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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
This is the Classic Danube/Mainz/Rhine cruise 68 locks. We booked May 25 the water levels were good 2018 had the worst low water levels many river cruises canceled July & August.Our cabin was 206 french balcony the bed was comfortable ... Read More
This is the Classic Danube/Mainz/Rhine cruise 68 locks. We booked May 25 the water levels were good 2018 had the worst low water levels many river cruises canceled July & August.Our cabin was 206 french balcony the bed was comfortable there was a mini fridge and you were allowed to bring on your own alcohol including beer which was convenient . This was our 9th cruise but our first river cruise it was amazing being able to look out your window and see the vineyards and castles small towns landmarks and nature ( hint bring binoculars) plenty of birds deer & rabbits and people love waving . The food, breakfast and lunch were buffet style and dinner was served the selection was good usually a meat dish / fish dish / and vegetarian choice and Caesar salad chicken breast and hamburger were always available along with a selection of cheese and fresh fruit . Our dinner table usually had the same guests us 2 Canadians a couple from Australia a single gentleman from Ottawa and Michelle from NYC and she set the tone saying she was only there for the wine and the staff kept our glasses full ( no fixed seating ). I cannot say enough on how exceptional the staff treated us from the girls at the front desk to the hotel manager Hiomara and Marius Maitre d'hotel and Danielle entertainment director but Somas the cruise director was fabulous he did a 15 minute talk before dinner and we miss these words ( Let see how your day will look tomorrow ) . Now Captain Peter the big kahuna from Bratislava the world hockey championship was being held in Slovakia (Bratislava) we bonded over hockey and i got to sit in the captain chair . The entertainment in Budapest they had classical musicians and opera singers and traditional Hungarian folk dancers in Bavaria they had a Bavarian band and anther night they had a Zither concert all shows were awesome . Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We have returned from a 14 day Classic River cruise on the Monarch Governess starting from Budapest to Amsterdam. I couldn’t find any information on this cruise ship so I decided to write about our wonderful experience. We booked ... Read More
We have returned from a 14 day Classic River cruise on the Monarch Governess starting from Budapest to Amsterdam. I couldn’t find any information on this cruise ship so I decided to write about our wonderful experience. We booked the Suite and if this can be an option it is well worth the extra money for a bigger room and bathroom. Let me start with the wonderful staff. They were all exceptional; especially Gary and Nad who made our time on the ship fun and run smoothly. All the staff greeted you and made you feel special each day. The food was fantastic along with all the wine and beer you can possibly consume with your evening meal. You can have alcohol in your room that has a bar fridge or the drinks are reasonable at the bar. Being from Australia, there was a few of us on board who sang and danced most nights along with American’s, Canadians and a sprinkling of other Nationalities. All the tours ran according to plan and we had booked all the optional tours which were worth it except for the Classical concert, which was staged for the tourists and not worth the money. I would highly recommend Gate1 Travel over all the other river cruises as they are much cheaper but still go to all the same places and dock in the same spot as all the other far more expensive companies such as Viking and Scenic. Little bonuses are you don’t have to dress up for dinner, you can do as much or as little as you want, you never feel like there’s so many people around (in fact there was 120 people on board and even after 1 week I still didn’t recognise them all) you can be as sociable as you like and you can join in the nightly activities and have a great time. I loved everything on board the Monarch Governess and all the staff at Gate1 Travel should be proud of running a fantastic cruise. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise because we had used Gate 1 previously for a land vacation. We were unable to partake of the scheduled tour in Budapest because of flight delays. The transfer agent picked us up and nicely gave us a small tour of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had used Gate 1 previously for a land vacation. We were unable to partake of the scheduled tour in Budapest because of flight delays. The transfer agent picked us up and nicely gave us a small tour of Budapest while taking us to the ship. The ship is a typical river cruise ship and ho,do about 130 passengers. The crew all spoke very good English and were all courteous and helpful. Our cabin was on the lowest level, but it was a good size and held a small refrigerator where we could store beer and wine. The dining room held numerous tables of 4 to 8, and dinner nag with others was encouraged. We had a good mix of passengers ranging from a few teenagers to 70’s. Most of them were Americans with a scattering from Canada and Australia. We had a very congenial bunch which was further encouraged by our entertainment director Danielle from Italy. He made the voyage a very entertaining event with fun quizzes and games. Our tour director Gary made sure all the land tours went off without a hitch. The meals were buffets for breakfast and lunch, and table service for dinner. All meals were good in both taste and variety. Drinks were available in the lounge and wine and beer were served gratis at dinner. We were always docked alongside other cruise ships such as Avalon and Croisi-Europe as we had the same itineraries. Gate 1’s motto is See More of the World for less and it lives up to it. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
