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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the ... Read More
After numerous ocean cruises, we decided it was time to try a European river cruise and friends suggested Avalon. Choose the Blue Danube Budapest-Prague itinerary for mid-Oct based on the sites, included pre and post-cruise hotels, the price of a Royal Suite and hopes for fall colors. Overall, we were delighted with the stay in Budapest and Prague, the included city tours and the awesome fall colors along the Danube. Biggest disappointments included the lack of any on-board amenities for a suite, mediocre food and entertainment, an egotistical Cruise Director, poor communications and policies before and during the cruise. Specifics include poor excursion policies, pricing where excursions booked on-line cannot be changed beyond four days prior to the cruise. After listening to the Cruise Director's on board review I met with him to request changes including canceling and adding some. While able to add excursions, he immediately disclaimed any association with pre-booked excursions and would not cancel. Find this very disappointing, frustrating so warn others not to book pre-cruise as there were always plenty, but pricey, openings. Also, unlike suites on ocean cruises, we did not have any on-board amenities. In fact, while we could get only a continental breakfast delivered they charged $2 pp! With 137 passengers we only saw the officers at the first and last cocktail receptions! Overall, think ocean cruises on small ships offers much more than river boats! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many ... Read More
Lovely ship and so clean.. Sadly on the first evening for dinner it was a right " shambles ". Didn't know where to que for what and then couldn't fine a place to sit. Should have had staff to help sort it out. Also on many evenings at dinner ,when you needed another glass of wine the staff didn't seem to notice . But, other than that ,, it was lovely. The ports of call were great and loved the day we went to have tea with a local family. Would loved to have tried the pool but wasn't brave enough . Due to the weather. Nina our tour guide was always there to answer any questions. Had a massage and it was just " wonderful. Please enjoy your cruise and have fun. Would go with Emerald again . So go go go go go ,fun fun fun . Xx Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was my first riverboat cruise after almost twenty traditional cruises. Pros: 1) Ship was new & beautiful; 2) my single cabin w/balcony was very comfortable and clean with nice bathroom; 3) cuisine was the best I've had on any ... Read More
This was my first riverboat cruise after almost twenty traditional cruises. Pros: 1) Ship was new & beautiful; 2) my single cabin w/balcony was very comfortable and clean with nice bathroom; 3) cuisine was the best I've had on any cruise line in at least 20 years; 4) staff was young, very friendly, and tried to be very helpful; 5) lounges were very comfortable and well laid out; and 6) the included wines at dinner & happy hour were delicious and served liberally. Cons: 1) This particular cruise up the Hudson Valley had way too many rough edges and poor coordination; 2) the complimentary excursion in Martha's Vineyard and the $65 excursion of NYC were well meaning but very poorly done by the respective tour companies; 3) even though the cuisine was delicious, way too many times the food was served either tepid or had completely cooled; 4) loading of luggage at the hotel recommended by American Cruise Lines was absolute chaos...the very worst I've every experienced; 5) there was no reason to leave the vessel at many of the ports of call simply because there was nothing of interest to do or see; 6) Disembarkation involved a very long walk from the vessel to the airport transfer buses; and 7) Laguardia was an absolute nightmare...avoid it like the plague. Having said all of this, I've already booked a second time on ACL for Christmas 2018 on the lower Mississippi cruise, which everyone I've spoken with said was an excellent experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class ... Read More
I was not sure what to expect from this cruise as I had never been on a river cruise before but having said that it was not that good! First im going to say the good things. The boat was first class The crew were first class The food and entertainment was first class. Most of the tours were first class. Now the not so good! Hardly any daytime cruising! While docked for some reason they decided to pump out the sewage that left a disgusting stink in our cabin made both of us a little nauseous! When we left Prague we were told we would not be going to Nuremberg but to Ragensburg and no attempt was made to take us by bus to Nuremberg for the day and no compensation given for something we paid for, and Nuremberg was a place I was looking forward to seeing! One of our Discover more trips to Blatna was cancelled without compensation this also was something we wanted to do! The beds in the cabin need to have some way to stop them from separating (Velcro) So would I recommend this cruise? Probably but make sure everything is looked into thoroughly before you pay. We did have fun and met new friends so it was not a total washout the countries we visited were fabulous and with a rich history Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or ... Read More
