Originally posted by jbtimetotravel
Hi Fran,

It seems you have traveled with the companies mentioned above.
Do you have any thoughts to share on the above post about the various cruise lines?
Hi Judy -

Have not travelled - yet- with Viking. We are booked for our first cruise with them this year. We are flying out April 25th - doing the Passage to Easter Europe - Bucharest to Budapest... I plan to post along the way (WiFi willing...)

I haven't travelled with Tauck - but there are a number of people here on CC who have... I have never heard a negative post about them. We find that they are pricier - and since we travel lowest category (can travel more often if I can travel "on sale"... ) I do look at them, but then move on.

Scenic isn't well known in the US. They are an Australian company - but have an office in Canada - so are pretty heavily marketed here.

There are many similarities in the cruise lines. I do think that the importance of the differences are quite subjective --> so, something that bothers me may not be an issue for you. And vice versa.

IMHO, one of the biggest differences is the Cruise Manager. And, you have no control over that - even within the same company.

Food is also subjective - and what pleases me may not please the next person. I am not a foodie - nor a wine connoisseur - so while the chef is important, I find the wait staff more so.

I think your comments re: Uniworld vs Tauck aren't really a fair comparison to make - given that you travelled Uniworld in Russia. Uniworld leases - not owns - the boats there - and everywhere in their literature they are very clear that the experience may not be up to their standards in Europe. We were expecting spartan accommodations - and lots of potatoes/cabbage/"basic" meat for our meals. We were VERY pleasantly surprised. We travelled lowest category - which meant no elevator - but a very spacious room. And the food was very good.

We have always been very pleased with the food on Uniworld - and have travelled with them 3 times. I expect the food on their Tulip Time cruise will incorporate local cuisine.

While I have enjoyed my other cruises very much, any time I travel with Uniworld, I remember why the experience is so great. They have an amazing attention to detail, their local guides are top notch, and there are a number of "extras" that they include. However, they can be pricier - and their best prices are always "pay in full". I am not always able to "pay in full" when I book. Their decor can be a bit "over the top" for some, but decor isn't really a factor when I book. Again, this may be important to some.

I look for itinerary, then dates and prices. I do not expect perfection - but do watch to see how the company deals with any of the glitches that occur. To date, when planning for a trip, I have yet to end up with an itinerary or cost that is so close that I would have to choose between 2 companies. There is usually something that makes the choice for me.

We have just put a deposit down for a cruise with Avalon in 2014 - for the south of France. Everything aligned -->this will be our 1st trip with them... We convinced people we know to try a river cruise - and they cruised Avalon. They had an amazing trip... (I was sort of worried - hoped that we hadn't convinced them to take a trip they didn't enjoy!!!) So - no concerns about booking with them.

Not sure if this helps at all.