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karinad

BUDGET RIVER CRUISE LINES

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karinad,

I did a quick search on an online website in Germany just to compare prices and relate them to figures mentioned here. An example: Arosa offers a family-themed cruise Vienna roundtrip in August of seven nights. The premium package which is inclusive of most things is offered on that website for 1499 euros per person which today is 1700 dollars. Not bad. Then I noticed that I had not mentioned Arosa earlier. They are actually available on the North American market with their own website.

 

notamermaid

 

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4 hours ago, karinad said:

..............................................................

 

Have most of you here done ocean cruises or are you strictly river cruisers?

 We do both, although since we've started river (and small ship) cruising, we do fewer ocean cruises.  As retirees, our wallets are slim!   We tend to do cheaper cabins and look for specials.  This year, we'll have two ocean (Royal cruise was in January and an NCL in December) plus one OAT small ship cruise - returned last week.  If we see a great deal on a river cruise that fits our budget and schedule, we'll add another.  

 

Both types of cruising are interesting to us.  For me, ocean cruising is more relaxing than river cruising, where you're up and about discovering a new city every day.  A lot of walking- Roman ruins, castles, museums, market places!!   Our ocean cruising is usually in the Caribbean (or Alaska)- sitting on a beach, strolling through markets, whale watching from the lounger, shows each evening.  Not too strenuous.

 

But both are a great way to travel:  unpack once but see somewhere new each day.  We've also taken bus trips in Europe: a new city every day- pack, unpack, pack, unpack- exhausting!

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5 hours ago, karinad said:

Have most of you here done ocean cruises or are you strictly river cruisers?

I’ve done ~25 river cruises on 4 continents (Europe, Asia, Africa, South America) and ~80 ocean cruises to all 7 continents. Good deals means more trips without busting the bank😊

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6 hours ago, karinad said:

I would love to get a great deal, as mentioned by Sjde and others! We do prefer to travel in Sept. and Oct. I guess that I'm not used to looking and don't know where to look to get the great deals on river cruises. I'm pretty good with searches for ocean cruises and could usually end up with good deals on them or we don't go! Can't afford it! 

Have you registered for email notifications on all of the lines. They send out emails with discounted trips on a regular basis. They might be high enough discounts for you, so I would add in even expensive lines.

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Notamermaid-That is a great deal on Arosa, especially for summer! I hadn't known of them.  That may beat GCT for that time of year , plus I don't think GCT has many (any?)  7 nt itineraries besides the Christmas Market sailing.

 

JerseyGem-I just checked out OAT small ship cruises and they are considerably more expensive than GCT's river cruises-maybe because the ships only carry 50-100 passengers. Since I am one who tends to get sick in stormy seas,  I wonder if being so small and in the ocean, it might not be a good fit for me.

 

gnome12--I haven't registered for email notifications but I get SO much (snail) mail every day-brochures from so many companies, even ones we've never sailed with.

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27 minutes ago, sjde said:

gnome12--I haven't registered for email notifications but I get SO much (snail) mail every day-brochures from so many companies, even ones we've never sailed with.

I honestly don't think that you get the same deals in the mail; it takes time to prepare mailings and send them out and it costs more. For a number of extra emails (some are almost daily), you might find what you are looking for.

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Thanks, notamermaid! I never heard of Arosa  and will check them out. I will also sign up with others to receive the specials, as suggested by  a few of you. I agree, that cruising, whether ocean or river, is the best way to go! A couple years ago I planned a cruise that left from Barcelona r/t, but our flight went through Dublin. We were using a "free" ticket. I put it that way because the taxes were a few hundred dollars! I planned a few nights stay in Ireland with hotel points at the Westin, which was a great location! Our flight from Dublin into Barcelona to get our cruise was a night one, so we had to overnight there. The packing and unpacking for those few nights was a pain and not to mention putting money out for our meals!!!

 

Even if it were a bus tour where things are planned, moving from hotel to hotel for a night or two would be exhausting! We never did a bus tour either.

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Glad to read my post was helpful. I need to add something. For me this is normal as German river cruise lines do this as standard but I forgot to mention this here. Arosa has much included in the price that I stated as it is called "Premium" but the excursions are not included. I give you an example. I looked up a cruise in September (on Arosa's on German website, not an online travel agent) which is a return trip Engelhartszell seven nights for 1,699 euros p.p. in the second-lowest price category. This gives you cabin, food, drink (apart from champagne and some liquors), bathroom toiletries and several other things added. The excursions are offered in a package that you by before the cruise, I think it is four, for 136 euros p.p. (Melk, Vienna, Budapest, etc. on foot or by coach). That sounds reasonable to me. To that you can usually add a few more excursion which are sold on the first night on the ship. This is the standard procedure.

