26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored ... Read More
This was our first river cruise and understood Viking was a top provider. BUT, we were very disappointed. The crew/staff were excellent, but after that things fell down. Getting a balcony is a waste of money as many times we were moored next to another Viking ship's balcony which was just 2 feet away. No view or privacy! Breakfast was fine but other meals were poor. It became the joke many times to see what was served compared to what was ordered. Many times when we docked at a town we then had to be bussed. We were not able to simply get off the ship and walk around. A couple times we docked in industrial areas. On included tours guides were friendly and knowledgeable, but we were always rushed. Numerous times we had to move along as there was a group behind us. No time for questions (later) and photos. A typical tour was bussing, see a cathedral/palace/castle listen to some history/stories & then some free time. When you combine the amount of ships of Viking & it's competitors, tours become a herd! For the price do not recommend Viking. Will not use again. Viking may have been a class outfit, but possibly have lost control with expansion. Deep research needed for any river cruise. Have taken over a dozen land trips with success, but our ages require a more leisurely experience. Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We were disappointed with our late April, 2018, Danube cruise and would not recommend Viking to others. First "problem": we paid more for a Veranda room with an outside deck and found that Viking has SO MANY boats traveling the ... Read More
We were disappointed with our late April, 2018, Danube cruise and would not recommend Viking to others. First "problem": we paid more for a Veranda room with an outside deck and found that Viking has SO MANY boats traveling the Danube, at the same time, that it STACKS its boats when it docks, side by side, leaving us with "a view" of ANOTHER Viking boat's outside deck one foot away from OUR outside deck, at EVERY docking. Secondly, our boat "cruised" in daylight hours, where one can see the sights, only ONE DAY, along the Wachau Valley. It was "in port", docked, during other daylight times. Thirdly, all of Viking's "docking locations" are a LONG walk, along a narrow passageway, to GET TO a street and access where one can catch a cab or other transportation in order to "independently see/tour a town" on one's own time, for which Viking provide sufficient time. Finally, our "Tour Director", and a few other staff members, noticeably and continuously outwardly displayed a "very overpowering/aggressive/obtrusive so-called friendliness" in their attitudes, talks, and personalities. Informally, I think of that as their "coming on" WAY too strong, to the point of making the trip "uncomfortable". Also, Viking's excursion leaders were, generally, not very good. These negatives far outweighed the ship's cleanliness and good food/meals provided, and made it a trip I wish I had NOT paid for, and made. I would NOT make the mistake of making a Viking river boat trip in the future. We have travelled with two OTHER river boat companies in other areas of the world, and BOTH those trips were MUCH more enjoyable. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Very pleased with overall performance . The included shore excursions were well planned & executed . The most outstanding comment each day was HOW HARD & DILIGENT the program director was. I saw him from morning to evening at ... Read More
Very pleased with overall performance . The included shore excursions were well planned & executed . The most outstanding comment each day was HOW HARD & DILIGENT the program director was. I saw him from morning to evening at every event - observing, directing & controlling the entire program. His onboard & general knowledge of the entire trip was a amazing. ( without any notes). I only know of him as JOE. He is certainly an asset to this company. I would like to know of any other Viking cruises he is on , as i would definitely consider booking it. Everyone i talked with were completely satisfied with all aspects of the cruise. I will definitely consider another Viking cruise. River cruising has a distinct advantage over ocean cruising in the ability to view more of the country side as you are underway and very important -- the lack of "sea sick "movement of the ship. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant ... Read More
We picked this cruise from three other possibilities as we liked the itinerary and the option to have free time to do our own thing. The passengers were mainly 60 plus and my husband and I are 51 and 48. The passengers were a pleasant mix of mainly American, Canadian and Australian. From my observation everyone was very friendly and mingled well. Everything went very smoothly from airport pickup to airport departure. We had one minor hiccup with our baggage being misplaced at the end of our tour at the hotel and this was sorted quickly with very minimal fuss. Our cruise director Patricia was excellent. Nothing was ever too much trouble and made sure everything ran smoothly. The dining was spot on. Buffet breakfasts and lunch and five course sit down dinners with endless wine. Special thanks to Eldar (Eddie) and his offsider (I'm so sorry can't remember your name) they were always very attentive, polite and great fun. Our cabin was always very well maintained by Aulia who was friendly and always greeted us by name with a smile. The ports and shore excursions were well thought out. A map with clearly marked points of interest were always handed out with a complimentary bottle of water. We did an optional tour to Rothenburg and special thanks to Renee (Renate) as she organised a tasting tour as we walked through the main street. This was for me a real highlight to try foods from the local businesses. A great touch. All in all we had a great cruising experience. We have cruised before on the ocean but this was our first river cruise experience and would absolutely do another. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more ... Read More
