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2 APT Europe Cruise Reviews

We booked this APT river cruise fairly late when we saw a special offer. It was our fourth trip with APT and our second river cruise with them. The early morning flight arrived slightly early into Marseille and we headed for the ... Read More
We booked this APT river cruise fairly late when we saw a special offer. It was our fourth trip with APT and our second river cruise with them. The early morning flight arrived slightly early into Marseille and we headed for the information desk after baggage claim as per our itinerary but there was no sign of our guide. We spotted several other APT passengers wandering looking for the guide and eventually found the guide near the baggage hall exit. She was holding a very small badly lit tablet with part of the APT sign displayed so it is no wonder most of us missed her. She told us the bus wasn't here yet so if we wanted the toilet or a coffee we could use the facilities but she didn't specify a time to come back. Consequently when the bus did arrive the guide had a problem rounding everyone up again. When we were all assembled the guide told us that due to works at the airport the coach couldn't pick us up outside so we had to walk to the coach. This turned to be a walk of approximately half a mile to a car park crossing various roads pulling our luggage as no porter's were provided. Given the age profile of the group this really wasn't acceptable. On boarding the ship in Arles we received a very warm welcome from the captain, second captain and the house manager and a light lunch with drinks was available in the lounge. Our cabins were available from 15.00 and announcements were made when cabins were available. The food on board was generally good but not great. We were served a cold main course on a cold plate in the chef's table which should have been hot but the head waiter brushed off numerous complaints. The salad looked a bit tired some lunchtimes and the deserts majored in chocolate. I like my beef "well done" with no red meat but most of the meat was served medium in spite of the waiter asking how you would like it cooked. The service in the restaurant was good but our waiter often served tables randomly so it was a bit of a lottery when you got your food. The wine waiters were really good at topping up your glass. The management of the restaurant was well handled and the house manager was ever present to lend a hand. Given where we were cruising on the Rhone we expected some really nice wines but there appeared to be only 4 reds available during the cruise and only 2 of these were drinkable. The "champagne" on offer was at best a sparkling wine and we gave it a wide berth. The excursions were generally good and well organised but the ship only had 100 passengers. Tour groups were issued coloured tickets but no one checked or collected these so people tended to drift between groups a bit. The wireless communicators worked well with only a couple of problems but guides didn't seem to have spares when a problem cropped up. Most of the guides were good but we did have one that struggled with English and really hadn't done her homework. The signature event was excellent and the food was really good (as you would expect for a Michelin restaurant) and the portions were also surprising large. Crossing the busy road to the venue was handled very well. We weren't able to use the upper deck very much as it was roped off. This was due to low bridges and the deck furniture and handrails were all stowed. Thankfully we had our French balcony so you may wish to think about that when you choose a cabin on this river. We did miss not being able to use the walking track however to burn off some of the calories we had acquired. In conclusion we had a good cruise on a comfortable ship with a great crew and as usual most of the passengers were ok too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We received details of a half price offer on this cruise from an agent but decided to book direct with APT. We booked it about 5 months out which is unusual for us as we normally wait till nearer the departure date for a better price. This ... Read More
We received details of a half price offer on this cruise from an agent but decided to book direct with APT. We booked it about 5 months out which is unusual for us as we normally wait till nearer the departure date for a better price. This seemed like a good deal however so we booked up. We had a previous holiday with APT to China and had a welcome home voucher worth £100 each but it wasn't valid on this special offer. We also had to pay the full amount on booking but that was OK. Around 3weeks out we received an email containing our flight e ticket, taxi transfer voucher and itinerary. I emailed APT to see if they would be sending us a paper copy but apparently they wouldn't for this special offer. They also decided that no promotional merchandise would be supplied for this trip either. All a bit mean for a £200+ per night trip. We met the APT rep at Budapest airport and were quickly on our way to the ship. Cabins are available