comparison ($$$) of the different companies

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#1
Tucker, Georgia (Atlanta)
1,435 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
We have done 2 river cruises with GCT (Danube and Saone) this was several years ago. We were satisfied but I'm thinking that GCT is sort of the budget option. We are thinking of doing another (Budapest is the most important port to us). Our new travel friends did not like that GCT had only twin beds (at least on Danube cruises) so can you please rank the other lines price-wise. The other options I have looked at look waaaaay pricier! We do appreciate good food and wine but not sure to the tune of over $1000 per person! Thank you for your input!
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upcoming cruises:
Celebrity Silhouette, The Baltics May 2015
HAL Zuiderdam, Venice to Istanbul Sept. 2015


past cruises:
Celebrity Infinity Wine Cruise Oct. 2014
Celebrity Silhouette Italy and Croatia Oct. 2013
Alaska Oosterdam June 2013
Celebrity Constellation: Wine Cruise, France, Spain, Portugal Sept. 2012
Azamara Journey: Rome to Lisbon Oct. 2011
Celebrity Eclipse: Western Caribbean, March 2011
Azamara: Rome to Athens, Oct. 2010
Azamara: Rome to Barcelona, May 2010
GCT River Cruise: Provence and Cote d'Azure, Oct. 2009
Oceania Nautica: Athens to Istanbul, May 2009
GCT River Cruise: Danube, Budapest to Prague, Oct. 2008
Celebrity Constellation: Barcelona to Venice, May 2007
Carribbean crusies on Celebrity, RCL, HAL and Costa!
#2
FL
14,424 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
Prices will depend on date and accommodation. Not sure why you would expect/want others to do this research for you.

A travel agent who knows their stuff can search out promotions and provide pricing.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#3
1,960 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
one place OP can begin researching is at the top right of this page; look for "search this thread" in pale yellow color.

Perhaps that can help.
#4
Tucker, Georgia (Atlanta)
1,435 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Well I thought there might be some folks on this board that might want to give me some ideas from their experiences. I would rather not use a travel agent - GCT does not use them and it is probably one of the reasons they are less expensive. I actually have looked some at the other options and all seem much higher than GCT. I understand that exact prices depend on dates and cabin categories but I am assuming, like ocean cruises, the different brands have different niches. Please excuuse me for asking for free advice.
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upcoming cruises:
Celebrity Silhouette, The Baltics May 2015
HAL Zuiderdam, Venice to Istanbul Sept. 2015


past cruises:
Celebrity Infinity Wine Cruise Oct. 2014
Celebrity Silhouette Italy and Croatia Oct. 2013
Alaska Oosterdam June 2013
Celebrity Constellation: Wine Cruise, France, Spain, Portugal Sept. 2012
Azamara Journey: Rome to Lisbon Oct. 2011
Celebrity Eclipse: Western Caribbean, March 2011
Azamara: Rome to Athens, Oct. 2010
Azamara: Rome to Barcelona, May 2010
GCT River Cruise: Provence and Cote d'Azure, Oct. 2009
Oceania Nautica: Athens to Istanbul, May 2009
GCT River Cruise: Danube, Budapest to Prague, Oct. 2008
Celebrity Constellation: Barcelona to Venice, May 2007
Carribbean crusies on Celebrity, RCL, HAL and Costa!
#5
florida
3,654 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
This is exactly the reason we need a sticky for the great river cruise info on CC that is impossible to find.
To get a comparison of lines,,try going to CC main page and under SEARCH type river cruise info.Will give all the major lines and pricing ideas.Hope that helps.
Any of the main lines will offer more..like Viking,Avalon,Uniworld,etc.then can go up to more upscale like Scenic,AMA,Tauck.Will pay more and get more perks.THat might help.
I ve been on all the above,tend to get what you PAY for.BUdget is a main factor,lots of research under member review,too.
#6
2,499 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
This question has been asked sooooo many times. That is the reason many of us are asking for the sticky that is very difficult to find. We have been on 19 river cruises and only one with GCT--it was in Myanmar and not the same as the ones in Europe. What you like -no TA-many don't like.

