If you have any hesitations about booking this new cruise line...don't have them! This was such a fantastic experience in every way. This was only our 2nd river cruise (we did an Oberoi Nile tour a few years ago) but we have done ... Read More
If you have any hesitations about booking this new cruise line...don't have them! This was such a fantastic experience in every way. This was only our 2nd river cruise (we did an Oberoi Nile tour a few years ago) but we have done many luxury ocean cruises. Wow, after this, we may not go back to ocean-liners.
First, this ship is brand new. Everything was sleek, clean and perfect....and I am picky. We had an "Owner's Suite," and initially I was worried about how small it was. But honestly, we got used to it. And now after the 14 days, I see why the rooms and so forth need to be small. These ships efficiently use every bit of space, because the boats cannot be any bigger, or they will not fit into the locks.
We were very lucky to have good weather. We had no problems at all. The ship does an amazing job of coordinating activities and providing plenty to do. There are a variety of extra activities you can sign up for. One that I did was a 30k bike ride in Austria. OMG this goes down as one of the TOP five things I have ever done!
The whole experience was very educational. They gave us a guidebook and river map at the start, and our amazing, terrific, outstanding cruise director--Simona--gave us daily reviews of what we saw and what was coming up. They did a perfect job of giving us a sampling of regional foods, regional entertainment, great tours, option for smaller tours, help with any request, and just simply more than enough to keep busy, yet relaxed.
I am a very light sleeper. I rarely heard or felt anything at night while the boat was moving. I would open my patio everyday to hear and smell the black forest's nature, see the swans and ducks, and was in amazement with what could be seen off the Rhine and Danube Rivers. Castles, medieval villages, beautiful landscapes and great historical sites. While off the boat, throughout Germany, the people could not have been better. We had no negative experiences. We were in a different port everyday.
In terms of the ship: plenty of charging stations in the room (priority for us!), decent free wifi, coffee maker, frig stocked with goodies at no charge, super clean, tiny exercise room (you won't have much time for that though), GREAT pool area that transforms into an evening cinema and free beach cruiser bikes to use everyday while in port. LOVED the swim in place device in the pool. Liked the laundry service. Notice that depends on your room-level, but at one point they offered to clean a bag of clothes I think for about 25 Euros. There is no real dress code for the dining room, so simple clothes are all you need. Now, this is not a big cruise ship, but that to me is what made this nice. The simplicity was great. None of our group of four gained weight, because there was a lot of activity and walking (they also provided "easy" walking groups for people who could not walk as well) and portion sizes were not huge. Meals were elegant and everything I ate was good. I particularly liked the light meals served in the lounge everyday for breakfast and lunch. Loved the local wines at each meal.
In terms of service: our room hostess, Tiromira was AMAZING and so friendly but not obtrusive. The food and service were excellent. Nothing negative to say here. At the end of the cruise I felt like I was leaving my new family. All the wait staff became our friends and they tried so hard to meet everybody's needs.
We will book another without hesitation. The only thing is, I don't think they could top this one! The other thing I have come to realize is the ship has no control over weather, river water levels and other factors that could delay, postpone or cancel a tour. I am not sure what they would do, but it would be good to find that out in advance. Not sure if there is insurance that would cover this, and then you could just go somewhere else in Europe yourself? But, we had NO problems at all. Sunny and warm everyday and going through the 64 locks was very educational.
Austria and Bavaria were unbelievable. We did not think we would like Germany, but were we ever surprised! We plan to return to Vienna (loved the private concert in the castle that we attended). Felt that stop needed 3+ days to see it all. We spent five days in Budapest, which is about right to see the highlights.
And again, I am a picky, savvy traveler, having been on many, many luxury-type tours. I do not see how you can say anything bad about this line...at least on the tour we did. Just loved every minute of it in every way. Read Less