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  #1  
Old January 9th, 2014, 05:59 PM
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sippican sippican is offline
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Default Anyone out there not sailing Viking?

I have been lurking on this forum for a while and have noticed, of late, that everyone seems to be sailing on Viking. (Guess the floods did not do much to damage their business,lol!)
I would love to pass the dreary winter days in New England, by hearing about where you are sailing this year and what you are looking forward to.
We are sailing the Romantic Danube itinerary in July with AMA. We will be traveling in a group of 14, a few experienced river cruisers, and mostly newbies (self included).
I have been surprised by the fact that most river cruisers rely entriely on the ships' tours (perhaps because they are included). I am used to researching private tours and guides and feel quite useless as we wait. I am looking forward to our extra days in Prague and Budapest, where we will be planning DIY rather than AMA's extensions.
Looking forward to hearing from others.
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  #2  
Old January 9th, 2014, 06:34 PM
jklc123 jklc123 is offline
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Well, we're looking forward to our third trip with Uniworld, down the Rhine this fall. In the process of selecting a hotel for three nights post-cruise in Amsterdam.
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  #3  
Old January 9th, 2014, 06:47 PM
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Ozjohnno Ozjohnno is offline
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I too thought this had turned into a Viking board ..... I guess they're offering a product that is very competitive on paper.

We're off on our 2nd Tauck cruise in late August. This time we chose their French Escapade - Paris to Monte Carlo cruise on the Rhone. It's a part of our 40th Wedding Anniversary holiday. We all choose different companies for many and varied reasons but the end result should always be that everyone has a great cruise.

I had a ton of fun planning this holiday and now the hard part is still to come as we wait and countdown the many days still ahead.

Rod
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  #4  
Old January 9th, 2014, 07:04 PM
franski franski is offline
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We are doing south of France with Avalon this year --> starting by spending 3 nights in Nice before going to Monte Carlo for a night before we get on the boat. (The night in Monte Carlo is part of the package...). This will be our first cruise with Avalon - but our 8th river cruise. Our 9th is booked next year.... with Viking.

We do tend to do the included excursions as the local guides are usually quite knowledgeable. I do some research before we go, so that I can make sure I don't miss something "special" if there is free time. For example, am going to be asking if anyone has done this cruise - northbound - with Avalon - to see how much "free" time we will have in Tain l'Hermitage.... Hoping to get to the Valrhona chocolate store!!!

If time permits, we will spend a day or two before and/or after the cruise - and that is when we tend to book private guides. I found a tour in Budapest that involved a visit to Memento Park --> we were picked up at our hotel in a Trabant. My husband was *very* excited... (especially when they let him drive!!)

We also booked a private guide in Nuremberg - and when we were in Moscow and had an entire day "free". We booked a walking tour (WWII history) in Amsterdam that was very interesting as well.

Enjoy your planning!!! And, enjoy the trip. We have done that route twice --> once with AMA, and once with Scenic.

Fran

Last edited by franski; January 9th, 2014 at 07:05 PM.
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  #5  
Old January 9th, 2014, 08:29 PM
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Default Avalon - Budapest to Amsterdam

I'm just getting back on CruiseCritic after not visiting it for a few years. My wife and I are planning our May 9 Avalon cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam with pre-cruise in Prague and post-cruise and our 30th anniversary in Paris. It will be our first river cruise.

We picked Avalon mainly because of the full cabin-width french balconies, plus we hear the food is a little better. But with all the Viking ads we initially were planning that, and it would have been cheaper.

A few months back there wasn't a roll-call yet for it here, but I'll check now. With only something like 135 passengers I'm sure the roll-calls will be small.

We have only done independent tours, but with included tours we'll probably do many of them to use what we are paying for. I just emailed our TA today for flights and hotel reservations.

Boyd
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  #6  
Old January 9th, 2014, 08:30 PM
Buddysmom10 Buddysmom10 is offline
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We're doing the Danube on Avalon in May. So far no one on the roll calls is on our cruise.