The ship was modern and the crew was the best ever! Our balcony room 215 was the epitome of relaxation, lying in bed with the curtains and sliding glass doors open, gliding down the river complete with sounds of water. It was like a ... Read More
The ship was modern and the crew was the best ever! Our balcony room 215 was the epitome of relaxation, lying in bed with the curtains and sliding glass doors open, gliding down the river complete with sounds of water. It was like a movie. Our room was cleaned twice daily and the beds and blankets were unbelievably cozy. There is so much storage space in the room, under the beds, in the closets and bathroom. And there is a refrigerator. The first night there was a champagne briefing and there was complimentary wine with every evening meal. If you have never been inside a lock or were curious about them, you will get a chance to know them up close because we entered at least 6-8 of them. Quite an educational experience. Our entertainment director was Daniele, quite the character from Italy. Wouldn't have been the same without him, although I'm sure other Gate 1 cruises have a Daniele almost-equivalent. Dining in the dining room was 3 times a day. Breakfast and lunch were buffet=type, while dinner was off the menu. For breakfast, you could select from the many choices of food or you could have the chef prepare something you request. Midweek, Daniele hosted a fun night for all on board. Audience participation. It gives you a chance to really know your fellow cruisers and brings out everyone's personality. It was a blast! The night before we disembarked in Germany, we were treated to a surprise performance. I will not give it away, for those future cruisers. But you will be delighted!!! On disembarkation day, we had to be ready by 5am and hated that we would miss breakfast. Surprisingly, Gate 1 prepared breakfasts for us consisting of a sandwich, oj, an orange, an apple, etc. So thoughtful and unexpected! And so organized! The driver picked up our bags at 4:45 and were were provided a personal driver and van to the airport, 1.5 hours away. Gate 1 thinks of everything. We failed to bring adapters for electronic devices but Gate 1 gave us a loaner. And for the rain, Gate 1 provided umbrellas. I have only 2 complaints total. One cannot be resolved because it's how things are. Whenever we got into port, we would often have to dock next to other ships, which completely blocked the view from our cabin. This is common practice because there are not enough spaces to park along the banks. what you do is walk through the other ships or they walk through yours. The other is that, twice, I got a bad radio, used for the tours. Once, the guide had an extra one, but the other time I had to endure the tour without a radio. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We had not visited Poland(Warsaw, Krakow) so we joined this tour of Poland followed by a cruise of the Danube from Budapest, Bratislava, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna, Regensdorf and on to Munich to catch our flight home to San Francisco. We ... Read More
We had not visited Poland(Warsaw, Krakow) so we joined this tour of Poland followed by a cruise of the Danube from Budapest, Bratislava, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna, Regensdorf and on to Munich to catch our flight home to San Francisco. We had the very best luxury Suites on the ship but in general, felt cramped especially by the very large group from Israel who tended to monopolize the ship. But the food was OK and the service decent. It paled in comparison to our first Danube cruise on Viking. Nevertheless, the scenery was breathtaking even though we have traversed this stretch to Prague at least 3 times before. Vienna is always such a delight representing old world elegance and genteel manners with Baroque architecture and of course Motzart's music and chocolates(Motzarts kugel made with marzipan). The shore excursions were great and well managed. All in all, the cruise was good value for money. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
A friend had cruised with Gate One and recommended them. Because Gate One doesn't over advertise, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was WOWED by the quality of the service, staff, tours and entertainment. We enjoyed the ... Read More