We are going on a Christmas market cruise with AMA. We booked thru a TA and got a veranda/French balcony cabin for the price of the lowest deck. It does take a lot of research to find what your comfort zone is cabin and pricewise.

Maybe asking some specific questions about one line or another would be easier to answer. Don't stop asking questions!!!!!Pat
#7
Coastal NC
3,241 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
IMHO, I would say that Vantage Travel and Viking would be the cruise lines that I would look at next. Both have some "deals", but you have to look for them. Yesterday I got 4 mailers from Viking for different "deals" they are offering. Some are last minute deals, some offer a discount for repeat customers, etc.

Don't forget to get a referral if you do decide to change companies.

Please do ask is you have further questions. Hopefully someone will chime in and provide an answer.
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Sharon

Viking, Portraits of Southern France. 2006
Uniworld, Castles Along the Rhine, 2007
Gate 1, Thanksgiving Cruise, 2007
AMA Waterways, Portugal on the Douro, 2008
Grand Circle: Romance of the Rhine and Mosel, 2010
Viking Emerald, China's Cultural Delights. 3/28/2011
Grand Circle: Old World Prague and the Blue Danube. September 7, 2011.
Viking Spirit, Paris to Normandy. 12/11/11.
Grand Circle's [i]Essence of the Elbe: 5/27/12/ to 6/11/12
Grand Circle Russia Revealed with pretrip to Helsinki and Tallinn , 2012. .
Viking Sun, Treasures of the Rhine. Nov 11, 2012.
AMACerto, Istanbul to Budapest. May 30, 2013.
Uniworld River Queen, Classic Christmas Markets, Nuremberg to Frankfurt. Dec 5, 2013.
Vantage Travel, Croatian Odyssey & Venice with Lake Bled, Slovenia pretrip. M/Y Harmony G
Grand Circle, Burma and the Irrawaddy, Thailand and Cambodia. Nov 25, 2014. RV Paukan 2012.
Grand Circle: Spain's Northern Coast & the Bay of Biscay. 4/30/2015 to 5/21/2015. Ship: Corinthian
AMAWaterways: Magnificent Europe. Aug 30 to Sept 14, 2015. AMACerto. Budapest to Amsterdam
Vantage: The Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu. 3/12/2016. Post trip to Lake Titicaca. Ship: RV Amazon Discovery
Grand Circle: Grand Baltic Sea Voyage. . 7/30/2016 to 8/15/2016. Ship: Corinthian
Viking: Castles & Legends. Munich to Budapest. 12/5/16 to 12/16/16. Viking Ve.
Viking Sky: Mediterranean Getaway, Rome to Barcelona, 2/25/17 to 3/4/17.

Grand Circle: Maritime Jewels of the British Isles. 7/23/17. Ship: Corinthian
Avalon Affinity: Burgundy & Provence with London, 10/2/17
Viking RA: Pharaohs & Pyramids. March 8, 2018
#8
372 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by suec12
... I would rather not use a travel agent - GCT does not use them and it is probably one of the reasons they are less expensive. ...
Exactly. That's also one of the reason why you'd have to use a TA on other lines: to get a TA discount and therefore decrease the cruise price.
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AT SEA: 16 cruises
RIVER:
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2012 -- Viking Primadonna 'Passage to Eastern Europe'
2013 -- Viking Odin 'Tulips & Windmills'
2013 -- Viking Lomonosov 'Footsteps of the Cossacks'
2013 -- Viking Spirit 'Paris & the Heart of Normandy'
2014 -- Viking Schumann 'Elegant Elbe'
2014 -- AMA Waterways 'Melodies of the Danube'
2014 -- Viking Hemming 'Portugal's River of Gold'
2015 -- American Eagle 'Lower Mississippi'
2016 -- Viking Forseti 'Chateaux, Rivers & Wine'
2016 -- Mekong Navigator 'Mekong River Cruise with Saigon & Siem Reap'
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#9
North Carolina
5,691 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Just because you *can* use TAs to book other river cruises doesn't mean you *have* to use a TA. I booked our Christmas Market cruise directly with Avalon. I knew what I wanted, did my own research online, and called to book.....

