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Tauck is 6 stars -- perfection -- but never again

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Why did we chose to take a river cruise and not take the included excursions? The convenience of unpacking once, the experience of cruising along the river, the people we met along the way, the convenience of travel from one spot to another. You are right, to each his own. We enjoyed it very much and would not have seen all those towns in such a relaxing manner if we had done it totally on our own.

 

Fair enough :)

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It is funny, but I always though I had no interest in taking an ocean cruise. However, after our first Viking River cruise on the Danube, we learned about the new Viking Ocean division. There was an itinerary in the Eastern Mediterranean (Athens to Venice), that sounded very appealing, so we decided to give it a try.

 

It was a small ship (930 passengers), no casino, no children, no rock climbing walls or water slides, and turned out to be a wonderful experience. There were three resident historians traveling on the ship who provided enrichment talks, along with the daily port talks. The food was wonderful, as were the staff, and we met some wonderful guests. It was very much like the Viking river cruise, only bigger. We had such a great time, we have now booked our second ocean cruise with Viking. Apparently, I do like ocean cruise (at least this kind!).

 

There is a major divide between ocean cruises on mega-ships in the Caribbean [which is what many non-cruisers think of when you say 'cruise'] and small ships in interesting places [basically everywhere else in the world :)]. If you want to enlarge your options beyond Viking Ocean, you would find the experience similar on Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, Regent, and Silversea [except more formal dress code on the latter]. Each of these lines has different inclusions, but what they provide is on the level of Viking Ocean and those that don't include shore excursions can be quite a bit less expensive. I'm still looking forward to my first Viking Ocean cruise next year, but it is by far the most expensive per diem and as my plans get more detailed the number of included tours that I plan to take keeps decreasing. That may well send me back to Azamara [on a value basis] no matter how much I enjoy the cruise.

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There is a major divide between ocean cruises on mega-ships in the Caribbean [which is what many non-cruisers think of when you say 'cruise'] and small ships in interesting places [basically everywhere else in the world :)]. If you want to enlarge your options beyond Viking Ocean, you would find the experience similar on Azamara, Crystal, Oceania, Regent, and Silversea [except more formal dress code on the latter]. Each of these lines has different inclusions, but what they provide is on the level of Viking Ocean and those that don't include shore excursions can be quite a bit less expensive. I'm still looking forward to my first Viking Ocean cruise next year, but it is by far the most expensive per diem and as my plans get more detailed the number of included tours that I plan to take keeps decreasing. That may well send me back to Azamara [on a value basis] no matter how much I enjoy the cruise.

 

Thanks for the recommendations. I don't doubt that there are other cruise lines that we would enjoy as well. Depending on how long our health and our finances allow us to continue to travel, eventually, we may seek out other options based on itinerary.

 

Since I am still working and my husband runs a small business, we are only able to take one vacation a year. We are quite content in the least expensive cabins, so the cost fits our budget. Our trips on Viking have been so enjoyable, that for now, we will remain brand loyal.

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I understand your logic of not wanting to be herded but am somewhat confused. As river cruises are quite expensive - compared to ocean cruises, for example - why pay for all that, including the excursions and expert local guides when you could easily do this trip on your own, seeing how you prefer to DIY in all the places visited.

For that money you could have stayed in 5 star hotels that are much nicer than the ship - especially as hotels are per room and cruises are per person (i.e. double cost). In addition, you could eat what and where you want for less and better. A hefty price for convenient transportation, IMO.

To each their own, I guess.

And I am a bit confused at your disdain without knowing us or our circumstances. We lived in Germany for four years when we were young and energetic. We traveled through Holland, Germany, and Austria with our "Europe on $10 a day" book and our Michelin guide. We took in all the sights, toured the castles and cathedrals, read the history, went to all the museums. This time around we were taking a trip down memory lane (river) for our 50th Anniversary. We are now older, slower, and more interested in taking it easy and having a bit more luxury than sharing a bathroom down the hall. We enjoyed our jaunts into towns with stops for beer, wurst and pretzels as we sat in sidewalk cafes people watching. We thoroughly enjoyed doing it our way.

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Why did we chose to take a river cruise and not take the included excursions? The convenience of unpacking once, the experience of cruising along the river, the people we met along the way, the convenience of travel from one spot to another. You are right, to each his own. We enjoyed it very much and would not have seen all those towns in such a relaxing manner if we had done it totally on our own.