I would never recommend Emerald River Cruises. First I would recommend more options for pre/post cruise tours. I would also recommend narration of the sites on the way to the ship even if it’s a transfer. Once onboard a lot more info on what to expect and someone to answer questions, like your cabin steward whom we didn’t see until the second day. This doesn’t improve, if you miss a port talk you are completely in the dark. The owners suite is small compared to other cruise/River ships. No tv in bedroom so bring binoculars to see it in the sitting room. Expect to hear your neighbors as the rooms have very thin walls. No ice offered unless you get a glass of ice at the bar. If you want a drink you must go to the bar and it’s like asking for a favor. With the premium package you get whatever bottle they have open, and if it’s a good wine, expect it to runout quickly! The cabin steward left our used towels because we didn’t throw them on the floor. Who knew? as this was never communicated. Emerald assured us we wouldn’t hear joggers above our suite but you definitely do, at 6am. They told us we had to put up with it for four days. The crew told us this was the last cruise and they didn’t know if the ship was returning or they had jobs. How sad for them and to bad for us. We sat at the Captains table which was very nice. The food should of been exceptional which I can’t say was the case. I’m really trying to be positive but so far the experience hasn’t lived up to our expectations. The included guided tours have been managed well and you see a lot of the cities you visit. The food is probably the biggest disappointment. No variety and mainly the same theme throughout the whole cruise. The buffet menu was offered only on a couple days, but don’t expect the classics these are only offered when it is a dinner menu night. The soups are either consommé or bouillon and nothing special. When a buffet is offered expect complete chaos. No formal direction just one big free for all. I went on the bike trip from Durnstein to Melk. They did try to talk us out of it but the reviews were to good for me to skip it. The guide was young and worked with her farther who brought up the rear. We did the 20 miles in 3 hours with a half hour lunch break and 5 photo opts. The pace was way to fast and that was because the guide did double duty and needed to get back for the Abby tour. Two folks had to get a cab (52 euro) to get back to the ship. Active is one description but this is Tourist de France. Nothing offered after dinner. OK, my wife and I can’t complain anymore. So much is wrong about this experience we just decided to give in and let it happen. They will not change so we go with the flow but will never ever make the same mistake. Emerald is at best a 2 Star and needs improving. Anyone who travels knows what expectations should be provided and they have a long way to go. Hope this review enlightens your decision. So choose well and happy travels. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the ... Read More
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the price of a Royal Suite and hopes for fall colors. Overall, we were delighted with the stay in Budapest and Prague, the included city tours and the awesome fall colors along the Danube. Biggest disappointments included the lack of any on-board amenities for a suite, mediocre food and entertainment, an egotistical Cruise Director, poor communications and policies before and during the cruise. Specifics include poor excursion policies, pricing where excursions booked on-line cannot be changed beyond four days prior to the cruise. After listening to the Cruise Director's on board review I met with him to request changes including canceling and adding some. While able to add excursions, he immediately disclaimed any association with pre-booked excursions and would not cancel. Find this very disappointing, frustrating so warn others not to book pre-cruise as there were always plenty, but pricey, openings. Also, unlike suites on ocean cruises, we did not have any on-board amenities. In fact, while we could get only a continental breakfast delivered they charged $2 pp! With 137 passengers we only saw the officers at the first and last cocktail receptions! Overall, think ocean cruises on small ships offers much more than river boats! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after ... Read More
