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coevan

Ama or Uniworld

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We are taking our first European river cruise. We are looking at Basil to Amsterdam on the Rhine. As silly as this sounds, my wife thinks Iniworld interiors are so gaudy. Putting the dcor aside, which cruise lines do you experts recommend. The prices are comparable and not really an issue. While Uniworld is a little more expensive, their ship are more all inclusive. Any suggestions will be appreciated. 

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Hi, I have sailed both lines and loved both of them. Would I decorate my home the same way Uniworld decorates

their riverboats? Nope. But I did not love the cruise any less because of the décor.  If liquor is important to you and

you want it all included, then I would say Uniworld would get the edge......service and food are excellent too. But

my cruise on AMA was really good as well....on them you receive wine and beer included but if you want "a drink"

it is extra $.

If the décor of the riverboat is important to your wife and she would be unhappy sailing with them because of it?

Then book AMA.

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Thank you Lois, no decor is not important. We have sailed Carnival many times (LOL). We know the river cruises unlike Caribbean cruises allow you to BYOB, so liquor is not a huge factor. We are more interested in your opinion on the cruise overall including shore excursions and your general cruise experience. 

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39 minutes ago, coevan said:

Thank you Lois, no decor is not important. We have sailed Carnival many times (LOL). We know the river cruises unlike Caribbean cruises allow you to BYOB, so liquor is not a huge factor. We are more interested in your opinion on the cruise overall including shore excursions and your general cruise experience. 

Oh, I loved both..........service, food, staff---excursions---on both lines.......I would sail both of them again:classic_biggrin: 

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Haven't cruised with Ama, but have friends who recommend their offerings.  We will be taking our 6th cruise with Uniworld this spring, which tells you that we have loved our experiences with them on a variety of itineraries. It may be a non issue for some, but we find that Uniworld's all inclusiveness (like Crystal) makes for a more relaxing vacation.  We never liked having to dig into our pockets for bus drivers, guides, etc. on a daily basis with some other river cruises we've taken and although we never felt pressure to tip anyone on the Uniworld or Crystal ships, we did tip some staff that we felt provided service above and beyond what was expected.

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On our three AMA cruises, there was a wide choice of excursions – sometimes 3 different time slots a day! – and all were included in the cruise fare.  Reviews of Uniworld cruises often mention extra-cost excursions.  So 'all inclusive' has to be taken with a grain of salt.  Uni does include booze and tips.  Ama gives guidelines for the tips, so you can compare fares except for the bar bill and extra-cost excursions.

 

The big suggestion I would make is to consider cruising in the opposite direction.  There are more flights from the US to Amsterdam, so your chances of delays and cancellations are less [important at the beginning of your cruise].  Also while Amsterdam is a lovely city, it is such a central hub that you are more likely to get there again than Switzerland.  Ending in Basel allows a post-cruise extension [either with the cruise line or DIY] to Lucerne, and then fly home from Zurich [a convenient train goes directly from downtown Lucerne to the Zurich airport].

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I think direction depends more on which days the cruise departs. I agree spending extra time in Switzerland is desirable. Because Uniworld travels Sunday-Sunday (and we needed to return to work on Monday) we chose to fly to Zurich (more flights than Basel) and take the train to Lucerne for 2 nights pre-cruise, then the train to Basel. For us, having more options home, from Amsterdam, was preferable.

 

We haven’t yet traveled on Ama, but would if the itinerary, timing, and price were right. We like having all drinks and gratuities included on Uniworld, and quickly adjust to the decor. And, oh, their Savoir mattressess-so comfortable!
 

Robin

 

 

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15 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

On our three AMA cruises, there was a wide choice of excursions – sometimes 3 different time slots a day! – and all were included in the cruise fare.  Reviews of Uniworld cruises often mention extra-cost excursions.  So 'all inclusive' has to be taken with a grain of salt.  Uni does include booze and tips.  Ama gives guidelines for the tips, so you can compare fares except for the bar bill and extra-cost excursions.