(there are consolidator websites online - I cannot name names here - where you can search and get a variety of itinerary/price options with a couple of clicks)
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#10
Mackay Australia
786 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
I think this is one of the best topics on our boards because I believe it's impossible to just compare brochure prices to determine which is the best value for your dollar river cruise. There is just so much to compare and evaluate that in my humble opinion if you just go on price/discount alone then you are doing no more than guessing. I find putting together a spreadsheet that looks at all aspects of the costs of your particular itinerary, and I mean all costs, and breaking that down to a cost per diem is the only way to get an accurate answer.

I enjoy this exercise. It's almost as much fun as the holiday itself. You'll get many answers on what's the best value but until you see it for yourself you won't be able to make the right decision for you.

No matter what company you choose I'm sure it will be the right one for you. Have fun planning and have a great river cruise.
#11
New Jersey, the Philly end
6,965 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by alexandra cruiser
This is exactly the reason we need a sticky for the great river cruise info on CC that is impossible to find.
To get a comparison of lines,,try going to CC main page and under SEARCH type river cruise info.Will give all the major lines and pricing ideas.Hope that helps.
Any of the main lines will offer more..like Viking,Avalon,Uniworld,etc.then can go up to more upscale like Scenic,AMA,Tauck.Will pay more and get more perks.THat might help.
I ve been on all the above,tend to get what you PAY for.BUdget is a main factor,lots of research under member review,too.
Originally posted by pacmom
This question has been asked sooooo many times. That is the reason many of us are asking for the sticky that is very difficult to find. We have been on 19 river cruises and only one with GCT--it was in Myanmar and not the same as the ones in Europe. What you like -no TA-many don't like.

We are going on a Christmas market cruise with AMA. We booked thru a TA and got a veranda/French balcony cabin for the price of the lowest deck. It does take a lot of research to find what your comfort zone is cabin and pricewise.

Maybe asking some specific questions about one line or another would be easier to answer. Don't stop asking questions!!!!!Pat
Who is going to put together the "sticky?" As I read this, the information OP is requesting hasn't been provided in any of the responses. I suspect that it's because it is difficult to compare apples and apples. I have only traveled on one line; no way to accurately compare it to another line. I can tell you what I like about it, but don't ask me to rate it against the line you have travelled.

GCT and Vantage are on the less expensive end of the spectrum. But, with the exception of the Christmas market cruises, their trips run about two weeks. Some other lines seem to generally have shorter trips.

Some lines have mostly a standard accommodation on board price differentiated primarily by cabin location; other lines have many types and sizes of cabins with substantial price differences. The spread of amenities and tours included is also pretty substantial and really complicates comparisons.
#12
3,885 Posts
Joined May 2009
I've been getting some great promotions by e-mail a couple times a week.
Why don't you go online to each of the companies most often talked about and request a brochure and asked to be on their e-mail list for special deals.
Most companies also list specials on their website. I have seen some fabulous offers for sailings in the next 4 months.

Some of the very large Online TA that specialize in "Luxury" cruises are offering some real bargains a will provide wonderful benefits (OBC, discounts, gratuities) my sure made my trip more affordable!

Good luck with the research


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#13
FL
14,424 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
There are definitely TAs that specialize in river cruising who offer exceptional and unadvertised discounts and perks that you will not find with the cruise line. To use one costs nothing - I never understand why anyone would choose not to personally.
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143 cruises since 1964, 15 on the river.
Looking forward to:
MS Joy - Magic of Advent, December 2017

Amadeus Silver III, May 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018
Scenic Eclipse, April, 2019

Our river cruising history:
Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017

