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The ever increasing popularity of river cruising


notamermaid
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Last December, we docked at the closest Speyer dock. It was about a quarter mile walk through a park into the town. The walk was scenic with great views of the cathedral. This is the sort of dock town relationship I like.

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Hello xmaser,

 

yes, that looks like nice walk from what I can see on google maps (satellite). You were probably at

49°18'53.3"N 8°27'10.6"E while the Neuer Hafen Speyer site is about twice the distance at (I think) 49°18'30.0"N 8°27'25.5"E a little further South.

 

Viking has its own landing stage (like in several towns), so marked with its logo, but that landing stage has been used by other ships in the past. Cannot link a photo for proof (of the Speyer situation) as I found it on a commercial travel agent site.

 

notamermaid

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Guten Tag notamermaid

 

We docked at the first landing just south of the highway 39 bridge. We then walked up the Rheinallee. There was a closer landing just north of the bridge.

It was a nice experience.

 

xmaser

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  • 2 weeks later...
Choices, choices...

 

Here is an article from the UK on river cruise excursions: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/save-money-european-river-cruise-excursions/

 

notamermaid

The article was informative, but what it somewhat obscured was that the vast marjority of river cruise companies provide free tours for nearly the entire river cruise. We have been on four river cruises and always enjoyed all the inclusive tours. We have taken a few optional tours, which also turned out very well.

 

Of course, if you are on a budget cruise line, you may have fewer inclusive tours and can explore on your own.

 

I have found on Ocean cruises that some ports are far more amenable to doing it yourself. Other ports are best done with a tour.

 

What I have seen from reading cruise reviews here on cc is that frequently, not always, the dried in the wool DIY cruiser miss quite a lot of what is remarkable to see at some ports (these are ports that I have been to and take tours) their DIY solution takes them to see the city or town and perhaps a nearby site, missing the gem that I saw on a tour.

 

Budget is always a concern, but in my opinion, once i pay the thousands to fly somewhere, pay for a cruise, river or ocean, I want to see the key sites. DIY doesn't always work that well.

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4774Papa, I agree, DIY is not always a good option. I found that sticking to the booked tours on my river cruise (they were not included in the basic price, I bought a package) was the best way to go. However, I did not go on all the optional tours - some were offered to be booked on the ship itself - and decided to use my spare time in town for some DIY stuff. Only drawback in Vienna was that I did not get to see as much art as I would have liked, the included tour did not cover all of what I would have liked to see. In the free time I did not have enough time then to do that.

 

For repeat cruisers DIY probably is nicer, i.e. if you have been in that port before. For UK river cruisers I guess DIY is a bit more appealing as coming again to see more sights is just easier, them having to cover a much shorter distance to the continent.

 

notamermaid

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I also found it beneficial to tour with a local guide, which the Uniworld tours used. In Slovakia and Hungary, it was interesting to hear what it was like to live under Soviet rule vs. the way it is today. You don't get those types of insights with DIY.

 

Roz

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Now this is what I call marketing on a grand scale: http://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/news-headlines/viking-sponsors-nat-geo-s-genius-as-hagen-appears-in-new-brand-campaign.html

 

You have got the ships and they need to be filled with passengers! A nice psychological twist (we all want to be grapped on an emotional level whatever our preferences are in life) and a different target group perhaps from those who watched Downton Abbey.

 

notamermaid

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Avalon has recently published the 2018 itinerary at the link below that includes several "non-traditional" stops and activities as well as options for a more active cruise. It's a Frankfurt to Amsterdam itinerary that looks interesting.

 

http://www.avalonwaterways.com/river-cruise/active-discovery-on-the-rhine-northbound/wwa/?nextyear=true

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Thank you FuelScience,

 

this is one of the itineraries I referred to in post #95. I really like it as it seems to give more of an in-depth experience on a shorter distance covered. Seems to, I am not sure if that means they spent more time in each port or they sail less at night and more during the day. I really like the addition of Eltville (but I have since learnt that another company has also put this in an itinerary) and Xanten. The "volcano experience" must be what sleep7 did (unless they have amended this outing): a visit to the Vulkan Brauerei in Niedermendig (they explored the deep underground cellars of the brewery) and possibly a visit to the nearby volcano crater with lake. There is also the UNESCO world heritage site old monastery Maria Laach close by the lake. I would not hesitate to go on that itinerary, I like it and Xanten which I have not been to yet has been recommended to me.

 

notamermaid

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a report on the latest tour operator-river cruise line team: http://www.travelagentcentral.com/cruises/butterfield-robinson-announces-rhine-river-cruise-biking

 

Very active cruising - if you want you can go on a 106km cycle ride according to the company website - on the Uniworld S.S. Antoinette!

 

They already offer cycling and cruising along the Danube.

 

notamermaid

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  • 2 weeks later...

CroisiEurope has just relaunched one of its older ships, after a complete makeover, the MS Douce France, having had a "II" added to its name: http://www.cruisetradenews.com/croisieurope-inaugurates-the-ms-douce-france-ii-on-the-rhine/

 

Interesting to read the sizes of ship and cabins, easy to compare to other companies.

 

notamermaid

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For this relatively new itinerary on Avalon including the new port of Engers (introduced last year) here is a recent review published by Travel Weekly: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Avalon-Visionary-Indulgence-education

 

The author's description: quote "An afternoon stop at Rudesheim on Day Four presented me with the forgettable opportunity to experience life in a Rhinish town as lived by rushed crowds of tourists, ..." end quote made me think. When I was last in Rüdesheim the masses of German and foreign tourists struck me. While I am well aware of the appeal of places like Rüdesheim I was surprised at the sheer number of people and I also saw the river cruise ships adding quite a number of visitors to the "local" tourists, i.e. like me on that day. Will it get too much, did you feel it was too much?

