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SenltonGomes

European River Cruises

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 I've been thinking about doing a European River Cruise sometime soon. I like the idea of having a floating hotel, combined with the ability of being able to see a number of different stop places along the way.

My questions for those who have been on such Cruises...

What is the approximate age of the passengers?

What do the Ships do overnight? Anchor up somewhere or travel to another destination?

How long do you get at each of the stops? Whole day or just a few hours?

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Try reading the sticky threads at the top of the forum, pretty much everything you're asking will be covered in at least one of the articles they link to. Start here: 

 

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Host Jazzbeau's advice is excellent (as always).  There's a lot of info here on CC to pour through.  There are also some excellent videos on You Tube that show the realistic side of river cruises.  Here are some quick answers to your questions:

 

What is the approximate age of the passengers?  Based on my experience, the majority are in their 60s and 70s, but I've cruised with people ranging from 25 - 85.  How old are you?

What do the Ships do overnight? Anchor up somewhere or travel to another destination? Usually they travel overnight.

How long do you get at each of the stops? Whole day or just a few hours?  It depends on the port and the itinerary, also water levels which can impact the schedule.

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Excellent advice has already been given. I would only add that river cruises are a much more intimate experience than the large ocean ships as the passenger load is quite small (our last river cruise had only 138). We have loved our river cruises and are soon leaving for our Mekong cruise.

What is the approximate age of the passengers? 

Our Danube & Rhine cruise passengers were in the 60s age range. Our China cruise passengers were a little younger - mid 50s - 60s.

What do the Ships do overnight? Anchor up somewhere or travel to another destination?

Usually travel overnight but some ports include an overnight (example, Vienna included an overnight).

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We just got off the Crystal Ravel on Sunday and the ages on that ship were 30's through 60's and most in their 50's - a younger group than we experienced on the Uniworld SS Antoinette.  I just want to say the Danube cruise we did on the Crystal Ravel was possibly the best vacation of our lives!  Everything was absolutely perfect from our S2 suite, butler service, all-inclusive everything, awesome food and tours, great entertainment, enrichment lectures...  Every day I would wake up thinking how amazing our vacation was and every day something new and great would happen. Highly recommended! 

 

My previous cruise on the Uniworld SS Antoinette the ages ranged from 25 to 94 with most being in their 60's and 70's.  

 

River cruises are different from ocean cruises.  On some lines, such as Crystal everything is included including all excursions and all beverages and all tips.  Generally, the ship cruises mostly at night from the time you reboard for dinner through the entire night.  We did some daytime cruising leaving Budapest and also on the Danube bend - which was so amazing!  You get a choice of excursions and events and sign up for those you want or you can tour on your own at your own expense - it's up to you.  For example, in Budapest, we took a 9am morning tour of Parliament House (gorgeous) and then went to the Great Market Hall where we had a snack around lunch time provided as part of the tour (it was wine and charcuterie).  The ship was only about 4 blocks from the Great Market Hall and was not leaving until 6:30pm so we went shopping, bought lots of cut to clear AJKA crystal and then walked back to the ship to drop off our purchases in our suite and then walked to The Shoes Memorial to take photos.  That evening, we went with others from the ship to see a concert by the Princesses of Violin and got back around 10pm.  Then we went to the lounge to watch a show by the combo onboard.  That night the ship remained in Budapest and the next morning we had a beautiful sail away from there and arrived at our next destination at noon where we had an afternoon tour.  Basically yoou get anywhere from a full day and even evening at each stop to a half day.  A lot depends on how much there is to do at that specific city.  The ships do move mostly overnight.  For this reason it is important to know that the cabins at the back third of the ship get engine noise.  If that would bother you, select a cabin further forward.  

Edited by SuiteTraveler

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8 hours ago, SuiteTraveler said:

We just got off the Crystal Ravel on Sunday and the ages on that ship were 30's through 60's and most in their 50's - a younger group than we experienced on the Uniworld SS Antoinette.  I just want to say the Danube cruise we did on the Crystal Ravel was possibly the best vacation of our lives!  

I think we have to start saying negative things about Crystal as I am afraid they are becoming too popular! The problem is that everyone keep coming back with perfect reviews.

 

Glad you enjoyed your trip! I loved my trip also. Our trip had a younger group also (I am in my 40's).

Edited by Coral

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I just returned from a River cruise on Uniworld and the ages varied...……..There were about 125 guests and

the age ranges were about mid 50s to mid 80s...…….I am 61.  I loved it. It was my 2nd river cruise

and my 3rd one is booked for late April--early May:classic_biggrin:

 

What does the ship do at night? Many times they sail.....we were in Venice which is a different itinerary and we were

docked most nights.

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3 hours ago, Coral said:

I think we have to start saying negative things about Crystal as I am afraid they are becoming too popular! The problem is that everyone keep coming back with perfect reviews.

 

Glad you enjoyed your trip! I loved my trip also. Our trip had a younger group also (I am in my 40's).

Their success is well deserved.  It was a fabulous trip and I'm glad you also had a good time on your trip!

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We finished our first river cruise (Rhine Highlights with Scenic) about three weeks ago, but remained in Europe for another couple of weeks.

 

We are glad we took the advice of only a short cruise for our first, as we didn't enjoy it as much as we had hoped to.  Having said that, it wasn't Scenic's fault, I couldn't fault anything with the ship, cabin, food, all inclusive and wonderful staff.  We just realised that group touring is really not our thing!  All tours were included, but where we could we chose not to do them and simply do what we do every other year and that is wander happily by ourselves.

