We thoroughly enjoyed our European River Cruise. The service by all the cruise staff was exceptional The Cruise Director,Peter,was very professional. He was well organised, friendly, informative and approachable. He was only too willing to sort out any problems that we encountered.We had a port talk every night about what to expect the next day, and were always well informed about entertainment. This was varied and once again used local talent.
The one problem he did not forsee was that the Australian passengers had all paid their tips in advance. The other passengers had not done this, and at the end of each excursion would be very visible tipping the tour guide and bus driver.This made the Australian visitors feel miserly and embarrassed and some started to give extra, to save face. The drivers and tour guides were always knowledgeable about the tours they were leading. The communications with listening devices were excellent.
The European summer weather let us down, and many fellow passengers were also caught short by not bringing enough warm clothes as we were expecting warmer weather. However the warm welcome back to the boat after every excursion by the Hotel Manager and often also by the Captain(always with a warm or cold drink and moist towlette) made up for the wet cold conditions we often encountered.
The food and wine were local,and typical of the area, usually having been purchased in local markets. My one disappointment was that in the Rhine region we didn't seem to get a local sweet white wine which I like to drink.At meal times we were only ever offered a dry white,red wine, local beer, and limited soft drink, as our free beverages.We were given champagne on the formal evenings. The only low calorie soft drink was Diet Coke. As I hate all of the preceding, I drank a lot of water for 14 days.
The cabins were well appointed and very comfortable.The cosmetics were good by L'Occitane
There was no self service laundry on this boat, & it was very hard to launder things in your room. There was little to no provision to hang wet clothes in the bathroom, so in the end we had to get our laundry done. This was quite expensive.We visited Brussels, Antwerp, Maastricht, Venlo, Cologne,Koigswinter, Koblenz, Aschaffenburg, Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg,and Nuremberg. All of the towns along the way showed some Roman influence. We usually had a coach tour to give an overall picture, followed by a walking tour, usually of the Old Town. We certainly experienced lots of locks, which may have lost their appeal to watch, after the first few. The highlight for me was the visual feast of vineyards and castles along the 64km Upper Middle Rhine Valley.The tours were graded and people with mobility problems were also catered for, but they probably missed out on things were steps were required.We saw a lot of churches, museums, castles, cathedrals.We toured boutique beer breweries and a Horticultural Expo. We also did an excellent post tour of Prague at the end of the River Cruise.This was also excellently organised. The hotel facilities at the Prague Imperial Art Deco Hotel, especially our room, made the ship look small. I'm glad we did it this way, as after this the cabin would have felt cramped.
One problem I encoutered was that the windows on the boat are slightly tinted and any photos taken from the inside have all come out blue. Just something to be aware of. I didn't realise this until later.