07:22 AM
caviargal caviargal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruising grandma View Post
I'm interested in a Christmas Market Cruise review. If you have experienced any of them(any ship), would you please share a link?
Several of our cruises were Christmas market season and we have also been to Europe a number of times during the markets on independent land trips. It's a great time of year to be in Europe!

If you go to the review section, you will find my reviews on Avalon Luminary, Affinity and Panorama and AmaDante and AmaCerto.
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email me here: kf95704@gmail.com
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  #9  
Old October 5th, 2013, 10:40 AM
janmcn janmcn is offline
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Just returned from a terrific 14-day cruise on Viking longship Skadi that did the Danube, Main-Danube Canal, and Rhine (Budapest to Amsterdam). We LOVED it! Yes, the cabins are small, but they are so well planned that we never had a problem…their lighting is outstanding. Loved the French Balcony which allowed us to open our curtain in the morning and see what was going on without getting dressed ;-)

The whole ship was beautiful! We loved the open feeling in the Lounge that also led to the open Aquavit Lounge on the front which was covered (it was cool and sometimes rainy) while we were on it, but could have been totally opened up if in nice weather.

The staff was excellent, food excellent, the tours very good (with one exception), the entertainment was very good…I would never hesitate in taking another Viking Longship again. (They are the ones that can go under the bridges that might be too low for other ships so they may sail a bit different itinerary)…Viking was a very class act. (We had cruisers who had taken other ships and they felt the same.)

(I have posted photos of the Skadi rooms on my smugmug page of Travel…they start on about page 12 of the Budapest to Amsterdam Cruise Photos…there are more a bit later if you surf through them.)
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Jan. 21, 2014 Veendam Caribbean 21 days
Sept. 8, 2013 Viking Skadi 14 days River Cruise, Budapest to Amsterdam
March 30, 2013 Oosterdam NZ, AU, Pacific Island, HI to Seattle 37 days
April 27, 2012 Panama Canal Cruise, FL to San Diego on the Statendam 16 days (4* Mariners!!!!)
January 6, 2012 Veendam Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, including "drive by" of Antarctica (and side trip to Iguazu Falls) 18 days
May 13, 2011 Prinsendam Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam and Nordkapp 45 days
Aug. 19, 2010 Eurodam Amsterdam to NYC via North 18 days
Sept. 17, 2008 Zuiderdam Mediterranean 24 days
May 25, 2008 Volendam Alaska Southbound 7 days
May 16, 2008 Veendam Alaska Northbound 7 days
Aug. 3, 2005 Volendam Alaska Glacier Bay 7 days
Feb. 5, 2000 Ryndam Western Caribbean 7 days
Nov. 28, 1994 Maasdam Panama Canal 14 days
Feb. 2, 1994 Maasdam Western Caribbean 10 days

Last edited by janmcn; October 5th, 2013 at 10:44 AM.
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  #10  
Old October 5th, 2013, 01:09 PM
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nana541 nana541 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janmcn View Post
Just returned from a terrific 14-day cruise on Viking longship Skadi that did the Danube, Main-Danube Canal, and Rhine (Budapest to Amsterdam). We LOVED it! Yes, the cabins are small, but they are so well planned that we never had a problem…their lighting is outstanding. Loved the French Balcony which allowed us to open our curtain in the morning and see what was going on without getting dressed ;-)

The whole ship was beautiful! We loved the open feeling in the Lounge that also led to the open Aquavit Lounge on the front which was covered (it was cool and sometimes rainy) while we were on it, but could have been totally opened up if in nice weather.

The staff was excellent, food excellent, the tours very good (with one exception), the entertainment was very good…I would never hesitate in taking another Viking Longship again. (They are the ones that can go under the bridges that might be too low for other ships so they may sail a bit different itinerary)…Viking was a very class act. (We had cruisers who had taken other ships and they felt the same.)

(I have posted photos of the Skadi rooms on my smugmug page of Travel…they start on about page 12 of the Budapest to Amsterdam Cruise Photos…there are more a bit later if you surf through them.)
Thanks for the update an so glad you loved your cruise! Could you post a link to your pictures?
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  #11  
Old October 5th, 2013, 01:21 PM
mringenoldus mringenoldus is offline
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Janmcn-
We are leaving on our first river cruise on your same itinerary next week (Viking Odin). I was wondering which excursion wasn't to your liking?
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  #12  
Old October 5th, 2013, 01:40 PM
cruising grandma cruising grandma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caviargal View Post
Several of our cruises were Christmas market season and we have also been to Europe a number of times during the markets on independent land trips. It's a great time of year to be in Europe!

