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10 Istanbul to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

Itinerary was what we wanted. Turkey to Amsterdam. Scenic road portions are so well organized, giving you all kinds of surprises at every stop along the way. They use more buses than necessary so you aren't crammed in. Mostly Aussies, ... Read More
Itinerary was what we wanted. Turkey to Amsterdam. Scenic road portions are so well organized, giving you all kinds of surprises at every stop along the way. They use more buses than necessary so you aren't crammed in. Mostly Aussies, a few Kiwis and Canucks. Luckily, only a few from USA. Top hotels except Cannikali. Tanner the guide was more than fantastic. Then we boarded JADE and Nikola took over from Tanner. He was fantastic too. The boat was wonderful. Room 308 is in a great spot - no engine noise and close to foyer. Deluxe balcony is the best layout. Jr.Suites are not as roomy even though they cost more. Paying for the tub I suppose. Of course Royal Suites in mid ship are best, with added space for a couch but lots more money. Food was good but a little repetitive after 30 days. The chef could use more spices. Although he is Asian, he cooks like a Englishman. Service is excellent. Entertainment was interesting on several special occasions but piano player was unimpressive. Great shore extras that they don't tell you about until the day of. Fun. Would recommend Scenic and will be back as soon as we can. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We wanted a river cruise experience, but to also see places we would not be comfortable traveling in country, depending on local service and infrastructure. Our July 2017 cruise through the Balkans was exactly as we hoped. This is not a ... Read More
We wanted a river cruise experience, but to also see places we would not be comfortable traveling in country, depending on local service and infrastructure. Our July 2017 cruise through the Balkans was exactly as we hoped. This is not a picture postcard collection of adorable towns. Most sights are a bus ride inland, often through the ruins of the communist failure in this region. We found it interesting, and the land itself is beautiful. The sites are worth the effort and Avalon's local guides were good to excellent. Cruising the Danube Gorge and double lock at the Iron Gates was very scenic and a well-time afternoon of leisure in comfortable chairs on deck. Avalon did an excellent job of organizing every detail, which in the Balkans after leaving Hungary includes extra challenges with local officials. The level of consideration of passenger comfort extends even to including a guide who took us right to our airline counter on departure,rather than just a transfer as we have experienced with other groups.The Illumination is 3 years old and very well maintained. The cabins are well designed with lots of storage and comfortable beds. The service was excellent throughout. Dining room staff were attentive and accommodating in a "smart casual' environment. Food and wine quality was very good, very well prepared and presented with sufficient variety typically including some regional options. Breakfast and lunch buffets were equally good. Hotels on land were top quality and well located. We will absolutely consider a future cruise with Avalon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Our third Uniworld cruise We took a suite and would certainly give it top marks.the extra space provided plus the little things like the provided laundry service, the daily fruit platter and afternoon nibbles certainly rated as a most ... Read More
Our third Uniworld cruise We took a suite and would certainly give it top marks.the extra space provided plus the little things like the provided laundry service, the daily fruit platter and afternoon nibbles certainly rated as a most enjoyable experience We would be very happy to travel again with Uniworld The staff (in total )seemed to read our minds and provided little things that were unexpected from being greeted when coming on board, to the cabin staff and of course the dining room people, they all did a great and professional job Our selection of shore excursions were wide and very well run ,the use of local guides captured the events in detail The specialist lecturers were interesting and new their subjects in detail ,this backed up with slides of their talk provided us with a taste of what we could expect over the next few days. We found this cruise a most interesting and educational experience. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We were a little hesitant to do a river cruise: would we at less than 60 be the youngest? Will we be confined? Can we take 10 nights of RSL entertainment? On all accounts wrong! Mid range age, great facilities on ship, fabulous ... Read More
We were a little hesitant to do a river cruise: would we at less than 60 be the youngest? Will we be confined? Can we take 10 nights of RSL entertainment? On all accounts wrong! Mid range age, great facilities on ship, fabulous entertainment with rich lectures on the local culture, top quality food, great, in fact superb staff - we had a ball. It may have helped that the boat being the last of the season going up the Danube was 50% full - it may have been over half of them Australians, or just the places we visited and friendly professional tours, but even as a seasoned traveller, this was the best organised travelling experience we have ever had. Highly recommended, the only slight problem we had, was we needed to exercise early in the tour, as we couldn't say no to the fabulous fare!! Get on the bikes, enjoy the staff and clientele and absorbe the surrounding culture. Amazing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