 

For the North-American market they might have a different procedure. Unfortunately, there are not that many international sailings. But perhaps one could for work for you in the time frame you are looking at.

 

By the way, last-minute deals for river cruises with European lines are not that common. Online agents do them more than they used to, but generally-speaking the cruise lines work more with early-bird booking discounts. Again, with the cruises they offer on the North-American market, that policy might be different. Consumer rights protection rulings also play a part, so you might find that websites directed at or being in the European Union can differ from North-American ones.

 

notamermaid

 

P.S.: I need to add that I do not subscribe to river cruise line newsletters, so if they offer deals here in the EU that way I do not see them.

 

Edited by notamermaid
additional information

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On 3/3/2019 at 1:43 PM, sjde said:

Karinad-

We have gotten fantastic deals on Grand Circle

When I look at the GCT website, it mention traveling in a group of 38-45 aboard their ship that carries 140-162.  Exactly what do they mean by that?

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1 hour ago, SpringBreakMom said:

When I look at the GCT website, it mention traveling in a group of 38-45 aboard their ship that carries 140-162.  Exactly what do they mean by that?

There will most likely be 4 Program Directors (PDs) on board the boat, each of whom is a credentialed guide. You will be assigned to a group attached to one of the PDs who has primary responsibility for that group. The PD coordinates with additional local guides and with the other PDs. The other PDs will help you if needed, but “your” PD is your primary cultural contact throughout the trip.  I think the system works very well. 

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3 hours ago, SpringBreakMom said:

When I look at the GCT website, it mention traveling in a group of 38-45 aboard their ship that carries 140-162.  Exactly what do they mean by that?

The cruise we took down the Rhone had 43 pax on the ship.  I can't say what happens on their larger ships, but a nice tour bus will accommodate about 40 people, so it seems logical to break things up along those lines.

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I thought all the river cruise ships held about 140-150 passengers. 

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Rivers have maximum boat length, width, depth and height parameters. These vary by rivers. Through Rhine Main Danube boats max size have an upper limit of 190 passengers crammed into Viking Longboats, other lines put fewer passengers into the same max size. Max size on Elbe, Douro, etc is smaller than RMD boats. Seine boats run up to 135 meters long, but these are not allowed into central Paris where the max limit is 125m; the max length allowed into Honfleur at the mouth of the Seine is 110m. Finally while there is a max size THERE IS NO MINIMUM SIZE. 

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15 hours ago, TravelerThom said:

There will most likely be 4 Program Directors (PDs) on board the boat, each of whom is a credentialed guide. You will be assigned to a group attached to one of the PDs who has primary responsibility for that group. The PD coordinates with additional local guides and with the other PDs. The other PDs will help you if needed, but “your” PD is your primary cultural contact throughout the trip.  I think the system works very well. 

Thanks so much for that explanation!  Sounds like a great way to do things.

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Didn't see Riviera mentioned that has a relatively new fleet and new entrant. A friend is gong on Riviera Danube cruise in May and we are going in October on a new ship (2018) for our cruise. The few reviews are mostly good. TA threw in wine @ lunch & dinner that you have to pay extra for if book directly w/ Riviera. 

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21 hours ago, Cary Cruiser said:

The cruise we took down the Rhone had 43 pax on the ship.  I can't say what happens on their larger ships, but a nice tour bus will accommodate about 40 people, so it seems logical to break things up along those lines.

I’ve taken about 5 GCT river cruises, and 3 on their 48 passenger ocean ships, and have never had a group that large.

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On 3/5/2019 at 5:29 PM, sjde said:

So the ocean ships are actually smaller?

Some are.  They have some larger ships, I’m not sure how big.  The three I’ve sailed on were under 50.  Last summer I took a cruise that went from Venice to Malta.  

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On March 5, 2019 at 5:29 PM, sjde said:

So the ocean ships are actually smaller?

 

The Corinthian can accommodate almost 100 pax while the Clio is slightly smaller, 88 iirc.

Each had four Trip Leaders when we cruised with them in August '18 and just a couple weeks ago. Very nice when they use a big bus as you can get two seats to yourself.

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On 3/5/2019 at 3:20 PM, DanL said:

Didn't see Riviera mentioned that has a relatively new fleet and new entrant. A friend is gong on Riviera Danube cruise in May and we are going in October on a new ship (2018) for our cruise. The few reviews are mostly good. TA threw in wine @ lunch & dinner that you have to pay extra for if book directly w/ Riviera. 

I mentioned Riviera earlier in a post and added a link. In the meantime, I have had another look at their website and found a sub page where they compare amenities and prices of several lines with theirs. Quite interesting and naturally they rate favourably 😉.  In all earnest, the itineraries are nice and the price range deserves a second glance.

 

Have a great time and please come back with some info on what Riviera is like.

 

notamermaid

 

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