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283 Budapest to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

I should start this review out with a word regarding my rating. It would have to be OUTSTANDING for me to give a 5, so in most cases my "4" should be considered very good. Now to our trip: " Melodies of the ... Read More
I should start this review out with a word regarding my rating. It would have to be OUTSTANDING for me to give a 5, so in most cases my "4" should be considered very good. Now to our trip: " Melodies of the Danube" (Wine themed cruise) Our cruise itinerary was slightly modified from the standard since it included 2 tours not generally available on the regular " Melodies of the Danube" cruise. Our Itinerary: Budapest VIENNA plus Viennese Heuriger Tavern Evening KREMS plus evening at Schloss Gobelsburg Wine Tasting WEISSENKIRCHEN GREIN plus Exclusive Clem Castle Visit with Private Wine Reception LINZ PASSAU VILSHOFEN Our embarcation was at Mahart-Garam1 which at first seemed odd and a bit inconvenient since this pier is located up river in north Budapest and really doesn't provide very good views and isn't really near many of the hotels or sites. However, once on board it became clear why this pier was selected. Earlier in the year an accident during an "illumination cruise" resulted in all such cruises to be suspended for safety.( this cruise provided beautiful views of the lighted parliament, bridges and other government buildings). AMAWATERWAYS found that after our embarkation that our ship needed to be moved to the usual International pier (directly across from the Parliament building) and this move "needed" to be made in the evening to allow everyone to board. The result was a fantastic view of lighted Budapest at at night (clever). The tour stops were all interesting and provided multiple levels of tour depending on your ability. I injured my knee before the cruise and keeping up with the tours was a concern. The "level 1" tours were just right and maybe even a bit slow paced at times ( this did allow for easy setup of pictures along the tour though). For the most part the tours covered the same routes just at a slower pace with the exception of areas with many steps, where the slower tour would deviate. Being this was a "special wine themed" version of the cruise our it included wine activities on board and extra stops as noted in our itinerary. Most of the days tours started at 9:30am which made the morning a bit less hectic however,(here's a negative). The first 2 added excursions took place AFTER dinner starting at (8:00PM or 8:30PM) so with the bus rides and event we didn't get back to the ship until about 11:00. The next days tours started at 9:00 (half hour earlier than most) which resulted in not much sleep and barely time for breakfast. I think a bit better planning by AMA can correct this issue. This wan't our first river cruise , but it was our first with AMA , and overall everything was "VERY GOOD" and we hope to take another cruise with AMAWATERWAYS in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Our ship was changed from Ruby to Jade - same layout, same design, same cabin. The cabin was spacious enough. Lots of storage. Having the balcony window move up and down allowed for fresh air and picture taking. Found the wine ... Read More
Our ship was changed from Ruby to Jade - same layout, same design, same cabin. The cabin was spacious enough. Lots of storage. Having the balcony window move up and down allowed for fresh air and picture taking. Found the wine selection wanting. Not terribly impressed with the meals. One that stood out: the herb encrusted lamb was delicious. Ordering off the breakfast and lunch menus took quite a while. Mixed messages from servers: 'no hamburger at lunch only at dinner'; another would say 'any time'. The burgers were very good. Most passengers used the buffet for breakfast and lunch. Shore excursions were well presented and executed. What a variety! Going through all the locks from Budapest to Amsterdam was fascinating and interesting at the same time. Some were narrower than others and consequently the ship bumped against the sides - what a way to wake up in the wee hours of the morning! Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Booked with Scenic because of there percieved reputation as being the best. One of , if not, the most expensive operators in both river and sea cruising and both my wife and myself expected do get much more than we actually got. We were ... Read More
Booked with Scenic because of there percieved reputation as being the best. One of , if not, the most expensive operators in both river and sea cruising and both my wife and myself expected do get much more than we actually got. We were supposed to have a butler service to introduce us to the cabin. Never saw one in the two weeks of cruise. The food was distinctly average at best. Spaghetti undercooked and tasteless, potatoes undercooked and could not be cut with a knife. Fish served nearly raw. Steak undercooked to that requested, it almost mooed at me it was so raw. I've travelled Silverseas, Seabourn and Regent so I know the standard of food that should be presented to guests consistently. The head chef stood before dining to tell us what we were having on the menu, which all sounded nice, but was generally very, very disappointing. Overall the river cruise was spoilt by the standard of food served, although I would say the breakfasts were very good. In conclusion, very disappointing and expensive. I expected so.much more. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose it because we wanted to see the towns and cities on this particular Danube cruise. We had never done any kind of cruise before, and didn't really know what to expect. We found the cabin comfortable and spacious and the staff ... Read More
We chose it because we wanted to see the towns and cities on this particular Danube cruise. We had never done any kind of cruise before, and didn't really know what to expect. We found the cabin comfortable and spacious and the staff were excellent. The food was much better and more varied than we had imagined it would be, and the choice of wines were very good. The only downside was that the low levels of the Danube meant that halfway through our cruise, we had to pack up and be bussed upstream from the Emerald Sky to the Emerald Dawn, but it was handled with the minimum of fuss and we didn't miss a day's sightseeing. The Dawn was a more recent boat, and the cabins in the Sky not quite so well designed, but at least we were able to continue our cruise by transferring. The highlight of our trip was visiting Vienna and attending a concert there in the evening. The music was wonderful. It lead us to wonder why the same music (Strauss, Mozart etc) was never played on the boat itself while cruising down the Danube! Our only real complaint would be that in the evening, the music was often too modern and too loud and there was nowhere else to go to sit and talk to our friends. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose Avalon for our first river cruise because of the itinerary, the amenities offered during the cruise and the cabin layout. The ship was spacious and our cabin was very comfortable. I especially enjoyed the french balcony that ... Read More