 

We feel (and do) exactly the same. My husband calls our DIY land trips a "forced march" as I like to keep busy and moving. We move cities/hotels every 3-4 days, and generally day trip from our main locations. The moving and trains and baggage can be a bit draining (we won't drive in Europe) and a river cruise is a nice change to a more relaxed vacation.

 

A combination of a short river cruise and time DIY in Europe keeps us both happy.

 

Adapting it to our tastes is exactly what we do on our river cruises.

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@ Hoyaheel:

Re your post on your cruise in which you were able to dock and walk into town. It was Avalon and the boat was Vista or was that the name of the tour? Also, what does NUE-BSL mean? I am particularly interested in cruises that dock where I can just hop off the boat and look around.

Thank you.

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I am the flip of the OP -- l have next to zero interest in ocean cruises.

 

Good thing we have differences!

 

We're the same way.

 

 

Why did we chose to take a river cruise and not take the included excursions? The convenience of unpacking once, the experience of cruising along the river, the people we met along the way, the convenience of travel from one spot to another. You are right, to each his own. We enjoyed it very much and would not have seen all those towns in such a relaxing manner if we had done it totally on our own.

 

Prior to our last Christmas Markets cruise (and being the warm weather wimps that we are!) my husband said that if the weather were too cold and miserable he'd be perfectly happy staying warm and cozy on the boat the whole time. :') As it turned out, we had great weather most of the time but we still were selective about which tours to go on. We'd often start out with the group and then break away to explore on our own.

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@ Hoyaheel:

Re your post on your cruise in which you were able to dock and walk into town. It was Avalon and the boat was Vista or was that the name of the tour? Also, what does NUE-BSL mean? I am particularly interested in cruises that dock where I can just hop off the boat and look around.

Thank you.

 

Avalon Vista is a vessel.

 

NUE = Nuremberg

BSL = Basel

 

Our favorite itinerary was the Rhone as we were docked in town and stayed in several ports overnight and were able to go out for a walk after dinner.

 

Tulip Time also had easy access to town/city center.

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@ Hoyaheel:

Re your post on your cruise in which you were able to dock and walk into town. It was Avalon and the boat was Vista or was that the name of the tour? Also, what does NUE-BSL mean? I am particularly interested in cruises that dock where I can just hop off the boat and look around.

Avalon Vista is a vessel.

NUE = Nuremberg

BSL = Basel

 

Caviargal answered the basics. My review has the specifics of which towns we were able to access on foot https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=268791

 

But be aware - much more than ocean cruises, ports can & do change for river cruises! Sometimes due to river conditions (high or low water) and sometimes due to local conditions - like, a lock is backed up and someone else beats you to a dock and the local dockmaster sends you someplace else, etc. The cruise director will always handle the transportation for the tours, but you might find yourself at an industrial port instead of Old Town and unable to just hop off and see the (pretty) sights....

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Ask away. I will try to help

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

Thank you so much.

 

1. Any must not miss sights?

 

2. Favorite excursion ?

 

3. What did the men wear at the off ship dinners?

 

4. Did you like the grill?

 

5. Did you book your pre cruise hotel through Tauck?

 

I'm sure I will have more questions as my trip gets closer. LOL

 

We did book Category 7 so I hope we won't feel too cramped. did you by any chance see a category 7 ?

 

Thanks for you willingness to answer my questions.

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We are back from our first and last river cruise and I was asked to post and reflect on the experience.

We did a 14 night Amsterdam to Budapest cruise on the Tauck Esprit. The ship was only 2/3 full which of course was a big plus. Tauck did a fabulous job.

 

Tauck staff was amazing

Ship was gorgeous and ship's staff provided A+ service.

Food was out of this world.

Lots of ethnic specialties and local wines available

Local guides were superb

Special events -- e.g. private opera performance at a gala dinner in Vienna -- were over the top.

We enjoyed our fellow cruisers very much.

 

BUT

 

We find river cruising far too regimented for our tastes. Be here at this time; there at that time.

We usually only book private guides when we cruise and tour in groups of 6 or 8. This river cruise reminded us of how much we detest bus tours with 25 plus people. After the cruise we hired a private guide in Budapest who took us to a small town on the outskirts. That was great.