The Grand European Tour Viking River Cruise was a great itinerary. We spent one day in Istanbul before departure. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our cabin was one with a French balcony, which was perfect. The ... Read More
The Grand European Tour Viking River Cruise was a great itinerary. We spent one day in Istanbul before departure. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. Our cabin was one with a French balcony, which was perfect. The weather was cool, but the covered deck on top made it comfortable to sit out. The local guides were excellent and very knowledgeable in all of the cities. The beautiful fall colors were an unexpected pleasure. Riding in the comfortable motor coaches to several of the featured towns was a great opportunity to see the countryside, including the many vineyards. Only one day was foggy, but the captain seemed to slow the long ship down, so that by the time we arrived at featured points along the river, the fog had lifted. The food was excellent, and the wine was very generously poured at lunch and dinner. Our servers were friendly and efficient. We loved the whole cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have sailed with Uniworld many times, after trying some of the other river cruise companies out there. Unlike the other companies, every trip with Uniworld has been wonderful. Uniworld exceeds our expectations on every level and just ... Read More
We have sailed with Uniworld many times, after trying some of the other river cruise companies out there. Unlike the other companies, every trip with Uniworld has been wonderful. Uniworld exceeds our expectations on every level and just keeps getting better and better. From the moment you step onboard the crew is so welcoming and attentive. The really try to get to know you and provide personal service to each and every guest. Even the dining experience is tailored to individual needs. The ships are always so very clean and well maintained but also so comfortable. It really is like being at home. While the rooms may not be as spacious as on some large ocean cruise ships, they are certainly very adequate and very comfortable with all of the needed amenities. With a much higher guest to crew ration than on the ocean ships, your every need and desire is taken care of and often anticipated before hand. You are really pampered on Uniworld compared to any of the other river cruises, and certainly more so than any of the other ocean cruises, that we have been on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Very enjoyable trip of 29 days cruising the Danube, Maine and Rhine. Interesting stops along the way where we were able to get a good idea of the country side. Five luxury coaches were provided for off ship day trips. We were treated to ... Read More
Very enjoyable trip of 29 days cruising the Danube, Maine and Rhine. Interesting stops along the way where we were able to get a good idea of the country side. Five luxury coaches were provided for off ship day trips. We were treated to five star dining, often using product grown locally. Staff were very pleasant and were there to help in any way. Entertainment was provided most evening often found from the country we were visiting. All areas were cleaned daily and hygiene around food areas was always available. Information was on hand to help if you wished to do something on your own. Fitness area was not well used as it was rather small with only a few items to use. Cabin was perhaps abit cramped.The only complaint was that twice there was a very unpleasant smell which lasted for several hours, it was always there when another ship came and docked alongside. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My husband and I along with another couple took an AMA Waterways extended Danube cruise this fall, which started far from the Danube in Istanbul and ended somewhat past the Danube in Prague. There were 14 actual days on the ship with an ... Read More
My husband and I along with another couple took an AMA Waterways extended Danube cruise this fall, which started far from the Danube in Istanbul and ended somewhat past the Danube in Prague. There were 14 actual days on the ship with an almost total turnover of passengers and some crew in Budapest. There were many highlights -- several on the land extensions. Istanbul and Prague are both bucket list cities and live up to their billing. The illuminated night cruise of Budapest was exceptional and there were a couple of surprising charmers (Bratislava and Pecs come to mind). There were some lowlights as well -- being bussed through northern Turkey and across Bulgaria could be skipped. The hotel in Bulgaria where we spent the night (a Ramada) was truly the worst hotel I've ever stayed in, and I've lived in Asia. Actually, touring the poorest part of Bulgaria, Serbia and Croatia from the Danube is educational but not necessarily entertaining. The AmaPrima was a nice enough ship but oddly designed. The small "library" was sparsely stocked with a few random coffee table books but no matter, with the little low-voltage pin dot lights, you could barely see to walk much less read. A built-in buffet station in the middle of the main reception room made the frequent all-ship briefings and onboard entertainment awkward affairs as the space was broken up by this massive buffet. Putting the buffet station at one end of the room or the other would have made much more sense. For a relatively small ship, more attention should be placed on maximizing form and function. Overall, the tours were good and there were the occasional opportunities to bike although not as many as we had thought that there would be nor as flexible as we had thought. One of the bike tours required biking almost 20 miles. For the first 16 days, we had a cruise manager who was impossibly arrogant and very disinterested in the guest experience. His only concern was establishing the fact that he was the guests' social and intellectual peer. Had we not had the polar opposite for a cruise director the next 16 days, we would NEVER consider cruising on AMA again. Our second cruise director was such a delight and made each guest feel valued. He not only was knowledgeable but had such a delightful manner and presentation that the daily briefings were a joy. The only cruise experience we have to compare this to was a fabulous Seabourn cruise in the Baltic so we're not comparing apples to apples. Would we do Ama again? The jury's still out but probably not. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
