Sail Date: August 2019
Wow! I have never been so spoiled! It was amazing, I truly believe that every staff member wants you to have the absolute best time are there to make sure it happens. From the initial greeting when we got to the boat to the time we left. ... Read More
Wow! I have never been so spoiled! It was amazing, I truly believe that every staff member wants you to have the absolute best time are there to make sure it happens. From the initial greeting when we got to the boat to the time we left. One of the highlights was When the chef would come out after each port talk and let you know the culinary masterpiece that he had prepared for you that evening. We were never hungry... The wait staff were always very attentive and polite and never left you wanting for anything (my husband may have had a couple of 2 dessert nights). The wine glasses were never empty. The excursions were top notch with really great guides. The cruise director JJ did such a great job of explaining all the possible excursions the first night that we actually ended up changing a couple of our choices and were not disappointed. The room and ship were luxurious and tastefully decorated. It was worth every dollar spent and I would definitely go on another scenic cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I am so happy that my Travel Agent selected the Avalon Waterways. This was my first trip to Europe and I can honestly say I was treated like Royalty. Not only were the accommodations excellent, also were the staff. Never have I seen staff ... Read More
I am so happy that my Travel Agent selected the Avalon Waterways. This was my first trip to Europe and I can honestly say I was treated like Royalty. Not only were the accommodations excellent, also were the staff. Never have I seen staff so committed to their job. The atmosphere was like family and we had so much fun with everyone from the Captain Ronald to Director Tony. There was never a dull moment with so many options for excursions offered. The best part is that many of the excursions offered were included with additional excursions offered at a very reasonable price. Let me also mention the food...delicious! All meals offered fresh food options as well as many non-meat options for those vegetarians. Included was a lounge that offered non-alcohol drinks, cookies and pastries at all times! The rooms were always attended to and the finishes were lovely. I can't wait to return!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
From start to finish our cruise was amazing. From the food to the tours to the cabins and staff, we had no complaints on our trip from Budapest to Vilshofen. Even when Mother Nature decided to change our plans (we were supposed to sail to ... Read More
From start to finish our cruise was amazing. From the food to the tours to the cabins and staff, we had no complaints on our trip from Budapest to Vilshofen. Even when Mother Nature decided to change our plans (we were supposed to sail to Nuremberg but the river was too low) they made sure that not only could we go on our previously chosen off ship tours, they made sure we had the option to tour a more local spot for those who didn’t want a long bus ride to their original tour choices. Speaking of which, the tours were interesting, educational, varied and nearly every single port had something for everyone. And when it didn’t. Stay on the ship and watch the beautiful scenery pass you by! Not to mention the amazing food and lovely lounge pianist. There’s even a pool you can relax and enjoy, plus a fitness room and on board massage therapist as well as a hairstylist if you want to pamper yourself. We highly recommend this tour to anyone considering it! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this cruise because it was where we wanted to go and had the best ratings. The cabins were beautiful, the service excellent, and the food and drink fantastic. We were offered a variety of excursion options, and each one we chose ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was where we wanted to go and had the best ratings. The cabins were beautiful, the service excellent, and the food and drink fantastic. We were offered a variety of excursion options, and each one we chose was excellent. The staff were very friendly, accommodating, and proficient. The cities we visited were wonderful and the people who took us on the excursions were knowledgeable and often very humorous. When we encountered a broken river lock that prevented further travel by boat, our cruise Director, J.J., managed to arrange travel by bus and 5 star hotel accommodations that ensured we went to the cities listed and had available the same excursion options. In fact, the hotel stays allowed us to walk out the front doors into the heart of the cities, so that was a minor inconvenience. It was an amazing trip that we have recommended to every who asks. And we will do another cruise as soon as we are able. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
About the Avalon river cruise we first learned from the internet. We booked the river cruise from Nuremberg to Luxemburg on the Main river and the Rhine river. The deal included two nights in a five stars hotel in Prague. We left ... Read More
About the Avalon river cruise we first learned from the internet. We booked the river cruise from Nuremberg to Luxemburg on the Main river and the Rhine river. The deal included two nights in a five stars hotel in Prague. We left home with high expectations and immediately in Prague we realized it was really going to be great. We met the cruise manager Tamas who was extremely friendly and helpful. From Prague we were taken by bus to Nuremberg in Germany to board the ship. And here too everything was perfect and the cabin was indeed what we saw in the advertisement. The dinner turned out to be really very good with plenty of good wines to choose from and the food was very decorative and nicely served and we had plenty of food choices. We have nothing but compliments to the organization, the cabin, the maintenance, the excellent food and the way it was served, the friendly staff, the included tours, and the whole cruising area. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
It looked luxurious and was all inclusive, albeit very expensive. Paperwork from Scenic was very thin and confusing. Ship was changed a week or so beforehand to an older vessel when low water on the Danube became a problem. The ship change ... Read More
It looked luxurious and was all inclusive, albeit very expensive. Paperwork from Scenic was very thin and confusing. Ship was changed a week or so beforehand to an older vessel when low water on the Danube became a problem. The ship change was no issue in itself but it was clear that the low water was going to cause huge disruption. We hardly moved for the first days and then had four days when we couldn't do most of things we had paid for including Vienna and Budapest. Guests were offered flights home or bus tours and hotels: the latter was not what we had paid for so we chose the former but before flights could be arranged the ship sailed on - for a bit. Each day then was chaos with constantly changing plans. Eventually we sailed all through the nights so didn't see much of the Danube and arrived in Budapest at one in the morning and left the ship at nine to fly home. Scenic should have cancelled this trip and refunded the money or offered alternatives. Their emphasis was to get the ship to a destination from where it could meet their cruising schedules. We are still in discussion about compensation but so far have been offered a surly 17% refund. I cannot recommend Scenic since although the ship was lovely and the food very good but not outstanding, and low water in itself beyond their control, the way they have handled things afterwards was very poor. This is all rather sad since Scenic could have done themselves a lot of good by immediately offering a 50% refund or a discount on another cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Trip compromised by low water levels. We had to be bused three hours to an alternate older ship. The usual views were of other ships moored against us. Long journeys by coach. Most of the guides gave limited information relative to our ... Read More
