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This will be long. I will provide info about some things I could not find a lot of info on before we went. These include... Dress code on and off the ship Are there good laundry services on the ship? Currency needs Are there travel guides to hire to supplement the Gate 1 offerings? How are the optional tours? OUR GROUP We were a group of 12 (6 married couples) from the US. Most of us have known each other for years. We are generally in our early to mid 60s, are active, and we like to have fun. OUR TOUR It was booked as 14 Day Danube with Munich and Budapest. It is really 12 days because day 1 is travel to Munich and day 14 is travel home. The first few days were in Munich. Then we bussed to Regensburg and boarded the ship. After a week on the ship, we spent the last couple nights in a hotel in Budapest. HOTELS We stayed at the Hilton Munich City, and then at the Hilton Budapest City. Both were very nice and included a great breakfast each day. Both had a room safe. MONARCH PRINCESS There are other reviews of the ship and I generally agree with them. This is not a luxury liner, but it is very nice and very clean. There are two suites, and my wife and I had one of them. It is a slightly bigger room, but the more important thing is that the bathroom and the shower are bigger...in a standard room, they are pretty small. We are not luxury travelers or budget travelers. We usually stay in nicer hotels when we travel. With that in mind, we were totally satisfied with our accommodations and the ship in general. DRESS CODE We like to be casual, and things were quite casual. Most men wore long pants and a sport shirt for dinner. Even for the final night dinner on the ship (called the Captain's Dinner or the gala dinner), I don't recall seeing any ties or jackets...so, you can leave them home. Frankly, I probably saw at least a couple pairs of shorts with tee shirts at dinner every night. For breakfast and lunch, shorts were the norm when it was warm. I tend to wear shorts and a sport shirt, but there were plenty of shorts with tee shirts. For down times on the ship, shorts and a tee shirt is fine. Casual was also the norm in the ports. I generally wore shorts on the tours and while doing things on our own. My wife and the other ladies generally wore slacks and a nice blouse for dinner. There were occasional dresses, and maybe a few more on the last night on the ship, but not really fancy ones. My conclusion is you won't feel out of place whatever you wear. CLEANING SERVICES ON THE SHIP These were great, and I was a regular customer. They do cleaning and pressing, but not dry cleaning. The weather was much hotter than forecasted, so I had too many long pants and not enough pairs of shorts. And, it was hot enough that I did not want to wear shirts for touring and dinner some days. You would just put your cleaning in a bag provided and leave it on your bed in the morning or when you go to dinner. Then it would be returned within 24 hours (they were usually quicker than the promised 24 hours). Prices were ok. For example, pants and shorts were 6 euros, and a shirt was 3.5 euros. Anyway, now that I know how well this works, I would be comfortable packing less and planning to use the service. CURRENCY We were in Germany, Austria and Slovakia, where the euro is the currency. In Hungary, the forint is the currency. The tour guides we read suggested that some places in Hungary would accept the euro. Our experience was that most places in Hungary accept the euro. Exceptions seemed to be state run places like museums and the Parliament tour (but they take a credit card). So, we all had more forints than we needed. But, we were able to spend them in restaurants, etc. KEEP SMALL CHANGE FOR BATHROOMS Many of the public restrooms charge for use. The charges we saw varied from one euro to 50 or 60 cents. At some, you could get change, but not at all. When we were on some of the bus tours, everyone was scrambling for change when we did a restroom stop. So, when you get there, change some of your euro bills for coins and keep them handy, even in Hungary. FOOD ON THE SHIP We thought it was very good. There are some picky eaters in our group, and all were quite happy with the offerings. Breakfast and lunch were generally buffets, with a special offering at each meal (like a sandwich of the day at lunch, or eggs benedict one day at breakfast). There was always an omelet station at breakfast. Dinner was usually 2 or 3 choices. Also, you could always get chicken, potato and vegetable every night instead of the offered entrees. Also, beer and wine is included with dinner. It was not limited. In fact, we usually left dinner each night with a drink in hand as we headed for the evening entertainment. SHIP ENTERTAINMENT We had fun. We did the entertainment every night. Dinner was usually about 7-9 pm, and the evening entertainment was usually 9-10 or so. A couple of nights it was special entertainment, which was good, and other nights it was a game of some sort. It was easier for us because we had a group, but participation was