Recent cruises:
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
#14
Long Island, NY
6,482 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I really don't understand the OP's request. She has been on several ocean cruises. River Cruises are priced similarly based on the "brand". Sometimes the companies throw in extras such as low or free airfare, or gratuities. You research River Cruises the same way your research Ocean cruises.
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Got2Cruise
Planning the cruise is half the fun.
#15
florida
3,654 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Re.putting together the sticky,It would be up to one of the HOsts of the website here to ask management,I m assuming.
Did email 2 of them,also started a thread re this.Just to make it easier to find the CC info.Good for newbies.Helps with overall questions.
#16
Wht Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,736 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Everyone has a right to start a new thread. I just don't understand why some questions strike a nerve with some people. You have choices, don't follow the thread and don't waste your time replying if you think there is no merit in the topic.
Life is short
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Past Cruises:
Celebrity Reflection - Med & Greek Isles
Coral Princess - Partial Transit Panama Canal
Celebrity Silhouette - TA
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - Arctic Circle
Disney Fantasy - Souhern Caribbean
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Infinity - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda
#17
2,499 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
Suec12,

If you go to the main page, select find a cruise. Where it says city or port place a city you would like to visit on a river cruise. I used Budapest and there were over 200 selections. You can click on quote to find price. Maybe this will help. Pat
#18
North Carolina
5,691 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Originally posted by caviargal
To use one costs nothing - I never understand why anyone would choose not to personally.
I have contacted several over the years - including many recommended to me (offline) by CC members. I have used one for ocean cruises - just for the cruise booking to get an onboard credit but after I had done all the research myself. I did not find anyone able to give me any deals for the river cruise we booked and I didn't feel like spending more time calling & emailing around to save $100 here or there, so I booked myself. That's why I don't/rarely use a travel agent.
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Azamara 10 night Thailand/Vietnam Nov 2016
Avalon Vista Christmas Market 12/2014
Pacific Princess 12 day Black Sea 9/4/11

HAL Westerdam 15 day Panama Canal 10/08
Pacific Princess Alaska 9/5/2007

HAL Maasdam Southern Caribbean 10/28/06
HAL Alaska 1986
#19
3,885 Posts
Joined May 2009
Originally posted by Hoyaheel
I have contacted several over the years - including many recommended to me (offline) by CC members. I have used one for ocean cruises - just for the cruise booking to get an onboard credit but after I had done all the research myself. I did not find anyone able to give me any deals for the river cruise we booked and I didn't feel like spending more time calling & emailing around to save $100 here or there, so I booked myself. That's why I don't/rarely use a travel agent.

Need to look harder we got 10% rebated which came out to over $1200. This was a significant budget boost! To me this was worth the effort of using a TA, thru have been super responsive and when I referred someone who booked and then sailed I also got a $150 referral applied to my booking.

So yes, using a TA is certainly worthwhile! JMHO



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#20
Wht Mts, NH - Gulf Coast, FL
2,736 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Originally posted by nana541
Need to look harder we got 10% rebated which came out to over $1200. This was a significant budget boost! To me this was worth the effort of using a TA, thru have been super responsive and when I referred someone who booked and then sailed I also got a $150 referral applied to my booking.

So yes, using a TA is certainly worthwhile! JMHO



Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app
I agree!
We have booked ourselves and used a TA. To us, even a savings of $100 or so is well worth it. We received over $1000 OBC for our Med cruise a few years back. (That was certainly not the norm.) Some of the larger agencies book tons of cabin blocks when the itineraries are first released, and can pass alond these "group" savings and/or amenities to individual customers, even after the rates have gone up. We got 5% off on our river cruise, $100 OBC per person and the "free" TC berth credit was split among the group. That will pay for cost of one of our private tours.
Why pass up on theses "freebies"? You just need to find a good agent/agency.
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Past Cruises:
Celebrity Reflection - Med & Greek Isles
Coral Princess - Partial Transit Panama Canal
Celebrity Silhouette - TA
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas - Arctic Circle
Disney Fantasy - Souhern Caribbean
AMAPrima - Danube, Prague to Budapest
Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas - Southern Carib.
Carnival Imagination - Western Carib.
Carnival Valor - Southern Carib.
Norwegian Sun - Baltics, Copenhagen, St Petersburg
Royal Caribbean Brilliance - Mediterranean, Spain Italy
Celebrity Infinity - Alaska
Royal Caribbean - Voyager of the Seas, Western Carib.
Royal Caribbean Nordic Prince - Bermuda