Trip compromised by low water levels. We had to be bused three hours to an alternate older ship. The usual views were of other ships moored against us. Long journeys by coach. Most of the guides gave limited information relative to our usual travel experiences. Walking tours did not provide options for people with limited mobility. There were only two days out of the eight that matched expectations. The food compares with adequate convention food; very difficult to select low cholesterol options which was surprizing given the average age: most of us probably were on statins. Cabin was very tight and the private balcony could not be used because of the adjacent ships so the premium was not of any value; we had to keep the drapes closed for privacy otherwise you would be able to see and touch cabins on the next ship. All inclusive did not result in good value for experienced travellers; this is meant for people who prefer to assign details to a "tour operator". Scenic can not control the river levels but could improve some service and excursions. Excellent travel companions helped make the best of the trip. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We believed the Scenic literature and presentation and signed up. The river was low and so we had a substitute older ship, the Pearl; we were bused from Nuremburg to Passau for the first three days of the cruise. We were berthed in an ... Read More
We believed the Scenic literature and presentation and signed up. The river was low and so we had a substitute older ship, the Pearl; we were bused from Nuremburg to Passau for the first three days of the cruise. We were berthed in an industrial area next to the garbage bins. We had paid for a balcony cabin, but since we were docked next to other ships for most of the trip, this was impossible to use. The drapes remained closed and the balcony was waste space. Only half of the guides were informative, the food was convention quality, the wine was plonk and the service was average relative to the cruise industry. Most of the passengers were over 65 and likely were on statins, but most of the menu was high in cholesterol and waiters could not suggest appropriate dishes. Would it be a real problem to provide skim milk for cereal? Scenic has no control over river depths, but they do have control over other aspects and the quality was limited. Two days out of eight matched expectations. Only redeming quality was the opportunity to interact with terrific fellow passengers who made the journey memorable. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Scenic had at least 3 to 4 weeks notice of low water levels that interrupted my trip but did not advise or give any options to postpone until better conditions prevailed. I would not have had a problem if this was a last minute change to ... Read More
Scenic had at least 3 to 4 weeks notice of low water levels that interrupted my trip but did not advise or give any options to postpone until better conditions prevailed. I would not have had a problem if this was a last minute change to the itinerary but because this was a well know fact to Scenic they still did not communicate the problem. I saved for over 10 years for this Luxury First Class River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam and spent a lot of time changing ships, packing and unpacking and taking 4 hour coach rides to destinations. I did not plan a Bus excursion I planned a River Cruise. On a bright note the crew, staff, facilities accommodations on board were lovely. Everyone on board was caring and compassionate. The ports of calls visited were amazing and all the excursions were packed with information from English speaking local guides. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Gems of The Danube is marketed as 3 days in Prague and then join the Jasper in Nuremberg for a Danube cruise to Budapest. We signed up in August of 2017, paid and arrived in Prague on time. The transportation provided from airport to ... Read More
Gems of The Danube is marketed as 3 days in Prague and then join the Jasper in Nuremberg for a Danube cruise to Budapest. We signed up in August of 2017, paid and arrived in Prague on time. The transportation provided from airport to Prague was delayed because some passengers were late. The area is small, hot, no explanations, no offer to move us to an air-conditioned motor coach, no offer of bottled water - nothing. My husband inquired of a cab and our inquiry was ignored. We finally got transportation to Prague and arrived at the hotel. The accommodations in Prague are nice, The Imperial, typical European style hotel. We were there for 3 nights. The first night there was a welcome meeting with a class of wine and a walking tour of the area. The other Scenic sponsored tour while in Prague was again, a walking tour. No worries we hired a car and had a wonderful tour of Prague. There were signs early on that something was amiss. The Scenic staff were all a bit vague regarding details. Our guide said he needed to leave ahead of the group to meet other travelers and passed us off to another woman working for Scenic. She rode the coach with us and informed us that morning that we would not be going to Nuremberg and we would not be on the Jasper. She assured us that the only difference between the Jasper and our newly assigned ship would be the name, Jade. The water levels were low and we would not go to Nuremberg, but to Regensburg. None of the travelers seemed concerned, until guide and driver got lost looking for the ship. When we finally arrived we had to walk about 300 yards along an unpaved path to reach the Jade, which was not exactly in Regensburg, but we could glimpse the skyline if we tried. We went to the lounge area and experienced the most cursory greeting from the hotel manager, captain, and cruise director. It's clear to us all now that the company was well aware that we would not be on the ship long and they were all noticeably nervous and in the instance of the Cruise Director, very short tempered. Those on the Diamond Deck are invited to dine at Table La Rive, that is if you are on the ship long enough to enjoy such an invitation. The sundeck was only opened for use on the evening that we were told we would be enjoying the rest of the trip from a bus! Check out my pics of the sundeck. Good Timing. The idea of a butler for every cabin, forget it. These folks are far too busy with the duties of being waiters and bartenders to actually assist in your cabin. Those Scenic spaceship balcony, not! It's a tiny window and when you open it the air-conditioning immediately shuts off and you swelter. If you are looking for group meals, long lines, buffets style dining, long bus rides and cruise companies that prefer to keep you in the dark, then this is your company. We rode on a bus for nearly 8 hours on our way from Vienna to Budapest, we passed our hotel 3 times so we could see the sights from a bus window. The group lunch was at a Hungarian park that our city guide described as his children's favorite playground. he asked if we noticed the wooden fort and castle on the playground, his children love it. No thank you for me and my group. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this river cruise for a number of reasons: we wanted a shorter time spent in case we weren't happy with the experience; we wanted all-inclusive so we didn't need to deal with different currencies or tipping expectations; ... Read More
