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7 Night Europe Cruise from Budapest

7 Night Europe Cruise from Budapest

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The A (Photo: Christina Janansky/Cruise Critic)
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Itinerary

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  • Day 1
    Budapest
  • Day 2
    Budapest
  • Day 3
    Bratislava
  • Day 4
    Vienna
  • Day 5
    Emmersdorf
  • Day 6
    Passau
  • Day 7
    Regensburg
  • Day 8
    Regensburg

The A

The A - U River Cruises

Pros

Late mornings, energetic excursions and enthusiastic nightlife

Cons

Busy days make lunches (not included) a hassle

Bottom Line

With a social atmosphere, The A provides flexible river cruising for a younger demographic -- and those who feel young.


Cruise Reviews

For our first river cruise, we select U by Uniworld (now U River Cruises) specifically to cruise with a younger demographic, as we are in our late 30's and enjoy a fun atmosphere. I was a little concerned about the very little I could ... Read More
For our first river cruise, we select U by Uniworld (now U River Cruises) specifically to cruise with a younger demographic, as we are in our late 30's and enjoy a fun atmosphere. I was a little concerned about the very little I could find online about the newish offshoot of regular Uniworld, but we figured we would give it a try. It was a little cheaper than Viking for a week on the Danube. First, we had an unexpected delay when a ship ran aground (not ours, but ahead on the Danube) on the morning of the second day, when we had only been sailing a few hours. We had left Regensburg and not yet arrived in Linz when we docked unexpectedly in Deggendorf as we were not allowed to continue on the river. Although this was my first river cruise, I understood going in that the rivers are unpredictable and our itinerary might change. The weird thing was the complete lack of communication during this time. We had a WhatsApp group that would send notifications of schedules, events, etc and nobody from the staff ever said anything about what had happened. They seemed scared to death to admit anything had gone "wrong" and were very defensive. We only learned what had happened from people docked on a neighboring Viking ship. During this time, the passengers became increasingly irate, threatening to leave, worried that we would spend the week docked in Deggendorf. After two days, we were cleared to leave again and continued on, missing only one port (although we had to be bussed to some because of the schedule change). This weird, defensive service was sort of the theme of the week. We joked that their customer service philosophy was to start every conversation by telling the guest that they shouldn't be mad. I can only assume that they have had a lot of angry people in the past with the various challenges of the river, and the Danube being impassable was certainly out of their control (many other river cruise ships were with us at Deggendorf) but an apology for the inconvenience and some small offering would have been nice. I think a single free drink might have mollified me at that point. The boat itself was lovely. I understand it is a rehabbed older ship, and it didn't have some of the amenities we saw on our parked neighbors, like pools. However, it had a fun trendy design and I always had what I needed - which was a dining room, a top deck for watching the sights roll by, and a lounge for an evening drink. I don't think I would have used a pool anyway! Our room, while very small, was well appointed and the bed was comfortable. The assortment of plug styles was appreciated with our many devices and single European adapter. We seemed to find a place for everything despite the small size, and the tiny bathroom was also laid out well. I also appreciated that the river cruise boat never had a sewer smell, something I have begun to associate with almost all ocean cruise lines. I had a balcony room and between the lost days at Deggendorf and our other port times, we were almost always sandwiched between other ships, rendering the balcony (or any window) totally pointless. The dining room food was fine. It had a focus on fresh/regional ingredients and recipes, which makes sense, but since I don't care too much for the German/Austrian cuisine, I wasn't too impressed. My husband did like it. I felt like breakfast was pretty repetitive, but also fine. I was aware going in that we only got 2 meals a day, breakfast/brunch and then dinner, with the idea that we would eat at our daily port stop. Well, that would have worked out fine had our itinerary gone as expected, but we were stuck on the ship in Deggendorf for 9 or 10 hours with no meals. We finally trekked into town and ate at a fast food restaurant. There is a limited bar menu (fries, etc) for an extra charge between meals, but I really think they should offer some sort of light snacks for those days with 10 hours between meals, especially when we are stuck at a port or at a sea day. There was also a mix of dining styles - some nights it was buffet, and other nights it was served family style at the table. As there were only 2 of us, the family style was weird and very wasteful - we would be delivered a container of, for example, vegetable curry whether we were going to eat it or not. The clientele of the ship was what I had hoped for - an assortment of ages, but skewing younger. Compared to our Viking and similar ship neighbors, the demographic on ours was much younger, and we had some fun bar nights. However, in chatting with fellow guests, I was interested to see how many people were in the travel industry. After awhile, I was wondering if I was the only person who had paid retail to be there. Bar drinks were on the expensive side, at 7 euro for the drink of the day and 9 euro for everything else, including single glasses of wine. We saw very few people with the drink package (they were identified with different color wristbands) which did not seem to be a great value at 300 euro per person per week. There was no security as you board, unlike ocean cruises that I'm used to, so most people just brought alcohol back with them from the ports and carried it around. I wish I had known in advance to do that! Our port stops (Regensburg to embark, then a couple days lost to Deggendorf/river problems, then Durnstein, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest) were all pretty interesting, and were the highlight of the cruise. The included excursions were a mixed bag. Sometimes they were totally worthless ("walk in that direction and you'll find an event, good luck"), sometimes they were okay ("here is a train ticket, enjoy Vienna") and sometimes they were great (like our 3 hour walking tour of Budapest). There was a constant and annoying push for the paid excursions, which seemed to be minimally used. There were also several available bike tours, which we did not utilize. With our port interruptions, we were frequently bussed to port stops, which I found convenient (at least we were seeing the missed ports) but many of my fellow passengers seemed to find annoying. Once our anger at the total lack of communication over the itinerary change faded, we just found ourselves underwhelmed with the whole experience. At the price point, we could have toured those cities in style ourselves. We might try another line someday, but I think U River Cruises needs to overhaul their model if they hope to continue, with an emphasis on better (or really any) service. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