good every night. From 10 to about 11:30 or so, the ship musician took over. We stayed until the end every night! SHIP STAFF They were great. We really enjoyed them. Our cruise director was Katarina, and she was wonderful. She also managed things for those who went to Munich before and Budapest after...she was on site at both hotels. She works really hard! She was always helpful, and always with a smile on her face. Our activity director on the ship was Betti, and she was great too. She was very enthusiastic and so friendly. We also really enjoyed the ship musician, Randy. He is a very good guitar player and also plays keyboards. We kept him busy every night! All other staff members we encountered were friendly and helpful. LOCAL TOUR GUIDES MUNICH AND BUDAPEST When we first bought the cruise, one of the optional tours offered was a trip to Dachau. However, they cancelled it and it appears they no longer offer it. While it is not that difficult to figure out how to get there, we decided to get a guide. We hired Curt Milburn, and his company is Big Hat Tours. He did a great job. He came to our hotel, and then we used public transport all day. We started at 9 am and immediately went to Dachau, We stayed there for the morning, and then returned to Munich for lunch and a city tour (again, all on public transport, or walking). The trip to Dachau is a little confusing, so having him to help us get there and then guide us through was well worth it. He is really good and is so knowledgeable about the history of Munich and Dachau. Check out his website. He could be hired for just a Dachau visit, or for that and more. One of our 6 couples did Dachau on their own, and I think our visit with Curt was much easier and we got a lot more out of his with his guidance. We were in Budapest on a national holiday, so the optional tour they offer that includes going in the Parliament Building was not offered because some of the places normally included on the tour were closed. We hired Andrea from Tours by Locals to do a tour to include going in Parliament (it was not closed on the holiday) and doing other things we did not see with the general Gate 1 bus tour. Andrea was great. She is a life resident. She was so interesting, and really helped us understand many of the cultural aspects of her country. There were 10 of us, so we had a driver and a very comfortable minibus. You should check her out if you have the need to do anything extra in Budapest. OPTIONAL TOURS The only one offered while in Munich was a full day to Oberammergau and Neuschwanstein Castle. We all went. We probably would not do it again. The whole tour of the castle is 20 minutes long!! That's it! It is soooo crowded, It is apparently the most visited attraction in the region. It's beautiful, and the scenery is fantastic, but... Also, there is nothing special about Oberammergau. It's just like a long restroom stop. There is not enough time to do anything there. So, it seemed like a very long day with little return. We all did the full day optional tour to Salzburg, and we really enjoyed it. For our free time after lunch, most of us took the funicular up to the Hohensalzbug Fortress. The views were spectacular, and we were all glad we did it. By the way, I saw another review about this optional tour, and it said the lunch provided in the restaurant was not very good. We all thought it was quite good. A few couples did the optional classical concert tour in Vienna and they enjoyed it. None of us did the optional Schonbrunn Palace tour in Vienna, because that took up what little free time we had. OVERALL GATE 1 SERVICE It was very good once we arrived. A few of us had some less than great experiences with the phone center when we were trying to get some info before the cruise. But, once the trip started, everything was great. PLANNING I did a fair amount of research before going on the trip. As a result, I generally knew which things I wanted to see in each port. This helped me maximize the use of the limited free time. A lot of the group tours are bus tours with 30-40 people, so we don't always go into all the places we are seeing. In cases where the group tour didn't include something, I was usually able to figure out how to do it. HIGH POINTS Melk Abbey was amazing. No pictures allowed, though, so we bought a book in the gift shop. We really enjoyed Munich, Budapest, and Bratislava. Vienna seemed very crowded and kind of hard to find things. Sailing through the Wachau Valley after leaving Melk Abbey was beautiful, so get a seat outside on the sun deck for this. Same goes for the morning sail into Budapest...great to see the city from the water. PHONE SERVICE We use Verizon. If you enroll in TravelPass, you can basically get your same phone service for $10 for each 24 hour period. If you go over some amount of data in a 24 hour period, the speed slows down. I used my phone a lot, and that happened to me only twice, and both times near the end of the period. I used my maps on my phone a lot to get from one point to another in the cities. The ship has wifi. It generally worked well, but not always.