We chose this river cruise for a number of reasons: we wanted a shorter time spent in case we weren't happy with the experience; we wanted all-inclusive so we didn't need to deal with different currencies or tipping expectations; and we wanted a luxurious experience. We were not disappointed. The experience once we arrived at the ship was top notch. The staff was very friendly and promoted the attitude that they were prepared to go to any length to insure we were feeling well taken care of. The cabin was not large but had more than enough storage space. The balcony area was large enough for 2 people to sit in comfort, while the room darkening curtains provided lots of privacy and allowed for a good sleep at night or an afternoon nap. The meals were generous and well presented, with no lack of snacks whenever one was hungry. The mini-bar was well stocked and replenished every day. The entertainment was interesting as it was a sampling of the areas we were travelling through. When the cruise director, Yvonne, was providing the entertainment herself, she was personable and very informative, as well as being a great natural comic. We appreciated the many choices for excursions. On those we did choose, we found the tour guides very well informed and easy with the group. The excursions themselves were excellent in giving a sense of the places we were travelling through. If there is a complaint, it would be about the 3 night stay in Prague. The room was very satisfactory and the Marriott staff very friendly. The Scenic Representative gave an excellent walking tour and again, we felt we were learning about real life in the Czech Republic. However, for the significant cost of these 3 days, all that was provided was a room, 3 breakfasts and 2 walking tours. We feel at least one evening's entertainment should have been included, and 3 dinners. The "coddling" we received on the ship was not reflected at the hotel stay. That said, we would absolutely travel again with Scenic and are already dreaming of our next trip. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
We included a 3 day stay in Prague before the cruise. The hotel there, and the Scenic host/guide were 5 star. Our transfer to the ship was in a comfortable coach escorted by our guide and embarkation was handled smoothly. The ship is ... Read More
We included a 3 day stay in Prague before the cruise. The hotel there, and the Scenic host/guide were 5 star. Our transfer to the ship was in a comfortable coach escorted by our guide and embarkation was handled smoothly. The ship is beautiful and kept impeccably clean. Our cabin, though small, was comfortable and had everything we needed. All our meals were most enjoyable, with delicious food and good service by attentive staff. All staff and crew on the ship were friendly, professional and most helpful at all times. The on board entertainment, shore excursions, and enrichment activities were well organized and hosted by knowledgeable guides. Disembarkation day was again well organized and handled very smoothly. One reason we chose this company was because the price is advertised as all inclusive. We found this made our trip very relaxing and enjoyable. There was no bill to pay on the last day...we just spent the whole tour relaxing and enjoying all the excursions, entertainment, food and drink to the fullest. We will recommend this company to friends, and certainly hope to be able to tour with them again ourselves. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We were first time river cruisers (2 Caribbean cruises), and we read Cruise Critic website for help. So, we wanted to put down any notes or tips for the next reader. As we did not know the river cruise market at all, we went to through ... Read More
We were first time river cruisers (2 Caribbean cruises), and we read Cruise Critic website for help. So, we wanted to put down any notes or tips for the next reader. As we did not know the river cruise market at all, we went to through our trusted, neighborhood Costco with its guaranteed service. We picked this cruise mainly because it grabbed two USA holidays (New Years and Christmas), and covered some ground (three countries, Germany, Austria, and Hungary). Booking with Costco was fairly easy and required several phone calls, a few e-mails and two FAXs, but that was about it. There was no mystery to the process. The pre-cruise package did not arrive within the 21 to 30 days before the cruise, so we had to call and have it FedExed to us. However, this was not a big deal - there is no work involved with the pre-cruise package – it is just your cruise ticket, luggage tags, your cruise ID Scantron cards, and itinerary book. We read the Cruise Companion PDF on the Uniworld website, and it covered almost everything. We also did our flights through Uniworld, paid the small fee booking fee to do it through Costco (25$ x 2), and had them book the flights on the days we picked. Uniworld’s airfares could not be beat. Overall, Costco was a very good way to book; they did everything they said they would. It should be noted that the free transfers Uniworld offers are only to and from the airport, only, on the cruise embarkation and disembarkation days, only. So, if you come in early, or by train, or not coming or going to the airport, then the free transfer does not apply, so budget for a taxi ride. We came in early because we were flying to Europe through the NE USA in the winter, and our taxi ride from the Grand Hotel in Nuremberg to boat was about 20 Euro. Some people did make the boat, but some of their luggage did not arrive for several days. This did not happen to us, but we prepared for losing a checked bag by “co-packing” (put one half of each other’s clothing and toiletries into each checked bag, that way, if you lose one bag, you still each have 50% of your clothes). Internet access onboard was great, as we were all given Vodaphones with a 300 mg limit, which we carried with us in our pocket at all times. So, we simply logged onto the Vodaphone via WIFI on our Smart phone, and we were our own Internet “hotspot” wherever we went, onboard, or off on excursions. Now, we did not stream movies, but with the 300 MG limit we had free real time map and search capabilities, which was useful. Do not forget to get the international dialing plan for your smart phone (10$ a day for us). We just had to remember to keep the Vodaphone unit charged. Before we left we also downloaded WHATS APP on our Smartphone which allowed us to text and send images, in real time, for free, to family in the USA. Everyone on the boat had WHATS APP. The Internet on the two computers in the ship’s lobby also worked fine when in port. The only time the boat did not have cell phone coverage was when we cruising through a few rural areas in Hungary. The purser onboard can change dollars to Euros, and provide Euros in small change. The purser does not provide Hungarian Florints. You can change dollars or Euros to Hungarian Florints easily around Budapest. Many places will accept Euros in Budapest/Hungary, but the exchange rate they give you will not be good and can add 10% or more to the price. It is better to get Hungarian Florints, or use your credit card, IF you do not have foreign transaction fee on the credit card, in Hungary. And, remember, many restaurants in Germany, Austria, and Hungary added a 12% gratuity at the bottom of the bill, so ask /check your bill; 10 to 12% is the max tip we found in the countries we visited. There were 2 washers and 2 dryers onboard which were free. You just ask the front desk concierge for detergent pods. This was useful, as the cruise was a longer one. Just do not wait to the last day onboard to do all your laundry. If you sometimes take non-prescription, cold medicine or decongestants or antacids or Tylenol, bring some along with you. They have a very different concept of “over the counter” in Germany. We thought the Uniworld cruise was impressive. While the ship was not one of Uniworlds newer “super-ships,” the ship and our room were kept spot-less, and bottled water