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6 Vienna to Europe - River Cruise Reviews

We embarked in Vienna heading for Nuremberg on Amadeus Queen. Because of the low water levels on the Danube we changed ship to the Amadeus Elegant. It was like transferring from a 5 star hotel to a backpackers room with an ensuite. We ... Read More
We embarked in Vienna heading for Nuremberg on Amadeus Queen. Because of the low water levels on the Danube we changed ship to the Amadeus Elegant. It was like transferring from a 5 star hotel to a backpackers room with an ensuite. We lost our spacious room with walk-in wardrobe and refigerator to a very small room. There was little hanging space. We could only store one suitcase under the bed as there was not enough room between the bed and the wall to roll the suitcase under the bed. No refigerator. I complained about the refrigerator and was given a 6" x 8" cooler box. Fair enough, I only wanted it for medication. Carpet was very worn. Ceiling and walls needed painting. But at least the crew was very friendly and obliging. The cruise director (on both ships) did not asked if we wanted a guest joining us at mealtimes. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
On Aug 1, 15-20 of us that returned after a Crystal excursion dinner found the SHIP HAD LEFT WITHOUT US. We were scanned to get off the ship but manually checked in when the ship returned for us. We were told the people that did the ... Read More
On Aug 1, 15-20 of us that returned after a Crystal excursion dinner found the SHIP HAD LEFT WITHOUT US. We were scanned to get off the ship but manually checked in when the ship returned for us. We were told the people that did the scanning had left. Guess they outsourced their security. Also there was scanner mistake when they told me 3 of my friends were still on shore and 1 came back but in fact all 4 were on shore. We missed Budapest, a main attraction for the cruise, but Crystal made little effort to make up for the changed itinerary even though they knew at the start of the journey and that was 7 days before we would go to Budapest. We had to revisit Linz and they added Karen’s and offered each guest USD500 FUTURE CRUISE CREDIT to be booked within a year. Linz and Krems were not comparable substitutions for Budapest by any stretch of imagination. Also crew told me Viking has 77 ships so they can offer swaps when similar situation arises. Reading some of the reviews, I noticed other cruise operators not only made monetary compensations but also arranged alternative transport and hotel accommodations in order for them to fulfil their advertised attraction. Also Crystal may be late to join the river cruise market, at a couple of stops, the ship was parked so far away from the parking lot that we had to walk about 10 minutes to get to the coach. It was definitely difficult for my friend that had a hip replacement and walking with a cane. I used to view Crystal with high regard, but it seems things may be different under new ownership. A very disappointing experience AND NOT VALUE FOR MY MONEY. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
When we arrived in Vienna, it was very confusing because there was a man with a Tauck sign at the airport, but he was not expecting us. Fortunately, my friend spotted another man carrying a sign with our names on it - even though we were ... Read More
When we arrived in Vienna, it was very confusing because there was a man with a Tauck sign at the airport, but he was not expecting us. Fortunately, my friend spotted another man carrying a sign with our names on it - even though we were told to look for a Tauck sign. Tours were too early in the day - even when they didn't need to be to fit the overall trip. No good alternative if you were not able to walk a long distance and climb a lot of stairs or inclines. No activities on the ship if you chose not to participate in a tour. Also, information on the trip was not given far enough in advance and we would only learn about the next day's details the night before. Basically, Tauck's attitude toward their guests is - 'HURRY UP AND WAIT'. Way too much time on buses. Tours were disorganized and there was no 'plan B' if the weather turned bad or if there was another problem. My group was forced to stand in the rain for over a half hour at Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic and when we asked if we could proceed to the lunch location to get inside we were told NO by the Tauck director because we couldn't arrive before the scheduled time and we were told to go to a coffee shop to wait. On the last day of the cruise we were informed that we could not dock at Regensburg because of low water levels on the Danube, so we were back on buses again. When we disembarked on the final day instead of a three hour bus ride to Prague we had a five hour bus ride. We finally arrive at the Intercontinental Hotel Prague in the early afternoon. This is NO 5 Star Hotel - 4 at best and the staff was poorly trained. When I finally got my suitcase the bellman came to my room and handed it to me - I had to instruct him to put the bag on the luggage rack. (The Grand Wien Hotel was very nice by contrast.) (After the Tauck tour, my friend and I moved to The President Hotel Prague next door which is a 5 Star Hotel.) The worst part about this day was that