The tours go to the usual places -- palaces, museums and churches. Not our kind of travel. We want to experience something other than landmarks. We have seem too many palaces, museums and churches.

The scenery was gorgeous in some places but ugly in others. There is plenty of industry along the Rhine.

There was nothing to do on the ship. Found it rather boring.

We like sea days. A port a day is no longer for us.

The cabins are ridiculously small. We booked a mini suite and I immediately regretted not booking the larger suite. We like to cruise in a large suite with a butler.

 

If river cruising is for you -- and I know many who love it - then I cannot say enough good things about Tauck. Best of the best. But you won't be seeing us on board.

 

Hope this is helpful for those considering river cruising.

 

I was not on a 6 star ship, we were on Vantage which I guess would be 4 star, they state 5 star. I was in a suite, so room was comfortable, but food was below par, service was ok, tours were good..no entertainment to speak of. I feel exactly as you do, never again on a river cruise. We don't want to eat dinner exactly at 7pm.. we did a private guide in Budapest for 2 days, just my DH and I, it was fantastic. We do small group tours on Ocean cruises which I have arranged through CC guests. So those of us who enjoy our independence will continue to go on Ocean cruises. I have two at the moment booked, our favorite, Celebrity in a suite, and going to try Viking Ocean. Have been on Regent and Azamara and enjoyed both. Have fun cruising, either river or ocean..

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Thank you so much.

 

1. Any must not miss sights?

 

2. Favorite excursion ?

 

3. What did the men wear at the off ship dinners?

 

4. Did you like the grill?

 

5. Did you book your pre cruise hotel through Tauck?

 

I'm sure I will have more questions as my trip gets closer. LOL

 

We did book Category 7 so I hope we won't feel too cramped. did you by any chance see a category 7 ?

 

Thanks for you willingness to answer my questions.

 

I am not Bitob but just did the Danube with Tauck this past April.

 

3. Men wore jackets to the dinners off of the ship in Prague and Vienna. These were special evenings and the Opera in Vienna was my favorite evening.

 

4. Grill is decent for a quick meal if you are tired of the dining room or just plain tired ;-)

 

5. Yes, we arrived early and stayed at Tauck hotel (Intercontinental in Prague). Nice location to get around everything.

 

We were in Cat 7 and the suite is a very nice size and laid out well. You will not be disappointed. A nice walk in closet, lovely bath, sitting area with couch, a great bed.

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Thank you for this review! I am an ocean cruiser wondering about a river cruise and I've enjoyed all the discussion.

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I am not Bitob but just did the Danube with Tauck this past April.

 

3. Men wore jackets to the dinners off of the ship in Prague and Vienna. These were special evenings and the Opera in Vienna was my favorite evening.

 

4. Grill is decent for a quick meal if you are tired of the dining room or just plain tired ;-)

 

5. Yes, we arrived early and stayed at Tauck hotel (Intercontinental in Prague). Nice location to get around everything.

 

We were in Cat 7 and the suite is a very nice size and laid out well. You will not be disappointed. A nice walk in closet, lovely bath, sitting area with couch, a great bed.

 

Thanks for the info. Sounds like you were pleased with Tauck.

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I just read this thread, and find the OP's assessment very interesting, and wanted to make a few comments. We were booked on this cruise, AMS-BUD in fall 2015, on Tauck, and it would have been our first river cruise. We ended up having to cancel for various reasons, so we're still European river cruise virgins.

 

We did do our first river trip in that same time frame on the Nile with Uniworld, and loved the whole experience. BUT, Egypt is a whole different environment than Europe. Not one where you would wander off by yourselves much. And...given the political situation in Egypt at the time, our group onboard was 12 passengers. So all over our (carefully planned) excursions were obviously in a small group, which was great. Yes, there were some long bus trips, although I found just watching the culture roll by quite fascinating in itself.

 

Not sure now if I would feel the same in Europe. No more river trips in our plans, but if we did, it might be the Seine or the Douro (love Portugal).