A friend had cruised with Gate One and recommended them. Because Gate One doesn't over advertise, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was WOWED by the quality of the service, staff, tours and entertainment. We enjoyed the precruise tours in Budapest and the hotel choice (Budapest Hilton) was in an excellent location. It is attached to a mall and there is a grand market within walking distance to buy authentic cultural food, souvenirs and more!. Went to the Budapest thermal spring spa on our own, but probably wouldn't do that again. It was crowded and not that relaxing, so I would spend time seeing one of the many other amazing sights in Budapest. Food throughout the week was excellent and always plenty of choices. Didn't miss the wine/beer at lunch like other companies offer. Having those options at dinner was ample for us. The entertainment and activities on board surpassed other river cruise experiences I have had, but it wasn't too much. Ice cream sundae bar on top deck one afternoon, and a variety show performed by staff one evening for example were fun! All staff were professional, friendly and organized! We did the optional "gypsy forest" dinner in Budapest. Fun and worth the money! Optional concert in Vienna was in an impressive, intimate concert hall and included talented musicians and a couple dancers. I highly recommend Gate One Monarch Empress! Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this river cruise because of the value found on Travelzoo ($3,000/person - including the two optional tours we chose for a two week river cruise on both the Danube and Rhine rivers.). We had used Gate 1 last year for a Peru land ... Read More
We chose this river cruise because of the value found on Travelzoo ($3,000/person - including the two optional tours we chose for a two week river cruise on both the Danube and Rhine rivers.). We had used Gate 1 last year for a Peru land tour and knew the company was reputable. I am going to be detailed about the ship, because I had found little about the cruise prior to the trip. We started in Budapest. We arrived at the ship, Monarch Princess, early but were greeted heartily and shown to our room immediately - with our luggage. A light lunch was available. That first evening a welcome reception was held for the 124 passengers on board. Meals: The breakfasts and lunches are great. Lots of variety and the breads at breakfast are wonderful. Dinner was erratic. There is one standard option: baked chicken breast, which was dry and rather tasteless. It needs a sauce or gravy added to it! Then there are always three other options: one meat, one fish and one vegetarian. Some nights the dish are good, but other times they are disappointing. More options and better quality is needed for dinners. The dining room at night can be quite warm - low ceiling, lots of people and an inadequate cooling system. At dinner, one can sit anywhere one chooses, but the tables are arranged in 4, 6 and 8 seatings. Mingling with other passengers is somewhat required. Dress is casual! No formal nights. Where whatever you want (except tank tops and bathing suits). A 24 hour coffee/tea station, four o'clock tea, and evening snack are also available. The ship: The ship was clean and well-appointed. A fitness room with three pieces of equipment is available. There is a sun deck with a hot tub that is available about half the time; it is closed when going under bridges on the Main river and in the canal. The trip was slow going - 68 locks! Staff: The tour director, Alex, and the activities director, Armin, were very attentive and professional. A broken left thruster on the ship was handled quickly, with adjustments made to our transportation with little discomfort to the guests. All of the staff were great. Activities: Morning yoga and evening activity followed by piano music were available. At each city, a bus or walking tour was included. The tour guides varied in knowledge and communication skills. Typically, the tours were in the morning and the afternoon, we had free time to explore on our own. Tipping was expected: per person, one euro for the driver and two euros for the guide. Favorite stops were Budapest, Vienna, Durnstein, Rotterdam. More time was desired in Vienna and Nuremburg. Less desirable stops were Kobletz and Cologne. Overall, it was a good trip, though fourteen days was long, seeing similar towns over and over again (a medieval town, church and castle ruins). I would recommend doing the Danube and Rhine tours separately, adding pre- and post-trip stops. Read Less
32 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
First experience with Gate 1 and first river cruise so cannot compare with other river cruise lines - therefore, will compare with ocean cruises. In a nutshell, excellent experience - hope to go again. We met the Monarch Princess in ... Read More
First experience with Gate 1 and first river cruise so cannot compare with other river cruise lines - therefore, will compare with ocean cruises. In a nutshell, excellent experience - hope to go again. We met the Monarch Princess in Budapest where we flew in a day early on our own from Italy. The ship was nicely appointed as described in the 1st review. It was a well refurbished older ship that Gate 1 purchased from Avalon, Talking to other passengers, I understand that Gate 1 has been in the land tour business for over twenty years and had just started with their 1st ship three years ago, Now they are expanding with new ships built for them. They currently have three - Monarch Princess being the oldest, but in my opinion, just great , We dropped off our baggage several hours before boarding was allowed with no problem, and Gary, the Cruise Director, was fantastic when it came to service. He was able to up-grade us from category E to D (water line high windows to french balcony) for