because of some mishap/bungle on the part of your transport people we did not receive our luggage until 9pm that night - the Tauck directors kept stalling with no apologies. Again, Tauck had no 'Plan B'. The Tauck staff was NOT helpful and left the lobby desk at 6pm, so there was no one to contact about our bags and where they were. I could have done without the last farewell dinner in Prague because Tauck had no seating plan, so when my friend and I arrived 10 minutes before the scheduled cocktail time all the window-side dinner tables were taken and we had to hunt the dining room to locate seats - we could not even find a Tauck person to help us - they were too involved in making their farewell speeches. (The same thing happened at Palais Pallavicini for the welcome dinner in Vienna - no seating plan. My friend and I had to search for a seat and were at the very last table in the back of the room.) At my request - at the end of the evening in Prague Andrew Haringer came to our table and only after my citing all the issues we had on the trip did he apologize on behalf of Tauck - too little too late. I have to mention that the Scylla ship's crew were excellent which is more than I can say for the Tauck people. Out of the three Tauck directors, only one was somewhat professional and courteous. My friend and I both booked cabin category 7 as we had last year and we were so looking forward to this trip because we had taken a Tauck Rhine cruise a year before and had a wonderful time. This time we couldn't wait to get home! I have traveled all over the world for 50 years and am accustomed to first class travel - this is NOT it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We recently returned from our first river cruise selecting Crystal Cruises because of their 5 star rating. We felt taken advantage of because we depended on their representative for booking. Upon arrival after a 10 hour flight, we were ... Read More
We recently returned from our first river cruise selecting Crystal Cruises because of their 5 star rating. We felt taken advantage of because we depended on their representative for booking. Upon arrival after a 10 hour flight, we were expected to handle our own luggage.The " motor coach" was about a 1/4 mile from the luggage carousel. No assistance was provided. We were two couples with 10 pieces of luggage total. On other cruises we were met by a representative of the cruise line and next saw our belongings in our stateroom . To carry our suitcases at our age and with medical conditions was totally unacceptable. Having relied on the Crystal booking agent, our accommodations were not as promised. We were misled and never told we were paying $12,000 to be situated in the basement level of the boat, partially submerged at water level. We spent 12 days at submarine level watching garbage float by our "panorama" windows. The sound of water splashing on the window kept us up all night. In addition when we docked our "view" was of a concrete wall that made our rooms constantly dark during the day when we docked in the ports . To make matters worse, we asked the crystal representative that our cabins be in close proximity. Instead we ended up at the opposite side of the boat with staff quarters between us. All attempts to remedy the situation fell on deaf ears. Nothing was done. For a cruise line with a five star rating, we found the food tasteless and unexciting. Breakfast and lunch everyday was the same for 12 days. There was very little deviation . It was boring and monotonous. To make matters worse, one member of our party had severe food sensitivities and had filled out paperwork in this regard prior to departure. This matter was not addressed until the 5th day of cruising due to our own initiative. This was a HORRIBLE vacation experience. We would NOT recommend Crystal River Cruises. Definetly Not worth taking off work for. TOTALLY disappointed. DON'T GO Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Let me preface this by saying we are not cruise people. We've only taken a couple of other cruises on small ships (Windstar - great!! and Antarctica excursion) but never a river cruise. We chose Avalon because they advertised a 3-Day ... Read More
Let me preface this by saying we are not cruise people. We've only taken a couple of other cruises on small ships (Windstar - great!! and Antarctica excursion) but never a river cruise. We chose Avalon because they advertised a 3-Day Cruise Only option that allowed us to do only the river portion with them. We looked at the cruise as Room & Board and transportation only. We weren't interested in any group tours. We booked our own hotels in Vienna and Budapest and did our own thing in every port. Being very experienced world travelers (having already traveled independently to over 100 countries) we don't like groups. All that said, this seemed pretty easy. Wrong! The entire experience was annoying. From boarding the ship to leaving, we felt harassed. The cabins they touted as a room with a view, was adequate but nothing special. Food was really designed for the typical cruise population with an average age of 70. When I asked for a piece of fish with no sauce, which seems like an easy request, the waiter acted as if I was inconveniencing him. The cruise director was the most annoying person I've ever encountered in all my