 

Size of cabins: our cabin on River Tosca was wonderful for us. It was about the same size as a standard cabin on the luxury cruise line that we've sailed on most--Regent Seven Seas. That is, 300 sq ft or more. "French" balcony hardly open because of the heat, but great because of the floor to ceiling windows the full width of the cabin. Huge bathroom. Sometimes we sail in small cabins, will be in an Azamara cabin next year with 175 sq ft. This is the smallest I can imagine. And as for never being in the cabin, we found that our bed was a great place to watch the Nile go by during "downtime" after touring.

 

Another aspect--we're getting to the age where we don't mind being "shepherded" around. Although it's not optimal (we have loved independent travel over the years), we're not as physically energetic as we were, so most planned excursions would be fine with us, and if not, a stroll in town would be an nice change.

 

But there are lines that do not include many excursions in the price, so if one wants to be independent, one could choose one of those--most aren't apparently luxurious, but it's an option.

 

I've always said in the past that Europe's not an ideal place for an ocean cruise. And the river cruise seems to solve that, but the destinations are limited, aren't they? Last fall we did a 7-night Rome-Rome cruise down the Amalfi Coast to Sicily and back, bracketed by almost two weeks of land touring in Rome and Florence--a perfect combination, in my books.

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I've ocean cruised extensively (34) and river cruised in Egypt and then in Europe (Grand Rivers).....and what I have learned over the years that it is all about perspective. As an example, on the Nile, after a week doing day trips on land, by the third day a man voiced what everyone was thinking....."oh no, not another temple". We all nodded in agreement and threw in a few eye rolls! Then our guide, a very wise man, reminded us that the similarities in the sites were expected and that to truly enjoy the wonders before us - we should look for the differences! Travel is about how YOU look at things.

 

 

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Really depends where you go and what you do. One trip we skipped on our river cruise was the Black Forest. That's a 2 hr bus ride in both directions to stop in a store and shop for clocks and eat black forest cake (that we heard wasn't very good ;-) We walked into Breisach and saw the old cathedral, but there was no Christmas Market in town the day we stopped there, or we would have gone there.

 

 

We had heard that about the Black Forest excursion from several posters on these forums, but I wanted to go into the Black Forest if for no other reason than to know I had been there. Kind of a bucket list sort of foray.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole journey! The bus ride back was shorter but slightly less scenic. I didn't feel that either segment was 2 hours - might have been but time does fly when you're having fun and I was.

 

I suspect having a good guide might have made a difference to some degree.

 

I didn't go for the clock factory - although I did find the large house sized clock amusing. We didn't set foot in the glass shop. I do like watching glass blowers at work but I knew I'd be tempted to buy something I didn't need [emoji16]

 

I did the excursion for the walk/hike into the forest. It was the Black Forest of legend and yes I suppose it was not much different from any other forest, but they don't have the name [emoji12]

 

It's kind of like saying Big Ben is just a clock - if that makes any sense.

 

We enjoyed the spectacular arched railway bridge and the goats behind the hotel. I loved the Black Forest cake! Chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries - what's not to love ❤️

 

I'm glad we did it and I might consider doing it again but that would depend on what else was available.

 

This whole thread is interesting - partly because I don't think like most people apparently so getting a peek into the thought processes of others is fascinating.

 

I consider myself somewhat well-traveled - certainly not as well as a lot of people, but I've done my share.

 

When I was young my parents would often just get in the car and go with no more than a direction in mind.

 

On my first trip to Europe, we had flight reservations and reservationists for a rental car in England and one in Holland and we were booked on the ferry from England to Holland - nothing else.

 

We have traveled on a shoestring and traveled in some level of luxury (sadly never with unlimited funds [emoji33]). We have traveled on our own and in fairly regimented groups (if this is Tuesday it must be Belgium).

 

I have done fly in and stay trips, train trips, ocean cruises and river cruises. I look at each as a separate adventure on its own merit and pretty much loved every one. And I'm always keen for the next one. Other than camping - which I know I wouldn't like unless it was in a well equipped luxury RV I'm ready to go.

 

I don't prefer cruising on the huge floating theme park/shopping mall ships, but under the right circumstances I'd go. I certainly wouldn't close the door on the option [emoji41]

 

I'd prefer not traveling on a limited budget anymore but I could deal if it meant crossing an item off my bucket list.

 

I like keeping myself open to possibilities and for me at least I think it's a good thing. Except for the camping in tents, sleeping on the ground and no plumbing [emoji15] - that's my line in the sand.