 

The big suggestion I would make is to consider cruising in the opposite direction.  There are more flights from the US to Amsterdam, so your chances of delays and cancellations are less [important at the beginning of your cruise].  Also while Amsterdam is a lovely city, it is such a central hub that you are more likely to get there again than Switzerland.  Ending in Basel allows a post-cruise extension [either with the cruise line or DIY] to Lucerne, and then fly home from Zurich [a convenient train goes directly from downtown Lucerne to the Zurich airport].

 

We are going for 3 weeks, one week early and one after. Zurich is very desirable as there is a non stop from Denver and very good business class deals. We will train around Europe which we have done before. Their rail system is amazing and very affordable. 

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7 hours ago, acwmom said:

I think direction depends more on which days the cruise departs. I agree spending extra time in Switzerland is desirable. Because Uniworld travels Sunday-Sunday (and we needed to return to work on Monday) we chose to fly to Zurich (more flights than Basel) and take the train to Lucerne for 2 nights pre-cruise, then the train to Basel. For us, having more options home, from Amsterdam, was preferable.

 

We haven’t yet traveled on Ama, but would if the itinerary, timing, and price were right. We like having all drinks and gratuities included on Uniworld, and quickly adjust to the decor. And, oh, their Savoir mattressess-so comfortable!
 

Robin

 

 

We did the opposite, post-cruise:  Basel to Lucerne by train, then 2 days later Lucerne to Zurich airport by train.  Each train ride was about an hour, and easy easy!  Swiss trains really do run like Swiss watches--if the website says the train will be stopped at a station for 2 minutes, they mean EXACTLY two minutes.  If you have bags that you will need for the cruise but not for Lucerne, you can send them ahead from Zurich airport station to Basel, to be picked up when you get there.  Again we did the opposite, leaving heavy bags at Basel station and picked them up at Zurich Flughaven prior to our flight.

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On 2/7/2020 at 2:49 PM, coevan said:

We are taking our first European river cruise. We are looking at Basil to Amsterdam on the Rhine. As silly as this sounds, my wife thinks Iniworld interiors are so gaudy. Putting the dcor aside, which cruise lines do you experts recommend. The prices are comparable and not really an issue. While Uniworld is a little more expensive, their ship are more all inclusive. Any suggestions will be appreciated. 

Haven't been on Uniworld but I do agree with your wife the interiors seem a little too much.That being said in process of booking our 4th AMA cruise. 

Carole

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15 hours ago, coevan said:

We officially chose Ama Kristina  on Rhine in July

Have a wonderful time/ We are looking @ Captivating Rhine for next year. Pls post a review

Have agreat cruise

Carole

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I am on AMASerena doing Basel-AMS.  When researching flights I found just as many nonstops to Zur as AMS.  Since I live in CVG I have to hit a gateway hub prior to going overseas.  But there were lots of options with Delta.  I am cruising in May and depending on wifi bandwidth I will be posting a travel blog here and facebook.  My family likes to keep up with my travels.  Stay tuned

Edited by AF-1

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Just thought of this question for Ama.  The only thing I pay for will be crew gratuities; alcohol, gifts, and tips for shore excursion people like bus driver and tour guides.  Am I missing anything?  Thanks and have a great day. 

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12 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

Just thought of this question for Ama.  The only thing I pay for will be crew gratuities; alcohol, gifts, and tips for shore excursion people like bus driver and tour guides.  Am I missing anything?  Thanks and have a great day. 

Hi, that sounds about right to me:classic_smile:....unless you need $ for transportation to the ship......

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1 hour ago, Lois R said:

Hi, that sounds about right to me:classic_smile:....unless you need $ for transportation to the ship......

Laundry. Unless you are a very big drinker, wine beer, soda are included with lunch & dinner. There is a make your own mimosa bar @ breakfast and there is sip & sail cocktails every day. In addition there is Capt welcome cocktail party & farewell.