April saw me join the first cruise of the season for U by Uniworld on the A, cruising from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. It was Easter weekend in Amsterdam so was very busy. I caught a taxi from the airport but the train would have been an ... Read More
April saw me join the first cruise of the season for U by Uniworld on the A, cruising from Amsterdam to Frankfurt. It was Easter weekend in Amsterdam so was very busy. I caught a taxi from the airport but the train would have been an equally good option as the boat was docked like 700 mtrs from the train station and due to the location the cabs do not get much closer. The A cuts a nice figure on the water and due the black outside colouring makes it very easy to identify among the river boats. Walking on the dock was quiet quickly greeted and helped with my luggage on board. Check in was completed in minutes and was in my room 201 very shortly after. The rooms are compact which is to be expected on a river cruise, but there is plenty on storage areas. In fact the whole trip I kept finding new hidey holes. I was travelling alone so the room was more than adequate for me. They are clean and sleek. The bathrooms are small but well laid out. 201 is the first cabin on the boat and I had thought you may get alot of noise of people walking by but I rarely heard outside. There was USB and power points throught out the room. You could also cast from your phone or tablet to the TV. The boat is very slick with artwork through out and the use of colours is well done. Even the outside signage changes colour from night to night. The first day the boat was very quiet with people either out exploring the city or catching up on sleep from flying in. In the afternoon there is a welcome aboard event with sparkling wine, introduction to the staff and U hosts, as well as all the security details. Also where you get to meet your ship mates. The line markets to a younger crowd, we had a wide mix of people from the 86 year old grandma to 20 something couples. This for me made for an interesting group and everyone was able to connect with others from time to time. Dining on the A was a bit of a hit or miss to me. They say that they serve regional cuisine but found that more often than not they were trying to cater for a very wide range which people either enjoyed or didn't. To me alot of travelling is about experiencing local cuisines and feel this could have been better delivered. There is a brunch most mornings that consist of generally the some sort of hot breakfast bacon, eggs, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes etc. There is also an omelette station. Salads, pastries, yoghurts, breads and cheeses are also included. There is a good mix of healthy and less healthy options. Breakfast does at some point move to a more lunch menu but I did not see that much as you are usually out and about. Dinners run a mix of family style dining or a buffet. I found the family style nights had food of better quality. Dinner was generally a great time to meet and catch up with your fellow cruisers. The last night there is a dessert special which was the best desserts all trip and is quite an experience. Dinner time is up to your schedule usually from around 6pm to 9pm. However usually you found most people were there on 6pm as there is not alot of options onboard post 11am. A smaller selection at break and availability of some snacks in the afternoon would have been nice, which was a general consensus. Service was hit or miss about getting drinks to go with the meals. I had purchased the drinks package but felt overall I ended up feeling like I had to drink alot to make up the amount I paid. But they did have very nice cocktails. There are a number of included excursions, and others that needed to be paid for. Most locations include a walking tour with the U hosts to get your acquainted with the city and then time to explore on your own. There are a couple of included excursions including canal tours in Amsterdam with champagne with was thoroughly enjoyable. There is a visit to a castle that you and your fellow cruisers get to experience castle living. Bikes are available to be taken out in all cities that are visited with a 24km bike ride included if you wanted to ride instead of cruise which was a lovely experience. Being April there was also a paid excursion to Kuekenhoff to see the Tulips which was great but busy as would be expected. It was the first cruise of the season and the staff were still getting their groove on so it could be hit or miss. Also some of the towns visited the timings were a little off. We had one town that we got in late and most places had closed other than a few bars and then left at 8am. Onboard there is not a great deal of entertainment. There was an jazz player when we were sailing the Rhine and the U hosts Djd. Most nights tho were spent relaxing and getting to know your fellow cruisers. There are U hosts that organising the different activities and everyone had their favourite. On disembarking you need to be out of your room by 8am tho you can stay on the boats common areas till you need to leave. The cruise was also able to organise cab rides to the airport which picked you up right in front of the boat. All in all the experience crusing the Rhine is pretty darn great. While there are things that could have been done better but as we noted one afternoon sitting in the sun, with a cocktail, jazz playing, amazing scenery passing by there was nothing wrong with life at that moment. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This 60 something couple chose the Danube Flow as an affordable, first river cruise with our ideal itinerary. We flew in a day early to find an email changing the entire trip from the Danube to the Main-Rhine Canal debarking in Frankfurt. ... Read More
This 60 something couple chose the Danube Flow as an affordable, first river cruise with our ideal itinerary. We flew in a day early to find an email changing the entire trip from the Danube to the Main-Rhine Canal debarking in Frankfurt. Apparently, low Danube water has been an intermittent occurrence this Summer and governments (not cruise lines) decide when you cruise. Viking took a real online bashing for their treatment of clients when this occurred. NOT UbyUniworld, who began by giving everyone a free, unlimited alcohol package (normally $300+). After returning from a tour of Bamberg on the 2nd day, U Host Caspar announced management had determined that enough rain had fallen to still capture the highlights of the original Danube schedule, so the crew reversed direction and dropped us to tour lovely Durnstein and then met us in Vienna, where they scored us a restaurant meal. After reboarding, we sailed past Bratislava and enjoyed live jazz sax on the sunny deck cruising into Budapest. As an extra sweetener, everyone on the voyage was offered a complimentary UbyUniworld cruise in 2019. Congrats to Ellen & her team for their understanding that sacrificing some profit to achieve client satisfaction is still the best business practice! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
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