Gate 1 14 Day Danube River with Munich and Budapest

Monarch Princess Cruise Review by GaryfromNY

21 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This will be long. I will provide info about some things I could not find a lot of info on before we went. These include...

Dress code on and off the ship

Are there good laundry services on the ship?

Currency needs

Are there travel guides to hire to supplement the Gate 1 offerings?

How are the optional tours?

OUR GROUP

We were a group of 12 (6 married couples) from the US. Most of us have known each other for years. We are generally in our early to mid 60s, are active, and we like to have fun.

OUR TOUR

It was booked as 14 Day Danube with Munich and Budapest. It is really 12 days because day 1 is travel to Munich and day 14 is travel home. The first few days were in Munich. Then we bussed to Regensburg and boarded the ship. After a week on the ship, we spent the last couple nights in a hotel in Budapest.

HOTELS

We stayed at the Hilton Munich City, and then at the Hilton Budapest City. Both were very nice and included a great breakfast each day. Both had a room safe.

MONARCH PRINCESS

There are other reviews of the ship and I generally agree with them. This is not a luxury liner, but it is very nice and very clean. There are two suites, and my wife and I had one of them. It is a slightly bigger room, but the more important thing is that the bathroom and the shower are bigger...in a standard room, they are pretty small. We are not luxury travelers or budget travelers. We usually stay in nicer hotels when we travel. With that in mind, we were totally satisfied with our accommodations and the ship in general.

DRESS CODE

We like to be casual, and things were quite casual. Most men wore long pants and a sport shirt for dinner. Even for the final night dinner on the ship (called the Captain's Dinner or the gala dinner), I don't recall seeing any ties or jackets...so, you can leave them home. Frankly, I probably saw at least a couple pairs of shorts with tee shirts at dinner every night. For breakfast and lunch, shorts were the norm when it was warm. I tend to wear shorts and a sport shirt, but there were plenty of shorts with tee shirts. For down times on the ship, shorts and a tee shirt is fine. Casual was also the norm in the ports. I generally wore shorts on the tours and while doing things on our own. My wife and the other ladies generally wore slacks and a nice blouse for dinner. There were occasional dresses, and maybe a few more on the last night on the ship, but not really fancy ones. My conclusion is you won't feel out of place whatever you wear.

CLEANING SERVICES ON THE SHIP

These were great, and I was a regular customer. They do cleaning and pressing, but not dry cleaning. The weather was much hotter than forecasted, so I had too many long pants and not enough pairs of shorts. And, it was hot enough that I did not want to wear shirts for touring and dinner some days. You would just put your cleaning in a bag provided and leave it on your bed in the morning or when you go to dinner. Then it would be returned within 24 hours (they were usually quicker than the promised 24 hours). Prices were ok. For example, pants and shorts were 6 euros, and a shirt was 3.5 euros. Anyway, now that I know how well this works, I would be comfortable packing less and planning to use the service.

CURRENCY

We were in Germany, Austria and Slovakia, where the euro is the currency. In Hungary, the forint is the currency. The tour guides we read suggested that some places in Hungary would accept the euro. Our experience was that most places in Hungary accept the euro. Exceptions seemed to be state run places like museums and the Parliament tour (but they take a credit card). So, we all had more forints than we needed. But, we were able to spend them in restaurants, etc.

KEEP SMALL CHANGE FOR BATHROOMS

Many of the public restrooms charge for use. The charges we saw varied from one euro to 50 or 60 cents. At some, you could get change, but not at all. When we were on some of the bus tours, everyone was scrambling for change when we did a restroom stop. So, when you get there, change some of your euro bills for coins and keep them handy, even in Hungary.

FOOD ON THE SHIP

We thought it was very good. There are some picky eaters in our group, and all were quite happy with the offerings. Breakfast and lunch were generally buffets, with a special offering at each meal (like a sandwich of the day at lunch, or eggs benedict one day at breakfast). There was always an omelet station at breakfast. Dinner was usually 2 or 3 choices. Also, you could always get chicken, potato and vegetable every night instead of the offered entrees. Also, beer and wine is included with dinner. It was not limited. In fact, we usually left dinner each night with a drink in hand as we headed for the evening entertainment.

SHIP ENTERTAINMENT

We had fun. We did the entertainment every night. Dinner was usually about 7-9 pm, and the evening entertainment was usually 9-10 or so. A couple of nights it was special entertainment, which was good, and other nights it was a game of some sort. It was easier for us because we had a group, but participation was good every night. From 10 to about 11:30 or so, the ship musician took over. We stayed until the end every night!

