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10 Vienna to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager ... Read More
We are Heritage members and sailed with Uniworld before on the S.S. Joie de Vivre from Paris to Normandy. Our experience with Uniworld in 2017 was exceptional! BUT THIS EXPERIENCE ON RIVER PRINCESS WAS NOT! Front Desk Hotel Manager and staff looked upset and serious if you asked a question. No smiles at anytime. It was as if all of them had some attitudes. The wait staff were arguing at times in their Romanian or Slavic language-you could see the tension. I even had to get up at dinner to ask for water. They forgot my meal and had to remind them but all they always said was it is coming and then they would turn to each other and argue. It was extremely uncomfortable. The dining room was poorly set up not allowing much choices on seating to meet others and definitely NOT what our last experience was. It was a typical dining room as if it were on a Celebrity Cruise. The food on the River Princess was below standard-not typical of Uniworld’s fine culinary fare. It tasted comparable to most large massive mid budget cruise liners. We were extremely appalled that we were served a buffet one evening for dinner. Our Food was served Luke warm or cold at table side. I sent back several dinners due to flavor and being cold. My husband ordered a simple steak and looked grey in color as if they threw it is a broiler and rushed it out. He sent it back. We waited so long for our food to come a good portion of the time. Having to remind them! Never told in the morning there was a special dish. When the omelet station chef overheard me speak to another guest he said there is always a special and showed it to me. When I asked him to order me one, he said, " sorry, you have to go to your table and ask your waiter". The waiter NEVER CAME! I had to flag them down. That was done more than just one day on a 8 day trip. The choices of food served were the same almost everyday at lunch or breakfast. Many times.I had to wait 30 minutes for poached eggs. Poached eggs take 2-3 minutes to make. I made my own toast. The Eggs Benedict in morning was cold and thick sauce I could not eat it. Our tour guides were not the best and rushed us. Even an expert lecturer who traveled on the ship and spoke about the history stopped our guide during a tour and told her she was not telling the history as per the Jewish Heritage Tour it was to be. The ship was old and tired. My advice would be to remove this ship from circulation. It is old and many issues. The trip was from Vienna to Prague. They went to Nuremberg and bussed us to Prague-(4 hours) not given water bottles and stopped 1/2 way to buy some! Our choices of tours were do as locals with a basic walking neighborhoods, biking, hiking in Bavarian Forrest or Pay for other tours that were not worth the money-Especially the Schoenbrunn Palace-we paid 66Euro per person. We were taken to 4 rooms that were an apartment of a Queen who liked tropical islands and murals on walls, no furniture at all to view. Rushe in and out. There maybe 15 minutes it was so small. Took us on a specific tour in a museum to see directly the Vermeer painting a just a few other paintings. Then told to go to the gardens and walk around for 45 minutes in the blaring heat! She was abrupt and she had 45 minutes to herself and she could have let us stay in the museum if we chose too. But we HAD to leave it! We hung around in the heat and had nothing to do. I wrote a letter to corporate office explaining our experience in detail. They had the audacity to insult us with a $150 per person credit on board to be used on our next trip and expires no later than December 2020! Other passengers who had been on Uniworld before and had good experience prior were also upset and said Viking they took once did a better job on food , staff and quality. We are done with Uniworld. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I have hesitated writing this review, but considering the limited number of reviews for Crystal River, I thought it would be helpful. As my title implies, we were neither impressed nor happy. I should probably add that this was our first ... Read More
I have hesitated writing this review, but considering the limited number of reviews for Crystal River, I thought it would be helpful. As my title implies, we were neither impressed nor happy. I should probably add that this was our first river cruise (we have taken several ocean cruises on Azamara, Regent, and Celebrity). However, my complaints have nothing to do with the "river" aspect of the cruise. Our itinerary was the 7 day trip from Vienna to Budapest. First, the positives. The cabin (Petite Suite) was very small but extremely beautiful and well organized, with many nice features. The functioning window and heated bathroom floor come to mind. Towels and toiletries were nice. Our butler and room attendant were efficient and did what we expected, no more, no less. We did not order room service nor the afternoon canapes. The