We chose Avalon for our first river cruise because of the itinerary, the amenities offered during the cruise and the cabin layout. The ship was spacious and our cabin was very comfortable. I especially enjoyed the french balcony that allowed us to breath the fresh air and see the river sites clearly. We particularly enjoyed the breakfast and lunch buffets and afternoon tea was a treat. Our wait staff were wonderful! We laughed so much during our meals! We were so happy to find two other like-minded couples to share our experience, so our expectation of getting to know people from other countries was definitely met! We also appreciated our cruise director who was wonderful at guiding us and responsive during stressful times. Evening entertainment was mixed, some of the evenings were more enjoyable than others, which is to be expected. The ports and shore excursions met our expectations of learning a bit more about the different countries and their regions. All in all, an enjoyable experience that we will recommend to others and repeat! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Had never been to Eastern Europe. So much information on the after effects of WW11 And the break up of Checoslovakia. My only disappointment was that there were not enough hand sanitizers on the boat and someone came on with a ... Read More
Had never been to Eastern Europe. So much information on the after effects of WW11 And the break up of Checoslovakia. My only disappointment was that there were not enough hand sanitizers on the boat and someone came on with a cold and by the third day, many people were coughing and sneezing. I caught a cold and was miserable for three days and missed a whole day of touring in Belgrade. We were all using our own hand sanitizers, but there should have been more stationed at the top of every staircase because of people using the handrails. Otherwise, the tours, food and ship were wonderful. The French balcony cabin was way too small for two people. 135 sq ft. Could not both be in there at the same time, unless you were sleeping. I would recommend this cruise, but get a larger cabin, which of course, is going to cost more money. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This cruise was highly recommended by several friends who had done many scenic and other cruises. Obviously scenic came out on top and this was the cruise we chose - with absolutely no regrets. The fact that we had to change ships because ... Read More
This cruise was highly recommended by several friends who had done many scenic and other cruises. Obviously scenic came out on top and this was the cruise we chose - with absolutely no regrets. The fact that we had to change ships because of low water levels only added to the adventure. The next down side was the comparison of ships. The Jasper was every bit as luxurious as anticipated, but the Jade was older, a little more tired and our wardrobes not as friendly! ( in need of some maintenance!) but overall it was the people on board who made it. The crew on the Jasper spoilt us to the extent that the crew on the Jade needed a day or so to catch up - and they did. Our cruise director Szylvia was an exceptional bonus and an absolute gem. She made our trip the 5 star success it was. The organisation, communication and management of such a large group of people in a situation which was sometimes stressful was amazing. Most of us got sick (colds) and changing boats etc was all managed with smooth seamless efficiency. Szylvia made our trip. Thank you. The food was great and everything supplied in abundance. We are already planning our next cruise. Thank you again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We recently cruised the Danube River on the Viking Hermod riverboat. This was our second river cruise with Viking, having cruised on the Rhine River in June of 2018. Overall, while we greatly enjoyed the trip, we both felt that some ... Read More
We recently cruised the Danube River on the Viking Hermod riverboat. This was our second river cruise with Viking, having cruised on the Rhine River in June of 2018. Overall, while we greatly enjoyed the trip, we both felt that some aspects of the trip were below the level of what we experienced last year. We booked this cruise a few months before the sailing and the only cabins remaining were standard rooms on the main deck with a (non-opening) picture window. Last year, we had a French balcony with a sliding door, which we could open. We had no complaints about this year's room. After spending a week in the standard cabin, I do not feel that the extra cost for one of the other types of rooms is worth it. On several days, we were docked alongside another Viking (and one Ama) ship, so a balcony would have been of no use. We did notice slightly more vibration and noise on this level of the ship while it was moving, but not enough to disturb us. As far as where we think the cruise did not live up to last year's, we did not think that the quality (and choices offered) of the dinners were overall as good as last year.  Most were good, but a few missed the mark.  Additionally, the number of passengers that were on each of the included tours seemed to be higher than what we had on last year's cruise. It may be that Viking is utilizing fewer guides for the same number of passengers. To be fair, all of the guides that we had, with one exception, were excellent. One other complaint was that our room not ready on the first day until 4:00 pm, despite arriving in Budapest at 9:00 am after traveling all night. Since Viking arranged the flights, they knew what time we would be arriving on the ship. I would have expected that the rooms for early arriving passengers would be the first ones ready. On thing that has not changed is the excellent service offered by the Viking staff. Our cabin was cleaned twice per day and was sparking clean when Katarina finished with it. We ate most of our dinners on the Aquavit Terrace and had great service from Andrea and Robert. These two also served as the primary bartenders and were excellent. We enjoyed all of the ports on the itinerary, especially Budapest and Vienna. We took advantage of all of the included tours, plus two optional ones - the Hungarian Horsemen in Budapest and the Mozart and Strauss Concert in Vienna. One comment on the average age of the passengers. We are 66 and 62 years old and consider ourselves very active. I would guess that the average age on this year's trip was significantly higher than last year's cruise. Perhaps it is due to traveling in September vs. our prior trip in June. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
rec by travel agent....bad weather missed connection at amsterdam no one there to pick us up luckily a avalon guy was there for someone else and after one hour he got permission to take us to the boat....all services on the boat were ... Read More
rec by travel agent....bad weather missed connection at amsterdam no one there to pick us up luckily a avalon guy was there for someone else and after one hour he got permission to take us to the boat....all services on the boat were excellent.....ony thing was the service up in the lounge area were you can eat away from the crowd ....very noise in main dining room....the waiters in the lounge only set up for one hour or less and were ready to move the food out.....Dont understand that should be two hours.....they rushed you out......main dining room not so two hours straight and the service was great....the tours were ok depending on the operator and when given free time it was 30 minutes or less.....the worst thing about the trip was rafting up the boats at some cities....you literally had no view except for the other boats rooms....they were exactly two feet away......all in all a good experience but very pricey Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We've done ocean cruises for years and decided to try a river cruise because we always wanted to see the Danube. We chose Uniworld since it was a boutique line with good reviews. We did the 9 night Delightful Danube and Prague on ... Read More
