Go Back   Cruise Critic Message Board Forums > River Cruising
 
Register here!
Forgot Your Password?


Notices

River Cruising Find Others on Your River Cruise! River Cruising Roll Calls

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old December 6th, 2013, 10:04 AM
frisbeewife frisbeewife is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Palm Bay, FL
Posts: 142
Default Need Advice On Scenic European River Cruises

DH and I, together with another couple who are avid cruisers, are starting to plan a European river cruise for summer 2015. This would be the first river cruise for everyone in our group. The first thing to consider is the itinerary. I do not know much about these cruises but I do know we would prefer to have more "scenic" views and avoid industrial areas as much as possible.

Are some itineraries better than others at avoiding the not-so-scenic areas? Is there a way to tell from a published itinerary which ones are going through "nicer" areas? Or do we just need to spend hours reading reviews of the various cruises? We can (and will) do that, but it's good to get feedback from seasoned river cruises on where to concentrate our searches.

As background, we will all be in our late 50's or early 60's. The other couple like their drinks and consider the alcohol inclusion to be a wonderful feature. DH and I don't drink much, but do want to see the scenery and take excursions that show us the sights and history of the areas we are in. We are not rich and would probably not get suites, but do want to be able to sit and enjoy the scenery sliding by so French balconies would be nice. The other couple enjoy dressing up, DH and I not so much although we can if we have to.

Thanks for any advice to help with our preliminary planning!
__________________
Upcoming Cruises:
Enchantment of the Seas 7/2015
Brilliance of the Seas 7/2015

Completed Cruises:
Jewel of the Seas 1/2014

Freedom of the Seas 8/2013
Monarch of the Seas 2/2012
Sovereign of the Seas 12/2006
Sovereign of the Seas 10/2004
Nieuw Amsterdam 6/2000



Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old December 6th, 2013, 11:21 AM
cruiseryyc cruiseryyc is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 2,099
Default

Took my first river cruise in October on the Scenic Sapphire (you can read my review) it was wonderful. No dressing up is required, we usually changed into nicer clothes for the evening but nothing "dressy". The nice thing about Scenic is everything is included, drinks, tours and tips (including tips for port tour guides). The port tour guides were the best I have I ever had (15 ocean cruises). We took the Amsterdam to Basel cruise and the scenery was great, going through the Rhine Gorge was stunning. However, the last day heading to Basel was quite industrial but I don't think there is any way around that.

Most Scenic ships don't have French Balconies, they have real ones and the great thing is that there is a window that closes so you can still sit out there even in bad weather.

You will thoroughly enjoy your cruise on Scenic; have fun with your planning!

Last edited by cruiseryyc; December 6th, 2013 at 11:23 AM.
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old December 6th, 2013, 11:40 AM
Talisker92 Talisker92 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Santa Paula CA
Posts: 2,932
Default

We have taken a number of river cruises with Vantage (see our website). For a first cruise I would suggest a Budapest to Amsterdam, then spend a couple of days in Amsterdam on your own.
There is no limitation on wine or spirits on the river cruises, so you can bring whatever you want. We normally take a 4 to 5 liter box of wine, which is much lighter than bottles.
We also purchase wines locally. There are a great number of local wines that never make it to the States, but are nice.
We are always happy to answer any questions.
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old December 6th, 2013, 01:58 PM
cruiseryyc cruiseryyc is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Calgary, AB Canada
Posts: 2,099
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisker92 View Post
There is no limitation on wine or spirits on the river cruises, so you can bring whatever you want. We normally take a 4 to 5 liter box of wine, which is much lighter than bottles.
All alcohol is included on Scenic cruises - there is absolutely no need to take any onboard with you.
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old December 6th, 2013, 02:50 PM
Host Jazzbeau's Avatar
Host Jazzbeau Host Jazzbeau is offline
Cruise Critic Host
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: New York
Posts: 2,662
Default Scenic or scenic?

I was initially confused by the thread title, because Scenic is the name of one of the river cruise companies. I think you asking more generally about the scenery of different itineraries.

Some people love river cruising from the get-go (we did), but others hate hate hate it. Since you can't know which reaction you will have, I would advise against a long cruise like Budapest to Amsterdam.