On September 10th my wife and I and 34 neighbors from our Del Webb community took the American Empress riverboat from Clarkston Washington to Vancouver Washington (not Canada). The costs were $9189 not including flights, gratuities or transfers. Although everyone had a great time as we were all friends prior to this trip, we were very disappointed that we completely missed the major scenic portions of the river due to the Oregon fire and the Native American salmon fishing rights which prevented our docking at The Dalles. Due to the fire, we completely missed the Columbia gorge (passed thru after midnight), Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls, The Old Scenic Highway, Bonneville Dam, and Timberline Lodge. We felt American Queen Steamship Company let us down, when they decided to compensate us with a day in Vancouver Washington with an included 15 minute hop on-hop off bus trip, and an additional day in Astoria Oregon with an included shopping trip to Cannon Beach and Seaside beach (local beaches). We asked them to provide a trip to Mt. St. Helens as they had done on the previous trip, but they refused. After returning home we requested our travel agent to ask them for compensation but AQSC did not respond. The bottom line is the fire and the blockage of The Dalles port were completely out of American Queens control, however their replacement options simply fell way short of the missed experiences to say nothing of the $1000+ a day cost. By the way they continue to advertise the same experiences we missed, even though the State of Oregon indicates those experiences may be closed for up to 2 years as a result of the fire. Although we all had fun on the river boat, we all felt that AQSC fell short in substituting for the missed experiences. We are aware that their contract says they can make any changes they want, including doing nothing. As a group we had a great time, but probably would not travel with AQSC in the future. Read Less
AQSC Marketing, Consumer Marketing Mgr. - AQSC has responded
Hi Micoman, Thank you for your honest feedback and review! We deeply appreciate all comments and consider them when planning for the future. While the Pacific Northwest fires were unexpected and devastating in many ways, our team worked around the clock to provide the best possible revised itinerary that met all logistics needs for the cruise on very short notice . We are sorry that your cruise did not meet expectations, but hope that this does not deter you from considering us in the future. We would love to see you onboard again (hopefully without any natural disasters interfering) so that you and your group can experience a full American Queen Steamboat Company journey that we consistently receive rave reviews about. Thank you again, for taking the time to share your thoughts and comments. We are grateful for feedback such as this, so that we can continue to make improvements on all of our journeys. Best, American Queen Steamboat Company
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
This was our first Uniworld cruise and we have done Avalon & Viking. I am not impressed by the room size on the River Countess. We opted for the suite because we wanted more room. I loved the bathroom with the 2 sinks and large shower. ... Read More
This was our first Uniworld cruise and we have done Avalon & Viking. I am not impressed by the room size on the River Countess. We opted for the suite because we wanted more room. I loved the bathroom with the 2 sinks and large shower. The minibar was also a plus as was our butler. The biggest problem was the furnishings were way too large for the cabin. The table lamps were so large that you had little room to put anything on your night stand. Our friends who also had a suite had the butler take the shades off the lamps so they didn’t bump into them all the time. Also, the furnishings in the lounge we bulky and hard to move around to fit more people. A big plus was the fantastic crew. They were always happy to help with any request. The food was good most days and fair the rest of the time. I know it’s hard to cook for that many people but other lines do it and do it better. Also, there selections were very limited, especially on the Captain’s welcome and farewell nights when you had a fixed menu. Not everyone eats the same food all the time and they need to recognize this. To call this a river cruise is a stretch. Even if the Po River isn’t too low to cruise, the total time you cruise the river is maybe 3 hours. The only reason they run the ship up the Po is to make the drive to Ferrara and Bologna shorter. We didn’t make it to the Po River but instead the captain did an afternoon and evening cruise within the lagoon. These were probably much better than the river. Being all inclusive is great if you drink a lot of cocktails but not very good if you like good wines. Their wine selection was not very good. They did have a wine list where you could purchase wines but it didn’t seem right to buy wine when it was supposed to be included. Our group purchased wine when we were ashore and brought it to dinner. No corkage fees. The local tour guides were very knowledgeable but tended to be long winded and walked very slow. The biggest negative is the internet service. Their internet makes dial-up look good. With today’s technology, getting good internet service is not hard. Considering how much the cruise costs, Uniworld needs to step up to the plate here. What a great way to differentiate your cruise line from your competitors. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I had been recommended the Moselle and having already sailed the Rhine this combination seemed a good mix, however was not at all impressed when we could not use the top deck for half the holiday (while we were on the River Main). This ... Read More
I had been recommended the Moselle and having already sailed the Rhine this combination seemed a good mix, however was not at all impressed when we could not use the top deck for half the holiday (while we were on the River Main). This should have been mentioned in your description of the holiday. When you have approx 160 people on board and the only outside seating is for approx 40 on the front terrace this is not a good situation, especially when the temperatures are high. The two top deck cabins at least have windows but your visual experience is very limited to just one side of the river. However the staff on the boat were great - having to deal with the frustration of passengers, especially those booked in on the lower deck, was very good, especially as this was not their fault . It really spoilt the holiday for many many passengers. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I have travelled with Gate 1 several times before so did not hesitate to book a river cruise. The cruise overall was acceptable. I tried not to compare to ocean cruising which is totally different from river cruising. The Monarch ... Read More