We've done ocean cruises for years and decided to try a river cruise because we always wanted to see the Danube. We chose Uniworld since it was a boutique line with good reviews. We did the 9 night Delightful Danube and Prague on the SS Beatrice on July 24, 2019. We opted for the 2 day pre-extension in Budapest. Overall the vacation was good. But given the price, I would say it failed to live up to our expectations. The Good: - Food was excellent. That part was very much in line with our expectations. - Itinerary was excellent. I liked river cruising and especially the locks. I wasn't sure if I would like river cruising (being an ocean cruiser), but it was nice. - Ship was nice. - Staff was for the most part very good. - All tips included which was nice. - All drinks included (but I'm sure we paid for that with the price). - Many excursions were included (but that wasn't necessarily good - see the ugly below). - Cabin was nicely decorated. It was pretty tiny, but we knew that going in. Just be aware that it is very small. The bathroom would be hard for an elderly person (in my opinion. One annoyance to me was that light from the hallway came around the door on all 4 sides so the cabin was never really dark at night. French balcony was nice. - Pre-Cruise in Budapest. I would definitely recommend extending your trip in Budapest. Amazing city and you really need more time to see it than you will otherwise get on the 7 night cruise. - Post-Cruise in Prague. I would also recommend this as well. I loved Prague. Would definitely do this since you should see it. The Not so Good: - Public areas were limited. There weren't too many places you could go on the ship the get out of your small cabin. The top deck is closed between Nuremberg and Regensburg so that took away a nice option leaving only the lounge. If a talk was going on in the lounge, you then really had no options. That final day (when the sun deck was closed due to low bridges), the ship felt much, much too small to me. - Excursions were not that great. I actually thought they were pretty poor. Nothing amazing and certainly nothing close to what we paid for with Celebrity in Greece. We even paid for a Masterpiece excursion one night and even that wasn't really that amazing. I was disappointed with the excursions. We could have done much better on our own and if I did this cruise again that is exactly what I would do. - Information was poor. I've never been on a cruise before with such little information being provided. We didn't realize until we were on the ship that the ship was leaving Budapest the following morning. We thought we had a day to see Budapest and all we had was a bus tour (included) which did not give a very good overview of Budapest. Had we not done the pre-cruise stay in Budapest we would have been very upset. - Excursion groups were HUGE. Ship may have been tiny (130 or so passengers), but the excursion groups were very big and many did not break up in to smaller groups. We did a bike tour in Austria that had 65 people riding in one large group. Our last cruise was with Celebrity in Greece with thousands of passengers and we never had groups this big. To me it ruined the small ship feel since the excursions were anything but small. - Open seating was a pain for a group of 4. Being a family of 4 in two cabins, we wanted a table of 4 for dinner. It was hard to ensure that since there were not many 4's and some of those were reserved by larger groups (which is annoying). So we always had to be at dinner right as it opened to ensure we got a table of 4. Not the most relaxing feeling when you have to worry about that each evening. Not sure why they allowed so many tables to be "reserved" like they did. The Ugly: - Cruise Manager was poor. This was our biggest gripe on the cruise. The cruise manager several times gave out false information about tours. It almost seemed like she had never done this before (but I know she's been doing it a while). On the biking tour from Austria to Passau, we were under the impression that drinks at the "Beer House" stop were included in the excursion. Prior excursions included water so we figured this would be no different since we were biking 18 miles. We only got water for ourselves and 2 kids at the Beer House. Prior to biking away, we were told that some tables hadn't paid their bill. Turns out we had to pay for that water. It was rather embarrassing - especially for another guest who didn't have euros on him to pay. I mentioned to the Cruise manager immediately upon returning to the ship that she might want to explain that to future guests. She said it was mentioned at the talk the night before which we hadn't attended (since we had already signed up for the tour). She seemed rather indignant to my wife and I - like it was our fault. I would think that given the cost of this vacation, they could actually mention something like this at the onset of the tour itself. I mean it's a vacation and why should we have to attend every little briefing just to hope we get the tiny details that you would think would be given to you on the actual tour itself. But it was just another sign of the poor information provided and for that I totally blame the Cruise Manager. Recommend? I don't think I would recommend Uniworld to someone who wanted to River Cruise. For the price, I was definitely not impressed and the organization on the ship was very much lacking. If we river cruise again (which I expect we will), we will try another company. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We have been ocean cruising for over thirty years, taking at least 2-3 cruises a year, but never been on a river cruise. Looking back over the whole trip I doubt I would do it again. The ship was nice, we had a Royal Suite on the ... Read More
We have been ocean cruising for over thirty years, taking at least 2-3 cruises a year, but never been on a river cruise. Looking back over the whole trip I doubt I would do it again. The ship was nice, we had a Royal Suite on the top deck which was ‘compact’ , you couldn’t sit on the toilet without hitting your knees on the toilet roll holder. The dining was excellent, the food variable, well cooked and stylishly presented. The Head Chef and Dining Room Manager where always available to us and extraordinary helpful and the Hotel Manager, Mr Mauricio ( I think) even shared his private supply of Piri Piri oil with me. Richard, our cruise director , was amazing. He is definitely the best cruise director I have come across in over 30 years. Always pleasant, unflappable and very amusing as well as highly efficient. He made our trip. The bar service was generally good. If I had a criticism it was that there was insufficient waiter service on the pool deck when we were sailing. Regarding the tours the concert in the Liechtenstein Palace was definitely the highlight. Some of the other were just too long. When we stayed onboard the day we had to make an unscheduled stop because of low water levels, it was unfortunate that the pool was out of action for cleaning on a day when the temperatures were 38=40C surely that could have been changed to accommodate the circumstances My main complaint was about the hairdresser who had never heard of a hot brush, didn’t have any rollers and unbelievably ran out of hairspray. I asked her why she didn’t tell me before I went, or even give me chance to go to my cabin and collect my own but she had no answer for that. As we had been moored up all day, on an unscheduled stop, I asked her why she hadn’t gone off the ship to the Aldi supermarket just across from the gangway but she told me she hadn’t had time. Firstly, I can’t believe that as I had been able to change my appointment as she had spaces, and because of the unscheduled stop and the adjusted tour timings other people had cancelled their appointments, and secondly i’m sure if she had asked Richard or the hotel manager they could have arranged for someone to fetch some. Surely she must have been aware several days before that she was running out or down to her last can? Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We arrived late in Amsterdam & nobody was there to meet us I contacted Viking and was told to take a taxi & they would reimburse me. I did and Viking made good on their word. Our room was very nice and the staff was delightful, the ... Read More
