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