and chocolate supplies were kept filled. The room was cleaned and the bed made every day and freshened throughout the day. Every night while we are at dinner, they placed a print-out of the next day’s itinerary on your bed with a little present of some sort. The itinerary was also available on the in room TV, which also showed your shipboard account balance, a variety of channels, and had some free movies. If you want ice in your room, ask the steward for an ice bucket, and they will keep one full of ice in your cabin. They tended to keep the general areas of the ship quite warm, so bring a short sleeve shirt, even if it is winter. Our stateroom had individual AC which worked very well and allowed us to cool the room off. The room also had an alarm clock with and Ipod player dock, so we could play our Ipod at all times. As far as adapters, there was one US plug in the bathroom and one US plug in bedroom which accepted US plugs for phone charging / laptops. They also provided a hair dryer in the stateroom. The bathroom was only big enough for one person, but we knew that going in. Exclusive events were very exclusive, and in all but one case, limited to the ship’s 108 passengers (the ship was not at its full capacity of 130). Some events required a sign up. Only two events required an additional fee, the Nuremberg historic tour (49 Euros each) and the New Years’ Day concert in Lichenstein Palace in Vienna (149 Euros each), and both were really amazing and well worth the fee. All of the tour guides spoke good English. It was also nice not to have to worry about tipping guides or crew, as it is all included with Uniworld, so no fumbling for money as you exit a bus. If you want a massage onboard, sign up fast – people know when the boat is cruising, and they quickly book the masseuse up for the whole day. We did not do one. Every evening they placed two copies of the next day’s itinerary on the stateroom bed. You could also pullup the itinerary on the TV in the stateroom. The food onboard was very good. The Uniworld cruise line hails from the luxury, Red Carnation Hotels, and many of their longstanding recipes are by its founder Bea Tollman and are quite good. You can find Bea Tollmans cookbook in the ships gift store. Breakfasts were buffet style with local sausage, bacon, eggs, French toast, omelet station, and baked beans (for the Brits and Australians). You could ask them to make a Spanish omelet or eggs Benedict, and they would whip one out. Lunch was also buffet style, and not to be missed. Lunch always had a blend of familiar dishes for each group onboard, and also dishes very local to the area were you were cruising. We tried a nibble of each of the local dishes, and all were interesting. Food quality was quite good – the crispy skin suckling pig, the veal Wiener schnitzel, and several soups were very excellent at lunch. Lunch also had a full salad bar, and the dishes did not repeat. Twice, we did lunch ashore when touring (Stiftskeller St. Peter in Salzburg, the oldest restaurant in Europe; and Restaurant Anton in Passau) and both were excellent. We also snacked at the local holiday markets during day trips. Dinner was sit down, with a set menu of two choices each of fresh bread, appetizer, entrée, and dessert, and very good full service from the wait-staff. The dinner menus were very good. There was always a stand-out dish. The wines which were poured each night at dinner were always from the region which the boat was traversing. Other options (steak and vegetarian and gluten free) were also always available at dinner. During the cocktail hour before dinner, the bartender in the lounge would provide a briefing on the wines to be served at dinner. As the place settings at dinner had white wine glasses, red wine glasses, and champagne glasses, we would have all three poured so we could experiment and try them all. You could also buy champagne or any wine while off the boat and they would pour it for you at dinner, free of charge. Dinner service by the wait staff was very good /crisp. In addition, the ship had room service, which we only used once. The bar was at the front of the ship and provided excellent views while cruising. We also received a daily briefing on the events of the next day during the cocktail hour before dinner. Premium liquors such as Makers Mark, two types of Calvados, and very good whiskey were included and served at no extra cost. The bar does have one copy of a liquor menu – it sits on the corner of the bar. A full time piano player who knew 2,000 songs (American, British, Australian, German, etc.) sat at a full size piano in the bar. On several occasions local musicians came onboard to play folk music which was specific to the region in which we were cruising. The guests onboard were primarily composed of Australians, Brits, Canadians, Americans (FL, SC, CA, PA, and TX), and New Zealanders. There was a wide range of ages, and it was certainly not, all retired, “older” people. We are in our 40s, and we were not the youngest passengers. There were full families onboard (but no little kids). They had tours for the super active (bike riding or a hike to the castle) to middle active (full morning walking tour) to less active (same sites were covered but the walking distances were more direct and short). Our boat had three Mercedes buses which followed along the river, and when we needed transport we would hop on a bus. Since it was your dedicated bus, you could leave things like jackets and umbrellas on the bus, which was quite convenient. The ride onboard was so smooth we had to look out the window to see if we were moving. Our stateroom walls were plushly covered with fabric, which made the cabin very, very quiet. The river also cooperated, and we had excellent water levels and all locks, which we tended to go through at night, appeared to work fine. The cruise had an excellent holiday feel. There were decorations and carols. The Captain even brought his family onboard for the holiday cruise. The Christmas markets were fun, and while we were worried we might miss them because we were there on holiday days, we did not need to worry. After Christmas, many of the Christmas markets then became New Years’ markets and were open for many days. Overall, retail remains very strong in all the cities we visited, so there were ample shopping opportunities. Overall, the cruise was a trip of a lifetime. Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Um no, no thanks. Never again. I signed up for a Viking River Cruise "Christmas in Germany" cruise in April 2017 for my mother's 50th birthday on assurances we would see "tons of Christmas markets" in Germany ... Read More
Um no, no thanks. Never again. I signed up for a Viking River Cruise "Christmas in Germany" cruise in April 2017 for my mother's 50th birthday on assurances we would see "tons of Christmas markets" in Germany - which was the ENTIRE point of the trip to Europe during Thanksgiving. Otherwise we'd have stayed home, it's cold, it rains, it's miserable but the Christmas markets are legendary and something my mother has always wanted to see. So for her birthday, I paid for this cruise. I booked the most expensive room - one of two Explorer Suites on the third level at the aft of the boat. Our ship was set to depart Nuremberg on 25 November with everyone embarking on 24 November for a 7-day cruise culminating with a final stop in Cologne. The brochure had the Nuremberg Christmas Market on it - one of the most famous in Germany. It spoke of all the Christmas merriment and smells of mulled cider and Christmas sights we'd see during our cruise. During our first nightly port meeting - our cruise director, George, informed us that the markets in Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Wurtzberg were all not yet open and were set to open the following week (after we'd all gone home). This meant of all the sights we'd see and places we'd stop - we would see only