We arrived late in Amsterdam & nobody was there to meet us I contacted Viking and was told to take a taxi & they would reimburse me. I did and Viking made good on their word. Our room was very nice and the staff was delightful, the food was excellent. We had a bad odor in our bathroom that had to be tended to twice and still never went away. I have occupational asthma & the smell triggered an asthma attack. I spoke with the agent that booked our cruise after we returned & he said someone fro Viking would contact me but as of 11/19/2019 no one has. The cruise director noticed that I was having a hard time breathing and ask about my asthma, I told him that I did not have enough medication to last the rest of the trip. He went out of his way to help me obtain more medication (this is above & beyond my expectations. We met a lot of lovely people on the ship, making it a pleasure to travel. The staff always remembers our name and the time of wine we drink. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
The cabin on the ship was very good.Lots of room.Great bathroom.Loved the sliding door to view the outside.The food was good and the service was very good.Not much entertainment.Unless you were in a port there was nothing going on as far ... Read More
The cabin on the ship was very good.Lots of room.Great bathroom.Loved the sliding door to view the outside.The food was good and the service was very good.Not much entertainment.Unless you were in a port there was nothing going on as far as activities,We did enjoy having bikes to ride .The tours and port stops were a lot shorter than we thought they would be.The guides were very good.We were disappointed in the tour of the Nazi parade grounds.very run down,weeds everywhere and not much to see.Not the fault of Avalon.Unlike the large cruise ships you do meet more people on a river cruise.We made some new friends..Glad we went,can check it off our bucket list.We probably would not do again because of the cost...Overall I think that the crew and everyone onboard does a great job.The Captain was very nice and would talk to you like a friend.If we were to go on another river cruise it would be with Avalon... Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer ... Read More
Bucket list trip to see Budapest & Prague for my wife & I, we have taken 4 ocean liner cruises but this was our first river cruise. We arrived in Budapest the day before the cruise started & we arranged for Avalon to transfer us from the airport to the hotel. The morning of our trip departure Avalon had a bus shuttle us & many other passengers from the hotel to the Visionary ship. Check in went smooth and we were very pleased with the cleanliness of the ship & our cabin. The daily Happy Hour (HR) was great with drinks 1/2 off, & the service during HR was excellent & since there's only (1) bar we were able to meet new people & make friends. Overall the dining was pretty good & the service was outstanding, the entire staff went out of their way to accommodate you. I loved the sauerkraut soup but that was the only soup I liked, if I had to give a bad grade out it would be for the soups, they all tasted like potato water, & the couple of nights we had seafood it was nothing special & the desserts could have been better. We tried different wines every night and most of them were very good. Shore Excursions were very good, of course some of the guides were better than others. It was a very busy day doing the included shore excursions in the morning & then going out on (3) of the optional afternoon excursions. It was so nice that Avalon had a "gentle walkers" excursion group for those that moved slower. It seemed like we stayed very busy getting up early for the morning excursions, attending the nightly next day info meetings during HR, then dinner was 7-9, so every day we felt like we were on a schedule. I would have liked more down time cruising on the river taking in the sites and I didn't like it that we couldn't sleep with the patio door open at night due to the bright lights from going thru the river locks & waking up docked to another ship right outside our window blocking any potential view. Unfortunately several people (12 that I know of) caught the chest respiratory bug that was going around, including myself and several people we met including my wife had to seek medical treatment & were bed ridden for a few days. Maybe adding another hand sanitizer station after you walked into the dining would have helped, but this is always a concern when you have 120 people plus staff contained on a boat. We stayed in Prague an extra day & also arranged for Avalon to transfer us from our hotel to the airport & again the driver was friendly & prompt. In summary it was a nice vacation and I would do another river cruise with Avalon now that I know what they’re about, they are very accommodating & much more personable than the ocean liner cruises. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We chose this cruise to get a good overview of the countries along the upper Danube. We arrived in Budapest a day prior to embarkation, in order to have more time to explore the city. We stayed at the Marriott, which is the preferred ... Read More
We chose this cruise to get a good overview of the countries along the upper Danube. We arrived in Budapest a day prior to embarkation, in order to have more time to explore the city. We stayed at the Marriott, which is the preferred hotel for Scenic. We were picked up at the airport and transferred to the hotel, and then picked up at the hotel and driven to the Crystal. Everything went so smoothly, once we arrived, we were invited to enjoy a drink in the lounge and get our room cards when ready. This was a great way to avoid a lineup of everyone in the lobby. The food and service on the ship was excellent (although my mom, with whom I was travelling, felt that the food she had on a Caribbean cruise with Celebrity was just a touch better). The choices for excursions were plentiful and varied, although I found that with a few of them, there was either not enough free time, or too much free time, depending on how large the area was to explore. In Vienna, we ended up taking the hop on, hop off bus tour in order to see more of the city, as we had free time, and one of the stops was right in front of our ship at the pier. Our cabin (110) was fine for sleeping, although the shower was far too small. I can't imagine how a larger person could even move! The bed was comfortable and the cabin crew came in twice a day, once in the morning to clean and then again to turn down and leave the next day's schedule. Disembarkation was also quite smooth, and they even provided a tour of Nuremberg which was not listed as part of the trip. The also dropped us at our privately arranged hotel at the end of the tour, which was great, as we had expected we would have to arrange our own transport from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This review covers 7 days on the vantage river splendor from budapest to regensburg on the first part of our danube,main, rhine cruise. We did not complete the scheduled 14 day cruise we joined on june 7 , 2019 due to an accident in the ... Read More