My husband and I love cruises but we wanted something a little different than the usual island hopping. Friends of ours had recommended Viking and we decided the time had come for us to give it a try. We arrived on the Budapest after over twelve hours of traveling. We were tired from our trip and ready to collapse. The Viking staff picked us up at the airport and got us to the Gullveig with a minimum of fuss. Once aboard, we were told to expect our room to be ready by 1pm. Jaded travelers that we are we thought we'd actually be allowed in at 3 but the staff was as good as their word, at 1pm we were in the door able to finally relax. That was the first of many promises kept over the course of the week. When the Maitre'D Panayot found out I was a diabetic, he gave me a card with the number "5" on it. For the rest of the cruise, every time I sat down to eat, I'd just put the card on the table and Panayot would come and personally make sure my dietary needs were met. He kept entrees from being seasoned with sauces that might not be good for me and made sure desserts like fresh fruit with whipped cream were there for me every day. Other aspects of the service were equally excellent. Each day, the Captain was there to personally greet the guests as they returned aboard ship. When we wanted to see parts of Prague that were not covered on the normal tour. The tour director was able to make special arrangements and find a guide and transportation for us. The food was exquisite and the waiters and waitress were friendly and professional. The small size of the ship made the experience intimate and friendly. By the end of the cruise we knew almost everyone aboard. Then there was sailing up the Danube watching the lovely countryside glide by us as we made our way leisurely up river. We would get off the ship and go on beautifully orchestrated tours that had the memory cards of our cameras filled and the soles of our shoes noticeably thinner. Exhausting at times but well worth every minute! As I've said before, my husband and I are the veteran of many cruises but this was by far the best. We can't wait to do this again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first River Cruise. We enjoyed the size of the ship and that there were only 168 guests, which made getting to know people very easy. The cruise director, Andreea, was exceptional - she managed all aspects of our itinerary ... Read More
This was our first River Cruise. We enjoyed the size of the ship and that there were only 168 guests, which made getting to know people very easy. The cruise director, Andreea, was exceptional - she managed all aspects of our itinerary seamlessly. The food was very good, with a varied selection of appetizers, soups, mains, and desserts. The wait staff were friendly and professional. Our cabin was very well designed so we had plenty of space to put everything. Our cabin was also spotless. I would say that I found the itinerary a bit rushed - that being said however, I also chose to not stay on the boat, which I could have. Perhaps the same itinerary could be completed in ten days, allowing a bit more time in some cities. Unfortunately on our second last day we ended being off the ship for almost 11 hours. Our tour of Regensburg was to last 4 hours. There was a problem with water levels being too low and the boat being unable to make it to our next destination. That is understandable - cannot control Mother Nature! I'm not totally convinced that there was not a way to get us on the boat earlier. So, the memory of my last excursion was a long, wet, cold day in a small city with nothing to do. When we boarded the boat everything was rushed. The next morning we had to wake up very early to be bussed to our last port of call. Unfortunately these events coloured my overall experience. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Having never been on any cruise and not wanting to be herded along, we were cautious about selecting a river cruise. We were three couples traveling together and knew where we wanted to go after some research. We chose AmaWaterways because ... Read More
Having never been on any cruise and not wanting to be herded along, we were cautious about selecting a river cruise. We were three couples traveling together and knew where we wanted to go after some research. We chose AmaWaterways because it seemed to offer the most variety in tours. We were not disappointed. We booked almost a year ahead and included flights, transfers, and extra days in Prague. Everything was well planned from embarking to the flight home. The ship was well appointed and the cabins in a good location. All the staff was friendly, making me feel guilty for all the service. Meals were wonderful and the portions allowed you to eat everything but not feel overstuffed. The shore excursions were led by very knowledgeable tour guides at every place. We tried a hike, my husband a bicycle tour, in addition to the regular tours. The onboard entertainment was very good and the excursions fun. Our cruise manager Dragsn was professional and organized. It was a wonderful experience to visit Central Europe. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Our friends booked this cruise in 2016 and at the last minuet, we decided to see if there might be a vacancy a week before the departure date in Sep 2017. We got a call 4 days before that there was an opening and we took it. The next day ... Read More