two markets over seven days - Koblenz and Cologne. Instantly pissed off. Now, during our cruise it rained and rained and rained. It was also freezing. So all our walking tours were miserable. And no markets. Also, because of all the rain, the water level was so high that our boat only barely moved once and we had to be bused long distances early in the morning from the boat. Hours on buses. Dinners in town at cheap places because we'd get back so late. This happened for about three days before we were eventually forced to disembark three days early (two nights left) and stay in a cheap hotel 40 minutes outside Cologne. Essentially, I did not get to stay in expensive suite I paid for for two nights, I didn't see the Christmas Markets I paid for (as they were not open yet no one checked the calendar), I did not get the food I paid for for several days (breakfast, lunch and dinner two days in the hotel) and then when we ate in town due to the 3.5 hour one way bus rides we ate at places that ONLY served beef and brat and cabbage - for two additional days lunch and then dinner not to mention the fully stocked fridge and snacks in our room that are complimentary which we did not have at the cheap hotel. I eat very healthy and expected the various menu options on the boat (fish, veggies, etc.) Viking is not cheap and I expected to get my money's worth. I did not. Not even close. Viking tried to make some things up to us - booking a stop in Miltenberg to shop (still no market) - and booking a cheaper option (fried chicken and soggy veggies for lunch) on a day boat to tour the Scenic Rhine - but it was too little too late for me as we'd spent HOURS on buses. You could also skip Wurzburg and the beautiful Wurzburg residence and go back to Bamberg for the Christmas market again another day - my mom wanted to see the historically rebuilt residence. Also, you could pay even more money (I'd already paid $10,000 for this cruise) to go on an extra excursion to Heidelberg and see their Christmas town (I don't think their market was open but they have an all-year store-type thing) which I chose not to do because, again, I'd already spent $10,000. Apparently you get bused a lot anyway during these - sometimes 2+ hours each way to these places. I thought the boats pulled into the towns. No. When I returned I demanded a partial refund - Viking initially offered me a standard $1100 in a future voucher. I said no. They then offered $3300 for a future cruise that I had to book in the next 12 months before it expired and wanted me to sign a non-disclosure. Are you kidding?! For a VOUCHER. They don't sell cruises that are cheap - so in order to see any compensation for this farce of a cruise I'd have to pay them MORE money. At this point - I never want to cruise with them again. Let alone give them thousands more. That is bad business and not a way to compensate customers for mistakes. Their customer service is awful and I have been put off by the entire experience. I expected better. They told me that they were only "offering" four Christmas markets during this cruise. News to me and everyone else I spoke to on the cruise, most of who flew on Thanksgiving night specifically for the Germany Christmas markets and were devastated not to get to see them and had verified with booking agents and customer service they would see ALL of them in every town we visited. Instead, we saw where they were being set up and would be open the following week for the next cruise. I mentioned that the most famous of the trip, Nuremberg, was on the first page of the cruise booklet and the agent, Rayna, who I spoke to, informed that the photo was simply for marketing purposes and we were never going to see that one, despite embarking and spending two days in Nuremberg. That is shameful. Well, of the four they "offered" - I got to see two of them. Even had they all been open, the schedules were so packed with bus rides, lunches, and walking tours of the cities, at best we had a hurried 30-60 minutes to walk the town by ourselves anyway. So the Christmas markets were never the main attraction - they were simply an afterthought. Extremely disappointing to my mother and I who planned the entire trip ONLY on the markets since she has wanted to see them her entire life. Otherwise, I could easily have visited Europe during warmer and less rainy and windy months when I could've enjoyed it. From Googling the company at this point I see this part of Germany has issues often with low or high water and clients being removed from boats and swapping to others. What a pain. Also, many complaints against Viking for cruises with issues where they refuse to try to make it right. I for one, plan never to use this company again and I would strongly encourage no one else to either. Viking continues to hold onto the flooding as my main concern in any interaction we've had - when really - it's more about misleading me about the Christmas markets and the calendar. I'd never have booked had I known I was only ever going to see 4 Christmas markets to begin with - they let everyone think the theme of the cruise was that and book according. Acts of God are one thing - but messing up Christmas market schedules and misleading customers then claiming they got to do "most of what was promised" (a direct quote from a snarky customer service agent who told me I had no recourse and they would not be discussing with me further) is simply not OK. Most of the individuals I saw on the cruise were elderly - extremely so - and probably take the vouchers for future cruises - don't complain - and don't go posting reviews all over the internet. I'm 33 years old and and I LOVE to travel and I travel 5x or more annually on luxury trips. I had hoped this experience would foster some loyalty for me with Viking and offer another way to travel for me and my friends and family. I had high expectations for them. I even had high expectations they would make this right when I got home and so far I have been nothing but massively disappointed. Bottom line - Viking River Cruises misrepresented what this cruise was about and is now refusing to offer compensation aside from vouchers (which will cost me more money to use and I am not accepting that) for my missed Christmas markets, two nights of missed accommodations and missed food services on a restricted diet. **Update 29 December 2017: I just spoke to the very polite and apologetic Viking agent who has been trying to contact me about this issue - I was now offered either 50% off a future cruise - or $500 in cash but both will require an NDA be signed. I'm not signing an NDA for a voucher Viking River Cruises. You owe me a cash refund and much more than $500. You misled every single passenger into thinking they were going to see all those Christmas markets and you are trying to cover the mistake up. There were a ton of elderly people on that cruise and most of them traveled on Thanksgiving day to be there. You should be ashamed. My mother and I spoke to dozens of people who were all furious and upset as they had only done this particular cruise for the markets. Now I'm being told Viking was only ever "offering" four. News to me. Even still, I only saw two. Do better. I appreciate the apology - but asking me to spend more money with you after a mistake this big - is nothing but bad business. **Update 30 December 2017: BUYER BEWARE - Viking River Cruises has shady social media, PR and customer service tactics involving having employees leave 5-star reviews and having multiple reviews left to push down bad ones. I have refused to sign an NDA as they will not refund my money - today they disabled their reviews on their Facebook site which seems a response to this review I posted on 27 December 2017 about a recent Christmas in Germany Cruise I took where they mis-represented the scheduled events - they can't delete it however - so the link below shows the original review - I've also posted it on my own FB page, on Yelp, here and made it public for all internet searches so it can be found. Bc it had so many comments and likes it was still at the top of the "Most Helpful Column" and they couldn't have that.... Original review link for Viking River Cruises on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.mccombs/posts/10104486688307539:0 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I have always wanted to try the river cruise experience. I also wanted an "all inclusive" format. Tell me how much up front and please don't bother me after i start my trip. What an experience! Scenic advertises "all ... Read More