The single most scenic stretch is probably the Rhine Castles between Koblenz and Rudesheim. So I would suggest a 7-day cruise between Amsterdam and Basel. Fly in to Amsterdam a day or two early and enjoy the city, then perhaps visit nearby Switzerland (Lucerne and Zurich) at the end. We did this itinerary this summer on AMA Cello and had a wonderful time.
__________________
Email me: HostJazzbeau@CruiseCritic.com

I am not an employee of Cruise Critic and I don't speak for Cruise Critic. All opinions are mine alone.


Just completed:
Walking the Camino de Santiago (4 Star Guided Tour) --
https://jazzbeauxcamino2014.shutterfly.com/pictures/5

Booked:
Celebrity Eclipse Southern Carib 3-1-2015
Celebrity Xpedition Galapagos 5-10-2015
AMA Provence 9-3-2015
Azamara Quest Norwegian Fjords 8-11-2016
Norwegian Pride of America Hawaii 10-8-2016

Sailed:
Crystal Serenity Mediterranean 5-7-2014 / Coral Princess Panama Canal 1-19-2014 / AmaCello Rhine 8-30-2013 / Coral Princess Alaska 6-26-2013 / Norwegian Dawn Caribbean 3-3-2013 / Celebrity Summit Caribbean 1-28-2012 / Oceania Insignia Mediterranean 5-17-2011 / Fair Dinkum (Erie Canal bareboat) 7-18-2003 / Costa Italia Caribbean 5-18-1974
Reply With Quote

Ad Sponsored By
  #6  
Old December 7th, 2013, 06:47 PM
Hydrokitty's Avatar
Hydrokitty Hydrokitty is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Long Island, New York
Posts: 1,510
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzbeau View Post
I was initially confused by the thread title, because Scenic is the name of one of the river cruise companies. I think you asking more generally about the scenery of different itineraries.

Some people love river cruising from the get-go (we did), but others hate hate hate it. Since you can't know which reaction you will have, I would advise against a long cruise like Budapest to Amsterdam.

The single most scenic stretch is probably the Rhine Castles between Koblenz and Rudesheim. So I would suggest a 7-day cruise between Amsterdam and Basel. Fly in to Amsterdam a day or two early and enjoy the city, then perhaps visit nearby Switzerland (Lucerne and Zurich) at the end. We did this itinerary this summer on AMA Cello and had a wonderful time.
You raise some good points We did our first river cruise with Vantage and went from Budapest to Amsterdam in 21 days. The entire cruise was pretty scenic and the only place that was kind of industrial was Cologne to Amsterdam. We weren't bored for an instant; we loved the informality of river cruising; everyone eating together with open seating at dinner; not having to pack up and put bags out by 6 am. or getting on a bus at 8 a.m.. It's quiet, serene and restful. If those things appeal to you, and you have the time, don't worry about the length of the trip no matter how long your cruise is, it won't be long enough
__________________
Sailed:
Greek Islands and Turkey, Louis Cruises, 2006
Castles on Rhine, Vantage, 2008
Egypt and Jordan, Vantage, 2009
Holland and Belgium, Vantage, 2010
Alaska, Holland America, 2011
Costa Rica, Star Flyer,Vantage, 2011
Russia and Ukraine, Vantage, 2012
Panama Canal, Celebrity Infinity, 2013
Columbia and Snake Rivers, American Cruise, 2013
Gateway to the Black Sea, Vantage, 2014

Other:
England
Italy
France
Monaco
Greece
Turkey
Iceland

Not yet Sailed:
Trans Canada Rail Odyssey ,Vantage, June 2015
Switzerland Rhine & Mozelle, Vantage, August 2015
Elbe: Berlin to Prague

Bucket List:
China and Yangtze River Cruise
Australia and New Zealand
South Africa, Odyssey
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old December 7th, 2013, 07:51 PM
RachelG's Avatar
RachelG RachelG is offline
5,000+ Club
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Tulsa OK
Posts: 5,692
Default

The Danube is very beautiful, no industrial areas at all. We have been twice on AMA and I highly recommend them for all inclusive and they have actual balconies on the newer ships.
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old December 8th, 2013, 06:33 AM
hattack hattack is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,067
Default

We did the Saone & Rhone river cruise from Lyon in the South of France in 2010 in mid April and loved it..went thru 17 locks each way
As long as you understand that River Cruises in Europe are much more laid back than a Carribbean mega liner cruise...you can actually sit on the observation deck and enjoy the incredible scenery and waive at folks on both sides of the river...most evenings local entertainers from the town will come onboard...there were 122 German retirees who spoke English in various degrees and 12 Americans who could not speak a word of German..it worked very well
A big part of our River Cruise experience was the journey to/from Lyon (in the South of France)..we flew to Paris and rode the 200 mph high speed train (1st Class tickets each way, well worth it) spent 2 days in Lyon...on our return train ride, we spent a long (4days) weekend in Paris did some tourist attractions but the best part for us was every night we did the world famous Jazz Clubs
River cruising is very much a romantic couples cruise..which ever one you cruise you will enjoy...good luck
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old December 10th, 2013, 02:32 PM
Marty156 Marty156 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Qld
Posts: 90
Default Do your research!