Our friends booked this cruise in 2016 and at the last minuet, we decided to see if there might be a vacancy a week before the departure date in Sep 2017. We got a call 4 days before that there was an opening and we took it. The next day we received another call that we were bumped up to the top deck where our friends were. The plane ride to Budapest was booked on Lufthansa, which was first class all the way. Arriving in Budapest, Viking took our luggage and the next time we saw them, they were in our cabin. The cabin was perfect with a sliding glass door, TV and a small, but an amazing bathroom. The cabin staff was very polite and all business. If you wanted something, they did their utmost to get it for you. The ship was superb in every way. Spacious, uncluttered and perfect to relax in and on as we cruised the Danube river to Amsterdam. The food was amazing! If you were hungry it was your fault. I told the chef his menu was fantastic and I thanked him for his selections. The waiters in both dining areas were polite, friendly and very concerned about your needs, be it wine, beer, pop or water. Visiting the ports on the way to Amsterdam, you could take the many guided tours (at an extra cost), the free tours or you could go rambling on your own, which we did. After the tours were over, you had time to wander through the interesting towns or cities. The tour guides spoke perfect English and answered any questions you might have. It was amazing to see the flood heights marked on the walls of some of the towns. The hotel manager and his staff were extremely professional and did everything they could to make your cruise as stress free and relaxing as possible. On our return trip home, Viking took our luggage from the room and the next time we saw it was at the airport. If you want the absolute best cruise available, go Viking. Read Less
73 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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We had a wonderful time on this river cruise. The ship was excellent, the food was excellent, the service was excellent, and the cities we visited were exceptional. We chose this cruise because we had never been to Budapest or Nuremberg. ... Read More
We had a wonderful time on this river cruise. The ship was excellent, the food was excellent, the service was excellent, and the cities we visited were exceptional. We chose this cruise because we had never been to Budapest or Nuremberg. The room was adequately sized and appointed. It was the Viking Jarl. The dining was excellent as I stated above. Roger and Jahz were fabulous. The were very attentive and knew what we needed before we did. They made the trip. Also, Neli kept our room clean and neat. We visited Budapest, Vienna, Nuremberg, Regensburg and Passau, Germany. At each port we took the walking tour and learned the history of each city. We also too the Nuremberg Jewish tour and learned of the trials of the Nazi war criminals. In Passau we visited a horse farm and a lovely beer festival. We look forward to our next trip and it will be on Viking as they have the best overall package we have found between the ships, personnel, cities visited and service. Read Less
36 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We actually chose Gate 1 for our river cruise because of its fantastic pricing. Knowing that we were paying less than half of the cost of the other companies, I was fully prepared for a less than luxurious experience. We were very ... Read More
We actually chose Gate 1 for our river cruise because of its fantastic pricing. Knowing that we were paying less than half of the cost of the other companies, I was fully prepared for a less than luxurious experience. We were very pleasantly surprised!! We are a professional couple who have done 11 ocean cruises, primarily with Celebrity, but have also cruised with Oceania and Seabourne. We were intrigued by the thought of river cruising but have largely been put off by the pricing The Gate 1 Monarch was very easy to board. The usual security procedures which are necessary on an ocean going ship are skipped for a friendly greeting and passport inspection. The boat is small enough that everyone knows who belongs on board within a short time. You exchange your room key for a boarding pass each time you leave the boat, which takes less than a minute. There are no restrictions on bringing liquor or wines, etc aboard. Unfortunately the rooms do not have a fridge, but there are ice buckets in each room, and I heard that they are happy to cool your white wine. My husband and I drink red wine, and there was certainly not an issue with us drinking our own. There are wine glasses in each room as well. Cabins are small, with one comfortable chair, and a very comfortable bed. We had lovely bedding with a down duvet and four nice pillows. The bathroom is small, but the shower is quite adequate with good water pressure and a glass door. There are plenty of electrical outlets in the room, using a standard plug of two round pegs. There are no other outlet types so we used adapters for our Canadian chargers. The hair dryer inn the cabin had adequate power. Wifi was surprisingly good, although there were slow times and no service times in several places. There was great wifi in our cabin in every port. The boat was kept very clean , with a morning cabin clean, and an evening turndown. We were favorably impressed with the food. There was an automatic espresso machine in the lounge which we used daily. Breakfasts were a mixture of buffet- fruit, cereals, scrambled and boiled eggs, baked beans, sausages and bacon, along with wonderful local cheeses and meats. You could order from the menu omelette, eggs cooked to order, as well as a daily feature like waffles, etc. Lunch always had a salad bar, and buffet offerings which included local dishes. As well, the menu had a sandwich special, daily pasta, and soup. Dinners were a four course meal, with a fixed soup, appetizer, and dessert, along with a choice of a meat, fish, or vegetarian main. All meals ranged from good to excellent. The boat staff were largely from Eastern European countries and had great senses of humor. They went out of their way to try to please. A daily white and red wine was free, along with beer and soft drinks, at dinner. Otherwise, a drink menu could be had at lunch or in the lounge. Pitchers of ice water were placed on each table. There was also a specialty steak restaurant for 15 Euro pp that we didn't try, but heard that it was very good. The real stand out was the free tours in each of the ports. The local guides were very knowledgeable and passionate about their job. We saw the key things in all of the cities we visited, and had time to roam around on our own. Everything was beautifully organized and headsets were provided so the guides were easily heard. Many of the people on the boat have done several trips with Gate 1, both on river cruises as well as land tours. I can easily see us doing the same thing. We did not expect a luxurious cruise, but Gate 1 went well beyond what I expected. We will definitely book again with them. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose the 2 week cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam on Amawaterways due to the reviews and they had the best options of tours for us. What we didn't know was how wonderful the service would be, The staff knew our names and ... Read More
We chose the 2 week cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam on Amawaterways due to the reviews and they had the best options of tours for us. What we didn't know was how wonderful the service would be, The staff knew our names and preferences by the 3rd day and we felt pampered the whole time. There were no issues, everything went extremely smoothly. All of the guided tours were on time, with excellent guides. I learned so much history and understood the culture of each country better because of the guides. The food was really very good and there was a lot of variety for each meal. The on board entertainment was good quality and there was a nice variety, from Rock and Roll to folk dance and even a beautiful classical male quartet. When we booked the cruise, the tour I was least interested in, was to Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Cabinet Museum but it was one of the best and most interesting tours we took. I loved the tours of The Residenz, and Melk Abbey. Our Cruise Director, Sebastien LeRoy was amazing. He was helpful, and arranged everything to perfection. He even got up to make sure that our taxi, that he arranged for us, was there and helped us with our luggage at 4:30 am to get us to the airport on our last day. I am in a service profession and I know the energy it takes to make people happy. Amawaterways does this to perfection. Thank you for a great trip to all of the staff on Amaprima. Petar, Vladimir, Hendru, Josep, Aurel and all the rest, you were fantastic Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
The whole experience was all that we had hoped for. The ship beautifully appointed, the Cruise Director had a wonderful dry sense of humour and made the next days overviws more like an entertainment. He could turn the driest subject into ... Read More
The whole experience was all that we had hoped for. The ship beautifully appointed, the Cruise Director had a wonderful dry sense of humour and made the next days overviws more like an entertainment. He could turn the driest subject into a fun experience for us all. We had no complaints about anything on this scenic cruise. Transfers went smoothly and assistance was always available if ewe had any questions. The tour guides were knowledgeable and passionate about the information on the places and history of the steady they were responsible for. They were also alert to energy of the group. The busses were clean and new, very comfortable to ride in. The resteraunts we were taken to on the tours were true to the culture and food of the area. The on board entertainment by local groups was a great enhancement to our experience of the countries we visited. We will book through Scenic Tous again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We looked at a few cruises and the Avalon cruise fit our timetable the best. Also the cabins were a little larger which is nice for 2 friends traveling. It was nice to have the panoramic window. I would highly recommend that feature. ... Read More
We looked at a few cruises and the Avalon cruise fit our timetable the best. Also the cabins were a little larger which is nice for 2 friends traveling. It was nice to have the panoramic window. I would highly recommend that feature. Really made waking up in the morning pleasant. The scenery as we floated down the river was amazing. Very much appreciated the size of the ship versus the huge cruise ships. Much more intimate and we especially appreciated getting to know a lot of our fellow travelers. Good selection of ports to explore. We mostly did the walking tours included but also did a number of extra excursions. Appreciated that the cost of the extra excursions were affordable and worth the price. Good variety of places to see and explore. Was also impressed that a number of the activities included lunch. Lunch is probably not a good word. Unbelievable how much(delicious) food was included. Of course we did a lot of walking so figured that for every bite we were burning calories. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
We loved every aspect of the cruise. The service and attention to our every need as top priority for the crew. Once they knew what we wanted, we never had to ask for something again. It was always there for us without asking. The ... Read More