This review covers 7 days on the vantage river splendor from budapest to regensburg on the first part of our danube,main, rhine cruise. We did not complete the scheduled 14 day cruise we joined on june 7 , 2019 due to an accident in the lock at riegensburg germany .we were not informed by vantage about an altered itinerary until 4 days into this cruise although the accident occurred 2 days before we boarded. . THE DANUBE-MAIN -RHINE CRUISE CROSSES THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE AND USE 66 LOCKS TO ADJUST THE RIVER LEVELS FROM BUDAPEST TO COLOGNE .SHIPS CAN NOT GET FROM THE DANUBE TO THE MAIN RIVER WITHOUT THE 60 MILE LONG DANUBE -AIN CANAL FINISHED IN 1992 Flying into budapest , vantage made a poor arrival experience on the included transfers. we sat in the airport for 90 minutes waiting for a last couple 's late rrival. we missed the port oreintation and captain's welcome sitting in the airport.fianlly a van took us to the river splendor with no access as the ship had removed access across another ship . we stood on the dock with the luggage waiting for crew to fix access to the ship up two levels on another ship to the sundeck and across and down to the river splendor. the other ship doid not allow us to cross through their lobby to our ship. Not so nice welcome. We were hustled into dinner unwashed for our first dinner. the staff were rude and rushed us as the "kitchen was closing" to select an entree with no other choices. we had an awful first dinner of dried out chicken and tasteless consomme. that first night was awful and a warning. the wait staff rushed us and showed no courtesy to us as late arrivals due to vantage's choice to have us wait at the airport. we missed having any free time in budapest by arriving at 4;30pm. vantage arranged poor flight choices. our flights were changed less than 48 hours before leaving home from flying directly into budapest to flying through prague and flying with czech airlines. We had a seven hour layover in prague on the day of embarkation. that lost us any chance to tour budapest the first day. then we wasted 90 minutes sitting in the iarport waiting for the vantage transfer to the ship across town. The river spendor ship built in 2013 was clean and well maintained. the ship accomodates 176 passengers in three levels of cabins with suites on the upper deck, roomy 165plus sq ft french balconies on midlevel and cramped port hole fixed window cabins at lower deck where the crew also sleep. the difference between lower deck and mid deck is worth the $300 per passenger difference. our window on mid deck was about 6 feet wide and opened to fresh air. we were above water level and had great views while the d cabins had minimal view and much of the cabin is below water level! Our cabin was well designed with two easy cahirs at the window. Twin beds had adequate light for reading and a flat screen tv. Airconditioning was under our contraol and worked well in sweltering 90 degrees in vienna. the built in desk and counter top along the wall across from the beds worked well as also the storage was quite roomy for ou 2 weeks sotrage for hangins and folded clothes. Bed side cabinets held personal items and electronics. the bathroom ahd ample sapce and a glass enclosed shower well designed br space and storage. The amenities were provence occidental and ample supplies. we had 8 bottles to share for 2 passengers. the only missing amenity was a refrigerator which was only in suites. the space in the cabinet for a refrierator was noticeable. there was an ice bucket we needed to fill our selves at the lobby level on mid deck cabin stewards did only cleaning and bed making . No ice, fruit or flowers by cabin staff. The ship accomodates up to 176 passengers .we had 150 passengers with many solo cabins at each level. Dining had options of the formal dining room with one service for all or a limited menu in the aft deck captain club. tables in the main dining room were for 4- 10 people. Most were for 6 persons suggesting joining other passengers for meals. Unlike ocean cruises this is a limited dining room making sharing a necessary part of travel. Each written menu had annotaitons about allergies of each menu item. this was helpful usually. however as i looked for lactose free items it seemed every item had lactose such as balsamic salad dressing, roast pork and grilled salmon i did not have the usual deserts as all seemed heavy on cream ( cheesecake, ice cream, napolean, tiramasu,) .i had fresh fruit for desert for lunch and dinner. breakfast was a buffet from 7-9am with omelet chef, lots of fresh fruit, smoothies, bacon, sausage, potatoes , muffins, dry cereals, few donuts, bagels, small pastries, smoked salmon with capers, scrambled eggs, a daily special ( e.g. Eggs benedict) and other breakfast items. Our favorite of egg white omelets was easy to gt each morning with a selction of additives. coffee was served at the table as also tea no soda or other items .on sunday champagne and mimosas were set out at the buffet. early risers had a spare continental choice in the lounge. Lunch was a written menu choice of appetizer, soup, salad, entree and desert. Salad was a buffet self serve choice. the tomatoes from eastern europe were luscious and the best part of lunch on the river splendor. Every day had a hamburger/ cheese burger or hot dog with fries option. entrees might be pork loin, salmon trout, monte crisco snadwich. generally snadwiches were poor as the bread did not have meat to cover it. four cheese sandwich had one cheese not covering the thick bread. One couple sought fish and chips at the captain's club aft and got fish with no fries? the menu was posted online and in the lobby in advance each day. rarely was the list encouraging. the best lunch was a bavarian buffet with lots of wurst and a roasted suckling pig. lunch beverages were coffee, tea, iced tea and water. soda was 4.2 euros per glass. Wine and beer were priced by the glass from the bar menu Dinner was a set affair with printed menus at a specific time. usually we had a port talk at 6:40pm and dinner at 7pm. the written menu had one or two appetisers, two soups and 2-3 three entrees and two deserts. if one appetiser listed it was served to everyone unless the diner declined. soups included either a cold soup ( e.g. Starwberry) , a cream root vegetable soup and a consomme. Most soups were not to my taste and i stopped trying. I usually love soup but not on this sailing. too many cream of root vergetable soups, including palsify . entrees ranged across pork, chicken and beef. On the river splendor the fish was rock fish, salmon trout, halibut and perch. no shell fish or shrimp. No scallops. no lamb. everynight the alternative manu on the back of the form menu wer a grden salad with chef's choice of dressing, caesar salad, chicken breats, sirlon steak, and grilled slamon. these alternatives were served with a baked potatoe and stemed vegetables that often were over cooked. the baked pottoes wer smal but yummy with butter. We chose most nights to share one of these alternatives salads and entrees while sampling one of the strange entrees and appetisers. the best entree of the time on the river splendor was the schnitzel which was pork well cooked and seasoned deep fried filet of pork. The veal tenderloin served one night was tasteless and a small portion. at dinner there were choices of paired wines, cold draft beer or unlimited soda. The wines shifted nightly. deserts were attractive with regional specialties, everynight icecream and everynight cheese displays. each night the staff placed alrge selection of cheeses with crackers for guests to choose their favorites in any quantity. i opted for the sliced fresh fruit which was usually slim slices of melon and occasioanl strawberry. On this cruise diet, i lost about 2 pounds over 2 weeks. Entertainment was minimal with a piano player during dinner we could not hear. He played during the cocktail time in the lounge and after dinner in the lounge. of course dinner took