I have always wanted to try the river cruise experience. I also wanted an "all inclusive" format. Tell me how much up front and please don't bother me after i start my trip. What an experience! Scenic advertises "all inclusive"! They do deliver, not only do they deliver but they exceed your expectations over and over and over again. Each day passed and we thought that the next day could not be any better but we were misled. Each day had more surprises, more activities that were not expected or anticipated! The food was unbelievable. This is coming from someone who is of Italian heritage and known to be a connosseur of good food. The night time entertainment was different each and every night. Usually entertainment from the country we were visiting. Very nice touch! The best night was the Symphony Orchestra of Vienna where we got a "private for Scenic guests only" performance. And it was held inside one of the Castle's in Vienna! Breathtaking experience. Absolutely loved it. The cruise director was awesome! He kept the group very entertained and ensured every single detail of the cruise was detailed for us and was followed through on. Very talented individual! The crew, cleaning, butler service, bar staff, etc. were all very much focused on client experience. There was much attention paid to detail and staff remembered favourites of the passengers - very impressive! Cleaning crew were meticulous - i cant count how many times my bath towels were changed! Excursions were very very detailed and just the right length of time! Great tour directors as well. Very knowledgeable and very willing to share any information we were looking for! An absolute amazing experience. Exceeded my expectations in every category. Will definitely sail with Scenic again and highly recommend to all my friends and colleagues. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose Uniworld after doing some research and talking to travel professionals. Also we attended a AAA travel show where discounts were being offered. We settled on Uniworld as it seemed to offer the best option for us. We chose an off ... Read More
We chose Uniworld after doing some research and talking to travel professionals. Also we attended a AAA travel show where discounts were being offered. We settled on Uniworld as it seemed to offer the best option for us. We chose an off season time just in case we did not enjoy the experience, so we were paying lowest price for the season. Also knowing everything was included, tips. tours, beverages of all kinds we knew exactly what we would be spending. The experience could not have been better, the only exception was the weather over which no mortal has the power over. Despite the weather we were totally impressed by Uniworld. The service was impeccable. A friend had the soles of his shoes come loose because of the weather, he went to the reception desk asking if there was any place he could take his shoes for repair. The Captain was standing there and said we will take of it for you leave the shoes here. The next day his shoes were returned repaired and never was he charged. We asked for feather pillows one evening by calling the reception desk, the cabin steward had them at our cabin in about a minute. Another time we asked for towels same quick response.The cabin itself was small but cozy once we learned how to maneuver about chairs and table. The cabin was nicely appointed with high end amenities such as L'Occitane products. At dinner our wine and water glasses were never empty. In the lounge area we staked out an area for the cruise as there were 5 couples in our group. Each day the crew got to know us and by the end of the cruise the mere sight of us and a wave we had our drinks at our table. I would like to give special mention to Bojan, Laurentio "Larry" and "Danny" who served in the dining room, Bronislaw who worked lounge along with Igor the wine steward. Outstanding job by all to make us feel welcomed at all times. Everyday they were greeting us and asking how our day went. I know one in our group asked for chocolate chips one day when they were not out for consumption and Aneta made sure every day he had his chocolate chip cookies. Just amazing service. The excursions were very good and the guides were excellent. All spoke English with a bit of an accent but you could easily understand them. They were knowledgeable and very entertaining as well as attentive to the group to make sure everyone kept up. The food was gourmet with local choices each night, except one night when there was a buffet as dinner was served early to accommodate a tour that left at 7PM. We had some very picky people in our group and everyone agreed it was a great experience. Most notably there were no photographers hounding you at embarkation, dinner, on deck or anywhere it was just nice to relax and be catered to by a superb crew. Kudos to our captain for handling a weather situation with our safety in mind, we were in extremely windy conditions gusts over 80 mph. Captain decided to port at Melk instead of Spitz for our safety, yet somehow even with the change of plans, they seamlessly arrange for the tours and buses to move from Spitz to Melk without missing a beat. Everything worked like a finely tuned machine. Everyone is already talking about our next cruise! Once you go river cruising you never want to be on one of those floating cities in the ocean again. Awesome vacation thanks to Uniworld and the crew of River Beatrice. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Brochure stated gourmet meals across all dining venues but I did experience this even at dinner. Breakfast was straight forward American style buffet with nothing special certainly not gourmet. Portofinos was disappointing as the dinner ... Read More
Brochure stated gourmet meals across all dining venues but I did experience this even at dinner. Breakfast was straight forward American style buffet with nothing special certainly not gourmet. Portofinos was disappointing as the dinner again did not offer a gourmet dining such as I have experienced on ocean cruise ships which have a Portofinos. I was somewhat concerned about security during the day. Passengers were not checked after returning from tours and in this world today especially Europe. Someone with evil intent could mingle with the returning passengers up the gangeway and enter the foyer without being checked. Each passenger did have a badge which had to be scanned but no one was insisting this be done for all coming aboard. I saw several passengers who did not scan and yes there was an announcement later calling them but that could be too late. River ships seem like good targets and I would recommend tightening up security for the sake of all passengers but for the reputation of the cruise line should a tragedy occur. No one expected the massacre in Las Vegas but it happens and again Europe can be a hot bed of terrorist actions. Despite my comments the cruise was very enjoyable and Scenic staff did a great job organizing tours and serving passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because of high ratings, recommendations from some friends and the all inclusive aspect of the cruise. The choice of tours was excellent, the food, service and the atmosphere on the ship was super. The choice of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of high ratings, recommendations from some friends and the all inclusive aspect of the cruise. The choice of tours was excellent, the food, service and the atmosphere on the ship was super. The choice of food on the menu was great and on two different evenings you were in invited to est at the La Rive restaurant and Portobella's in both instances you were treated to a spectacular meal where the chef determined the menu and wine choices to match the courses served. Upon arrival in Budapest the captain arranged to make a. Ugh the river cruise up and down the Danube to show the lit skyline which is spectacular. Upon disembarking from the ship the cruise director made arrangements for transport to our new accommodations - as we stayed on after the cruise, the transport was well organized and the driver knew where to go and delivered us to the door. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise due to there being new ships, good discounts, tips included, an excellent brochure and that the Danube is a good start for first time cruisers. the on board experience was top notch with the service from all the staff ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to there being new ships, good discounts, tips included, an excellent brochure and that the Danube is a good start for first time cruisers. the on board experience was top notch with the service from all the staff being beyond outstanding. Example - bar staff remembering your preferred drinks from one night to another after only one bar order. Reception staff providing help well beyond the call of duty; high quality food; cabins cleaned thoroughly and bathrooms twice daily; unobtrusiveness; genuine friendliness. So, great attention to detail. However, the pre-cruise administration was very poor with one error after another. Limited communication except frequent marketing for 2018 cruises even before we had experienced this cruise; a failure to confirm transfers + details before final payment required; double booking of airline seat for my partner; then no baggage allowance on the plane for me; then a failure to inform us of the possibility to stay in Budapest for another night (at cost, of course) which would have allowed a direct flight back to the UK rather than having to transfer planes in Brussels which led to delays. If only the admin. was half as good as the on board experience!! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We began our flight from the US on 9/16 and arrived in Prague at 11 AM on 9/17. Our room at the Prague Marriott had a city view, 2 queen beds, and lots of space. The daily breakfast (included) was excellent and service throughout the hotel ... Read More
We began our flight from the US on 9/16 and arrived in Prague at 11 AM on 9/17. Our room at the Prague Marriott had a city view, 2 queen beds, and lots of space. The daily breakfast (included) was excellent and service throughout the hotel was great. We were greeted at the airport by a girl with a Scenic flag, were escorted to a taxi, and our hotel room was available when we arrived, we checked in, put our things in our hotel room, and ventured out. The Marriott is within walking distance of everything in Prague. The Old Town Square is nearby (8 minutes) and all one needs to do is look up to see the spires and walk toward them (the old Clock Tower was being restored while we visited). There is a nice grocery store next to the Marriott and many good restaurants nearby. Our Prague Scenic guides had a desk in the hotel lobby and gave us advice and easy-to-follow directions for our independent exploration. Czech currency is the "crown" but most places will accept Euros, and our guides steered us toward reputable currency exchange locations. The Charles Bridge (15 minutes) is very touristy unless you visit early in the A.M. Once across the bridge (Castle Town) you will find wonderful little shops, places for lunch, the John Lennon Wall, bakeries, Prague's oldest pub, and the beautiful long stairway up to Prague Castle. Views (and photos) from the castle are stunning. Wenceslas Square is another area to visit and is not as crowded or touristy as Old Town Square. Nearby is the Jewish quarter where one ticket gains entrance to all the synagogues (oldest in western Europe) and the incredible historic cemetery. We had a half-day tour with our guide (Pavel) our 1st full day in Prague. Pavel covered places of interest, history, and personal information since he grew up in the area during communist occupation. A highlight was our last morning in Prague. Those who chose to participate met our guides at the hotel lobby at 6 A.M. for a brisk walk to the bridge (in the fog), and it was exhilarating and beautiful. A bus met us at the hotel for our (3 1/2 hour) trip to Nuremberg. We stopped mid-trip for a lunch break at a rest area with a couple of eateries. I enjoyed watching the German autos zip past our bus autobahn-style. Pavel joined us on the bus and provided interesting facts about the areas traveled in the bus along the way. The bus pulled up next to our ship, Scenic Amber, and everyone was invited on board. We were provided with ID's on lanyards and taken to our cabins right away. My daughter (age 30) and I had a deluxe balcony suite on the 2nd level. There were 2 large closets with sliding doors (for hanging clothes) with drawers below, and bedside tables with drawers. Our other paperwork, itinerary, and maps of the ship were already in our cabin. You will need Euro-style adapters for your electronics and there are plugs above both bedside tables. There are two GPS devices with lanyards which need to be charged nightly. Earphones are provided but you are able to use your own earbuds. These GPS devices tell you where you are while cruising the river and also allow you to hear your tour guide in each location when you travel in a group at each destination. The TV in the cabin has camera views from certain ship locations, BBC news, music, weather, and local stations in many languages. Our butler (Atila) provided us with our personal choice of pillows and answered basic questions. Our first evening on the ship we received an invitation to dine in Portofino, the Italian eatery onboard. All other evenings we dined in one of the 2 other locations. Each evening a meeting was held to explain the next day's itinerary. After dinner there was always music, singing, and some sort of performance for entertainment. If you were tired you could view the entertainment in your room on the TV. There were three excursions we signed up for at home, online, prior to our trip. You will be given a code number and a website (Trip Personaliser) online where you need to enter all your personal info. (passport #, name, home address, medical, emergency contact, etc.) and you need to check and complete that website at least 6 weeks before traveling. You will also receive a mailing at home: itinerary paperwork, luggage tags, sleep mask, travel transfers, support socks, and a small backpack (day bag) for each person traveling about 4 weeks before the trip. There were 2 or 3 excursions to choose from in every port. Cruisers may also choose to explore on their own either walking or using the electric-assist bicycles on board. The GPS units also assist with independent exploration. My daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed everything on board, on the excursions, and found all guides interesting and entertaining. Food on board was plentiful and delicious. We would definitely go again, and my next river cruise will include Christmas Markets. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose Scenic as we have been with them on an escorted coach tour of New Zealand and the organisation is second to none. All inclusive means just that - on this tour we had three or four choices of tours most days all at no extra cost. ... Read More
