My wife and I have never been on an ocean cruise, for a variety of reasons - not to mention the numerous sickness outbreaks and power failures on several cruise lines - but several of our neighbors have recently scheduled European river cruises, and I was wondering what your experiences have been on such as Viking: http://viking.rivercruise.com/?source=google , or Vantage: http://www.vantagetravel.com/sem/semcampaign3.aspx?campid=1&gclid=CNjvhfTg8bwCFRJp7AodLCsAqw
I travel to Amsterdam often and many of these cruises originate here and end in Western Europe. I like to schedule my own travel plans, and don't like to be at the mercy of a large group of people, but would appreciate hearing from those who have taken river cruises.
My husband and I have been on big ocean liner cruises years ago (twice). This past fall we were on our first river cruise in Europe. I would never do another big ocean cruise....river cruising is the way to go for us. No rough waters too! Locks and Dams are fun to watch as you experience going through them. We liked the scenery, staff service was above and beyond, all inclusive (beer, wine, soda, coffee, tea, meals, snacks, and even excursions)! Small river boat with beautiful and clean rooms. About 130 passengers plus crew members. Fabulous! We are looking forward to booking another one for this coming fall. Uniworld was voted the BEST river cruise again for 2013 year! Congrats! Its also an American company based out of California! Highly recommend!
Castles of the Rhine is the river cruise we did in October 2013.
Glad you enjoy all my information. Here is a bit more....
The crew was amazing! You really get to know them the whole week, even the captain. He mingled in with guests just about everyday. Of course, his assistant captain was steering the ship during those times. Our wait staff, bartenders, cleaning crew, entertainment onboard was all excellent! My husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary on the fall cruise, but because we loved it so much, we've decided to go again. This time just because....
We are looking into the Danube which is mostly along Austria. There are so many choices so don't get overwhelmed. Have a choice 1, 2, and 3 in mind though...they book up quickly.
One other tip....We stayed in a catagory 2 or 3 room. This was a big window that moved up and down so you can open it. 4 and 5 catagories are just stationery windows. Of course...category 1 would be a suite and or balcony type. Thats not really needed since you spend so much time up on deck or in the lounge. Good luck with choosing and have fun!
hi fschumpert. I have not personally gone on a river cruise yet but one of my best friends just did in August, 2013 on the Elbe. She and her husband were very impressed with every aspect of the trip. This is a much smaller and more intimate ship and the ratio of personnel versus passengers is much better so you get much better attention. The ports that you would most likely stop at are small towns that are not as much tourist towns, but towns where you learn the culture and sometimes even participate in it with locals. All of the tours are included in the price of the cruise but on this particular one they went on, you had to stay close within the tour group each time. However, with that said, I believe I have read where some of the ships give you headsets to use while touring so you are not limited to stay within the "group" setting. Also, you are constantly able to see scenery on these cruises so if that is a plus for you, I believe you would greatly enjoy a river cruise. My friends took one of the Viking long ships and although the room they had was fairly small, it was adequate and very clean and the housekeeping service was excellent.
Good luck and let us know how you like it if you decide to do this. Any ideas as to which river do you want to cruise? I have looked at the Danube ones many times and we just haven't made up our minds yet but those would be my picks.