about 2 hours . Everyone was tired from jet lag and walking in the ports so few lasted for after dinner piano music or the juke box for dancing one night at 9pm there was a oompah band of five young musicians in lederhosen who got off before leaving the port. Good music. The lectures generally were inserted at quiet times in the journey and were sleep inducing. a charming 91 year musician came to talk of his 38 years playing in the vienna philharmonic/symphony .as a canadian expatriate he expressed joy in the music scene in vienna. we had an excursion in vienna to the kursalon salon for a small orchestra concert of strauss and viennese music with some duo singling and a dancing duo. We had been to the same performance in 2015 on a bus tour. this was less hazzled as vantage reserved only for our group in the hall which would hold over 500 people and we were 150 passengers. Service was surprisingly spotty. we had dining room staff with limited english one vietamese server was rude and abrasive. Damanding an orde r within 60 seconds of being seated. several eastern european servers smiled but did not understand english. most were not trained in service and reached across 1-2 people to serve rather than walk around a table. Reaching across guests was routine. The tables were well spaced and did not require reaching. we waited long for beverages at dinner and often the server forgot and took our order to another table. these servers were not on tips/ commission for alcohol beverages like on ocean ships. they forgot to serve. Our cabin stewards were seen in the halls. they exchanged used towels and straightened beds early each morning ( 7-8:30am) . Little other signs of their prsence could be seen. no ice. Sometimes they removed used glasses and plates. more often they left a glass with some water in it. They returned during dinner to turn down beds, leave a chocolate and leave the next days written program. We were suprised at the service gratuity that was posted as 18 euros per person per day to be shared by the 47 crew, officers and office staff. that would mean $81 usd per day per cruise staff . That seems pretty rich a gratuity for every kitchen staff, dining steward cabin steward, and dishwasher! that's $1134usd per staff for our 14 day cruise. we did not have 4 star service . i asked for a reduction in the gratuity charge and still felt i was paying more than reasonable for the service i received. vantage must not be paying the staff to assume these gratuity rates for the service we got. rudeness! Waits. Minimal service. Buffets for two meals a day. Yet paying $ 81 usd per dining stewrad. The ports for the river splendor were standard for a danube-main-rhine cruise. Budapest, Vienna, Krems/Stein, Passau, and STOP Before we left home, a viking ship rammed the wall of a lock on the danube -main canal and severely damaged the gate on the lock at riegenburg ,germany . After 4 days on this ship we were informed we would need to pack up and leave the river splendor ship in regensburg .our luggage would be delivered to the vantage river voyager in nuremburg to continue our 14 day itinerary. those voyager passengers would transfer to our cabins on the river spendor to continue their itinerary to budapest. we would do a 90 minute bus trip tpo nurembery and not lose our excursion schedule. inconveneince was all we were told was ahead. we were told we were going to the same cabin number on the next ship. not true we changed to the port form the starboard side. some guests got shifted to the lower deck from c cabinswith french balconies , six foot windows to d-cabins with high port hole windows and below water level sleeping. sadly vantage did not put the solo travelers in c cabins to the smaller d cabins but sent couples . solo travelrs paid the 1/2 fare for a double cabin as the couples paid! the second half of this cruise is reviewed under river voyager. Vantage includes most exucrisons as part of the basic fare. that meant city guides in budapest, vienna, and passau our cruise director tried a new strategy in passau of grouping the tour groups by effort. One group was for power walkers( active) , most groups were standard pace and one group was slow pace for those on walkers or mobility limits. The concierge maya assigned us to our color groups eachmorning. that was a great idea unless a local guide got stuck behind the slow group and would not move on! each day we were assigned our guide by color. we used the whisper speaker system for our tours to hear our guide in our ear as we walked in buildings and along the streets. since there were only 150 passengers on this cruise the concierge knew everybody quickly. a stop at "krems" was a new ship stop duirng the wachau valley day. it was not really krems but the smaller older town of stein which was closed when we arrived. Only one of the three churches was open and few shops or anythng in the town of stein. Not a good choice for a stop. At most of our formal ports we had an excursion for 90 minutes to 2 hours and then returned to the ship for lunch. then we had about 2 hours to return to the port city for touring on our own. in passau we were given a tour and then escorted to the cathedral for a 12 noon organ concert on the largest organ in the world ( 7 700 pipes). Some passengers stayed in town afterwards we went back to the ship for lunch and had a leisurely walk back into town in the afternoon to shop, visit other churches and the cathedral empty of the concert crowd. our afternoon walk arounds proved a most enjoyable part of our river cruise in vienna, passau and later on. . by our late arrival we missed the walkaround time in budapest while others visited the cathedral,central market and other sites on the first day. our boat shifted its dock overnight so we never saw the nighttime lights of budapest due to the deadly crash at the margaret bridge of a viking ship corkscrewing a 89 foot tour boat killing 30 passengers and crew. We enjoyed this river cruisae. we were far more active and walking than we had expected. we dressed casually all of the time and chose smart casual for the captain's welcome dinner. no dressy clotes are necessary. Good walking shoes are essential with all the cobblesstones in the walking. A heat wave had come to hungary and we had temperaturs into the 90's. in our 7 days on the river splendor we had no rain. We transferred after regensburg to nuremburg via bus. we closed our accounts with vantage and returned our keys nd boarding passes to the river splendor. we had to start all over on the river voyager boarding it in nuremburg. The front desk staff on the river splendor were very rigid and sent us off eager to leave them. the hospitality was lacking at the front desk . the luggage transfer was quite orderly to send us off to the river voyager. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Experience was good, all our prior cruises were on ocean going mega ships so the small ship was definitely a culture shock (but still enjoyable, just in different ways). The ship and room were very clean, staff was excellent and very ... Read More
Experience was good, all our prior cruises were on ocean going mega ships so the small ship was definitely a culture shock (but still enjoyable, just in different ways). The ship and room were very clean, staff was excellent and very friendly and helpful. Tours provided were adequate enough. I would just prefer more information on the towns as they are today, where to have a nice lunch, things to do, etc, instead of the reiterating high school history lessons. To each his/ her own I guess. Going though the locks in the river (there were 14 in our cruise) was very interesting, at least the first 3-4. The towns are beautiful, the Abbey at Melk is a must, absolutely beautiful and extremely well maintained. As in most cities in Europe, whatever town you stop on a Sunday will be mostly closed, Saturday afternoons about the same. I've attached photos of the daily activities in case it helps in planning your future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Had been on Ama (wonderful), Uniworld (good) and wanted to try Scenic. Also wanted Danube cruise that went to Salzburg. The service was excellent, room kept very clean, and excursions good. Wine far better than we were expecting but ... Read More