There are some great cruises, and some that can be the complete opposite.
Do a lot of research as to which company you wish to use, and how they treat their guests when there is a problem.

For example, http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1892421 shows how guests are forcibly shoved onto busses although the company knew that the rivers were not passable.

Lucky us received almost 7 days of cruising out of 15, others only received 2 days!

A class action against that company "Scenic Tours" is comencing shortly!
__________________
Buscruise (That should have been a river cruise) European Rivers 2013
RCCL "Allure of the Seas" 2011 Western Caribbean
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old December 10th, 2013, 03:54 PM
peterdkiwi's Avatar
peterdkiwi peterdkiwi is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Auckland New Zealand
Posts: 160
Default

frisbeewife, we did our first river cruise this year, yes I am over the top in doing research and spent 100's of hours reading CC, going to cruise company evenings, and talking to at least 20 friends who had previously completed at least one and in some cases 6 or 7 river cruises. Here are some of the facts I knew before the cruise and some since doing cruise.

We had 3 couples in same age group as you.

We were advised by many people only to do 7 or 8 days + add a few days at each end. Reason if you find the river cruising doesn't fit with you or if you end up with a unsuitable mix on board its not too long.

The Rhine Amsterdam to Basel (we did it opposite way as were advised timetable is better) is rated the one of the best scenic (viewing) cruises, our Cruise Director rated it best by far with Prague to Budapest next ( yes we have booked that for 2014)

We decided on Avalon due to timetable of port stops, French balconies on 2 levels, larger size standard staterooms, lower number of people on boat (130)the selection of free tours each day and also the extra paid tours, overall cost & payment terms

We enjoy our drinks at night and found Avalon free drinks with diner more than enough, if fact girls had to slow the refills as they don't let you glass drop below 1/2 full.

No need to dress up, smart causal if fine.

Having attended many international conferences and also arrange many conferences, I am very picky on organisation, food, service etc, etc. As I have said to many people in the last 6 months, I could not fault anything on the Avalon Cruise from check in at start of cruise to departure of Avalon transport at the end of tour.

Stay away from Scenic Boats - A class action against that company "Scenic Tours" is commencing shortly due to their shocking customer service this year.
__________________
Great Cruising , Peter

2006 July - Holland America-Volendam, Alaska Inside Passage
2013 July - Avalon - Artistry II, Basel to Amsterdam
2014 July - Avalon - Vista, Prague to Budapest

Yes we escape NZ to explore the world as much as we can in the winter.
Reply With Quote

  #11  
Old December 12th, 2013, 03:31 AM
notamermaid notamermaid is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Rhine, Germany
Posts: 322
Default which season?

Hello frisbeewife,

As you mention finances I would like to point out that the river cruises early in the year are often a little cheaper but as regards the Rhine and Danube you have a higher risk of flooding in April and the landscape might still be a little wintery. I would also not travel in mid-November as the landscape is again not so spectacular and there are no Chrismas markets open yet. Having said that, people on CC have favourably mentioned the Holland spring cruises.

Or have a look at the google pictures option when you check out the itineraries perhaps something will stick out that you want to see.

For wine and European (and Roman) history I would recommend looking at the Southern France cruises. I admit I prefer French wines to German ones...

And sticking to the shorter itineraries is a good advice. You could even go as far a looking at the European companies that offer 5-day-cruises.

notamermaid
__________________
Transocean Belvedere Danube April 2013
English Channel Crossings 1984 to present:
Calais - Dover
Ostend - Dover
Dutch island hopping 1980's
Reply With Quote

Reply

Bookmarks


Ad Sponsored By
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:39 PM.


© 1995 - 2014, The Independent Traveler, Inc. All rights reserved.
"A Community of People Who Love To Cruise"
All of the information contained within Cruise Critic is protected by copyright. You may, however, download a single copy only for your personal use.