travels. And, above all else, no one on the staff seemed to understand the concept of Cruise Only. They kept paging us and asking about our arrangements. They were annoyed we weren't part of their group. What happened to "it's all about the customer?!" The cruise itself: The ports were interesting — Melk, Durnstein, Bratislava and into Budapest. But river cruising is a very expensive way to see places if you are a good independent traveler. We spent three nights on the river and then three nights in Budapest at a very high-end hotel. When we added up all our expenses there, it turned out we spent half as much — and that included a huge suite, using the hotel car for touring, taking advantage of its spa, eating in some astoundingly fantastic restaurants, and being driven to the airport. And, as if our experience on the ship wasn't bad enough, when I got home and received a welcome home email from Avalon asking for my feedback, I wrote back about some of the problems we had, and was planning to post a negative review on TripAdvisor, I received a reply telling me they were very busy and would take 5 – 8 weeks to reply. Seriously? That's how you reply to a customer who is unhappy? I didn't want anything from them other than to say you did a lousy job. The upshot was I requested to have my address — email, snail mail, and any future delivery systems — removed from all their databases. I do not want to receive anything from them. I know lots of people who love river cruises. If you are one of them, be very careful before choosing Avalon. Customer service is not their strong suit. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Actually sailed from Vilfshoven, Germany after 3 days pre cruise in Prague. Those were three expensive and wasted days followed by a horribly uncomfortable bus trip backwards to the port of embarkation in Germany. Shocked when we entered ... Read More
Actually sailed from Vilfshoven, Germany after 3 days pre cruise in Prague. Those were three expensive and wasted days followed by a horribly uncomfortable bus trip backwards to the port of embarkation in Germany. Shocked when we entered the reception area of the ship-dirty carpet and a smell of the just departed last cruisers. More shocked when entering the tiny room, with a tiny, tiny bath and a closet that did not make any provision for travelers that had to carry enough to last 2 weeks. The beds are hard as rocks-felt mattresses on metal slabs and so very narrow that at first we thought they were rollaway cots. The pillows were so flat that we had daily headaches from failing to get neck support. If one sat at the desk, the other person had to crawl over the bed to reach the window area. We felt like prisoners sharing a cell ! Television channels had sporadic reception and facebook communication was slow or impossible. The public areas are small and in the dining room it was very hard to squeeze in and out between tables that were packed tightly together. We had 2 good entrees all week and the rest were poor to very poor. Every meal was loaded with salt and we soon had to deal with tissue swelling and sore tongues from the excessive use of salt. Breakfast was boringly repetitive with watery eggs, burned bacon, and rubbery fruit although there was too little choice of that to bother. Made to order was not much better. The Eggs Benedict were covered with a greasy sauce that tasted suspiciously like salad cream/mayonnaise and omlettes were crusty. Reasonably good soups and lots of breads and rolls which were good in the morning but the bread was always stale at dinnertime. There was no warning that the cruise was unsuitable for anyone with mobility issues. Someone confined to a wheelchair would have been left on the dock and with a rollator-walker it was a bone jarring endurance test, even on the so-called "gentle" tours. With a few happy exceptions, most of the guides were not interested in persons with mobility issues and just frog marched us through miles of cobbles. Many could not be understood as their accents were far too pronounced. On many tours there was no time available for self exploration and if one did want to stay somewhere to have a closer look, the drop point was so far from the ship that a return on foot was impossible for a physically challenged person. There were days spent in dull, uninteresting, and historically insignificant ports and then we were raced through Vienna when a 2 day visit there would have been sensible. A good concert in Vienna helped us to forget a poor one in Prague. We paid an additional 500 euros for tours so do not be fooled when they advertise "all inclusive" and do not look for free drinks at any time other than at meals. Most of the staff members were hard working and friendly but the Cruise Manager was unimpressive and clearly had his "favourites" among the guests. We were ready to abandon this cruise an hour after it started and by the end of it we were really desperate to get off the ship. We have many, many ocean cruises behind us and found most of them perfect. This was our first, and will be our last, river cruise. The price, compared to an ocean cruise, was prohibitive in relation to what was received in value. Easily our very worst holiday in over 40 years.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014

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