After having done more than 20 ocean cruises we decided to try a river cruise. We weren’t sure we would like the small boat without all the activities available on ocean vessels. I now think I prefer the river cruise experience in many ways. It was so calming watching the scenery go by as you cruised down the river and went through the locks. That was endless entertainment. The small number of guests (160) meant that you met and interacted with more people as it was a much more intimate setting. We also liked the more relaxed atmosphere. Although I thought the vessel and experience were excellent I only rated as good for several reasons.
First and most significant was the fact that the cruise line apparently has no say where the boat docks. That is the purview of the port authority. As a result our cruise starting in Amsterdam did not start in Amsterdam even though the hotel we chose was within sight of six river boat docks because we thought we were going to have a quick walk to the boat. Our cruise left from Zaandam which we learned the day before the cruise meaning we had to take a train to a different city to take the cruise. We didn’t book transfers as we thought we were within walking distance of the docks. I am decreasing the rating as I think the line could have warned us up front that we may not start the cruise in the city they say we would.
Also because of the docking issue we were docked at all but one stop a long way from the centre of the city in an industrial area contrary to what one always hears about the boats docking in the centre of things. This meant either taking a taxi or Uber in to town and back or walking for half an hour or more to get into town if one wasn’t on an escorted tour.