My wife and I are very experienced river cruisers. We have completed about a dozen to date, including three previously with Uniworld. After very good experiences with them, when we saw their promotion of a Grand European Voyage, our only ... Read More
My wife and I are very experienced river cruisers. We have completed about a dozen to date, including three previously with Uniworld. After very good experiences with them, when we saw their promotion of a Grand European Voyage, our only hesitation was the price. We thought it very expensive, and by far the most costly we have ever undertaken: but it was for 29 days and it was from one side of Europe to the other. In addition, we are something of ‘culture vultures’ and it seemed the opportunity of a lifetime to see a number of small countries that we might otherwise never visit, as well as return to major cities like Budapest and Vienna. So a top-class company, top-class itinerary, top-class price and inevitably top-class expectations. The River Princess; one, I believe, of four very similar vessels, was completely satisfactory as a ship and as a hotel. Service, cleanliness, comfort and enthusiastic staff were completely out of the top-drawer for my taste. However, our dining experiences fell well short of what we have had experienced before and indeed what we expected for the money we were paying. Breakfast and lunch; both buffet service: were exemplary, but Dinner was frankly, not good enough. Menu choices were far too narrow and if you don’t like fish and prefer red meat as I do, on too many occasions it was a struggle. True, they offer steak as an alternative, but in my experience on at least two occasions, it was inedible. When I complained, some interesting and very good food was prepared, as a “special”. But I became tired of having to complain and became embarrassed in front of other passengers at our tables, who wondered why we were getting special treatment. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I was also frequently disappointed by the range of options available as on-shore excursions. I expected places like Budapest and Vienna (we spent four days in Vienna) to be stuffed full of cultural opportunities organised by the ship. They weren’t. In the mornings we would have options that clashed and in the afternoons nothing at all. Uniworld in the past have employed excellent local guides who really know their stuff. In art galleries and museums, they know the locations (perhaps changed) of key exhibits and they can talk about what you are looking at without endless references to a guidebook. Of course, not everyone wants to spend their time looking at architecture or museums. But they are not forced to take these excursions, but I was very disappointed in Uniworld’s minimalist approach. The overall itinerary I thoroughly approved of, but it was the detailed execution that let us down. For us this was a high-stakes holiday. We spent a lot of money with a company that I respected highly. I cannot recommend their Grand European River Voyage or its components if you are looking for a detailed overview of trans-European culture. We were very fortunate with the weather and a lot of the scenery was magnificent, but that’s only part of the story. We paid top-dollar and certainly in the dining room and on-shore, I felt we did not receive value for money.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We just returned from Uniworld's 15 night Istanbul to Vienna with a Prague ad on. It was so totally different from an ocean cruise. The first 3 days were not what I expected, long bus rides to the towns and a day in the Iron Gates ... Read More
We just returned from Uniworld's 15 night Istanbul to Vienna with a Prague ad on. It was so totally different from an ocean cruise. The first 3 days were not what I expected, long bus rides to the towns and a day in the Iron Gates with not much to do on board. The cabins are very small, not enough room to pass each other around the bed! Also, the French Balcony was wasted when we were tied up next to another river boat. We only had 80 people instead of 130 and I imagine it would feel crowded if the ship were full. Other than the 3 aforementioned ports, we docked in town and were able to walk to things. The included excursions were well done and generally we had plenty of time to be on our own. Days were busy with seeing the sights and we generally went back to our cabin right after dinner. We had 3 days in Istanbul with Uniworld at the start of the trip. The hotel was good as was the room, but the view was non existent. (Same with the hotel in Prague.) We flew as a group to Bucharest to start the cruise. It was nice to just follow directions and not worry about the details. This is the best way to see these cities as you are dragging your hotel and not your suitcase. The food was above average but not divine. Dinner was always on the gourmet side, very small portions. The staff was excellent. The entire experience is like a very mini ocean cruise. Nothing is over the top. Very comfortable but no WOWS from me. However, I would take another because I like being in a new port every day and I am running out of Mediterranean ports to visit! I also loved the complimentary washing machines, so convenient. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012

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