Had been on Ama (wonderful), Uniworld (good) and wanted to try Scenic. Also wanted Danube cruise that went to Salzburg. The service was excellent, room kept very clean, and excursions good. Wine far better than we were expecting but food was a disappointment. Beate, the cruise director went out of her way to help everyone but she was leaving at the end of our cruise for a private job opportunity. Some of the excursions groups were too big and they should have hired another guide or 2 to keep the groups smaller. The new system for the headset didn’t work well all the time, but that was due to too large groups. The biggest disappointment was the food. Breakfast was a 10 but lunch and dinner fell short. Sometimes the food was lukewarm. The veal schnitzel was almost inedible. There were no wow factors. The salmon and tenderloin that you could always order were under seasoned. The gala night had Canadian lobster tail and beef Wellington and it was very good. Then the closing night was turkey. The turkey was good but it doesn’t seem like a luxury dinner on the last night of a luxury cruise. They could Improve by doing a grill on deck with bratwurst and cheeseburgers! Soups were generally pretty good. Desserts were average except for ice cream. We are excellent home cooks so food is very important to us. I will stick with Ama for future cruises. Or try Crystal. But Scenic and Uniworld are out. If you are a foodie, go with Ama. I’ve attached pictures of menus and wine lists and daily plans. I wish I could have received this information in advance so hope it helps others. Mark, the musician, was excellent. The dancers were ok. The concert in Vienna was very nice. Portobellos had excellent appetizers and desserts but mediocre entree. Have to submit photos separately because they don’t attach from an iPad. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My first river cruise experience was pretty good, They include wines and beers at dinner. The wines are not all of good quality but they are not bad. They include a happy hour an one hour before dinner, but the bartenders don't know ... Read More
My first river cruise experience was pretty good, They include wines and beers at dinner. The wines are not all of good quality but they are not bad. They include a happy hour an one hour before dinner, but the bartenders don't know how to make drinks. They are very bad preparing drinks and they get upset if I return the drink. Better change for beer or wine before returning the drink. The gym is very small, but nobody uses. Only 2 bicycles and a machine, not weights. The breakfasts are good and the staff serving the restaurant are excellent. We travel with a group of 44 people, so we had a great time on excursions. We paid on the cruise to see a folk dance that would be in an opera building, but the dance was done in a super small room with uncomfortable chairs and without air conditioning, The truth is not worth paying at the dance show cruises in the opera buildings because they only accommodate you in small rooms. The same thing happened to us in the Baltic cruise, it pays dearly for what they give. The room service was quite bad, even one day they put broken sheets on the bed.I had to look for soap because they never left another soap in the bathroom The dinners are very good. DO NOT pay for the Cheff Table, it is not worth paying, even the wine served was three dollars. It is a totally different experience than sea cruises. Very expensive cruise for what they offer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld ... Read More
I'm going to break my review into some basic areas that really are the things most folks look for on river cruise. The Tours, Food, Accommodations, Ambiance and staff. Let me start with the easiest first...Staff. Staff: Uniworld certainly knows what it's doing when it comes to hiring the "best of the best" as we found each and every person on board to be kind, engaging, fun, service oriented and just lovely. In particular Adrian, our Waiter, was Amazing, as was a bar waitress named Sylvia. Always a smile, they remembered the smallest details: How you like your drink, or the type of coffee you enjoyed. Our stewardess kept the cabin SPOTLESS and we were so impressed with how quickly they did their work. Can't praise them enough! Food: Meal quality was a little uneven. In particular Uniworld always has some basics on the menu in case you can't find anything you like in the daily featured dishes at dinner. The "Everyday" menu included things like Chicken and Steaks and Salmon and while prepared pretty well, the quality of the ingredients seemed to be lacking a bit. Strongly suggest they look to their purveyors to up that quality of the proteins on board. The breakfast and Lunches are all buffets and they were really excellent always plenty of choices. The dining room is a bit tight with big comfy chairs but overall a very pleasant place to spend a good portion of the evening. Again, the staff shined with complimentary wine flowing. Overall dinners were OK, just not at the level we were expecting at this price point. Tours: This is where I feel Uniworld really shines and is totally the reason to pay a little more for Uniworld. We saw other lines with huge groups of people but Uniworld had these small intimate group tours around the various cities. We couldn't have been more impressed with the guides (they get the best of the best) and loved the 'do as the locals do" visiting markets, riding public transit with our guide and learning ever so much, about the daily lives of the locals. A++++. Accommodations: So Uniworld claims to have the best beds on the rivers and indeed they do. Seriously it's no joke, these beds are off the chart. It's like sleeping in a gloved hand, resting on a cloud. I could go on and on but suffice to say, you will want to try, as we did, to figure out how to get this bed home with you! The decor is really quite something, shall I say " Over the Top". Makes you feel like you are staying in one of the palaces that you've toured each day. Initially I was a bit taken aback, but quickly realized it was replicating the experience of old Europe and very quickly I fell in love with it all the tufts and frills. while I wouldn't decorate my home this way, the style and glamour immersed you in the European style and we loved it! Ambiance: Sadly on our sailing there wasn't a piano player in the lounge and that was a miss, as a little music during cocktail hour and afterwards would have made the product come to life a little more. Uniworld does bring on entertainment in some of the ports but would have loved a little more consistency in this area. I found the other guest on board to be quite social and we met tons of new friends. Bottom Line: It's worth the extra $$. You will be wowed and super comfy! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Family Christmas cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest....what a wonderful way to experience the best Christmas Markets in all of Europe. A must for any family wanting to share and create Holiday memories. The Christmas markets are an ... Read More