We loved every aspect of the cruise. The service and attention to our every need as top priority for the crew. Once they knew what we wanted, we never had to ask for something again. It was always there for us without asking. The excursions were fun and enlightening, helping us to experience the culture of the communities we visited. The food was top quality. We particularly enjoyed La Rive with the white glove service. What we really liked is that everything was included. We didn't have to pay for excursions. The only costs for us were the souvenirs we purchased. The room was large and we loved being able to lower the windows in the balcony. Scenic had special cultural events only available to Scenic passengers that were very high caliber. From an Oktoberfest to Medieval banquet, to a symphony performance, we were always entertained. They managed the logistics perfectly. We often arrived at our ports early which gave us more time to enjoy our destinations. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This cruise, "Melodies of the Danube", was chosen by our travel agent. Upon entering the AmaCerto, we were so impressed by the elegance of the foyer and the lounge. The cabin was well-appointed with adequate space for clothing ... Read More
This cruise, "Melodies of the Danube", was chosen by our travel agent. Upon entering the AmaCerto, we were so impressed by the elegance of the foyer and the lounge. The cabin was well-appointed with adequate space for clothing storage. Even though this cabin was not a suite, we had two balconies. The bed was comfortable, the bathroom very adequate with a great shower, and the entire cabin was scrupulously maintained by the Amacerto housekeeping staff. The cruise manager, Nikola Grujin, was fantastic! Humorous and exceedingly helpful. Nikola was there for all of us in planning the trips to care of an injured passenger. Due to no fault of the Ship's crew, a passenger hurt her finger. All this is to say that Nikola accompanied the injured guest to Vienna hospital. Message to us: Ama Waterways staff will go the extra mile in the care of its passengers. Food & Drink: For all three meals, passengers can choose from the abundant buffet, or order from the menu. One of our friends ate vegetarian; a special elegant breakfast, lunch, and dinner was served to her. This was a wine-tasting cruise with Dr. Doug Garman, wine expert, that gave special lectures and wine tastings for all passengers. Touring & Entertainment: The guides were very well informed supplied by the local population. Choice of gentle to vigorous touring were offered. Opportunities for biking trips were for the younger folks. Since we are an elderly couple, we chose the more moderate excursions. Our favorite entertainment was a special concert of Mozart and Strauss at the beautiful Vienna Konzerthaus. We were entertained by Wiener Hofburg-Orchestra under the direction of Svetoslav Borisov; operatic solos and duets by soprano Ella Tyran and baritone, Michael Havlicek. Classical ballet pieces and Vienna folk dances were also included in the program. Every evening hours: beautiful music was provided by pianist, Gabor. A special onboard musical vocal duet of Vienna music was delightful. Even an Octoberfest beer celebration was provided by the local population. Disembarkation was professionally accomplished. All passengers were carefully delivered to the Munich airport. I cannot believe any other longship river cruise could offer a passenger more enjoyment. Don't miss a fabulous opportunity for a river cruise. Select Ama Waterways to be guaranteed fabulous experience. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were invited by dear friends and had never been on a river cruise before and really had no expectations. Without reservation the experience for both my husband and I was wonderful - The adventures from Budapest through Prague were ... Read More
We were invited by dear friends and had never been on a river cruise before and really had no expectations. Without reservation the experience for both my husband and I was wonderful - The adventures from Budapest through Prague were incredible not only from a historic perspective but from a cultural one also. The cruise was most appropriate for us in that it balanced relaxation with historic touring ( we can still picture both of us sitting on the top deck and viewing the magnificent bridges and churches in Budapest and viewing the vastness and beauty as we traveled along the Danube) . We took advantage of the walking tours offered by Emerald Star which were lead by the most informative tour guides and extended our experience by attending an optional tour to the Opera House where we attended a Viennese concert with music from Mozart and Strauss - an awesome night!! Wish we had an extra day in Vienna - loved the enchanting village of Durnstein - my handmade Christmas ornament will be front and center on the tree this year. The accommodations and service on the Emerald Star were outstanding - While we weren't big fans of the two buffets they had the meals were excellent with attention to details. Amazed at how efficient the staff was - kudos to the chef - Cannot say enough about the staff - professional and courteous - attentive but not overbearing - looked forward to seeing them each day ( especially Sasha) - the crew presented a "show" one night which we are still talking about - I recorded the "happy birthday" song they sang to celebrate someone's birthday at dinner - will play it now that we are home as it brings a smile to our faces. Accommodations were perfect for us - room well appointed - very clean - beds and pillows very comfortable. Glad we had the "balcony" which gave us more space and viewing opportunities. Arrival and Departures very organized and orchestrated. It was obvious that we were in good hands with Bolash. Great Experience - Thank you dear friends for the invitation and thank you Emerald Star!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