tours were excellent. They were well organized and the guides were informative and fun. I could not have asked for more in this category and it was the saving grace of the trip. Fantastic. Our laundry came back beautifully done up in lovely packaging. It was really over the top! The entertainer, Neal, was absolutely fun and kept things lively in the afternoons and evenings. This was a bit of a surprise as we went in assuming that the entertainment would be hokey or nonexistent. We had lots of fun a couple of evenings during his show. The included wine selection and cocktails were very good and all that we expected. And finally, debarkation was extremely efficient. The taxi that the desk had arranged for us came exactly on time and we had plenty of assistance with our bags. Kudos. Now to what did not meet expectations. Among staff, there was a general attitude of unease or dissatisfaction. It was not a happy boat. There was no one on shore to greet us or help us with our things when we arrived. Our first greeting was at the door after struggling from our taxi over some rough terrain. (I did notice that they had later set up a canopy which was staffed by the blue tail-coated and top-hatted greeters, so I think that they were out of sorts for some reason) This first impression underwhelming, to say the least, after the glowing reviews I have read of Crystal. On our first trip to the beautiful lounge (early afternoon on our first day) we seated ourselves. There was a bartender and a server or two behind the bar, from whom we received no greeting whatsoever. I finally went to inquire of the bartender as to the possibility of getting served. His indifferent response was yes. This was the order of the day on many occasions, even when the bar was not busy at all. On another occasion, we finally, after five days, were blessed by the weather gods with a nice enough day to go "up top". This was pretty exciting and there were a number of passengers there, but no bartender. The bar, however, was "open". We observed one woman open a bottle of bubbly (which was on the "included" list) and pour it for herself and her friend. A young (and we were told later, new) server came up shortly thereafter and reprimanded her loudly and in an extended and rude manner. It was embarrassing and uncomfortable for all who witnessed it. Unacceptable. And finally, the food. Dinner frequently was only acceptable. We are not fussy eaters in the least, but there were occasions when we couldn't find anything interesting to order. The quality of ingredients just wasn't up to expectations and many dishes needed seasoning. Lunches were some better, for whatever reason, but a breakfast order came out completely wrong one morning. Missing was any fun banter with servers or having our preferences remembered. The atmosphere again, was generally stilted and uncomfortable. This cruise was priced competitively with some of the other lines, or perhaps a bit more. I chose it because I had read so many glowing reviews of Crystal, mostly ocean, but river also. If this represents "the best of the best", then I don't care to try the others. It was, in a word, disappointing. We met some very nice people who had the same sentiments. Hopefully this was a one-off and they have made some corrections. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose the Magical Christmas markets to see Vienna, Salzburg, and Nürnberg, to enjoy some Christkindlmarkts, and to acquaint ourselves with river cruising. Ama has work to do. The cruise administration as we approached our travel ... Read More
We chose the Magical Christmas markets to see Vienna, Salzburg, and Nürnberg, to enjoy some Christkindlmarkts, and to acquaint ourselves with river cruising. Ama has work to do. The cruise administration as we approached our travel date was disrupted by the Woolsey Fire in the San Fernando Valley, where Ama is headquartered. Ama needs better contingency plans if they are going to stay in the Valley. Fires in Calabasas, from my youth in Woodland Hills, are NOT uncommon. We were impacted by the water levels of the Danube. Our cruise was shortened from Nürnberg to Vilshofen, and, after we boarded, to Passau. We missed one of the best Christkindlmarkts in all Europe. I recognize Ama is a hotelier, a restaraunteur, and a ship line, but they need better decisionmaking on how to make the traveller's experience the best possible. That includes leaving ship if need be. The sailing plan? OMW. On Monday, for reasons known only to Ama, we left Vienna for Tulin. Guess what? Everything was closed. DUMB. Then, at 11 at night, we sailed back to Vienna to berth in the nest of ships again. Better to have spent another day in Vienna, and help us see more of that great city. Speaking of bad calls, let's talk about Sunday. There were three ships abreast at Handelskai that morning. Three sets of busses, and no one on shore to direct us to which group of busses. We showed our color coded ticket, and the guide said "This is your bus." Welllllll .... no it wasn't. It was the bus of another