from 15.00 but a fair selection of sandwiches soup and cakes are available in the lounge before then. The bar was also open for drinks! We paid extra for a double balcony cabin one deck up and were glad we did as it is slightly larger. The cabins are a bit on the small side compared to ocean cruise ships we have used before. Even with this larger cabin there is a shower and no bath and the wardrobe and bathroom doors all clash. The cabins and common areas are all kept very clean and well maintained although I did find a book under our bed and we ran out of toilet roll one day. There is always plenty of water left in the cabin and coffee and tea (good selection) are available all day from a machine in the lounge but the coffee wasn't the best. It was good in the restaurant for breakfast . Drinks are included from the bar but not all. There is a menu which details which drinks you have to pay for which includes most cocktails. Wine flows freely with lunch and dinner but the only choice is red rose or white. The mini bar only has water. There is a reasonable choice at all meals but one day everything was pork based which wasn't good for my wife who can't eat pork. The chairs in the main dining room are very close together and the waiters struggle to serve those sitting near the window. The main restaurant was supposed to be divided for dinner giving an Italian option on one side but that didn't happen on this cruise. The Chef’s table taster menu restaurant was good but the booking system was a bit haphazard. The head waiter came round on the first afternoon with a clipboard and took the bookings but not all passengers were on board. At lunch and dinner you are requested to be seated within 20 mins of the restaurant opening so it is effectively a fixed meal time. Breakfast is a buffet (with an egg station) as is most of lunch. Soups and main courses are served. The fresh fruit available for breakfast was disappointing as most of it was obviously tinned fruit. Dinner is full service. We felt that dinner took a long time as most nights it was around 2.5 hours. We had to leave our first dinner almost as soon as we finished desert as the ship set sail for an after dark cruise through the city lights of Budapest and we almost missed them. The kitchen seems to be the problem as the waiter made a point of coming to tell us several times that the food is on its way. Portion sizes are not large and the vegetables tended to come up to 5 minutes after the meat was served. Some of the excursions waste a lot of time especially the Melk Abbey trip. There was complete confusion between the guides who came with us from the ship to the Abbey and the guides who took us round the Abbey. The tour of Durnstein was good but the wine tasting at the end was a complete waste of time as it included a long lecture on wine and minute samples. Likewise the three hours spent on the coach to and from Regensburg wasn't really worth the effort. The radio receivers supplied in your cabin do make the excursions better as you can always hear the guide. The wifi worked well in all the common areas and in our cabin and there was a free electronic safe in the cabin. This ship being the oldest in the fleet could do with a few of the modifications we saw on Amareina which was tied up alongside us in Passau. Wind breaks along the sundeck, reclining chairs and a screen for the pool and swim up bar. The lounge gets very busy and noisy with entertainment and no other quiet space is available except your cabin. There were several complaints (including ours) about noise and vibration from the engines overnight. Some couples paid to upgrade to move forward on the ship. Earplugs are essential as if the engine doesn’t wake you the transit through the locks will. There is lots of hot water and the shower is good but the bathroom feels cramped. All the staff were friendly and did a good job. Security is not to the same standard as on ocean cruise ships. The card supplied on check in is only used to open your cabin door. When you leave the ship you collect a cardboard card with your cabin number and you hand it back when you return. The main purpose of this is to check who is back on board. If you forget to hand it in they make announcements asking you to bring your card to reception. You don't have your photo taken and checked as you leave and enter. The final night parading of the crew goes on forever and I think is just as embarrassing for the crew as it is for the passengers. We heard that the average age of the passengers on this cruise was 64 (which of course should be confidential) but I think that the average was slued by several younger people who worked for travel agencies including APT. There was one lady of 94 who spent a lot of time in the lounge and was doing a wonderful job of sewing bags of lavender for her charity work We did enjoy our week but I think we will stick to mid size ocean ships. P.s. APT please note I am not wasting my holiday filling in a large questionnaire most of which is to gain marketing information. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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