My wife's grandparents were born in Budapest & Vienna areas, and was our initial interest in this river cruise on the Danube. The crew on the AmaSerena was excellent, and went out of their way to make everyone feel like family. ... Read More
My wife's grandparents were born in Budapest & Vienna areas, and was our initial interest in this river cruise on the Danube. The crew on the AmaSerena was excellent, and went out of their way to make everyone feel like family. The cabin was very comfortable, and having an outdoor Balcony made it very convenient to be outside without going up on deck. The crew provided 1st class service and dining was excellent, with both "Chef's Choices" and anything on the menu offered at all meals. The dining highlight was the intimate dinner at Chef's Table, with many courses included over a leisurely pace. The special dining room offered views from 3 sides. All excursions offered included up to 5 levels of walking difficulty, and provided detailed history, which covered many centuries, dating back to Roman times. The use of very knowledgable local Certified Guides provided a top notch experience. The night-time cruise thru Budapest offered a stunning view of all the city lights, including the Parliament building. One of our most memorable excursions was an intimate evening concert in Vienna. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose Emerald for our first river cruise based on reputation and information available on website. Have previously taken ocean cruises we now felt we wanted to try the intimacy of a smaller ship. The itinerary looked interesting and ... Read More
We chose Emerald for our first river cruise based on reputation and information available on website. Have previously taken ocean cruises we now felt we wanted to try the intimacy of a smaller ship. The itinerary looked interesting and have always wanted to visit Vienna. Embarkation was smooth and were taken to our Panoramic balcony stateroom by a member of staff. The cabin was modern and spotless. Large ceiling to floor window which gave a wonderful view while travelling and this was enhanced when the window was lowered. Our cabin steward was very good and always greeted us by name. He worked very hard and the cabin was spotless throughout the cruise. We enjoyed the planned stops and the quality of guides was very good with interesting content. They were very knowledgeable and spoke good English. The tours were not too long and mostly took part in the mornings so we were back on board for lunch. The self service lunches were a little chaotic. The served dinners were much more civilised and the restaurant staff were all very professional and very attentive. The quality of food overall was good. Highlights were the classical recital in Vienna and the tour of Vienna. Passau was lovely and wish we had more time there. The afternoon tea with a Slovakian family was also enjoyable. Entertainment was low key in the evenings, however the Bararian dancers and the band were good. The small infinity pool at the rear of the ship and its lounge area were ideal if you wanted peace and quiet and it also gave you a lovely view. The organisation by the cruise director Jana was exceptional and she definitely had her finger on the button. Nothing was too much trouble and a couple of times things had to be changed and she did this efficiently. Going through the many locks was an interesting experience and we passed under some very low bridges. Overall this was a lovely experience and a good introduction to river cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2017
My husband and I went on the Scenic Jade Budapest to Prague River cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary in June, 2017. The entire trip exceeded our expectations. From the airport pickup to the transfer to the Prague airport, everything ... Read More
My husband and I went on the Scenic Jade Budapest to Prague River cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary in June, 2017. The entire trip exceeded our expectations. From the airport pickup to the transfer to the Prague airport, everything was handled wonderfully. We had a deluxe Balcony suite on the diamond floor and the room was beautiful with plenty of space. The balcony was especially nice on the nights the boat was cruising. We were treated to a full moon these nights….very romantic. The food was very good and they accommodated my husband’s dietary restrictions. There were lots of choices of excursions. My husband is gluten free and everyday a menu would be in our room indicating which item he could eat. This was our first cruise and would definitely go on another one, especially with Scenic. I would highly recommend Scenic and this trip to anyone. Loved it!!!! Read Less
22 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - ... Read More