Family Christmas cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest....what a wonderful way to experience the best Christmas Markets in all of Europe. A must for any family wanting to share and create Holiday memories. The Christmas markets are an absolute must, with handmade goods including Christmas ornaments and souvenirs, local foods, mulled wine and great beers. Add in the local history and culture of each destination and it creates unbelievable memories. River locks along the Danube are also a fun and interesting experience as you travel along the river watching the scenery. Viking does it better than anyone! Great cabin accommodations, shore excursions that are included, enjoyable and fun, fabulous service and staff, nice dining and drink options and a great way to see and experience Europe. The ships are comfortable, modern and beautiful. Very relaxed cruising, with no pretentious atmosphere. This was our second Christmas cruise with Viking and we look forward to traveling more with Viking in the future! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise to return to some of the places of my youth and to share them with my wife. I had spent a summer in the area and this cruise included all but Praha. We had a wonderful time especially in Vienna. It was great to see the ... Read More
We chose this cruise to return to some of the places of my youth and to share them with my wife. I had spent a summer in the area and this cruise included all but Praha. We had a wonderful time especially in Vienna. It was great to see the Grand city once again and share some highlights with my wife. We were very pleased with how well Viking managed the logistics of the entire experience and we intend to use them again. The onshore excursions were well planned and the guides were knowledgable and personable. We enjoyed them all very much, the time was adequate and not overly taxing. The options were flexible and well chosen for each ability level. Each also provided more than a glimpse of the culture and traditions of the people and places we visited. Free time was also provided on each of the excursions and this allowed shopping and dinning which was enjoyed greatly. All in all, a very grand experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Just finished Viking Romantic Danube cruise. First time this Viking ship sailed, without interruption, from Nuremberg to Budapest. Only, maybe, the second week that any Viking ship made the cruise end-to-end without a ship swap. The ... Read More
Just finished Viking Romantic Danube cruise. First time this Viking ship sailed, without interruption, from Nuremberg to Budapest. Only, maybe, the second week that any Viking ship made the cruise end-to-end without a ship swap. The low water levels on both the Rhine and Danube will likely continue into 2019 season (begins in March). The cruise, when uninterrupted like ours, was great. Crew was great, very good customer service. Ship was in great shape. However, crew members did say it has been a very tough season - with all the ship swaps and motor coach substitutions, most of the "cruises" were filled with very disgruntled customers. This cruise and crew would entice me to take another Viking cruise. However, I plan to do even more due diligence before the next cruise. Viking management appears to be passing the buck to the crews, not informing cruisers of the "real situation" on the rivers, leaving the crews to inform the cruisers - who proceed to shoot the messenger. I'd be very leery of a future river cruise, given Viking's terms and conditions, which pretty much state that one you've paid, they can change anything. Bus you the whole way, etc. The silver beverage package should be closely evaluated - we considered, being that I like my high end spirits. Glad we chose to go "by the glass", because our ship was either out of stock, or very low, on many of the best spirits. Having to settle for a lesser beverage didn't sting quite so much, because I hadn't pre-paid. Also, the Viking air travel arrangement simply sucked. Very long layovers, early boarding calls, etc. All for Viking's convenience, with no concern for the customer. Next time, I do my own flight selections. Not getting up at 2 am again, just so Viking can save a bus trip. Or getting home 20 hrs later, just because the Viking scheduler bot saved $2 on the long layover. I'll pay more for better service, but Viking never offered. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Cruise number 52 Riviera Cruises - MS Thomas Hardy 6th December - 11th December 2018 Cabin number : 218.- midship , Deck 2 - Balcony Cabin Total pax : 169 , Crew : 44: Decks :5 Cruise for 5 nights - Christmas Market cruise ... Read More
Cruise number 52 Riviera Cruises - MS Thomas Hardy 6th December - 11th December 2018 Cabin number : 218.- midship , Deck 2 - Balcony Cabin Total pax : 169 , Crew : 44: Decks :5 Cruise for 5 nights - Christmas Market cruise Budapest / overnight Budapest / Bratislava / Vienna / Vienna overnight / at sea / Budapest overnight Checking in was fast and expiditied perfectly , From arrival on river side/ check in then to cabin was 30 minutes. On board, housekeeping , room service ,main dining room service and food all of a very good standard. The Bistro restuarant which is booking only can not be compared to any of the chefs table rstaurants on similar star rating ships this is due to it not being any differant from the main restuarant except for menu. No differant silver service ( in fact our table felt we had better service in the main restaurant), no variety of wines per course as expected and local foods as would be the norm. The included excursions all of a good standard , with the guide in Budapest on day one Uri being so non PC its great to hear and excellent at his guiding. The oriantation tour around Bratislava with Alta was first class again so non PC its refreshing . Tour around Vienna was basic and pedestrian . We did our market route and spent many wonderful hours using our own apps. The Ars Mundi string quartet was a nice touch as entertainment in Vienna on board after dinner. No form of sail away , however found the departures times to early as you miss the impact of the christmas lighting after dark. Postpone by 2 hours and all would be fie on this point However the total lack of any entertainment besides our loan pianist who tried his best does drop the overall rating somewhat along with the very pedestrian cruise director , the tour manager tried his hardest to bridge the gap but to no avail. This meant long dinners and more bar time . Overall a good product with a few tweeks and upliftments , the Housekeeping, Bar and main dining room along with the ship crew carry the product for sure 2018 star grading - 4 Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Danube Waltz - the cities we were going to with the rich history in each was the leading factor. Seeing the comfort of being on the ship and cruising down the river was total enticing. Unfortunately, we arrived when the river was ... Read More
Danube Waltz - the cities we were going to with the rich history in each was the leading factor. Seeing the comfort of being on the ship and cruising down the river was total enticing. Unfortunately, we arrived when the river was historically low and did not get to spend the afternoon in Budapest. We got a panoramic bus ride then bused all the way to Vienna by passing Bratislava. We were bused back for a panoramic bus ride tour of the city and no free time again. Had to get back on ship. Next day awoke in Krems and had to move with the water going down more. We moved to Melk and were bused back to the Gotweig Abby. Lots of busing for the first 4 days! The Viking staff and program director bent over backwards trying to please everyone. Lesson learned - Viking should cancel when mother nature is in control. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018

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