 

The whole following someone with a flag thing is just not for us, even though the guides were excellent and we received interesting information, most of it could have been found with a Google search.  It was nice for us to disembark and have another couple of weeks in Vienna and Budapest.  We sort of heaved a sigh of relief and said to each other "now the holiday really starts".

 

We would consider another river cruise, as the actual cruising part was lovely and very enjoyable.  I would just choose a much, much cheaper not all inclusive one where you paid for tours if you wanted and otherwise just did your own thing.

 

As for age ranges, it was slightly younger than I expected, although the vast majority were older than us - we are 59 and 60.  Most would have been in their late 60's to 70s, although I did see one very young (30ish?) girl.  Our cruise had primarily Canadians, which was surprising for an Aussie company, and a lot of them were on group tours or large family groups.  That was disappointing as most of those people weren't interested in socialising and preferred to keep to their groups.  Luckily we met a few others from Canada, the US and the UK so still had a good time.

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Thank you for your recent impression of cruising with Scenic.

We have considered them and have friends who have cruised and others who have done land based trips with them. All enjoyed.

We have European river cruised several times,  and have another booked. 

Like all travel there are pluses and minuses as you have said.

Interruptions with river levels and industrial action has impacted some of our river cruises.

We also understand the issues with structured activities. Our preference is small groups where possible and no long bus rides.

Like you we chose what we like and do not feel compelled to take the included tours.

We have met many interesting people on board, all sorts of ages and life experiences.

The quality of cruise directors and guides can also influence the cruise experiences.

We like to do pre/post independently and are currently finalising plans.

We will go with the flow and aim to have an optimal experience, visiting familiar places we have enjoyed.

Happy to see the river levels are behaving so far. Enjoy your next cruise. Wonderful to have so many choices. 

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6 hours ago, djh1959 said:

As for age ranges, it was slightly younger than I expected, although the vast majority were older than us - we are 59 and 60.  Most would have been in their late 60's to 70s, although I did see one very young (30ish?) girl.  Our cruise had primarily Canadians, which was surprising for an Aussie company, and a lot of them were on group tours or large family groups.  That was disappointing as most of those people weren't interested in socialising and preferred to keep to their groups.  Luckily we met a few others from Canada, the US and the UK so still had a good time.

 

So you were expecting the ages to skew towards 80s and 90s? 😉  I was recently on an ocean cruise with several large tour and family groups.  I really felt lonely and pushed aside, and it was truly a solo cruise for me as there was little socialization with other passengers.    

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36 minutes ago, Roz said:

 

So you were expecting the ages to skew towards 80s and 90s? 😉  I was recently on an ocean cruise with several large tour and family groups.  I really felt lonely and pushed aside, and it was truly a solo cruise for me as there was little socialization with other passengers.    

WOW...so sorry this happened to you Roz.:classic_sad:  It seems like people would be sociable in this venue but sounds like you had some very stand offish people!

 

My recent Uniworld cruise was totally opposite......folks were extremely friendly and I met some wonderful people!

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Lois, the cruise I had issues on was an ocean cruise.  I found passengers on my river cruises to be very sociable overall.  I was just pointing that when you cruise with large groups onboard (ocean or river) it can change the social dynamics.  On one of my Uniworld cruises there were 35 people from Brazil.  They had their own tour guide and section of the DR.  Because of the language barrier, there was little if any interaction with the rest of the passengers.

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9 minutes ago, Roz said:

Lois, the cruise I had issues on was an ocean cruise.  I found passengers on my river cruises to be very sociable overall.  I was just pointing that when you cruise with large groups onboard (ocean or river) it can change the social dynamics.  On one of my Uniworld cruises there were 35 people from Brazil.  They had their own tour guide and section of the DR.  Because of the language barrier, there was little if any interaction with the rest of the passengers.

My Amawaterways had half the ship from Australia (booked tthrough APT). There were a lot of optional tours on this cruise and the Australians had them all included. They also had their own buses so their tours were always on Bus 1 and 2 and we were on Bus 3 and 4. There was definitely a divide. It felt like an odd cruise. Even tours that I think were the same, they had their own buses and were kept separate from the rest of us.

 

On the other hand, I had an Alaskan cruise on Princess (large ship back in the day - 2000 passengers) and approx 600 passengers were from Japan. They did have their own dining room, their own tour guides, their own tours and I barely noticed them and it didn't affect me at all.

Edited by Coral

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8 minutes ago, Roz said:

Lois, the cruise I had issues on was an ocean cruise.  I found passengers on my river cruises to be very sociable overall.  I was just pointing that when you cruise with large groups onboard (ocean or river) it can change the social dynamics.  On one of my Uniworld cruises there were 35 people from Brazil.  They had their own tour guide and section of the DR.  Because of the language barrier, there was little if any interaction with the rest of the passengers.

I had that on my tour on the Mekong. There was one group of 47 that kept to themselves most of the time, and another group of 17 that did the same. (I actually had things in common with both groups, and managed to bridge the divide a little bit.) Essentially, those of us that had done the pre-cruise in Hanoi/Siem Reap basically then stuck together too.

 

It isn't my preference on a cruise. I would prefer not to sail with fairly large affinity groups.

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22 hours ago, SuiteTraveler said:

Their success is well deserved.  It was a fabulous trip and I'm glad you also had a good time on your trip!

I completely agree. I just don't want them to become too popular! I sort of like the hidden secret :)

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