We're (probably) flying into Munich, doing a couple days there, going on the cruise to Budapest, spending a couple of days there then off to somewhere else (still undecided) for a couple of day and then home.

It's our first river cruise, should be fun!
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  #7  
Old January 9th, 2014, 08:59 PM
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We are doing our first river cruise on the Rhine and Moselle with Uniworld Amsterdam - Basel this fall. We didn't even consider Viking but they do seem popular. I do read the posts about the sites along the Rhine regardless of the cruise line because I assume the tours are very similar and many of the stops seem to be the same. We are also used to doing our own private tours so we will see how the first couple of ports go. I am generally not a fan of big busses!
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  #8  
Old January 9th, 2014, 09:09 PM
DeeDC DeeDC is offline
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jklc123
please share where you have decide to stay in Amsterdam. We too are still trying to decide. will be there 2 night first part of October after Budapest to Amsterdam on Viking. Will be with another couple.
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  #9  
Old January 9th, 2014, 09:24 PM
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Default Rhine on Avalon

Hi, we sailed Avalon on the Seine last summer, and are doing the Basel to Amsterdam route this summer. We were very pleased with Avalon, and met some very lovely people on the cruise. To be honest, Viking is the only brand I have ever heard of until I did some research here on Cruise Critic. Viking has all of the commercials during Downton Abbey.
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  #10  
Old January 9th, 2014, 09:40 PM
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We have done two AMA cruise and have another booked. Very happy with them.

Last edited by RachelG; January 9th, 2014 at 09:40 PM.
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  #11  
Old January 9th, 2014, 10:18 PM
Talisker92 Talisker92 is offline
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We have done a number of river cruises with Vantage and have been very happy with them. The stories and pictures are on our website. We are always happy to answer questions
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  #12  
Old January 9th, 2014, 10:41 PM
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We did AMA's Amsterdam-Basel (plus Lucerne and Zurich) cruise last summer, and had a great time. We had never been to any of the stops (except Amsterdam) before, so we were happy to use their included tours. If we had hired a private guide, I don't know how we would have found anyone better than the guides they had [except one].

We will be doing AMA's Lyon-Arles cruise next year, as the centerpiece of a 3-week fly-drive. We will tour DIY on all the driving parts (love Rick Steves!), but again since we haven't visited any of the stops from Lyon to Arles we will happily use AMA's included tours for that part.

In the future if we take a river cruise that goes to places we have already been, we would consider hiring a guide to take us further afield -- but on the first visit AMA's tours offer a reliable default option.
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  #13  
Old January 10th, 2014, 01:33 AM
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We are taking the AMA (APT Australian) Grand European Tour from Monte Carlo to Prague from June 2nd to July 8th 2014. This tour consists of 3 different River Cruises & starts with 3 nights in Monte Carlo pre cruise, then 7 nights Arles to Lyon. The 2nd 7 night cruise then goes from Basel to Amsterdam where we have a 2 night hotel stay. The 3rd leg is from Amsterdam to Budapest over 14 nights, where we are transferred to Prague for a 3 night stay before flying back to Sydney Aus.

We are recently retired & this is to be our first River Cruise experience. We are getting very excited as the date draws nearer & I am an avid reader of these boards. Thank you all for the great reviews & tips which I am sure we will find useful. Hopefully I can complete my own review when we return.


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  #14  
Old January 10th, 2014, 02:18 AM
Tinky2 Tinky2 is offline
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Default Avalon

Hi we are doing our first River Cruise with Avalon from Amsterdam to Paris leaving May 4th. We have 2 nights pre cruise in Amsterdam and 4 nights post cruise in Paris. From there we are doing 5 nights in London then a bus tour of UK, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It is our first time in this part of the world so we are very excited, and have been reading everything I can.
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  #15  
Old January 10th, 2014, 03:10 AM
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We are also doing 3 B2B river cruises in September/October this year. We are doing Prague for 4 nights on our own then training to Budapest where we cruise for 14 nights to Amsterdam. After 4 nights post cruise in Amsterdam we train to Bruges for 2 nights then train to Paris where we board a 10 night Gems of the Seine cruise. We then spend 3 nights post/pre nights in Paris before joining a 12 night South of France river cruise. We have 2 nights post cruise in Nice.