And.. no one objects if you top off your dinner drink and bring it to the sun deck or entertainment.

Have a great time

Carole

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1 hour ago, AF-1 said:

I am on AMASerena doing Basel-AMS.  When researching flights I found just as many nonstops to Zur as AMS.  Since I live in CVG I have to hit a gateway hub prior to going overseas.  But there were lots of options with Delta.  I am cruising in May and depending on wifi bandwidth I will be posting a travel blog here and facebook.  My family likes to keep up with my travels.  Stay tuned

Pls post am doing the reverse trip.Wifi is very good- except when going through locks

Carole

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Thanks everyone for the replies.  I don't drink so will only be asking for Perrier or club soda.  I have a four day pre cruise in Zurich and Lucerne; so Ama will meet me in Zurich and provide transportation all the way until we arrive in Basel.  I will arrange for private limo from boat to airport in AMS.  Have a great time out there.

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11 hours ago, AF-1 said:

Thanks everyone for the replies.  I don't drink so will only be asking for Perrier or club soda.  I have a four day pre cruise in Zurich and Lucerne; so Ama will meet me in Zurich and provide transportation all the way until we arrive in Basel.  I will arrange for private limo from boat to airport in AMS.  Have a great time out there.

Have a great cruise:classic_smile:

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Lois R  you enjoy your vacation/retirement too

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11 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

Lois R  you enjoy your vacation/retirement too

Thanks!!!:classic_biggrin:

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On 2/7/2020 at 8:08 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

On our three AMA cruises, there was a wide choice of excursions – sometimes 3 different time slots a day! – and all were included in the cruise fare.  Reviews of Uniworld cruises often mention extra-cost excursions.  So 'all inclusive' has to be taken with a grain of salt.  Uni does include booze and tips.  Ama gives guidelines for the tips, so you can compare fares except for the bar bill and extra-cost excursions.

 

The big suggestion I would make is to consider cruising in the opposite direction.  There are more flights from the US to Amsterdam, so your chances of delays and cancellations are less [important at the beginning of your cruise].  Also while Amsterdam is a lovely city, it is such a central hub that you are more likely to get there again than Switzerland.  Ending in Basel allows a post-cruise extension [either with the cruise line or DIY] to Lucerne, and then fly home from Zurich [a convenient train goes directly from downtown Lucerne to the Zurich airport].

I've sailed on Uniworld 3 times and never paid extra for an excursion.  The included excursions were more than adequate.  I happen to like the decor on their ships.  If I want to look at a beige wall I can stay at home.  😁

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update, had to change travel dates, booked the Ama Stella for July 20, very excited. Now we need to get flights, the hard part

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58 minutes ago, coevan said:

update, had to change travel dates, booked the Ama Stella for July 20, very excited. Now we need to get flights, the hard part

 

I guess it's easier for me, living near JFK.  I always check Delta 331 days prior to return and usually find 'good' prices for Comfort+ on non-stop flights (and wide open seat selection).  I sometimes ask my TA to check with the cruise line whether they can do better, and her usual response is "That's a really good fare and they aren't willing to commit yet.  I would jump on it."  So I do.

 

It's also given me some insight into why there are several British cruise lines that famously do almost all their Med and Baltic cruises (and even further out) rt Southampton – because it avoids the need to fly.  We're trying out something similar next year: Noble-Caledonia, which sails one-way itineraries but includes flights from/to London in the price.  Great for Brits, but also good for us [since non-stop flights JFK to LHR are frequent and Delta allows booking on Virgin Atlantic]. 

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I have done the Virgin Atlantic flights several times LHR-JFK and reverse.  I am on Delta in May JFK-ZUR.  My travel agent found a good business class ticket on United; but we chose to book Delta Premium Select.  It was cheaper and I get the skymiles.  I have less than 2,000 miles on United.So flying United was a waste of time.  

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