I have travelled with Gate 1 several times before so did not hesitate to book a river cruise. The cruise overall was acceptable. I tried not to compare to ocean cruising which is totally different from river cruising. The Monarch Queen is in dire need of refurbishing. She is tired and the furniture are ratty and appears dirty. The deck chairs were almost thread bare and in some case ripped. There were not enough chairs when we were urged to go up top for the great views. The views were wonderful and give you a perspective that only going by river can give you. The dining room seemed to be having some issues with personnel and rumor had it, some quit in the first few days. Not good for the clients who expected good service. Choice of meals left me wondering. There was one of each meat, fish and veggie choice for each dinner. Chicken breast was always available. Only one choice for dessert. Soups were well done. If you were a big eater, you could have been left wanting for more. The portions were very small. Beer and wine were included for dinner but getting your waiters attention for a refill was a feat. One of our wait staff had a cold which quickly went throughout the boat. Not good. Coughing, sniffling, sneezing and nose blowing were not very appetizing. Afternoon tea was a half hour only with the sweets quickly being whisked away at the half hour mark. There was a 24 hour coffee bar which was used extensively. The rooms were comfy enough as we had a French balcony room. Beds were good. Bathroom was small but well laid out. Took some getting used to the shower which had 3 different heads. Our cabin porter was amazing in keeping our cabin clean. Going through 68 locks was interesting and a slow process. There seems to be a great deal of traffic on the rivers we travelled - Rhine, Main, & Danube. The included city tours were basic and informative. Our tour director Christina was very knowledgeable on the history of the regions. The optional day tour to Salzburg was definitely a highlight for me. Beautiful city with so much history. Entertainment was so-so with most of the entertainment coming from the passengers themselves in the way of contests. The piano player Peter was OK albeit he only played for a few hours a day. The few entertainers that boarded for the evening were professional and everyone seemed to enjoy. Typical with all companies, they try to make up profits off the bar. This was no exception. A draft beer came at a cost of 4.3 euros - not cheap. A rye and ginger ale tallied up a whopping 8.3 euros.... I will not hesitate to travel with Gate 1 again as I still feel they offer good value for the dollar spent. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We were on a large group (wine club) cruise from California. The lack of quality excursions was disappointing. The cruise takes place in the heart of the French wine region yet there were little to no wine related excursions offered. ... Read More
We were on a large group (wine club) cruise from California. The lack of quality excursions was disappointing. The cruise takes place in the heart of the French wine region yet there were little to no wine related excursions offered. Since we were in multiple towns, in multiple AVA's, there should have been many half and full day excursions offered. I had to search and plan our own trips myself, including drivers to take us to wineries we were interested in visiting. I believe very little effort would be required by Emerald Waterways in securing such excursions. The dining experience on board the Emerald Liberte was just so-so. Breakfast was the same day after day with the only thing changing was the flavor of the yoghurt and the pastries. Lunch was poor with what seemed to be prepared from canned or frozen foods. Meat and gravy, fish, vegetables that didn't seem fresh, and pasta that was flavorless. There were no lunchmeats or cheeses to make a sandwich with. Dinner had good presentation but everything else was lacking. The meat was a poor cut and was tough. The vegetables were fresh, as the chef was seen shopping in town most days, but they were just steamed with no effort to enhance the flavors. We were in France for God sake, at least have some sort of French cuisine. I can get American food everyday of the year at home. Our only true French cuisine was the night we went into town on our own. The ship was wonderful and the staff was excellent, very helpful with any questions we had and were very personable with everyone. The towns were well chosen with a lot of history represented in each. Would I go again? I would really have to consider that with the food being a large part of any cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the ... Read More
Not our favorite cruise, yet, this week's expedition offered rest and beautiful country in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon. The staff bombarded us with picky details and scheduling, more than was necessary. The boat was noisy and the companionways too chilly. Not many places to retreat and read. Too small for lounge chairs. Food was well prepared—caesar salad, fruit compote, pork roast, burgers, cheesecake—except for the clam chowder, which was malodorous. The riverlorian, Laurence Cotton, gave excellent guidance to Lewis and Clark history and to the background of significant figures. He also answered difficult questions about major events and post-expedition influence. Library contained quality choices of biographical, native American, and pleasure reading. Bar service was friendly and prompt with afternoon snacks—cookies, popcorn, guacamole, chips and dip—but pianist was a self-important clown who drowned out conversation with his "improvisations." Nighttime shows destroyed the serenity. Bus tours offered some excellent commentary and some pointless chatter, occasionally inaccurate. The cruise line does not compare with Voyages to Antiquity. An appealing evening entertainment would take passengers to a casino. Read Less

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