 

Wishing you all happy travels!

 

 

 

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I loved the Black Forest cake! Chocolate cake, whipped cream, cherries - what's not to love ❤️

Well, apparently the version served to our ship's group was dry and flavorless, so.....I guess you can make chocolate, cherry & whipped cream not lovable....[this came from my mother, who did the trip and is a sweets fiend - I personally don't have much of a sweet tooth so I'll take her word on it; also I wasn't there;p]

 

We're definitely glass half full people - we're going to enjoy a vacation, no matter what. Which is why I continue to say that the river cruise we did was fabulous - I'm just not going to do it again for a long while - it's not my style. And it's not the only type of vacation where we've had that happen. But as with you - we chalk it up to experience and move on to the next thing, tailoring each trip to what we've learned in the past as much as possible.:hearteyes:

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I also found the Black Forest to be a disappointment when I visited Germany in the mid-80s. It was dry and flavorless, as Hoya just pointed out. I thought the Black Forest was a lot of hype.

 

Roz

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I am not sure what it is with the Black Forest but more than twenty years back now in England I was asked by locals if the place I live in is in the Black Forest. It is not, I live more than 100 miles away. It appears that in the English-speaking world of all the places in Germany the Black Forest seems the one that people can easiest relate to. I for myself find the Black Forest not that spectacular, for me the Bavarian region "Bayerischer Wald" (bordering on the Czech Republic) has more appeal. One can get Black Forest Gateau wrong, it is not the easiest of cakes to bake and baking for tourists...hmm, not sure if the love and patience for baking is not lost a bit. For the Black Forest tour I would DIY instead, go to Freiburg, where one can also buy cuckoo clocks and eat the cake in a nice café. The cake is not restricted to the area, many, many cafés in the Rhine valley serve it. Those places are usually called Konditorei Café, by the way.

 

To the OP's original idea for the thread: Great that you tried it out, had the experience and now move on with a light heart. I had wanted to try river cruising for some years, when it finally worked out I was delighted, but also apprehensive. Would it be for me? It was, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As regards ocean cruising I can say that it would take a lot of convincing to get me on an ocean cruiser. I tend to "extrapolate" what the experience might be like from channel crossings on ferries with slot machines and teenagers and children talking in many languages or in high-pitched voices calling for mummy and cannot see myself on such a ship. Especially after some neighbours came back from their Mediterranean cruise with the conviction of not going on one again. I have been to cities along the Mediterranean on land trips and will continue to do so unless somebody pays for my transatlantic crossing on the QE2. I cannot get myself to trying it out with hard-earned money.

 

notamermaid

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I am not sure what it is with the Black Forest but more than twenty years back now in England I was asked by locals if the place I live in is in the Black Forest. It is not, I live more than 100 miles away. It appears that in the English-speaking world of all the places in Germany the Black Forest seems the one that people can easiest relate to. I for myself find the Black Forest not that spectacular, for me the Bavarian region "Bayerischer Wald" (bordering on the Czech Republic) has more appeal. One can get Black Forest Gateau wrong, it is not the easiest of cakes to bake and baking for tourists...hmm, not sure if the love and patience for baking is not lost a bit. For the Black Forest tour I would DIY instead, go to Freiburg, where one can also buy cuckoo clocks and eat the cake in a nice café. The cake is not restricted to the area, many, many cafés in the Rhine valley serve it. Those places are usually called Konditorei Café, by the way.

 

To the OP's original idea for the thread: Great that you tried it out, had the experience and now move on with a light heart. I had wanted to try river cruising for some years, when it finally worked out I was delighted, but also apprehensive. Would it be for me? It was, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As regards ocean cruising I can say that it would take a lot of convincing to get me on an ocean cruiser. I tend to "extrapolate" what the experience might be like from channel crossings on ferries with slot machines and teenagers and children talking in many languages or in high-pitched voices calling for mummy and cannot see myself on such a ship. Especially after some neighbours came back from their Mediterranean cruise with the conviction of not going on one again. I have been to cities along the Mediterranean on land trips and will continue to do so unless somebody pays for my transatlantic crossing on the QE2. I cannot get myself to trying it out with hard-earned money.

