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1 Helpful Vote
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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This may be the first review of the Monarch Countess, one of Gate 1 Travel's own river cruisers. I was looking for reviews prior to our trip but was unable to find any. If I'm not mistaken, this ship was formerly the Avalon ... Read More
This may be the first review of the Monarch Countess, one of Gate 1 Travel's own river cruisers. I was looking for reviews prior to our trip but was unable to find any. If I'm not mistaken, this ship was formerly the Avalon Felicity. Being rather new to river cruising, we've only been on a four-day Yangtze river cruise, and a week-long Nile cruise, on other carriers. We opted this time for Gate 1's river and canal cruise around Holland and Belgium at tulip time. It was a bit early in the tulip season but we were still rewarded with lots of color, especially at Keukenhof, which was spectacular. Something I learned on this cruise is that river cruises tend to travel by night. This makes sense since you're in different ports each day, but my previous river cruises did include daylight travel. We chose this cruise because it seemed like a good value, and as it turned out, it was a good value. But beyond that, the ship is lovely, the crew is attentive, and the food was very good. If I were to do another river cruise, I would definitely consider Gate 1. We would have liked to have had a cabin with sliding doors and the juliet balcony. There was an up-charge depending on cabin location, and we would have opted for an upper-level cabin, but when we booked they were all sold out. Our cabin was in the lower level and we were wondering how that would be. Due to the above-mentioned nighttime travel, it was just fine. The view out the window is inches above the water level, but we didn't find it to be an issue. The only issue on the entire cruise was that there was a pungent intermittent and sporadic odor of diesel in the cabin. I queried a couple other travelers if they noticed this but I didn't hear of anyone else commenting on it. Perhaps it was only evident in the lower level; I don't know. But it was the only real negative experience of the whole cruise. Ports of call were interesting and beautiful. The included shore excursions were very good, as were the tour guides. Our tour director, Dominique, was terrific. I'll admit that tipping got a bit tiresome as the week wore on. At the end of the cruise, tips are collected for the crew, tour director, and activities director. But during the week, each time there's a different tour guide or bus driver or any other service person, you find yourself continually fishing for tips. I suppose this is standard on river cruises. All in all, the Gate 1 river cruise was very good. It also happened to be our first Gate 1 tour of any type. We know lots of people who rave about Gate 1 and we'll probably try a land-based Gate 1 tour to see what they're like. 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
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
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
48 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
A wonderful single rate was available and the ship was new so I thought, why not? First, the booking process was easy...did it all with some internet research and a few phone calls. Everything I wanted to know arrived by e-mail. From ... Read More
A wonderful single rate was available and the ship was new so I thought, why not? First, the booking process was easy...did it all with some internet research and a few phone calls. Everything I wanted to know arrived by e-mail. From home airport to the destination city--all was taken care of by Gate 1. Transfers included baggage handling so I felt comfortable and relaxed throughout. Onboard welcome was wonderful. Crew introductions and availability was superb. Everything was organized well. The cabin was beautiful and well designed with marble bath, french balcony and plenty of storage. Included shore excursions were ample and the access for "on your own" adventures were facilitated by the ship's docking close (walking distance) to city center (except in Vienna, but transportation was nearby). Good entertainment including a hilarious evening of crew skits and performances. Favorite for me was the camaraderie of fellow passengers. I was never left without an invite to join a table or excursion...but never felt pressured. We had many a good time and there were few "cliques". I would do it again...and again. Read Less
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