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New to River cruising...Fixed window cabins?


rachiem
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Hi

We have yet to take a river cruise.

We have the Xmas markets booked next Dec with Scenic but opted for a fixed window cabin. Thought that as it's winter and dark early, that we might not miss much view-wise? 

We are looking at the Douro for 2024 and are amazed to see that some cruises are already booked out.

We've been looking at Emerald as they have some reasonable prices. The balcony is £1600 more that the fixed window and not sure if we should go for one or not. We are travelling with friends and would like to make the most of the days with trips and the boat's amenities. We are thinking of Oct, so that it won't be too hot.

Any thoughts?

 

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The fixed window cabins are on the lowest desk and the reason they're fixed is they are at water level. They are also high, so one only gets a view if one is tall enough. Mrs P isn't, so she doesn't want to go in what many on this board call aquarium class.

 

But none of that means you won't get a view. From a room you see only one bank as you pass by. We spend little time in the room, from the lounge you can see forward to both banks  and pop outside to take photo's of anything that catches your eye.

 

In good weather you'll want to spend time on top - the sun deck. The scenery in the Douro is spectacular with steep banks soaring up covered with grape vines on narrow terraces. The river gets narrower the further you go from Porto so you feel in places you can reach the sides from the boat.

 

In other words, if the bottom deck is O.K. for you save the money and go for it. There's a lot you can do with £1,600

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2 hours ago, pontac said:

The fixed window cabins are on the lowest desk and the reason they're fixed is they are at water level. They are also high, so one only gets a view if one is tall enough. Mrs P isn't, so she doesn't want to go in what many on this board call aquarium class.

 

But none of that means you won't get a view. From a room you see only one bank as you pass by. We spend little time in the room, from the lounge you can see forward to both banks  and pop outside to take photo's of anything that catches your eye.

 

In good weather you'll want to spend time on top - the sun deck. The scenery in the Douro is spectacular with steep banks soaring up covered with grape vines on narrow terraces. The river gets narrower the further you go from Porto so you feel in places you can reach the sides from the boat.

 

In other words, if the bottom deck is O.K. for you save the money and go for it. There's a lot you can do with £1,600

Thank you...

We'd usually just pay for the balcony but hubby retired early to have a back op this year and income is now a factor 😞

The "Aquarium" cabins seem to have more availability, which does tell you a few things.

Will have a ponder before we commit

 

 

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@rachiem - River cruising is very competitive, for lower costs look at Riviera, or TUI or Saga.

 

Suggest you also decide what you want and draw up a chart of what the competing companies are offering, the more they offer then usually the higher the price. If that higher price includes things you don't need then you may be better off with a less expensive cruise

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7 minutes ago, pontac said:

@rachiem - River cruising is very competitive, for lower costs look at Riviera, or TUI or Saga.

 

Suggest you also decide what you want and draw up a chart of what the competing companies are offering, the more they offer then usually the higher the price. If that higher price includes things you don't need then you may be better off with a less expensive cruise

Thank you...yes, just waiting for Riviera to release their 2024 dates. Hopefully soon??

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Ive done, I think Im up to 4 cruises with Amawaterways, 3 in the lower/"aquarium" rooms and one on third deck with a balcony and honestly I wouldn't spend significant money to have the balcony again (was a covid free upgrade...not that they did it again for a 1/3rd full ship again this year...oh well).

 

it REALLY depends how you use the room and the itinerary, if you are never in the room and/or if the ship never moves during daylight its of no use whatsoever (especially on say the Rhine where you will be docked next to other ships a lot.  If the itinerary has a lot of daylight movement and you cant or dont want to sit up on deck (or in the lounge) then yes...it can be a decent idea.

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Completely agree with CastleCritic.  We also take aquarium class and had a Covid upgrade on one cruise.  It was nice, but honestly we never sat out there.  I wouldn’t pay for it.  Prefer to sit in the lounge or upfront to enjoy the view.  It’s a personal choice.

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We always go for the cheapest cabin and just sleep and shower there. The lounge is the place to be for views and you won't miss the surprises they sometimes throw in along the way.

When moored you'd often have another ship alongside so no privacy on balcony. Portugal in October was very hot this year but could be rainy too.

Edited by Pittcity
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On 11/20/2022 at 9:46 AM, rachiem said:

Hi

We have yet to take a river cruise.

We have the Xmas markets booked next Dec with Scenic but opted for a fixed window cabin. Thought that as it's winter and dark early, that we might not miss much view-wise? 

We are looking at the Douro for 2024 and are amazed to see that some cruises are already booked out.

We've been looking at Emerald as they have some reasonable prices. The balcony is £1600 more that the fixed window and not sure if we should go for one or not. We are travelling with friends and would like to make the most of the days with trips and the boat's amenities. We are thinking of Oct, so that it won't be too hot.

Any thoughts?

