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#411143 - 03/27/15 10:18 AM Anyone ever go on a European river cruise?
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder

I've been looking into Viking river cruises for a couple years now. Something about taking my hotel with me while I cruise around Europe just seems like a great idea. No bags to screw around with, 4 star dinners, no permits for crossing boarders with a rental car....

I had no idea there were so many companies doing that. I thought Viking was the only one. Probably due to their North American marketing campaign. There's probably a dozen different companies though.

With the exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro, this is a good time to visit Europe.

Viking is having a two for one sale right now, through the end of March. I'm just a bit apprehensive with the Viking cruises though. They look to have an older customer base than we are, by a couple decades. Nothing wrong with that, but if the client base is elderly, the things that are offered are different than say, bungee jumping and walking tours.

If anyone has some tips or have taken one of these trips, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I have a couple days to decide whether or not to book a trip on Viking to get their sale price.
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#411145 - 03/27/15 12:12 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
casey01 Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/03/08
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
Originally Posted By: michael_d

I've been looking into Viking river cruises for a couple years now. Something about taking my hotel with me while I cruise around Europe just seems like a great idea. No bags to screw around with, 4 star dinners, no permits for crossing boarders with a rental car....

I had no idea there were so many companies doing that. I thought Viking was the only one. Probably due to their North American marketing campaign. There's probably a dozen different companies though.

With the exchange rate between the US dollar and the euro, this is a good time to visit Europe.

Viking is having a two for one sale right now, through the end of March. I'm just a bit apprehensive with the Viking cruises though. They look to have an older customer base than we are, by a couple decades. Nothing wrong with that, but if the client base is elderly, the things that are offered are different than say, bungee jumping and walking tours.

If anyone has some tips or have taken one of these trips, I'd love to hear your thoughts. I have a couple days to decide whether or not to book a trip on Viking to get their sale price.


We, personally, have not been on one of these trips, however, our neighbors, who are world travelers have been on TWO of them and after viewing many videos, pictures and having discussions in general, they speak very highly of the experience. They were on a cruise with a different company than Viking, yet, they have very similar style boats and they all hold about 200-250 people at most so you get more personalized service, you are travelling on a river as opposed to the ocean so possible high waves and bad weather won't be a factor and you get to travel through a number of different countries where one can get directly off the boat at the various ports and not have to worry about tendering with the primary element being to experience the culture. It is quite the different experience from most cruises, not the bedlam of thousands of people coming and going.

From what I discern, however, like many cruises, because of affordability, of course, it tends to be an older crowd so I suppose that is something one has to live with. I would expect though the reasons for the heavy discounts is the time of the year(early in the season) and the weather whereby it is still pretty similar to N/A(early spring)and that could be problematic for any walking tours.


Edited by casey01 (03/27/15 12:25 PM)

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#411146 - 03/27/15 12:40 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1751
In the past 5 years, we have done 2 River Cruises - both with wonderful Avalon Waterways. We thought that Avalon's vessels were a cut above the rest when we walked through other boats when we were parked 3 & 4 deep:

* Danube River - 4 nights/5 days - Budapest to Lindst back to Vienna where we met up with a 2 week coach tour of Eastern Europe; and

* Rhine/Mosel Rivers - 12 nights - Amsterdam to the Mosel, up to Luxembourg, back down the Mosel to the Rhine (Rhine Gorge) to Basel Switzerland. This cruise is an excellent choice!

This is a wonderful way to see Europe from another angle & with a maximum of about 150 people, shore facilities are not overwhelmed like in the Caribbean. There are lots of stops enroute with available shore tours or just walk by yourself. The food is superb (with all you can drink complementary wine), but not endless 24 hour buffets like on a big ship.

There is no packing & unpacking as with a coach tour; however, the only wrinkle can be the water levels in the rivers - too high & you can't get under the low bridges & too low they hit bottom. It can be a crap shoot & we won both times.

Some day I would love to take a month long cruise from Amsterdam all the way to Istanbul (or reverse).

I highly recommend Avalon Waterways & would overwhelmingly choose them again. Their cruises include only English Speakers so 'friction' is kept to a minimum. You are correct about aged cruisers - most are elderly & wealthy so don't expect wild parties all night...

TAM

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#411149 - 03/27/15 01:05 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder
Cool, thanks TAM. I'll look at Avalon.

I'm torn on which one to go on. I like the route from Amsterdam to Basel, but I also want to go through France to catch the wine regions.

I'm no youngers anymore, at 48, but I act like I'm still in my twenties.... My Doctor keeps telling me I need to slow down. I keep telling him I will when I'm dead.
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#411151 - 03/27/15 01:52 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1751
At 48 you probably will be the youngest on the boat except for the crew, ha!

I was virtually the only one that spent every evening in the lounge - largely empty every night unless there was entertainment. I got to know the off-duty crew at the bar every night where they took me under their wing & fed me complimentary 'beverages' on their tab. Because of that, I surmise that is why I was one of the few who didn't get sick on the whole trip. A bug came on board from Asia with some Aussies we suspect - one of the joys of international travel.

When we did the Amsterdam - Basel Cruise in late August, we went a couple of days early to do Amsterdam & stayed a couple of extra days in Zurich to see some of Switzerland. Excellent holiday overall, even though most of our party of 8 got sick...

TAM

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#411152 - 03/27/15 02:26 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
J. B. Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 1291
Loc: Quebec, Canada
try this from 1949 hit parade:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXx7vlno2Cg
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#411154 - 03/27/15 04:32 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11444
Loc: Central NH
That's the same type of music he'll hear on that oldies cruise! smile

(speaking as someone who feels 70 today)
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#411155 - 03/27/15 04:34 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 11444
Loc: Central NH
So you just don't think I'm poking fun, Mike: My dad and sister took a river cruise through Sweden and thought it was amazing. An entirely "up close" way of seeing a country. I just don't have any experience myself to actually add anything meaningful to the conversation, so I'll stand on the perimeter and poke fun instead! smile
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#411158 - 03/27/15 06:21 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1751
One thing to keep in mind, these ships are very limited in the amount of guests that they can carry.

Therefore, it behooves one to book really early to avoid disappointment as they fill up fast...

TAM

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#411167 - 03/28/15 12:16 PM Re: Anyone ever go on a European river cruise? [Re: michael_d]
michael_d Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/23/04
Posts: 4195
Loc: Up yonder
The Viking sale is good for 2016 cruises too. I'd probably just set one up for next spring. I need to figure out the best time of the year. We can't go in the summer months. My boss wants me around in the summer months.

I've been looking at the A-Rosa line. They are trying to market this line towards the younger crowd. Mixed reviews though.

Mark just keep doing what you do best! smile
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