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After 30 plus ocean cruises we are ready to try River cruising. We are looking at the Danube for the fall of 2014. We are both 55 and need to know a few specifics.....PRAGUE is most definitely a must either before or after....we travel before and after, so we will do that part on our own. We will start with an 8 day and add on .Is the fall a great time, or should we look at the spring...We can go when we want to, so we AVOID the summer in Europe. We love to eat and soak up the local flavor...Looking at Avalon, Viking, AMA and Uniworld.....Any great tipe welcome...THANKSHi there -
We are also 55 and are very independent travelers and quite young behaving and active. We took a 14 day Viking cruise from Avignon to Normandy and for a large part we were disappointed. We found that it was too much like being on a bus tour where we were deposited at a town with a local guide and herded from place to place, then deposited in their choice of souvenir shop/cafe/market etc then herded back to the boat. Where the guides we had were very good, we thoroughly enjoyed their way of sharing the history and information about the town, however there were many guides who were not so good and we felt we missed out on important information. Often we would leave the guided tour and venture away on our own and we were free to do that which was good. We were the youngest on our boats (by almost 20 years) so if you are looking for others in your age group, you may find that they are few and far between. Most of the older people on our tours were fit and active so age is not an issue from that regard. And some of them we found to be excellent company. We certainly don't have any issue with Viking over the trip because we know that Avalon, APT and others are exactly the same. So it's just a matter of being aware of how the trips are constructed.That was our experience on 4 Avalon cruises. Then we tried AMA and our two cruises with them were very different. Younger demographic, tours for "active" guests, lively entertainment, younger staff. We loved the experience and had FUN, something we did not associate with our first cruises.
That was our experience on 4 Avalon cruises. Then we tried AMA and our two cruises with them were very different. Younger demographic, tours for "active" guests, lively entertainment, younger staff. We loved the experience and had FUN, something we did not associate with our first cruises.I totally agree with caviargal! While I've only taken 2 river cruises, one with Avalon and one with AMA. While both were great and I had no complaints on either one, I found that the passengers on AMA where younger with at least half of them being under 60. The fact that they carry the bikes with them was what attracted me to this line and it obviously appeals to a younger and more active client. We only had one organized bike tour on our itinerary but that one tour had a waiting list! Our next itinerary in April 2013 has 3 organized bike tours and I hope to be on every one of them!! I too am happy I found AMA!
The bike tours and theme cruises add to the energy we experienced on board.
We would not consider a 14 night cruise as I would expect older guests to be the vast majority. We have learned that short cruises with lots of port time and overnight stays really enhance our enjoyment of river cruising.
We are 50 somethings and very active and are pleased we found a line that fits our lifestyle.
We too, have just booked our first river cruise with AMA. We are in our 50's and are quite active. We booked the "cruise only" portion of the Blue Danube.You can only sign up once on board.
We are hoping to do some of AMA's organized bike tours. I saw in an older post, that they fill up quickly, and get wait listed. Do you know if you sign up onboard, or if you can sign up ahead of time for the bike tours ?
When you say private guide, do mean for pre & post river cruise, or do you find guides in the towns along the river ? I've been reading a lot of cruise critic posts, and there aren't many private guide posts, other than for start & end cities. If you are using them during the river cruise, how do you know port times, I have not seen them posted anywhere.Mostly we use private guides in pre and post cities but sometimes also in ports, depending on our interests. While you may not see times listed, they do say things like "arrival early morning" or "arrive after dinner and overnight, sailing the next afternoon after lunch".
I love the planning part of a vacation. Being so new to river cruising, I'm not sure what to expect, or exactly how to plan my day in each port. We don't like large group tours. We were thinking we'd do walking tours with the group to get the "lay of the land" so to speak, and then do our own thing.