I had travelled the Rhine by train, and so, having seen this Amsterdam to Basel Rhine cruise advertised at a discount, we decided to book our first river cruise. All our previous cruises had been ocean cruises. We were met at Amsterdam ... Read More
I had travelled the Rhine by train, and so, having seen this Amsterdam to Basel Rhine cruise advertised at a discount, we decided to book our first river cruise. All our previous cruises had been ocean cruises. We were met at Amsterdam airport and the shuttle connection to the waterfront all worked as planned.
On this particular cruise most of the passengers were from Australia - so no language problems. We understood from the crew that the previous cruise had been mainly German passengers - something you may want to check before booking.
The cabin or stateroom was easily as good as anything we had seen on ocean cruises. There was hand and shower soap; a hair drier; towels; dressing gowns; mineral water; all provided.
There were four German style 220 volt plug sockets - don't forget your adapters.
There is a small gym consisting of a recumbent exercise bike, a normal exercise bike, and hand weights with bench.
The excursions were all inclusive and interesting. For only one of the excursions you were requested to express interest via a list several days in advance - otherwise, excursions were casual, just arrive in the lounge at the specified times. And the excursions were easily as good as those you would pay $70 to $100 for on an ocean cruise.
Obviously, the advantage of cruising the Rhine is that most points of interest come to you. There were always fellow passengers viewing and photographing the locks that we passed through, as most of the Rhine is canalised. Historically, the Rhine falls prevented travel by boat along the full length from Amsterdam to Basel. The Rhine Gorge was the best part of the journey for me.
Meals were at set-times which did change some days due to excursion times: however typically - breakfast 7-9am, late self-serve breakfast in the Queen's Garden till 10:30am, lunch 1pm, afternoon tea 4:30pm, dinner 7pm; late snacks 10:30pm. Just to say that menus were not a la carte but set meals. For dinner you might expect salad, soup, sorbet, choice of two meat/fish dishes and one vegetarian, choice of two deserts, cheese and fruit. So you never felt hungry!
House wines and beer, tea, coffee, water were all inclusive at the set meals. The wine list alternated between two selections, and so alternate days there was a very good Italian Merlot which was excellent. The German red wine on the other evening was pretty good also. My wife drank the rose, but she said it wasn't the best. At the Captain's dinner we had a genuinely decent German Sekt which was very nice and far better than the cheap Spanish prosecco you get to expect. So in general, must drinking took place during meals but you could get beer, wine, cocktails including the cocktail of the day at the bar if you wanted to pay.
There was a permanent Cruise/Tour Director named Kate Barella on board. She did the announcements and made all your arrangements, including your transfers at the end of the cruise - so you paid her attention, if not for her announcements then her dry sense of humour - a lovely lady.
The wifi was generally poor and only usable in the lounges, but slow, but it was free/inclusive.
The entertainment was limited, but the resident keyboard musician was quite accomplished.
If you wonder how good this cruise was - I took over five hundred pictures - it was great. Read Less