 

notamermaid

 

Suggest considering Viking Ocean. No casino/slots, no photographers, no onboard selling of art & stuff, no children, small 950 passenger ship often seems quite empty.

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Well, apparently the version served to our ship's group was dry and flavorless, so.....I guess you can make chocolate, cherry & whipped cream not lovable....[this came from my mother, who did the trip and is a sweets fiend - I personally don't have much of a sweet tooth so I'll take her word on it; also I wasn't there;p]

 

We're definitely glass half full people - we're going to enjoy a vacation, no matter what. Which is why I continue to say that the river cruise we did was fabulous - I'm just not going to do it again for a long while - it's not my style. And it's not the only type of vacation where we've had that happen. But as with you - we chalk it up to experience and move on to the next thing, tailoring each trip to what we've learned in the past as much as possible.:hearteyes:

 

I'm curious - did your mother buy a slice or was this a sample from the demo. Just wondering if there was a difference. As I said - I thought it was quite good and not dry at all. Maybe it depends on the baker of the day!

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You appear obsessed with whether I listen to advice.

I make my own decisions after considering a lot of information. But no one person decides for me. And had I listened to you I would disagree. We preferred the Danube to the Rhine and we would never take a 7 day cruise undrr any set any circumstances. A complete non starter. For us one reason to cruise is to have a floating hotel and to avoid unpacking and unpacking. Also we find the demographic differs on short cruises

 

 

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Interesting about the demographic. I know it applies to longer ocean cruises, but I didn't think about it applying to river cruises as well - which seem to have a different demographic from ocean cruises to start.

 

We did the Rhine Getaway as our first - because the Castles on the Rhine thing and because we thought it would be a good cruise to start. We loved it, so we're doing another - the Grand European on Viking next year.

 

We also have 2 ocean cruises (complete opposites - Carnival to Canada/NE and Viking West Indies) and a fly and stay in Bermuda for the the next year. Have passport - will travel - not leaving any inheritances ;p

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Why did we chose to take a river cruise and not take the included excursions? The convenience of unpacking once, the experience of cruising along the river, the people we met along the way, the convenience of travel from one spot to another. You are right, to each his own. We enjoyed it very much and would not have seen all those towns in such a relaxing manner if we had done it totally on our own.

 

Pretty much the way we felt about the river cruise. I really loved being on the river. While I enjoyed the ports and didn't mind being "herded" (actually I never felt herded - I was usually in the back of the pack taking photos!) I enjoyed the guides - they were knowledgeable, informative and I liked listening to the stories they all added in. Loved not having to pack & unpack or live out of a suitcase.

 

It's another from of travel, and as I said previously with the exception of camping and huge mega ocean ships, I love to travel. Options are great! Mix 'em up for me!

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I am not sure what it is with the Black Forest but more than twenty years back now in England I was asked by locals if the place I live in is in the Black Forest. It is not, I live more than 100 miles away. It appears that in the English-speaking world of all the places in Germany the Black Forest seems the one that people can easiest relate to. I for myself find the Black Forest not that spectacular, for me the Bavarian region "Bayerischer Wald" (bordering on the Czech Republic) has more appeal. One can get Black Forest Gateau wrong, it is not the easiest of cakes to bake and baking for tourists...hmm, not sure if the love and patience for baking is not lost a bit. For the Black Forest tour I would DIY instead, go to Freiburg, where one can also buy cuckoo clocks and eat the cake in a nice café. The cake is not restricted to the area, many, many cafés in the Rhine valley serve it. Those places are usually called Konditorei Café, by the way.

 

To the OP's original idea for the thread: Great that you tried it out, had the experience and now move on with a light heart. I had wanted to try river cruising for some years, when it finally worked out I was delighted, but also apprehensive. Would it be for me? It was, I thoroughly enjoyed it. As regards ocean cruising I can say that it would take a lot of convincing to get me on an ocean cruiser. I tend to "extrapolate" what the experience might be like from channel crossings on ferries with slot machines and teenagers and children talking in many languages or in high-pitched voices calling for mummy and cannot see myself on such a ship. Especially after some neighbours came back from their Mediterranean cruise with the conviction of not going on one again. I have been to cities along the Mediterranean on land trips and will continue to do so unless somebody pays for my transatlantic crossing on the QE2. I cannot get myself to trying it out with hard-earned money.

