We have taken many ocean cruises, and felt it was time to try a river cruise since they have become so popular. While there are some similarities, this is a far different experience a large ocean liner. Some examples: Easy on/off the ship, ... Read More
We have taken many ocean cruises, and felt it was time to try a river cruise since they have become so popular. While there are some similarities, this is a far different experience a large ocean liner. Some examples: Easy on/off the ship, little in the way of activities, less walking on board, food gets repetitive after a few days, cruise directors that act like a human being rather than a stage performer, etc.Overall, this was a very enjoyable vacation and was well worth doing.
Our cruise was 7 days packaged with 3 nights in Prague. We were booked into the Pargue Hilton, a very large but well run hotel that seems to cater to large groups and business travel. The staff was very friendly and helpful, and the food was excellent though expensive (breakfast was included). The hotel is not convenient to the historic area of town, about a 20 minute walk which was a problem for some in our group wiyh mobility issues. Otherwise, no complaints about the hotel.
Avalaon ran a trip for a folkloric show with dinner that I felt was tourist tacky and overpriced, bit many people love that stuff.
Our cruise was supposed to start in Nuremburg but high river levels caused a change to Passau. This eliminated 2 days of actual cruising where we sat in Passau. This is the hidden problem with river cruises, that high or low river levels disrupt the planned itinerary.
The ship itself is immaculate and attractively designed in a minumalist modern style. (Nothing like the ornate lobby of a Tauck ship that we docked next to one day). Our mid-priced cabin was nicely designed with sliding doors that could be fully opened to create a balcony effect. The bathroom was really well designed with a large walk in shower and excellent toiletries provided.
Our tour stops included Passau, Linz, Melk, Vienna and Budapest. All had many interesting sights and were well worth visiting. The free morning tours were mostly good but basically superficial. There were optional afternoon tours at additional cost that provided more depth of information, or you could wander around on your own, pr book a local tour at less cost. In Linz we took a tram car to a monastary at the top of a mountain which had a spectacular view stretching to the alps. At 6 euros each, it was the best bargain of the trip.
Food was generally excellent, although dinner choices were a bit limited, and mysteriously offeredr pike several times during the week, Basically there were 2 nightly offerings and 4 anytime selections. Breakfast was a typical buffet, and lunch was either a set menu or buffet that was usually tied to local cuisine.
Entertainment was a house pianist, a staff revue, a classical duo, and a British woman singer who was a veteran of West End, and who put on a very good show.
Service was excellent all around from the cruise director (Isabel) to the housekeeping.
While I still prefer ocean cruising, this was a very relaxing and worthwhile trip.
Tip: Plugs are European type, so bring an adaptor or coverter. Read Less