a very reasonable amount due to a cancellation. The stateroom had plenty of storage area, similar to an ocean ship, and was slightly more compact. Shower had good pressure and was the full European 3'x3'. Slight inconvenience is drying sink washed clothes as only towel racks could be used - unless you gambled that the French Balcony safely bars outside would keep your clothes from falling off into the river. Food was as good or better that an ocean ship, without the large menu to choose from. Wine and beer was included with the evening meal, however available any time for additional cost. My wife and I normally have a cocktail before dinner and found that prices were 10-15% lower that ocean ships. Quality of wine was good and usually local. We especially enjoyed the Bavarian meal on the 6th night. Shipboard entertainment included a full time disk jockey for dancing every night after the evening entertainment. With the small number compared to an ocean ship, acquaintances and friends were quickly established (also open seating at meals encouraged this) and the dance floor was filled every night. Local entertainers were provided at the start and end of the 7 day Danube cruise, and the assistant to Gary, the cruise director acted as entertainer on other nights with a sampling of what you find on an ocean cruise - "Battle of the Sexes", "Trivial Pursuit". "Bingo with a Twist", etc. Probably the most enjoyable part of the cruise were the stops. They usually included a short 1 1/2 hr to 2 1/2 hr walking tour with local tour guides that gave you a brief orientation and history of the place you were visiting, and then turned you loose to go on your own. This especially suited my wife and I as we seldom will sign up for a tour offered by an ocean ship and much prefer to "do our own thing". There are optional tours you can take for additional cost - similar to an ocean cruise. The only one we took was the "Classical Viennese Concert" in Vienna. It was "OK" typical tourist fare in a beautiful old concert hall packed with river cruisers from all of the cruise lines docked that day. It consisted of six stringed instruments, flute, clarinet, piano, soloist violinist, male and female soprano and baritone, and two dancers. While definitely not a true opera, it was entertaining, but in my opinion, over-priced. We had a much better experience the following Sunday at High Mass in the older small cathedral in Linz, Austria. There was a featured Viennese Opera Soloist and organist, both were fantastic. No cost other than you usual offering. This is why we "do our own thing". Another favorite stop was the small village of Durnstein. I hiked to the old castle ruins, however, it was a very tough climb and rather dangerous with a very steep and uneven trail. Don't try it unless you are sure-footed and physically fit. Just a walk on the charming cobblestone streets of little village is great on its own. Stop by the local church and its small museum - its an inexpensive treat for only 2 1/2 Euros. I can't say enough good things about the Cruise Director, Gary. He was always available, extremely good natured, very informed about the local attractions, entertaining, and helpful. He certainly turned a very good overall experience into an excellent experience. Overall, the crew was excellent in all respects. The wine flowed freely at the evening meals and the entire trip was delightful. My wife and I have never been on a cruise we did not like, but this first river cruise was geat. We just hope we have the health and finances to try another. Jack & Mary (Ole Goat) Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Never having used Gate 1 Travel before, we were not sure what to expect. The entire experience was wonderful and beyond our expectations. The booking process and flight arrangements were very professionally handled. Gate 1's web ... Read More
Never having used Gate 1 Travel before, we were not sure what to expect. The entire experience was wonderful and beyond our expectations. The booking process and flight arrangements were very professionally handled. Gate 1's web site is very easy to navigate and communications from the company were excellent. We were warmly welcomed on board the ship and received personalized service and attention throughout the cruise. The fact that there were only 80 passengers, made it feel like it was a private ship. We had very knowledgeable and easy to understand local guides in all the ports of call. Did an optional concert tour in Vienna which was outstanding. The food was excellent, good variety with local/regional cuisines. After the cruise, we spent three days in Munich. Again, the cruise director/tour director from the ship accompanied us and made sure we got the most from our visit. There is no doubt in our mind that we will travel with Gate 1 again. Read Less
75 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I found very few reviews for Gate 1 Travel and the Monarch Empress traveling the Danube so I thought I would post a quick summary. Marigold252's review in post #2409882 ("Gate 1 17 Day Danube River Cruise with Warsaw, Krakow, ... Read More