ship to Bratislava. You need passports for that tour. Turned out a third of the people on that bus were from our ship, misdirected to it instead of the bus for the Eisenstadt tour. It's late fall, early winter. It was raining most days, so the upper outdoor deck was unusable. The lounge was a hospitable place, with free coffee and tea at all hours. I discuss our cabin elsewhere. The dining? Superb. An advantage Ama has over Windstar and their ocean sailings is the free wine and beer at mealtime. I liked that! Service? Superb. Yes, I paid the expected crew's gratuity, and then some, but I also gave some to my cabin housekeeper and two of the waiters. They deserved it. Vienna and Salzburg are grand cities, worthy of much more time than the cruise could provide. We will be back. Overall, this COULD HAVE BEEN A FIVE BUBBLE CRUISE. The administrative and logistics decision cost it points. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Choose Crystal due to their reputation for being top notch. We have cruised on Crystal before. Last time I took 60 couples with me on a sales payoff trip and it went well. I found the service excellent, the staff was very friendly and very ... Read More
Choose Crystal due to their reputation for being top notch. We have cruised on Crystal before. Last time I took 60 couples with me on a sales payoff trip and it went well. I found the service excellent, the staff was very friendly and very polite, food was very good, excursions were interesting and varied so almost everyone could find something to do that interested them. The Crystal buses were clean and new and every seat had a lot of leg room . The ship was well maintained. This was a 50th wedding anniversary, a decade birthday and a cancer survival celebration for us so I spent the money for a Penthouse suite (206), but that didn't turn out so well.Read the nightmare that was, in the cabin review. I enjoyed several of the excursions we went on and felt that the guides were well prepared and very friendly. Overall had I been able to get some sleep it would have been a excellent trip. A "reasonably" quiet room is very important for me and by wife. We all expect some noises living close to others but this was on a scale that I have never experienced in over 40 years of extensive business and personal travel. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We understood the Crystal Mozart to be a 6 Star cruise. Upon check-in there was dental floss and food on the carpet. Their web site claimed 110V current which they said was a mistake and said there was nothing they could do. After ... Read More
We understood the Crystal Mozart to be a 6 Star cruise. Upon check-in there was dental floss and food on the carpet. Their web site claimed 110V current which they said was a mistake and said there was nothing they could do. After discussion they did make an attempt to provide. At one location they moved the boat without positioning someone or at least a sign indicating where it had been moved. Food was 4 star on most occasions, 3 on others. The Butler and servers were over the top wonderful. I wrote a list of disappointments and was contacted and told they would review with the ship and they never followed through. It was a very expensive trip as we had one of the Penthouse Suites. Had expected much better. Others said they had taken the Crystal Ocean Cruise and that their river cruise was nowhere comparable and several said disorganized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Changed from a Viking to the Crystal Mozart , mostly due to additional stops along the way but also Crystals reputation at sea. In fairness, this sailing was only the 6th time the river cruise has sailed. We were in a French balcony, ... Read More
Changed from a Viking to the Crystal Mozart , mostly due to additional stops along the way but also Crystals reputation at sea. In fairness, this sailing was only the 6th time the river cruise has sailed. We were in a French balcony, room was beyond small. Had two passengers and needed the bed split. All the furniture is mounted, so this was no easy task. Made it so you couldn't open the closet, which itself is only 2 feet. There is little to know storage for a 10 day voyage and no storage or counter space in the bathroom. Although wonderfully decorated, very poor design. We requested a cabin change or even willing to purchase a second, but the ship was sold out. Thought the cruise and getting to know passengers, this was a complaint of most passengers we came across, and we were the only ones not traveling a husband and wife. In short, all the furniture is too oversized for the room. Food was exceptional, bar staff and spa were wonderful as well. Entertainment was the best! (Shout out to Mark who made every night more and more enjoyable with your witty humor and exceptional piano playing). Excursion, is another story. Hours on a bus each day only to spend a few hours touring a city with little time to explore on your own. My recommendation. Do your homework for every stop, book things outside