SHIP STAFF

They were great. We really enjoyed them. Our cruise director was Katarina, and she was wonderful. She also managed things for those who went to Munich before and Budapest after...she was on site at both hotels. She works really hard! She was always helpful, and always with a smile on her face. Our activity director on the ship was Betti, and she was great too. She was very enthusiastic and so friendly. We also really enjoyed the ship musician, Randy. He is a very good guitar player and also plays keyboards. We kept him busy every night! All other staff members we encountered were friendly and helpful.

LOCAL TOUR GUIDES MUNICH AND BUDAPEST

When we first bought the cruise, one of the optional tours offered was a trip to Dachau. However, they cancelled it and it appears they no longer offer it. While it is not that difficult to figure out how to get there, we decided to get a guide. We hired Curt Milburn, and his company is Big Hat Tours. He did a great job. He came to our hotel, and then we used public transport all day. We started at 9 am and immediately went to Dachau, We stayed there for the morning, and then returned to Munich for lunch and a city tour (again, all on public transport, or walking). The trip to Dachau is a little confusing, so having him to help us get there and then guide us through was well worth it. He is really good and is so knowledgeable about the history of Munich and Dachau. Check out his website. He could be hired for just a Dachau visit, or for that and more. One of our 6 couples did Dachau on their own, and I think our visit with Curt was much easier and we got a lot more out of his with his guidance.

We were in Budapest on a national holiday, so the optional tour they offer that includes going in the Parliament Building was not offered because some of the places normally included on the tour were closed. We hired Andrea from Tours by Locals to do a tour to include going in Parliament (it was not closed on the holiday) and doing other things we did not see with the general Gate 1 bus tour. Andrea was great. She is a life resident. She was so interesting, and really helped us understand many of the cultural aspects of her country. There were 10 of us, so we had a driver and a very comfortable minibus. You should check her out if you have the need to do anything extra in Budapest.

OPTIONAL TOURS

The only one offered while in Munich was a full day to Oberammergau and Neuschwanstein Castle. We all went. We probably would not do it again. The whole tour of the castle is 20 minutes long!! That's it! It is soooo crowded, It is apparently the most visited attraction in the region. It's beautiful, and the scenery is fantastic, but... Also, there is nothing special about Oberammergau. It's just like a long restroom stop. There is not enough time to do anything there. So, it seemed like a very long day with little return.

We all did the full day optional tour to Salzburg, and we really enjoyed it. For our free time after lunch, most of us took the funicular up to the Hohensalzbug Fortress. The views were spectacular, and we were all glad we did it. By the way, I saw another review about this optional tour, and it said the lunch provided in the restaurant was not very good. We all thought it was quite good.

A few couples did the optional classical concert tour in Vienna and they enjoyed it.

None of us did the optional Schonbrunn Palace tour in Vienna, because that took up what little free time we had.

OVERALL GATE 1 SERVICE

It was very good once we arrived. A few of us had some less than great experiences with the phone center when we were trying to get some info before the cruise. But, once the trip started, everything was great.

PLANNING

I did a fair amount of research before going on the trip. As a result, I generally knew which things I wanted to see in each port. This helped me maximize the use of the limited free time. A lot of the group tours are bus tours with 30-40 people, so we don't always go into all the places we are seeing. In cases where the group tour didn't include something, I was usually able to figure out how to do it.

HIGH POINTS

Melk Abbey was amazing. No pictures allowed, though, so we bought a book in the gift shop. We really enjoyed Munich, Budapest, and Bratislava. Vienna seemed very crowded and kind of hard to find things. Sailing through the Wachau Valley after leaving Melk Abbey was beautiful, so get a seat outside on the sun deck for this. Same goes for the morning sail into Budapest...great to see the city from the water.

PHONE SERVICE

We use Verizon. If you enroll in TravelPass, you can basically get your same phone service for $10 for each 24 hour period. If you go over some amount of data in a 24 hour period, the speed slows down. I used my phone a lot, and that happened to me only twice, and both times near the end of the period. I used my maps on my phone a lot to get from one point to another in the cities. The ship has wifi. It generally worked well, but not always.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 312
Very nice and clean. Suitcases fit under bed. Some found the bed a little uncomfortable or a little short, but I had no problem sleeping.