I found very few reviews for Gate 1 Travel and the Monarch Empress traveling the Danube so I thought I would post a quick summary. Marigold252's review in post #2409882 ("Gate 1 17 Day Danube River Cruise with Warsaw, Krakow, Budapest & Prague") on this forum has some fairly detailed additional information. This was our first river cruise and most of our tour experience has been with various Rick Steves' small group land tours - so our observations about this river cruise come from that perspective. Gate 1 Travel - Their tag line seems to say it all... "See More of the World for Less". I certainly was unfamiliar with them but many of our fellow cruisers had done numerous land tours with them over the course of 5 - 10 years. They seem pretty well established but have a low profile compared to some of the other river cruise lines. When I compare the quality of the ship, food, service, and experience compared to the many other cruise lines I researched, we certainly felt that it was great value for money. Ship - The Monarch Empress is quite new (first put into service in 2016 I believe). The decor was more modern/contemporary than what we saw on some of the other ships that were docked close to us. More about clean and sleek and less about overall glitz. Passengers - Approximately 130 or so passengers for our cruise - a slight majority from the US but Australia, New Zealand, and Canada folks were broadly represented -- with a smattering from other countries as well. The age range was mostly 50 to 80... with just a few folks that were either younger or older than this demographic. Daytime dress was generally casual - this was September so mostly long pants and a mix of layers to adjust for temperature and showers through the day. Dinner dress was a bit mixed. We specifically chose this cruise line over some others because we DIDN'T want to feel pressure to dress up for dinner every night. Men were generally dressed more casually than the women - slacks or dress jeans along with more casual collared/button-down shirts. Women (as expected) dressed up a bit more for dinner/evening... but from my observation the vast majority just tried to add a scarf, a nicer top, and maybe a bit of extra jewelry - though there were a handful of women that (in my opinion looked out of place) dressing in high heels and evening dresses. Cabin - I used the price difference between Gate 1 and many of the other cruise lines as an opportunity to upgrade to a top-floor "Suite" instead of a mid-level cabin. See the detailed review in the separate section below. Dining Experience - Because this cruise was more budget conscious, we expected the food to be on the simple/bland side - and we were actually very pleasantly surprised and the variety and quality. I know that some river cruise lines have lots of choices on the dinner menu but we felt that the choices on the Monarch Empress were rich and varied enough to more than meet our needs (and pad our waist lines). With a 4+ course meal (depending on how you counted such things) that was beautifully prepared, we never went hungry. Obviously, if you want to maximize your food experiences than this cruise line might not be a good match... but if you want to try a smaller (but plentiful) array of regional foods and yet have the fall back of some tried & true standbys, I think you will find what was served here to be more than adequate. Entertainment and Activities - Truthfully, our focus was on the ports and excursions and we took minimal advantage of on-board entertainment/activities. We were generally so tired after being out and about all day that we just wanted to fall in to bed and rest after dinner. My impression is that the on-board activities are probably a bit less sensational than what might be available on other (more expensive) cruise lines -- but in our case why would we want to pay extra for something we never used? Service - ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT!! Our minimal experience with ocean cruises prepared us to expect fairly perfunctory service -- but the entire crew made us feel as if we were a part of their family. Within just a day or two the restaurant staff knew many of our specific dining habits - for instance, my desire for a beer instead of wine... it would be delivered to the table within a few seconds of my sitting down anywhere in the restaurant (even though we didn't have assigned seating). The folks that serviced the rooms operated silently in the background - but would address our every need with instant efficiency. Ports and Shore Excursions - This was a 7 day cruise and we added 2 or 3 days in both Budapest (at the beginning) and in Prague (at the end). We would have loved to spend a bit more time in each of the locations where we stopped -- but this is a challenge for nearly all of the river cruise lines... my research showed that they all had very similar itineraries. In our case we cruised up-stream.... which tends to make actual travel a bit slower. I don't know, however, if this translates into less time at each specific port or whether they simply travel longer at night. Be aware that many of the excursions start relatively early -- Often leaving by 8:15 or 8:30. If you signed up for most/all of the optional excursions (as we did), you may find that you have little time for leisure or taking advantage of after-dinner activities. Most (if not all) of the excursions (standard and optional) had knowledgeable local guides -- but don't expect that you will have the time for a deep-immersion experience... but rather just an introduction with a little time on your own to dig just a bit deeper. Read Less
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