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How does the saying go? Champage taste and beer pocket? This trip was champage price and….lets just say too disappointing for words! We had always wanted to do a river cruise as we had heard so many great reviews of this type of trip. We finally booked a 16-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through Gate 1 Travel. Gate 1 put us up at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for two nights prior to embarkation on to the “Monarch Queen”. On the day of embarkation, we had an early morning tour date, and we made arrangements with the bell hop at the hotel that we would handle our luggage ourselves. When we returned to the hotel our luggage was not in our room!. It appeared that someone from Gate 1 arranged for our suitcases to be delivered to the lobby. We had not finished packing and were clearly upset with this "invasion of privacy". As we boarded the ship it was immediately evident that this was not the luxury ship that we had anticipated. The ship appeared tired and dated. Our stateroom was basic. Upon first use of the bathroom sink, we noticed a strong sewer gas smell. It was putrid. We immediately reported the problem and after some time, a temporary fix was done. A few days later, the smell was back. Eventually they put enough chemicals down the sink to get rid of the smell. The food on this cruise was at best, mediocre. Most of the soups were cream-based soups and they all tasted like “cream of mushroom soup” even though they claimed to be different vegetable soups. There were main course options of fish, meat or vegetarian at every meal. All were mediocre. Often too salty, or not enough salt. The bread basket which was provided at dinner, was the same type of bread and, occasionally, they ran out of the grain bread and offered a lesser quality rye bread. In Europe, where the pastries and breads are so delicious, the limited selection of bread was surprising and disappointing. We often bought our own bread when out on excursions and brought it back to the boat. Bottled water seemed to be at a premium and only available in the cabin. The water which was served in the dining room must have come from a holding tank. The water tasted and smelled foul and was not drinkable. The service in the dining room was terrible. We understood that they were short staffed, but why should that become our problem? Getting a waiters attention for coffee refill at breakfast, or wine at dinner was next to impossible. We had asked for a decaf coffee one evening after dinner and were told we would have to go to the lounge and get it ourselves! The dining room wait staff was not properly trained. For example, women were not served first; wait staff reached in front of passengers to collect dirty dishes. One server wore a very strong perfume which was quite offensive. The dining room itself was not an elegant or classy room. The dishes were not quality china. In fact, many dishes were chipped. This was not fine dining. The lounge had a cappuccino/expresso machine and also a variety of teas were available. There were only cookies available for a snack. The television in our cabin was not working in the room. When the crew member came to repair the television, he accused us of pulling the tv out from the wall too far and thereby breaking the cable. We took exception to this accusation. The ship is not that old, but is not kept up. The walking track on the upper deck was covered with a rubber compound that was torn in some areas, presenting a potential tripping hazard. There was virtually NO shade on the top deck. There were some screen canopies, but they did not provide full shade. The tours were fine but they were not in-depth or well researched. The on-board lectures were equally not terribly interesting. The best crew member was our room steward. The room was always cleaned perfectly!!! And she was always willing to accommodate any request. Overall, this was probably one of the worst trips we had ever taken. The price of this cruise was excessive for what we got!!!

Champagne taste and beer pocket? This was champagne price and sewage water.....

Monarch Queen Cruise Review by Frannie1

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
How does the saying go? Champage taste and beer pocket?

This trip was champage price and….lets just say too disappointing for words!

We had always wanted to do a river cruise as we had heard so many great reviews of this type of trip.

We finally booked a 16-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through Gate 1 Travel.

Gate 1 put us up at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel for two nights prior to embarkation on to the “Monarch Queen”.

On the day of embarkation, we had an early morning tour date, and we made arrangements with the bell hop at the hotel that we would handle our luggage ourselves.

When we returned to the hotel our luggage was not in our room!.

It appeared that someone from Gate 1 arranged for our suitcases to be delivered to the lobby.

We had not finished packing and were clearly upset

with this "invasion of privacy".

As we boarded the ship it was immediately evident that this was not the luxury ship that we had anticipated. The ship appeared tired and dated.

Our stateroom was basic. Upon first use of the bathroom sink, we noticed a strong sewer gas smell. It was putrid.

We immediately reported the problem and after some time, a temporary fix was done. A few days later, the smell was back.

Eventually they put enough chemicals down the sink to get rid of the smell.

The food on this cruise was at best, mediocre.

Most of the soups were cream-based soups and they all tasted like “cream of mushroom soup” even though they claimed to be different vegetable soups.

There were main course options of fish, meat or vegetarian at every meal. All were mediocre. Often too salty, or not enough salt.

The bread basket which was provided at dinner, was the same type of bread and, occasionally, they ran out of the grain bread and offered a lesser quality rye bread. In Europe, where the pastries and breads are so delicious, the limited selection of bread was surprising and disappointing. We often bought our own bread when out on excursions and brought it back to the boat.

Bottled water seemed to be at a premium and only available in the cabin.

The water which was served in the dining room must have come from a holding tank. The water tasted and smelled foul and was not drinkable.

The service in the dining room was terrible.

We understood that they were short staffed, but why should that become our problem?

Getting a waiters attention for coffee refill at breakfast, or wine at dinner was next to impossible. We had asked for a decaf coffee one evening after dinner and were told we would have to go to the lounge and get it ourselves!

The dining room wait staff was not properly trained. For example, women were not served first; wait staff reached in front of passengers to collect dirty dishes.

One server wore a very strong perfume which was quite offensive.

The dining room itself was not an elegant or classy room. The dishes were not quality china. In fact, many dishes were chipped. This was not fine dining.

The lounge had a cappuccino/expresso machine and also a variety of teas were available. There were only cookies available for a snack.

The television in our cabin was not working in the room. When the crew member came to repair the television, he accused us of pulling the tv out from the wall too far and thereby breaking the cable. We took exception to this accusation.

The ship is not that old, but is not kept up.

The walking track on the upper deck was covered with a rubber compound that was torn in some areas, presenting a potential tripping hazard.

There was virtually NO shade on the top deck. There were some screen canopies, but they did not provide full shade.

The tours were fine but they were not in-depth or well researched. The on-board lectures were equally not terribly interesting.

The best crew member was our room steward. The room was always cleaned perfectly!!! And she was always willing to accommodate any request.

Overall, this was probably one of the worst trips we had ever taken.

The price of this cruise was excessive for what we got!!!
Frannie1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 313
The cabin itself was fine. Pillows were lumpy but the bed was comfortable enough.
The sewer gas smell in the bathroom sink eventually subsided.
The cabin steward was attentive and ensured our needs were met.