the options given by the boat. Example, glass blowing tour, hour there, hour back, 40 minute demonstration, 15 minutes to explore a wonderful shop. (Just try to make a purchase and have it shipped home in that amount of time with a language barrier) Culinary tour in Vienna, 20 minute bus ride, walk through several alleys looking at locals restaurants, wine tasting (at 9:30 am, but they give you 5 kinds and bread), then coffee shop and a piece of cake... Not so much culinary involved. Salzburg tour, hour and half each way, and we didn't get the full experience of the "sound of music highlights ", but if I would have done more research, I would have booked through a local tour group, out of our port of call and seen it all with transportation provided. Only last recommendatio for Crystal , have some type of splash pool or misting system on the top deck, just for cooling off on the long sail days. We kept having to run down to the pool in the spa and then back up again. Overall, I think this will be a wonderful cruise once some kinks are ironed out and the learning curve is over. Nothing to keep me from taking another one in the future, and I plan to. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
After two cruises on Uniworld, we decided to try Avalon. We liked their "panorama suite" design. Sadly, that was the only thing outstanding about our Avalon experience. Our "journey" started with "check-in" ... Read More
After two cruises on Uniworld, we decided to try Avalon. We liked their "panorama suite" design. Sadly, that was the only thing outstanding about our Avalon experience. Our "journey" started with "check-in" at the Hotel Intercontinental in Vienna. By this time, we had already been in Europe for 3 nights, on our own. There was a large window to check bags in, from 8am to 3:30pm, but this entire process really messed up any possibility to do anything meaningful on that day. (With Uniworld, we were actually able to present ourselves to the ship itself, at any time during the day. They also had light snacks available in the lounge.) Not the case with Avalon. There was a conference room, at the hotel, with chips, peanuts, water, and coffee. We were required to be back, at the hotel, at 3:30, so we could be bussed, as a group, to the ship. Again, having to schedule events around this time frame, was inconvenient. As we had travel cards, we could have easily traveled to and from the ship much easier on our own.....but, that wasn't an option. Moving on to orientation......there were only 50 people on our cruise. We were assembled in the lounge, where our cruise director gave us a brief overview of the ship, and upcoming cruise. We did the mandatory muster drill, and then were escorted to our rooms by a staff member. Basically, this involved......"here's how your room key works," and, "here's your room"......our luggage was then delivered, one piece at a time.....(Now, comparing to Uniworld, we got an overview of the room, outlet locations, "how-to's", and, our luggage was already in our room when we arrived). Cabin: We had a Panorama suite on the middle deck, 4 cabins from the rear of the ship. The cabin was very spacious, and we loved that the bed faced outward (though we were often rafted, and couldn't open the curtains). The bathroom was also very spacious, and well appointed. The bed was comfortable. The couch and chair, not so much. There was a minibar/fridge, which we used to keep our own water cool. Hanging closet space and shelf space was adequate, but there really weren't any drawers. The desk chair was uncomfortable, and had a solid back, which made it difficult to pull in and out. We were provided with two large bottles of water at the beginning of our trip. We had to fill the ice bucket ourselves. Comparing to Uniworld, this cabin was a clear winner with regard to space. The Uniworld beds are much more comfortable, and the staff much more attentive with Uniworld. However, factoring in rafting makes the extra $$ for the suite not worth the concept. Public space: Avalon's decor is more contemporary, and simplistic, than Uniworld. However, it is also much less comfortable. From the dining room to lounge, the furniture was very uncomfortable. The seating on the sundeck was also of inferior quality to Uniworld. By the end of our cruise, my husband said, "Give me the brothel look anytime!" Shore excursions: honestly, we really didn't participate in many of these. The first day (the hotel day mentioned above) didn't include any. The second day, we remained in Vienna. Tours included a morning city tour (we were on our 3rd day, so did the Spanish Riding School in the morning, and Schonbrunn Palace-on our own-in the afternoon). The third day, we started off with the Durnstein walking tour, but as there were 4 ships there, the one street was pretty congested, so we opted to walk to the castle ruins. We sailed to Melk that afternoon, and did do the Melk Abbey excursion, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Day 4 took us to Cesky Krumlov. After 45 minutes, we left that tour, as