I am almost afraid to mention that we a travelling with Scenic. :-)

We are getting really excited - 229 days till we leave. We are spending a couple of weeks in the UK before Prague.
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  #16  
Old January 10th, 2014, 03:16 AM
Yggdrasil98 Yggdrasil98 is offline
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LOL, I sail Uniworld (2 booked) and a replacement cruise with AMA/APT because I have to. I've not sailed Viking.
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  #17  
Old January 10th, 2014, 03:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratheden View Post
We are also doing 3 B2B river cruises in September/October this year. We are doing Prague for 4 nights on our own then training to Budapest where we cruise for 14 nights to Amsterdam. After 4 nights post cruise in Amsterdam we train to Bruges for 2 nights then train to Paris where we board a 10 night Gems of the Seine cruise. We then spend 3 nights post/pre nights in Paris before joining a 12 night South of France river cruise. We have 2 nights post cruise in Nice.

I am almost afraid to mention that we a travelling with Scenic. :-)

We are getting really excited - 229 days till we leave. We are spending a couple of weeks in the UK before Prague.
Hello fellow Aussie
Looks like you are also of the opinion that if we travel such a long distance, we might as well stay quite awhile. What I failed to mention is that we are doing a 14 night Mediterranean Ocean Cruise prior to starting our River Cruising. Yes we are spending the kids inheritance!

The only reason we are not going with Scenic, is their dates didn't fit in with our Ocean Cruise. Booking from Oz, I think APT & Scenic have very similar pricing structures & we had already narrowed our choices to these two despite recent reviews. I have friends who did a similar trip with Scenic last September & loved every minute of their trip.

I am sure we shall all have a wonderful time, River levels permitting


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  #18  
Old January 10th, 2014, 03:35 AM
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Yes Crochet Queen that is exactly our thinking. It is so far from here to anywhere that we usually combine a few things to make it worthwhile.

Last year our travel time to Toronto, Ca was 28 hours door to door.

I'm sure you will enjoy your time away also.
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  #19  
Old January 10th, 2014, 03:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stratheden View Post
Yes Crochet Queen that is exactly our thinking. It is so far from here to anywhere that we usually combine a few things to make it worthwhile.

Last year our travel time to Toronto, Ca was 28 hours door to door.

I'm sure you will enjoy your time away also.
We've met quite a few Aussies on European and American travels and everyone of them as been spending around 2 months here. I think if I went to Australia (and I'd love to) I would plan on seeing everything in one trip because it's so far.

As to thread topic: we're doing our 6th with Vantage this year (7th booked for 2015) starting with 5 days in Prague and Bratislava and then Budapest to the Black Sea. Budapest to Amsterdam was our very first river cruise and we loved it.
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  #20  
Old January 10th, 2014, 04:02 AM
notamermaid notamermaid is offline
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Hello,

I live on the river Rhine and have cruised the river Danube with Transocean, a German company. I could have sailed with Viking Flusskreuzfahrten. Viking river cruises did not market to Germans, in fact I could not even book a cruise through my TA. Viking Flusskreuzfahrten seized to exist on 31 December 2013, so its competitors will divide that share of the market among them, I should think. However, as mentioned in another thread Viking markets the Russian cruises in Germany.

I am currently not looking at the Viking cruises but I am considering Arosa, Transocean, TUI, CroisiEurope and Tauck for a cruise this Spring or Autumn. They appeal to me more as they also offer itineraries that are shorter than 7 days and also often include other ports than Viking.

For my Danube cruise I booked an optional package of trips, which were mostly guided tours. I did not book all the tours so as to leave sparetime in ports or for a refreshing short sleep in the afternoon.

notamermaid
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