 

We too found that the Douro gets booked up, not all travel operators have their own boats some only charter them for one week a month, we sailed on Douro Serenity with Travelmarvel and the following week it was chartered by a German operator, it’s also used by Great Rail Journeys. Viking had several boats and we also saw a Uniworld and a Taulk one.

 

We booked a Juliet balcony cabin because we were concerned that if it was wet we would all be crammed into the lounge. We needn’t have worried as it was red hot this July and as has already been said you can only see one side from a cabin. If you are traveling with friends you probably be sitting outside with them or on an excursion. So will only be using the cabin for sleeping, washing and changing. No night time sailing is allowed on the Douro but the boat can start sailing very early.

 

Someone suggested that the main pricing difference between river cruise lines is proportional to the amount of alcohol that you are plied with.

Edited by Bill Y
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Due to Portuguese law and it was it may have changed, all vessels are built in Portugal and manned by Portuguese. Absolutely no drawback with that. The costing is not disproportionate as some cruise companies provided alcohol only at lunch and dinner unless you purchase a drinks package, other companies for example Scenic are all inclusive, so I would dispute the expression ‘plied with’. Personally I’m happy with all inclusive so I can drink when I like. 
The Douro cruise is wonderful and the Portuguese are worth getting to know. Enjoy if you go.

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Ohhh don’t forget Port the alcohol the Portuguese use it in everything they can. if you’re not a fan and some do find it just a little heavy ask for Pink Port originally introduced by Croft. From the cooler/chiller/fridge on Summers day just the best, light fruity and Portugal in a glass, enjoy!

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22 hours ago, Canal archive said:

 The costing is not disproportionate as some cruise companies provided alcohol only at lunch and dinner unless you purchase a drinks package, other companies for example Scenic are all inclusive, so I would dispute the expression ‘plied with’.

I am not sure why you use the word “disproportionate” as “not disproportionate” surely is the same as “proportionate” that I used. For the sake of clarity the more you pay generally the more you get. I have been on cruises where no complimentary alcoholic drinks have been provided and others where wine and beer has been provided with meals, which has been served by waiters circling with bottles of red and white refilling glasses, This I considered to be good service as one can always decline a refill. I was surprised by just how much they were prepared to serve, so I fully standby the expression “plied with” as defined by Oxford Language. I have no doubt that some cruise operators may just supply one glass when they advertise wine with meals but I am talking about my experiences. The terms “drink package” and “all inclusive” need to be approached with caution as they vary in what is actually included and what limitations may be imposed. So research is advised especially if one does not consume much alcohol but it’s a personal decision and each to their own.

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We returned from our 16th river cruise in October - and almost always book Aquarium Class.  We were given an upgrade once to a French Balcony - and while it was nice, I don't think (for us) it would have been worth the money to upgrade. 

 

We paid for an upgrade when we were in China - only because we were set on a date, and direction of the trip - and there was only 1 cabin left.   We have booked an upgrade on our next cruise on the Mekong as I do not do heat well (yeah, I know that Vietnam/Cambodia will be HOT!) and I figured if I overheated (a definite possibility) then I could lay down in the cabin and look out the window.  Also, the upgrade on our upcoming sailing wasn't a huge amount of money. 

 

If you are travelling with friends, you will spend very little time in your cabin.  You still have a window in Aquarium class (so there will be sunlight)  and actually have a fairly deep window ledge.  We use that ledge to dry some of our hand washed items. 

 

Whatever you decide... Enjoy!!

 

Fran

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I think it’s a case of trying to work out when the humidity is at its lowest, this I was advised to do as the higher the humidity the worse it is for osteoarthritis sufferers such as myself, plus less shall we say ‘drippy’ for everyone. 

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We’re not back to completely feeling comfortable in crowded places when people are coughing. We spent more time in our cabin and were very happy to have a balcony. Also if I get sick I’ll self isolate and would not want to have a window that did not open. 

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On 11/23/2022 at 11:50 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

@franski Every report I have read about travel in SE Asia mentions the heat and humidity.  Is there NO time of year when the weather is nice there?

I have had lots of people tell (? warn) me about the heat & humidity.  We are going early February - and it should be a bit cooler in the north where our tour is starting - but know that it will be stinking hot once we get to Ho Chi Minh city, and then onwards...  I expect to make good use of the pool on the boat, and at the various hotels we are booked at.  

 

This is the *only* tour my DH has talked about doing since we started  travelling. I just needed to wait until I could get a price point I could be comfortable with.  Knowing the heat will most likely be an issue for me, I have already started to warn him that he may be doing some of the excursions on his own. Hopefully some will be early morning when it is a bit cooler.  I have grown my hair out so I can pin it up off my neck.  Will be taking lots of cooler clothes, and won't go anywhere without a hat. 

 

I will also be taking some electrolyte replacement packages and ensure I drink lots of water.  I will keep my alcohol intake to a minimum as well.   I think I have covered all my bases...   I guess time will tell!!

 

Fran

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