we hadn't even made it across the river yet, and our guide was more focused on telling us where to shop and eat, than about the city itself. The last day was a short city tour in Passau, but we opted to climb to the castle on the right side of the city, and the church on the left side. We did meet up with the tour guide afterwords, with members from our cruise, and enjoyed a beer. In general, since we are "young" river cruisers, we like to get out and do our own thing. Food: Is always subjective, but Avalon certainly was mediocre to average here. Variety, and quality, were lacking. Choices were few, and didn't really reflect the local cuisine. Thank goodness there were menu items for breakfast and lunch, because the buffet offerings were of cafeteria quality. The beer/liquor selection was equally underwhelming. Lastly, there was no "open seating" with regard to time. We were "asked" to proceed to the dining room for dinner, 15 minutes after the appointed "start" time. Entertainment: "Typical" regular piano player/singer. We had one night of special entertainment, in Melk, from a man from New Zealand, who played guitar and sang 60/70/80's music. He was very good, but sadly, only played for an our, and was gone......The on board musician wasn't good, at all, and often played, and sang, the same songs over and over. When he wasn't playing, the music choices were awful. When we asked the bartender about it, he said they had a playlist provided by corporate...... Staff: Despite there only being 50 passengers aboard, the staff seemed very unengaged. Most really didn't seem to care that much. There were a few waitstaff that went out of their way, and learned our likes/preferences, but that was it. The front desk staff wouldn't initiate conversation, and would only reply if spoken to first. Housekeeping would store their carts in the halls, and their "uniforms" looked like something they had worn to bed the night before (t-shirts and casual, pull-on style pants) General Avalon comments: As noted, we had done two Uniworld cruises previously, one pre all-inclusive, and one after they went all-inclusive. This is my observation of Avalon. They are too corporate focused, and not customer focused. There is a place for procedure, but, in the river cruise business, the customer has to be attended to, and they don't do a good job here. From their regimented check-in, to bussing to the ship.......I'm not sure how other lines handle it, but Uniworld definitely gets the nod here. The "approved" music list in the bar......Also, their headset system, not nearly as good as Uniworld's, and they kept them at the front desk, instead of in the cabins.....I can't imagine the chaos this would cause on a full ship, as it caused chaos on our less than half-full one! Also, their passenger tracking system leaves a lot to be desired. With Uniworld, we would scan our room cards in and out, with an electronic card scanner. With Avalon, they give you small laminated cards to carry offshore with you. On the Durnstein-Melk day, there was a notice to not turn in your card if you planned on doing the afternoon excursion (Melk). So, we didn't.....the cruise director had seen us come onboard, and came up to the sun deck to retrieve our cards.....he said, "You didn't turn in your cards" I said, "When we left this am, there was a sign up telling us not to!". Perhaps one of the most disappointing parts of our cruise, and one where corporate prevailed over customer, was on the last full day of the cruise. We were enjoying a beautiful morning of sailing between Linz and Passau, and the crew was assembling furniture, running wire, etc, on the sun deck, in anticipation of the next sailing, which was chartered by Goodyear. In addition, once we reached Passau, we attempted to come back to the ship, only to find them loading supplies for the next sailing. It was a chore to get to our cabin, with the staff heaving crates of water bottles down the hall. While I realize it has to be done sometime......they do kick you off no later than 10am, and don't let anyone on again until 4pm on embarkation day! And, in this case, they had an entire day between our disembarkation and the next cruise's embarkation. In closing, I didn't feel like a valued passenger......Avalon did nothing to make me feel special, and did nothing to make me want to be a repeat passenger. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was my second River cruise. The first was with Avalon. They are like night and day. The ship is older and very outdated... from the furniture, to the light fixtures. As another reviewer posted, the shower was smaller than I have ... Read More
