We travelled with a Gate 1 arranged river cruise on the Amadeus Royal on the Danube from Nuerenberg to Budapest this year. Gate one arranged cruises are cheaper than others, and there is a reason for it. The ships they use (from Lueftner, ... Read More
We travelled with a Gate 1 arranged river cruise on the Amadeus Royal on the Danube from Nuerenberg to Budapest this year. Gate one arranged cruises are cheaper than others, and there is a reason for it. The ships they use (from Lueftner, in our case) are older, in need of modernization, not as attractive an interior, old carpet, tired looking cabins, almost no space for your clothes, etc. This was our first Gate one arranged trip and our last. We will not travel with them again...and we cruise several times a year.
For example, the promised internet worked intermittently, more often not. It never worked when underway, and frequently didn't work even in port. No excuse for that.
Be wary of the cabin you get! The room we booked was a mid category, but we were shortchanged. The room itself was smaller than the others in the same category and the window was 25% smaller than others in the same category. When we complained to the Gate 1representatives on board, they shrugged their shoulders and told us to contact our travel agent. When we complained to the Lueftner front desk, they said that it wasn't their problem, it was a Gate 1 issue. After NUMEROUS letters, Gate 1 offered us $50 total refund, after paying more than $6000! We wanted the $500 upgrade fee we had paid to be returned, since we didn't have a truly upgraded cabin. If we had known what we were getting, we would have booked alternate dates, or in retrospect, with a different company. But they were not honest with us from the beginning with their description of the cabin.
The room was immediately adjacent to the kitchen door, which was used by the crew 24 hours a day. When I say used, I mean slammed. No sleep for the first 3 nights. I complained the first night, and was told that it was in my imagination, that at 2 am there were no crew members going through the door. The next night, at 1 am, I went out into the hallway and saw the back of the crew member who had just gone through and slammed the door. I went up to the desk in my p.j.s to complain. To no avail. It wasn't until the next night's early morning wake up call and the arrival of the chief of the hotel for the shipping line, that something was finally done. He was great and finally solved the problem! The crew was forbidden to use the door after 10 pm. The rest of the trip I was able to sleep through the night. AVOID that cabin at all costs.
The only bright spot was some of the Luftner's actual crew members (not the Gate 1 representatives, who were more interested in flirting with the crew members than taking care of the passengers and not particularly the Lueftner front desk staff who were flirting with the Gate 1 reps). The waiters, bar tenders, and cabin stewards were as good as any I have seen. The food ranged from very good to mediocre. No way to predict which evening meals would be good and which not. The port stops were fine. No complaints there.
In summary, it depends on what is important to you: service and comfort or a cheap cruise.