 

notamermaid

 

As for the Black Forest - yes, I'll admit it was a romantic notion, but one I wanted to do, and so I seized the day and did it. I enjoyed it - the walk in the woods felt all Black Foresty :D

 

As for ocean cruising, I don't know about other smaller ship lines, but Viking does not allow anyone under 18, so no children "calling out for mummy" at all. And they do not have slot machines. All of this I am looking forward to enjoying - uncrowded bliss compared to the mainstream lines. I have a friend who swears by Seadream Yacht Club and this also intrigues me, but they have no balconies, and my husband wanted the ship with all the balconies. He got no argument from me!

 

I would love to do a TA on one of the Cunard Queens - but I'd have to find someone else to go with. My husband is not found of getting dressed up - another thing he likes about Viking.

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As for ocean cruising, I don't know about other smaller ship lines, but Viking does not allow anyone under 18, so no children "calling out for mummy" at all..

 

"The minimum age requirement for Viking River Cruises is 12 years old. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult who is over the age of 21. The company states that it reserves the right to limit the number of passengers who are younger than 18 years old."

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I would love to do a TA on one of the Cunard Queens - but I'd have to find someone else to go with. My husband is not found of getting dressed up - another thing he likes about Viking.

 

Try Oceania on either Marina or Riviera - far better food in 4 specialties (included) and no dress up needed ever :)

Beats Cunard hands down in all respects.

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Try Oceania on either Marina or Riviera - far better food in 4 specialties (included) and no dress up needed ever :)

 

Totally agree~

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I'm on a Tauck cruise right now and I don't like the food at all. I could get better at a cafeteria.

 

 

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I'm on a Tauck cruise right now and I don't like the food at all. I could get better at a cafeteria.

 

 

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Is that all the meals , even dinner ? Hopefully all will get better.

Please keep reporting.

I followed your world cruise blog and so enjoyed your journey. Is your mascot with you ? 😀

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Is that all the meals , even dinner ? Hopefully all will get better.

 

Please keep reporting.

 

I followed your world cruise blog and so enjoyed your journey. Is your mascot with you ? [emoji3]

 

 

 

Yes! My buddy Snort is with me!e45bf2caf506da6249d191700d7f2028.jpg

 

I'm blogging still although I'm a few days behind. Just finished a 20-day North Cape Explorer on HAL's Prinsendam, visiting Norway, Svalbard, Polar Ice Cap, Iceland, Edinburgh and Amsterdam.

 

 

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I'm by no means a picky eater. I am easily happified by McDonalds as I am a Michelin Star restaurant. But I find the meals so far on Tauck to be just mediocre. Had French cuisine in their bistro the other night and it was like eating a glorified pot pie.

 

 

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The bistro was sub par on our tauck cruise. French or Italian food on a river cruise in Germany would not be my go to meal. People complained so we did not even try it. But the main restaurant was superb. Chef was great. Very versatile

 

 

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I'm on a Tauck cruise right now and I don't like the food at all. I could get better at a cafeteria.

 

 

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Which ship and itinerary are you on?

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I'm on Esprit. Budapest to Amsterdam. While I may be unhappy with the food, the staff is very friendly and helpful and work very hard.

 

 

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I'm on Esprit. Budapest to Amsterdam. While I may be unhappy with the food, the staff is very friendly and helpful and work very hard.

 

 

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I was on same ship. Same itinerary. Everyone raved about food in dining room

 

 

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Perhaps there's a different chef onboard now? Otherwise, the two opinions are rather far ranging! I will be on this same cruise soon...

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I'm on a Tauck Cruise in France next week. We'll be on the Emerald. I'm hoping for the same standard of food we had on our Budapest to Amsterdam cruise on the MS Treasures a few years ago. That was wonderful.

Terri

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Reporting in again on the food. I find the made to order food to be better than the buffet selection, certainly. But I'm still saying overall it's just mediocre.

 

The buffet scrambled eggs are soupy and lukewarm. The bacon is chewy and greasy. If you order special the quality goes up.

 

My dinner last night was from the "everyday" menu. I had salmon and a baked potato. The salmon was slightly dry with no accompanying sauce. The baked potato was small and tasted like it had been microwaved instead of baked.

 

So I consider this mediocre.

 

 

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