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  #1  
Old October 20th, 2013, 05:43 PM
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cherylakers cherylakers is offline
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Default River Cruise Company Comparison

We plan on doing a river cruise in late fall of 2015.

I want to start planning early. We want to do Amsterdam to Budapest if possible. I notice some companies only do to Vienna or they don't start in Amsterdam and only start in Cologne.

Has anyone done a spreadsheet comparison on a few companies? Would you be willing to share what you have found out and what items you compared.

It would give me a start to narrowing down a cruise line. There seem to be many more differences in river cruise lines than in ocean ones. At least that is my perspective.

The only river cruise we have done was with GCT on the Nile.

Thanks
Cheryl
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  #2  
Old October 20th, 2013, 07:29 PM
pbnjrockette pbnjrockette is offline
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When we did our Rhine River cruise over 10 years ago it did begin in Amsterdam but it looks like most of the itineraries start in Germany now with Amsterdam as an extension.

We have traveled many times with Vantage and have been happy with their itineraries, program managers and overall trip experience. We are now booked on a rivercruise thru France for 2014 and looking forward to their much newer ships as we have heard such good reports!

Good luck with your researching... most here are loyal to the companies they travel with but there are also some good reviews that point out valid pros/cons.
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  #3  
Old October 20th, 2013, 07:54 PM
Talisker92 Talisker92 is online now
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I am admittedly a Vantage cheerleader,but IMO they give the most bang for the buck in the mid range. There are more expensive lines such as Tauck, which is excellent.
We have done 4 river cruises with them,and been very happy. We did a Xmas Market cruise, a Budapest to Amsterdam cruise, a Burgundy cruise, and we just got back from a Russian River cruise.
I have posted pictures and stories of all of them on our website.
We are always happy to answer any questions.
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  #4  
Old October 20th, 2013, 10:17 PM
lcj4 lcj4 is offline
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Uniworld has "European Jewels" cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest or reverse.
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  #5  
Old October 20th, 2013, 10:28 PM
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There are many lines that go from Amsterdam to Budapest (and vice versa).

[Cheerleader here for AmaWaterways Their version is called Magnificent Europe - 16 days]

They also have a variation that starts in Paris with TGV to Luxembourg, then sails from Bernkastel on the Mosel to Budapest (Ultimate River Cruise - 21 days). Paris is even better than Amsterdam, and the sail from Bernkastel to Koblenz is much more interesting that the stretch from Amsterdam to Koblenz (after that the itineraries are the same, so you get the Rhine Castles either way).
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  #6  
Old October 20th, 2013, 11:20 PM
dcruisers dcruisers is offline
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Viking does the Grand European from Amsterdam to Budapest and the reverse. We got back 3 weeks ago and Viking did a wonderful job! Not all river cruise companies include wine and beer at BOTH lunch and dinner - Viking does. I know my husband enjoyed a beer with lunch as well as dinner. I think uniworld does as include wine and beer at lunch as well.
Without a doubt-We would do another Viking cruise -if they had an itinerary we wanted to do-as they were very customer oriented and professional.
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  #7  
Old October 21st, 2013, 09:18 PM
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Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

I have started my spreadsheet comparing several lines.

So many choices....

Thanks again
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Rhapsody of Seas RCI 1/1998 Southern Caribbean
Grand Princess 1/1999 Eastern Caribben
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Voyager of Seas RCI 9/2002 Western Caribbean
Zuiderdamm HAL 12/2002 Eastern Caribbean
Carnival Glory 10/2003 Western Caribbean
Voyager of Seas RCI 4/2004 Western Caribbean
Diamond Princess 9/2004 Mexican Riveria
Carnival Liberty 9/2005 Mediterranean
Star Princess 6/2006 Baltics
Carnival Liberty 11/2007 Western Caribbean
GCT River Cruise Egypt 1/2008
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Coral Princess 4/2008 Panama Canal
Emerald Princess 10/2009 Eastern Caribbean
Star Princess 9/23/2010 Greek Isles
Diamond Princess 6/2011 Alaska Cruise Tour
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  #8  
Old October 21st, 2013, 09:48 PM
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I'm sorry I could not find the spreadsheet I did for our 2011 river cruise. I guess I deleted it when I prepared our spreadsheet for next years trip in France. My only advice in laying out the spreadsheet is to include ALL costings so that you can arrive at a true per diem. To compare apples with apples you have to add in the costs not included by the non all-inclusive lines to arrive at a true figure. It was by using this method that I put to rest the general comment that Tauck is the most expensive company.
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  #9  
Old October 22nd, 2013, 09:27 AM
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I also did a spreadsheet to come up with per diem rates so I could more easily compare apples to apples. We ended up choosing Avalon for our December 2014 Christmas Market cruise, because there were only a couple of companies doing the itinerary we wanted - and Avalon was enough cheaper than Uniworld (with larger cabins and a fridge in the cabin) that I'll have plenty of money to buy my own German beer for lunch AND keep it cold in the cabin (beer tasting is a priority of my husband's - he's an avid home brewer - and the main reason we chose the itinerary we did)

Keep in mind that itineraries can change from year to year, and I don't believe that all (or even most) of the 2015 itineraries have been released yet. So look at all companies - request literature online, etc - because a line that doesn't have that itin in 2013 or 2014 might have it in 2015....
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  #10  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 12:47 PM
aunteemom aunteemom is offline
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Default Spreadsheet

Can you please post your comparison spreadsheet for France
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  #11  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 12:56 PM
luckypuppy luckypuppy is offline
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Default River cruise

We did a 14 day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest several years ago on AMAWaterways. I saw that they are still offering that same itinerary in their most recent catalogue. We enjoyed the cruise immensely despite some rather inclement weather -- we cruised in May. The tours were wonderful and each person had their own ear piece so you can always hear your guide. I would definitely recommend AMA for this cruise. My next choice of river cruise will now be Budapest to Bucharest -- but, sadly, not this year and I would choose AMA again.
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  #12  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 04:47 PM
ollibarb ollibarb is offline
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Default 2015 River cruise planning

Quote:
Originally Posted by cherylakers View Post
We plan on doing a river cruise in late fall of 2015.