Friends had already booked and we had always wanted to try a river cruise (have done many ocean cruises) but wanted to be part of a group of friends so joined up as itinerary sounded an interesting one which it was. Budapest - Estergom - Bratislava - Durnstein-Melk- Linz (for Salzburg) - Vienna- Budapest. All interesting. NB its an hour and a half coach trip each way to get to Salzburg from Linz. Thought much of the daytime river scenery apart from the Wachau Valley element was a bit boring - mainly loads of trees on both banks! Other parts were done at night so its more about the stops rather than the cruising. Embarking was hopeless as Riviera UK had given us the wrong pier address and as we were on a cruise only package we then had to phone the UK to find out where it actually was moored and they said the wrong place again. When we phoned the emergency ship number we were told it was about 5k away in the other direction so incurred extra taxi costs. The ship is only chartered by Riviera Travel and is operated by Select voyages so crew are not Riviera staff just the cruise Director and Tour Manger. The navigation crew generally looked a bit scruffy with jeans and Tshirts most of the time, though they were all friendly. Only saw the captain in uniform t the safety briefing and welcome dinners. The ship is only two years old so in good condition and with an excellent housekeeping team always seemed spotlessly clean. Hotel Manager was very friendly. Staff ensured all pax always used hand sanitisers so felt health safety was being well controlled. Rooms were actually bigger than I had imagined so they exceeded our expectations. Enough hanging space for a week. Plenty of shelving (with a safe on one) plus a few drawers. Empty Suitcases fit under beds. Flat screen TV. Compact bathroom with shower only but big enough again for a week for sure. The two Riviera Staff on board the cruise Director and Tour manager were friendly and engaging but on the whole always looked a bit scruffy. Shirt hanging out etc...? Food and beverage was a bit hit and miss though. The bar staff always seemed a bit stretched and apart from one waitress who was very pleasant were a bit surly and miserable. They were expected to help in the restaurant during meal services so couldn't understand why the restaurant staff couldn't help the they were busy pre meals?? Breakfast buffet was excellent with plenty of choice plus an excellent egg station. Lunch was again buffet style and generally OK. Dinner varied from fairly good on the welcome dinner and final captains dinners to fairly average the other other nights. The "Fine Dining" experience in the rear "Marley's Bar" was not bad but the room itself had big aircon problems that evening and was just incredibly hot which rather spoilt it and generally everyone only gets one chance per cruise to try this as the room is pretty small. To be fair the hotel manager comped a couple of the service staff came across as a bit surly though once you got to know them they were much better. The menus on normal nights seemed to be somewhat basic and restricted based on a fairly tight budget allowance I would think. Marley Bar never operated as a Bar and is just really a tea coffee / water station all day with some fruit and cookies (though once these ran out that was it they were not replenished). The Welcome drink at the two special evenings was a half glass of sparkling wine. A top up would have been nice! Same app;lied to late night snacks if you didnt get in quickly they soon disappeared. Bar prices generally seemed pretty fair and the house wine at euro 19 per litre was fair value. Our drinks bill for the week came to c euro 250 per cabin sticking with the house wine. Most other wines were around euro 28 per 75cl bottle. Having done a number of upmarket ocean cruises with Silversea maybe I was expecting too much. The cost worked out at about £300 per day per person so similar to a repositioning silversea voyage. Afraid no contest! Riviera Travel staff guest ratio is nowhere near an ocean cruise. they also do a lot of coach party touring and it felt a bit like that on this river cruise. Afraid we all felt we wouldn't bother doing another with Riviera Travel again. Read Less
28 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Originally purchased this package through Luxury Escapes. Had previously never heard of Gate1, but wanted to do a European river cruise without the 5 star price tag. Booked our transfers from Budapest airport to the ship through Gate1 ... Read More
Originally purchased this package through Luxury Escapes. Had previously never heard of Gate1, but wanted to do a European river cruise without the 5 star price tag. Booked our transfers from Budapest airport to the ship through Gate1 and from then on for the next two weeks had to think about nothing but enjoying the cruise. Gate 1 had covered all aspects of the holiday, with excellent local guides at each port, fun friendly staff on board, and a very comfortable ship to relax and enjoy. We had initially booked a C class cabin, on the middle deck, but Gate1 had upgraded us to a B Class cabin on the upper deck. The cabin had a French balcony, it's own air conditioning, and was very comfortable. Breakfast was a buffet style arrangement with option to order if preferred. Lunch was a similar arrangement where you could order a main from three options or self serve from the buffet. Lunch included soup and desert each day. Dinner was a four or five course affair each night. Seating for meals was arranged to encourage passenger interaction and as such we met many people from the USA and Australia. The service was excellent with friendly waiters always available. Beer and wine was free during dinner service, so many a two hour meal was to be had. On ship entertainment was light hearted and fun, with trivia and general knowledge quiz's the order of the day. We would definitely recommend Gate1 and river cruising to anyone looking for a relaxed, friendly, memorable holiday. Read Less

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