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girlsandpop

What is your favorite month to river cruise?

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Now that you've answered my other questions (thank you!) And, since I over analyze every detail (ugh!) I'm considering what month to take our Budapest to Amsterdam river boat cruise.  My thoughts mostly are weather/crowds/length of days/daylight, and how all those things effect the overall trip.  I'd love to know your thoughts and experiences!  Thanks!

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We prefer the shoulder seasons - we particularly like September and October (we enjoyed perfect weather on our most recent Danube cruise). Full disclosure, we are Colorado residents so we are acclimated to a cooler temperature than that of CA.

Crowds are most intense during the height of the summer months - as the popularity of river cruising has continued to increase, so have the crowds. We avoid Europe during the months of June through August - most of the tourist 'hot spots' have simply become too crowded.

There is more daylight in the summer months with daylight decreasing on either end of the solstice. However, as the ship travels at night, you are usually back onboard your ship, enjoying dinner in the early evening as your ship prepares to get underway.

One recommendation: if you have the time and inclination, I would contemplate a pre and/or post cruise stay in Amsterdam and Budapest. Both cities offer much to see and do - you need not book an extension with your cruise line. We spent a week in Munich prior to our Danube cruise and a week in Budapest at the culmination. We DIY - it is much less expensive than what Viking offers plus we see exactly what interests us rather than what appeals to the group.

Is this your first visit to Europe? Are you booking the Grand European - 15 days, Rhine & Danube?

What a wonderful gift from your dad - hope you have a marvelous cruise!

 

Edited by dogs4fun

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This will be our first river boat cruise, but we have taken ship cruises to the British Isles and Mediterranean with our dad. I have traveled with my family several times throughout Europe on our own.  I tend to like long days and warmer weather usually going early June, but we will likely only be able to go either mid august or sept into oct for this trip due to scheduling.  Most likely it would be Sept 27 to Oct 11. 

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5 minutes ago, girlsandpop said:

Most likely it would be Sept 27 to Oct 11.

This would be an excellent time to cruise 😎 IMHO. 

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42 minutes ago, girlsandpop said:

Most likely it would be Sept 27 to Oct 11. 

This is a nice time for travelling, not too cold, still enough daylight to last close to dinnertime. As regards crowds this is also okay, not too crowded. You might experience a wine festival as well and it is the time of Oktoberfest (check dates, it starts in September!). It is in Munich but you will find small spin-offs along the way. Beer gardens are also still open.

 

As regards water levels you may experience a low in Bavaria most likely if you do experience it. In that case Viking will organize a ship swap as standard. This runs smoothly in most cases, trust Viking.

 

You will not be informed of this until a couple of days before the occurrence as it can happen at short notice. Sometimes even on the evening before it takes place.

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

 

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We did the Rhine last year in early October.  Cool, did get a day or two of showers, but there was no instance of it raining ALL day.  Lovely time to travel.

 

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We have cruised both the Danube and the Rhine on Viking in early October - weather was very comfortable during the day with a sweater, beautiful autumn scenery along the vineyards. Grab the hot beverage of your choice and take to the the top deck and enjoy. We were also able to enjoy some fall festivals and bier gardens. Its my favorite time to travel.

 

Edited by knoxclone

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Thank you so much for the feedback!  Both sis and I are from CA and used to warm weather, and now she is in Virginia and hates the cold. But, it sounds like it isn't really cold,  just cool, so it sounds perfect! Thanks!

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Coming from CA I must admit you may find it a bit on the cold side here. But as the others have verified, it is very bearable. Beginning of October will see misty rainy days perhaps but night frost is still rare in the valleys. Temperatures will be anything from 5 Celsius at night to 25 Celsius in the afternoon - remember you are traversing Europe and going through several microclimates. A rough guide: the more continental Hungary, the Austrian and Bavarian slightly more elevated valley with the Alps not too far away, mild Main and sunny Rhine valley to the more maritime Netherlands. The variations are not that great but noticeable and I think for that reason Autumn is more interesting seasonally than June (which is closer to what California has on mild days - 40 Celsius are rare in the countries you will visit).

 

AccuWeather I find a good website for roaming around for weather reports. As you are a person who likes preparing in detail as you say, you may find timeanddate also interesting for sunset and sunrise, etc.

 

notamermaid

 

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Accuweather is great for tracking historical weather.  You can see a monthly display with each day's high and low for last year plus the historical average high and low.  I haven't found another website that shows historical data at this level of detail.  Here's an example for Budapest in September:

https://www.accuweather.com/en/hu/budapest/187423/september-weather/187423?year=2019

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Another website for info on weather from a historical perspective is Weather Underground.

 

https://www.wunderground.com/

 

I must admit that the website isn't always the easiest to navigate - but, if you enter the city you are interested in - and then on "history" - you can search what the weather has been like in past years. 

 

I found this following a recommendation here on Cruise Critic!!

 

Fran

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@girlsandpop We are from Florida and used to hot weather. We sailed in early October 2019 on the Rhine, we loved the cool weather.  We dressed in layers and were very comfortable.  You will love the trip!

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Are you set on which direction you are sailing?  If not - and you have a choice - I would suggest starting in Amsterdam...  you are sailing from the area that might be the coolest, towards the area that should be warmer.    If you like warm weather - this might suit you better.

Our 2nd river cruise was from Budapest to Nuremberg - then overland to Prague.  We arrived in Budapest to shorts & t-shirt weather on October 3rd.  The weather became cooler as we sailed north - and then turned very chilly as we headed over to Prague.  In fact, we had snow in Prague.  I realize snow in mid-October might be rare - but, we were not at all prepared for it.  In fact, I had to go to Marks & Spencer on Wenceslas Square to buy a warmer coat and a scarf!!  (And, I live in Canada, so cooler weather isn't a concern for me...)

 

Fran

 

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Unlike most, we prefer the spring. Europe warms up a lot earlier than we do, so we are going from a cold wet spring to a much more mild time...and all the flowers are coming out.  We like to sail in May.

 

Mind you, we don't like to miss our Fall here, we live in maple country with all the beautiful display of leaves.

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Early November - fares are lower, crowds are less, it could get a little cold (bring gloves), but still nice weather for walking outside - at least for both of us.

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I like early December for the Christmas Markets (use to the cold)!  We have cruised at other times, summer in Europe can be very hot.  Did a Venice cruise late Sept. early October and the were having a heatwave. Mid April is a nice time to do Tulips and Windmills but can be very cool some passengers did not understand tulips bloom in very cool weather!

 

Second seating

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