If you go to the review section, you will find my reviews on Avalon Luminary, Affinity and Panorama and AmaDante and AmaCerto.

Thanks!
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  #13  
Old October 5th, 2013, 11:10 PM
DeeDC DeeDC is offline
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janmcn,
Thanks for your great advice, review, and photos. What camera and lenses did you use. All I can figure out is that it is some sort of panasonic. One of the pictures shows you with a tri-pod. Good idea or not needed.

Your love of travel is contagious.
Can't wait until our 2014 Budapest to Amsterdam journey.
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  #14  
Old October 7th, 2013, 03:55 PM
janmcn janmcn is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nana541 View Post
Thanks for the update an so glad you loved your cruise! Could you post a link to your pictures?
You can find my photos of our Budapest to Amsterdam cruise on the Viking Skadi if you go to www.quiltingjan.smugmug.com and look under the Travel section for that trip. Included in the photos are ones I took of all the spaces on the Skadi.
Hope it helps.

I use a Canon 5D iii for most photos, although some were taken with our trusty Panasonic SZ200 which is a great little backup. Yes, we took a tripod, but I used it only for the night photos in Budapest. The Canon does great indoor shots at high ISO for cathedrals, etc. The Panasonic performs well in those conditions, too. (Just not quite as detailed.) My husband likes a tripod for doing videos as we cruised down the rivers. A few other cruisers had tripods, but IMO they weren't really needed.


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http://www.quiltingjan.smugmug.com recent travel photos



Jan. 21, 2014 Veendam Caribbean 21 days
Sept. 8, 2013 Viking Skadi 14 days River Cruise, Budapest to Amsterdam
March 30, 2013 Oosterdam NZ, AU, Pacific Island, HI to Seattle 37 days
April 27, 2012 Panama Canal Cruise, FL to San Diego on the Statendam 16 days (4* Mariners!!!!)
January 6, 2012 Veendam Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, including "drive by" of Antarctica (and side trip to Iguazu Falls) 18 days
May 13, 2011 Prinsendam Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam and Nordkapp 45 days
Aug. 19, 2010 Eurodam Amsterdam to NYC via North 18 days
Sept. 17, 2008 Zuiderdam Mediterranean 24 days
May 25, 2008 Volendam Alaska Southbound 7 days
May 16, 2008 Veendam Alaska Northbound 7 days
Aug. 3, 2005 Volendam Alaska Glacier Bay 7 days
Feb. 5, 2000 Ryndam Western Caribbean 7 days
Nov. 28, 1994 Maasdam Panama Canal 14 days
Feb. 2, 1994 Maasdam Western Caribbean 10 days

Last edited by janmcn; October 7th, 2013 at 04:00 PM.
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  #15  
Old October 7th, 2013, 04:05 PM
janmcn janmcn is offline
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Regensburg was the one place we had a poor excursion, but it was only because of a poor tour guide. As an FYI, we found if you don't care for your particular guide, find one of the other groups, log into their frequency on your VoxBox and see how they are. Others raved about their guide in Regensburg, so I'm sorry we didn't do that...found out later about switching guides,


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__________________
Jan and Chris

http://www.quiltingjan.smugmug.com recent travel photos



Jan. 21, 2014 Veendam Caribbean 21 days
Sept. 8, 2013 Viking Skadi 14 days River Cruise, Budapest to Amsterdam
March 30, 2013 Oosterdam NZ, AU, Pacific Island, HI to Seattle 37 days
April 27, 2012 Panama Canal Cruise, FL to San Diego on the Statendam 16 days (4* Mariners!!!!)
January 6, 2012 Veendam Valparaiso to Buenos Aires, including "drive by" of Antarctica (and side trip to Iguazu Falls) 18 days
May 13, 2011 Prinsendam Ft. Lauderdale to Amsterdam and Nordkapp 45 days
Aug. 19, 2010 Eurodam Amsterdam to NYC via North 18 days
Sept. 17, 2008 Zuiderdam Mediterranean 24 days
May 25, 2008 Volendam Alaska Southbound 7 days
May 16, 2008 Veendam Alaska Northbound 7 days
Aug. 3, 2005 Volendam Alaska Glacier Bay 7 days
Feb. 5, 2000 Ryndam Western Caribbean 7 days
Nov. 28, 1994 Maasdam Panama Canal 14 days
Feb. 2, 1994 Maasdam Western Caribbean 10 days
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