 

With so many new ports like Karlsruhe (added by Crystal for next year!), Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Bingen, Lahnstein, Engers, Duisburg and Xanthen added on the Rhine will any river cruise company take the plunge and leave out Rüdesheim? Have you been on an itinerary that did not include Rüdesheim before or after sailing through the Rhine gorge?

 

On the Danube Erlangen, Vilshofen and Engelhartszell have been added as embarkation ports but do they have appeal as alternative port stops?

 

notamermaid

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For this relatively new itinerary on Avalon including the new port of Engers (introduced last year) here is a recent review published by Travel Weekly: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Avalon-Visionary-Indulgence-education

 

The author's description: quote "An afternoon stop at Rudesheim on Day Four presented me with the forgettable opportunity to experience life in a Rhinish town as lived by rushed crowds of tourists, ..." end quote made me think. When I was last in Rüdesheim the masses of German and foreign tourists struck me. While I am well aware of the appeal of places like Rüdesheim I was surprised at the sheer number of people and I also saw the river cruise ships adding quite a number of visitors to the "local" tourists, i.e. like me on that day. Will it get too much, did you feel it was too much?

 

With so many new ports like Karlsruhe (added by Crystal for next year!), Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Bingen, Lahnstein, Engers, Duisburg and Xanthen added on the Rhine will any river cruise company take the plunge and leave out Rüdesheim? Have you been on an itinerary that did not include Rüdesheim before or after sailing through the Rhine gorge?

 

On the Danube Erlangen, Vilshofen and Engelhartszell have been added as embarkation ports but do they have appeal as alternative port stops?

 

notamermaid

I have traveled a lot (70 countries) and yes, sometimes the tourist crowds can be a bit much, like waiting 45 minutes to get into see and kiss the Blarney Stone.

 

However, when going to a scenic place, the crowds don't diminish the beauty and character of that scenery.

 

If you are going to a museum the crowds can even keep you from getting in the museum. Yes, crowds can fillup restaurants and add to waiting to see particular site, but for scenic places, the crowds don't matter that much.

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For this relatively new itinerary on Avalon including the new port of Engers (introduced last year) here is a recent review published by Travel Weekly: http://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Avalon-Visionary-Indulgence-education

 

The author's description: quote "An afternoon stop at Rudesheim on Day Four presented me with the forgettable opportunity to experience life in a Rhinish town as lived by rushed crowds of tourists, ..." end quote made me think. When I was last in Rüdesheim the masses of German and foreign tourists struck me. While I am well aware of the appeal of places like Rüdesheim I was surprised at the sheer number of people and I also saw the river cruise ships adding quite a number of visitors to the "local" tourists, i.e. like me on that day. Will it get too much, did you feel it was too much?

 

With so many new ports like Karlsruhe (added by Crystal for next year!), Wiesbaden-Biebrich, Bingen, Lahnstein, Engers, Duisburg and Xanthen added on the Rhine will any river cruise company take the plunge and leave out Rüdesheim? Have you been on an itinerary that did not include Rüdesheim before or after sailing through the Rhine gorge?

 

On the Danube Erlangen, Vilshofen and Engelhartszell have been added as embarkation ports but do they have appeal as alternative port stops?

 

notamermaid

 

On our AMA cruise stop in Rudesheim they took us outside the town to a winery where we were the only people. After dinner they took us back for a private viewing of Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum. Thus we experienced no crowds in Rudesheim.

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  • 1 month later...

The popularity of river cruising is still growing, particularly in the US, which has prompted the operator Riviera Travel UK to launch their product in the US earlier this year (see a previous post). Here is a "getting to know"-interview published on travelpulse: http://www.travelpulse.com/news/cruise/getting-to-know-river-cruise-newcomer-riviera-travel.html

 

notamermaid

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  • 3 weeks later...

As many of you will be aware, some ports have problems keeping up with the demand for berthing. Amsterdam is one of them. Nearby a new destination is making itself available for river cruise ships. Will it be an alternative for Amsterdam or an additional destination, or both perhaps?

 

http://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/news-headlines/new-river-cruise-destination-near-amsterdam.html

 

notamermaid

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As many of you will be aware, some ports have problems keeping up with the demand for berthing. Amsterdam is one of them. Nearby a new destination is making itself available for river cruise ships. Will it be an alternative for Amsterdam or an additional destination, or both perhaps?

 

http://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/news-headlines/new-river-cruise-destination-near-amsterdam.html

 

notamermaid

I noticed recently that Avalon's Tulips of Northern Holland cruise departs from Haarlem and ends in Amsterdam. They still offer a Tulip Time cruise that runs from Amsterdam to Amsterdam, but they're apparently giving Haarlem a try.

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I am finding this discussion to be very interesting. We took our first river cruise with Viking in 2008. Budapest to Amsterdam in October. We had done one ocean cruise and did not particularly care for the crowds so the river cruise with only 90 or so passengers was a treat. We did another trip with Viking in China the next year and had a wonderful time.

 

But we had seen something very interesting while cruising the Rhine. A campground along the river. It opened a whole new world of European travel for us. In 2012 we rented a motorhome and spent April traveling around France and Germany to WW2 sites and camped in the same place we had seen on the river cruise. In 2014 we did a Baltic Cruise with Princess and again disliked the crowds. After the cruise we then rented an RV again and did northern Germany for a month. Loved every minute of it.

 

My point being that the river cruise opened up new possibilities. But we have hesitated to take another river cruise because of the changes to bigger and bigger boats and the attempts to make river cruising like ocean cruising. It is sad that the more intimate river cruises of the past have given way to ocean cruise types of amenities and activities. For us the river cruises were a learning experience not a "vacation" . But to each his own.

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