This was my second River cruise. The first was with Avalon. They are like night and day. The ship is older and very outdated... from the furniture, to the light fixtures. As another reviewer posted, the shower was smaller than I have ever seen. It's awful!! the cabins are small, as to be expected, but the beds are not comfortable. We had to ask for extra pillows as there was only one little pillow on each bed. From the time we walked on board the hotel manager was nasty. She is French, and immediately made everyone feel like we were interrupting her day. If you asked her anything, or told her there as an issue with anything, she argued with you and got angry. She should not be in the hospitality industry. She made the trip kind of stressful. The staff was also not very helpful or forthcoming with information as far as when you got off the boat. IT seemed to be more of an inconvenience if you asked them anything outside of what you were told during the daily announcements. Thankfully the dining room staff staff made up for it. The internet I worse than archaic. The router they are using is worse than mot people have in their homes. It is meant for 5 connections, so it is excruciatingly slow and drops the connections every 30 minutes. That is if you sure lucky to even get a connection. The router constantly had to be rebooted. This caused problems for people who relied on having internet service for work or staying in touch with family members at home. There were not many English speaking people on the cruise, but the ones we met were wonderful. We made several great friends from Ireland, Australia, and Malta. The excursions were good as well. The food was a fixed menu everyday. If you let them know about any dietary requirement, they were very accommodating. However, if you are a picky eater, you don't have a choice on this boat. Otherwise we had no complaints about the food. Other company's give you a menu to choose from each night, which is MUCH better. Drinks are included, but limited. They couldn't make a cosmo or even a dirty martini. They said they had no cranberry or olives. We mostly stuck with wine and beer, which was good for house wine. And the Lounge entertainment was a joke! Compared to Avalon, this company is steerage. I recommend paying the extra money and going with a better cruise company... even if the drinks are not included all ay. You can bring anything you want on board, and wine/beer is cheap in Europe. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
The Amadeus Royal is an old cruise boat that has been recently renovated. However it falls short of being described as luxurious. The cabins are small. It was good to be able to get fresh air, but the "French balcony" was only a ... Read More
The Amadeus Royal is an old cruise boat that has been recently renovated. However it falls short of being described as luxurious. The cabins are small. It was good to be able to get fresh air, but the "French balcony" was only a small sliding window less than a metre wide. The main lounge had very uncomfortable seating. There were some armchairs but not enough for all guests. The restaurant was located at the stern of the boat and it was necessary to walk down a corridor past cabins. Every morning the housekeeping trolley and vacuum cleaner were cluttering this corridor before and during breakfast. Water, tea and coffee were only available at meal times and had to be paid for at other times. We were fortunate to be able to use the upper deck in good weather. If it had rained the lounge was crowded and uncomfortable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
While the price was excellent, we were truly disappointed with our 8 day Blue Danube cruise with CroisiEurope. The entire program was mainly directed towards older, middle class French citizens, who seemed to thrive on meals which lacked ... Read More
While the price was excellent, we were truly disappointed with our 8 day Blue Danube cruise with CroisiEurope. The entire program was mainly directed towards older, middle class French citizens, who seemed to thrive on meals which lacked fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. We had two fresh salads during the entire trip. While there was some variety with the breakfast buffet, all lunches and dinners were fixed with no alternatives. Lunch was an hour and half each time, with dinner even longer. On a positive side, all drinks were free. When we asked for an American martini, it was sort like a deer in the headlights. Much to the staff’s credit, they found several martini glasses, we conducted a quick course for Martini 101. The tours and itinerary were excellent. Since there were only a handful of English speaking guests, we had our own bus with great tour guides. The internet service was archaic and only functioned in the dining room. While cabins were good size and we enjoyed picture window, the shower was the smallest we have ever experienced. The beds were substandard and when pushed together there was a ravine which we stuffed with bedding. The entertainment was an electric organ player who looked and acted like Mr. Bean. He was the type of musician who played for himself and seemed to be indifferent to the guests. Unless there were substantial changes, we would not use CroisiEurope again and would not recommend the company to any of our friends.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014

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