I want to start planning early. We want to do Amsterdam to Budapest if possible. I notice some companies only do to Vienna or they don't start in Amsterdam and only start in Cologne.

Has anyone done a spreadsheet comparison on a few companies? Would you be willing to share what you have found out and what items you compared.

It would give me a start to narrowing down a cruise line. There seem to be many more differences in river cruise lines than in ocean ones. At least that is my perspective.

The only river cruise we have done was with GCT on the Nile.

Thanks
Cheryl
Cheryl - looking for the same comparisons as we are looking at a 2015 cruise and the Amsterdam to Budapest is a top itinerary. This would be our first river cruise and note the differences. Based on recommendations from trusted sources, AMA, Tauck and Vantage have made our short list. We love to stay in touch as we keep looking.

Barb
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  #13  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 05:07 PM
roch342 roch342 is offline
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Default High Water Warning

We did a marvelous "Grand Rivers of Europe Cruise" with Grand Circle, from Amsterdam to Vienna, and enjoyed every minute of it. However we found out after we arrived that we could easily be bumped to a bus and hotels if the river levels rose too high for the cruisers to get under the low bridges. Before one bridge the captain required us to leave port several hours early in order to slide under it with inches to spare.
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  #14  
Old October 23rd, 2013, 05:11 PM
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We did our first river cruise in July 2013 with Avalon, we found the whole of Avalon faultless in every stage of booking, changing cruises, boarding, daily tours, food, departing, transfer etc etc, yes we are both fussy, travelled extensively and been involved in arranging and running international conferences up to 1500 people. YES we found Avalon faultless, that is why we have booked with them again for 2014.
I am sure some other cruise lines operate to the same standard and I have read 1000's of threads on CC.
From what I have read and observered, the biggest difference is how these various companies handle things if something goes wrong, ie, river levels, floods, locks closed etc. I can only suggest you need to be very careful in which cruise line you pick for this reason alone can make or break a good holiday.
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  #15  
Old October 24th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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Default River Cruising at its worst

We took our first river cruise in June 2013 from Germany to Budapest. We started out with 3 nights in Prague at the Hilton which was great. You don't need to do that with the cruise line. Unfortunately Europe had the worst flooding in 500 years so we were deeply affected. Our cruise line was AMA and they handled the situation in an excellent manor. We were bused to most places and we were on put on 2 different boats during our 1 week cruise. The last night they had to put everyone up in a Hotel because the locks were broken. This was an extreme case of flooding and they took care of their passengers. Everyone received a full refund to be used on another cruise up until December 2016. Felt this was extremely generous.
They had good excursions, everyone had their own headphones so you did not have to be on top of the guides. Food was good not great. This are big differences between river cruisng and ocean cruising.

Hope this helps.

Melodye
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  #16  
Old October 24th, 2013, 11:52 AM
ollibarb ollibarb is offline
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Default That is very helpful to know

Quote:
Originally Posted by commencemilo View Post
We took our first river cruise in June 2013 from Germany to Budapest. We started out with 3 nights in Prague at the Hilton which was great. You don't need to do that with the cruise line. Unfortunately Europe had the worst flooding in 500 years so we were deeply affected. Our cruise line was AMA and they handled the situation in an excellent manor. We were bused to most places and we were on put on 2 different boats during our 1 week cruise. The last night they had to put everyone up in a Hotel because the locks were broken. This was an extreme case of flooding and they took care of their passengers. Everyone received a full refund to be used on another cruise up until December 2016. Felt this was extremely generous.
They had good excursions, everyone had their own headphones so you did not have to be on top of the guides. Food was good not great. This are big differences between river cruisng and ocean cruising.

Hope this helps.

Melodye
Thanks Melodye. I agree that it is what happens when things go wrong that separates great cruise lines from good cruise lines. Your note gives us an example I think is crucial to making the decisions. Anyone else have experiences when things go wrong?
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  #17  
Old October 24th, 2013, 01:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollibarb View Post
Anyone else have experiences when things go wrong?
Just read the postings in this forum from over the summer - full of people's experience with how the lines handled the flooding.
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  #18  
Old October 24th, 2013, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ollibarb View Post
Anyone else have experiences when things go wrong?
Unfortunately, yes!

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1892421

Many more examples on Trip Advisor as well.
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  #19  
Old October 24th, 2013, 11:28 PM
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You'll find lots of similar complaints about Viking this summer.

AMA, Avalon and Uniworld (in alphabetical order, in case anyone's counting ) had mostly positive comments.
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  #20  
Old October 25th, 2013, 07:38 AM
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We have cruised Vantage and AMA. Both were excellent.
I always price ship and always find Vantage beats Viking in price. Also, usually get more for less money. Especially on our China trip, there was a significant difference.
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