We chose Scenic as we have been with them on an escorted coach tour of New Zealand and the organisation is second to none. All inclusive means just that - on this tour we had three or four choices of tours most days all at no extra cost. The service on board was outstanding and we were treated as individuals. The food was excellent with special dining evenings for all passengers and the ship was spotlessly clean.The top 2 cabin decks all have balconies with windows that slide down to open in case of bad weather. If I had a complaint it would be that our cabin was at the rear of the ship and we were not warned when we chose it at a promotional hotel day that we would be right over the engines, which made the nights very noisy - earplugs were required! Had we known we would have moved further along the ship. Shore excursions were excellent with lots of choice - very well organised by JJ who was very entertaining in himself - and they included a special evening concert just for the Scenic Ruby passengers in a Palace in Vienna. The whole holiday was a delight and I would travel with Scenic again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose Scenic after some internet research and were not disappointed. The crew were brilliant, especially the bar & restaurant staff. The excursions and evening entertainment was first class and the food is exquisite. The ratio of ... Read More
We chose Scenic after some internet research and were not disappointed. The crew were brilliant, especially the bar & restaurant staff. The excursions and evening entertainment was first class and the food is exquisite. The ratio of staff to guests is low so you really get to know everyone and they couldn't be friendlier. The hospitality business is hard but they certainly seem to really enjoy their work and looking after their passengers. The destination towns were interesting and we were very lucky with our shipmates and made a number of friends onboard. The ship is virtually new having been launched in 2016. We look forward to sailing again with Scenic and fancy their ocean going ship to Antarctica. The cabins are large enough and there is plenty of cupboard space. Everything is included so you dont have to put your hand in your pocket at all. I cannot recommend Scenic highly enough 12 out of ten!! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We chose this cruise because we had sailed North from Nuremberg last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to sail South from Nuremberg this year. The start was a total disaster. We arrived on time at Munich and followed the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had sailed North from Nuremberg last year and enjoyed it so much that we decided to sail South from Nuremberg this year. The start was a total disaster. We arrived on time at Munich and followed the meeting instructions> No-one there to meet us .Fortunately, two other passengers were on the same flight so we knew that we were in the right place. After waiting for thirty minutes we were joined by another passenger from the Amsterdam flight. Still no sign of Scenic so one of our fellow passengers decided to ask someone who was behaving like a rep if he was from Scenic – no he wasn’t but would try to help us. By this time, we were numbering eleven of us. Between us we rang Scenic HQ, Scenic UK, Scenic emergency number and the transport company number provided by Scenic in their pack. None of the Scenic numbers responded and the transport company declared that they had no arrangements with Scenic on that day. However, the other rep said he would still try to help and said that he had managed to organise a bus – which never appeared but eventually two minibuses arrived. By this time we had been in the airport for 3 ½ hours. We eventually arrived at the boat five hours after landing in Munich. We all complained as a body to the tour director after dinner who insisted that the rep was from Scenic, despite him not having any Scenic identity and him telling me that he only did the rep job part time for another company as he was a heating engineer. However, the manager still insisted that there was a rep at the airport and we must all have missed him. I carefully explained to him that there were eleven of us from four different flights and we had all missed him – not possible . I again asked for an explanation and apology but none was forthcoming. We never did get an explanation but a bottle of champagne arrived three days later along with a tin of gingerbread. Not much use to us as neither of us like champagne and, as my wife is diabetic, couldn’t eat the gingerbread. Then to the ship. Very nice, very new but the cabin that we had were so noisy. We had engine noise all night and often in the night the bed would shake with the vibration from the engines. Our friends decided that, although Scenic had said that the ship was full, they managed to move to midship where they had no noise. We stuck it out to the end and, once we were on the Danube without any locks, it seemed to be a bit better. On our previous cruise, the tour director and captain were very visible at all times. This time, the captain rarely appeared and the tour director only for formal presentations. However, the rest of the crew were excellent and were very friendly, helpful and efficient. The food was also up to the usual high standards. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I chose this cruise from a recommendation of a friend who had done a Hebredian cruise in Scotland and because good friends were going on it. And it was because of these friends and their wonderful company I didnt jump ship! This was ... Read More
I chose this cruise from a recommendation of a friend who had done a Hebredian cruise in Scotland and because good friends were going on it. And it was because of these friends and their wonderful company I didnt jump ship! This was without doubt my worse travel experience. The reason I gave it 2 stars is because the European crew were excellent and really tried to overcome the problems of the Scottish. The cruise director had a terrible attitude from the very beginning to the very end. The other personnel from the Hebridean company were very ordinary. The entertainment was cheap (staff and 1 speaker). A C- musician who rarely played. In fact the word cheap is what I think of this company, they would use cheaper moorings and the highlight was to be Vienna where we only stopped for 3 hours and were given stale cake. When discussing our trip with passengers from the other cruises we were so surprised at the interesting places they had been taken to and the service they were experiencing. I haven't detailed every problem because it would take too long but am more than happy to outline them on request. This was not a bargain cruise although it should have been. Judi Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We wanted to visit all the interesting cities along the Danube. I must say I have never been on a cruise where every member of the staff from top to bottom excelled at their particular job. The team spirit of every member of staff was ... Read More
We wanted to visit all the interesting cities along the Danube. I must say I have never been on a cruise where every member of the staff from top to bottom excelled at their particular job. The team spirit of every member of staff was exemplary which permeated to the passengers who then felt relaxed despite the problems of the shallow water in the Danube. It meant that the passengers trusted the crew that we would still be able to visit all the places on the itinerary. The guides were superb and we realised that we didn't seem to worry about security which was due to them that they knew the area well and making sure we were kep as safe as possible which is a tribute to them considering the world we are living in at the moment. A really lovely week and one I have already mentioned to my friends. Read Less

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