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-   -   River Cruise Companies Comparison (http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/showthread.php?t=402169)

storybookcruises.com May 8th, 2014 01:34 PM

River Cruise Companies Comparison
 
Found this website that should help those wanting to do a river cruise and looking for some information comparing several of the companies;

River Cruise Reviews, Viking River Cruises vs. Uniworld River Cruises

I was disappointed that they glaringly omitted both Avalon Waterways, which in my opinion is better than Viking, and Scenic Tours, which is a very nice luxury company similar to Tauck.

So if you're thinking about doing a river cruise, which I highly recommend as they are absolutely wonderful, enjoy the information they provided, but please do not exclude both Avalon Waterways and Scenic Tours from your consideration as they are both excellent.

And as always, if you want more information or assistance with your river cruise, talk to your agent as they can be invaluable in helping you pick the best one for you.

Pete

felix_the_cat May 28th, 2014 10:20 PM

River Cruises are wonderful. My husband and I enjoyed ours with Uniworld before he passed away. I will go again.


I have just placed a group of AMAWaterways for the spring of 2015.
It's 7 days with post of 4. If anyone wants any information, just let me know.


A feature of AMAWaterways, they do have single cabins and sell them without the usual markup. They only have so many per cruise but they do have the French balconies under this rate. Just something to think about for those who travel single.

bluedanubeholidays December 26th, 2014 07:33 AM

River cruises are great because you will enjoy your vacation in most of Europe destinations. A river cruises consist of fairly a lot in your fare. You’re perhaps paying for the whole thing up front as an alternative of in two halves like on a distinctive ocean cruise, but just like a luxury sailing, there is to determine the relaxation that comes from knowing the wine you take pleasure in at lunch won’t cost you a dime on most river cruise lines.

That's why there are river cruises reviews to inform travelers to Europe know which one offers excellent services and great discounts.

FrankScholden October 5th, 2016 05:42 AM

Hi Pete (and all!),

I have just found this forum and it seems to be a great resource so far, I have already spent a fair bit of time researching.

Firstly Pete, thanks for the great comparison article. River Cruise Advisor has many great pieces of content like this.

I do have a question which you might be able to answer; my wife and I are looking to go on our first cruise, and have been looking at the different comparisons of companies and cruises that are out there that go along the Rhine. I am finding it is quite a task to bring it all together between reviews, cruise company reviews and then cruise itineraries - and on top of it all, we are wanting a list of Danube-only cruises to choose from, as we particularly want to visit Budapest and Vienna again.

So far I have found the lists from the individual cruise companies, which sort of defeats the purpose of having them all in one place. I have found this website so far which has been a big help, as it has most of the big companies listed that run cruises on the Danube The 10 Best Danube River Cruises with 16 Reviews - TourRadar , although they don't seem to have many reviews on all their cruises (these are easily sourced elsewhere though).

Does anyone know of any other places where I can find a list of Danube-only cruises in one place?

Frank

storybookcruises.com October 5th, 2016 04:58 PM

That seems like a decent research site, but you definitely don't want to book online - best to talk to your agent and have them do the research for you and help you narrow down your choices.

Most people look at prices and don't compare amenities or quality, so don't get too hung up on price. As with ocean cruises, it's important to find the best cruise for you given your requirements, budget, and lifestyle. And remember, the one that advertises the most, is always the cheapest for a reason.

The obvious ones, in my order of preference from top to bottom would be;

Uniworld
AmaWaterways
Avalon
Viking

After finding out about a new one that just began service 2 years ago, I would also add Emerald Waterways among the top two. One good thing about them is that all gratuities are included in the price, which is a budget saver. And right now, they're offering free airfare (and it really is free).

Now, keep in mind that a few companies will advertise 'free' airfare, but when asked what the price is without the 'free' airfare, the cruise price is lower. So, if the airfare is free, then how come the price of the cruise is less if you don't want the airfare? Remember, 'free' is not necessarily free.

Reviews are good, but everyone is different and what you like they may not necessarily like and vice versa.

Lastly, while you really want to do solely a Danube River cruise, it may be better to look at others that would include 'mostly' the Danube River. You really need to consider starting and ending points when it comes to your airfare.

Pete

CruisingSince2012 September 7th, 2018 01:28 PM

Thanks Pete! I liked Avalon Waterways as much as Mom did. It is not perfect but good enough for consideration to book another cruise with them. Our TA said the CLIA prefers Ama Waterways, but I have no idea why.

storybookcruises.com September 7th, 2018 02:40 PM

As with all cruise lines, whether it be an ocean cruise or river cruise, there is something out there for everyone. And remember what I always say; what one person loves, another will hate.

So, the fun is trying all of them in order to find the best one for you!

With that said, I get asked all the time what I recommend. My answer is always the same; I don't recommend anything. And I always tell people not to listen to anyone's recommendations, because we're all different, we like different things, our lifestyles are different, our budgets are different, our requirements/needs are different, and our expectations are different. When people 'recommend' something, it's because it was good for them and that's great! But it does not necessarily mean it'll be good for you.

I have clients who absolutely love Carnival and won't go on anything else, while I have other clients who absolutely hate Carnival and would never go on them again. Same holds true for Viking, when it comes to river cruises. Had one client say that Viking is very 'ikea-ish'. I have some clients who have been on many Viking cruises and love them, while others tell me they offer an entry-level cruise. All in one's opinions.

One of the river cruise companies left out on that list is Emerald Waterways. We've not taken the opportunity to try them, but I've had clients on them and spoke very highly about their experiences. Emerald Waterways is part of Scenic River Cruises, which is a luxury brand. They wanted to offer a similar experience without some of the fancy amenities and at a better price.

Another one not mentioned that we've not tried, but we're hearing very good comments about is arosa-cruises.com. We saw one of their boats and was very impressed with it.

There are people who try one thing, like it, and stick with, while there are others who find enjoyment and excitement in trying as many as possible. We're in the latter group, not only because we have to be able to tell our clients about ships and ports from a first-hand experience, but we really enjoy embracing the differences and experiencing new adventures. It's always fun and interesting comparing the ships/boats, food, service, and amenities.

As for your agent saying that CLIA prefers AmaWaterways, I'm not sure why she would say that, because it's not true. CLIA stands for Cruise Lines International Association, that those of us who sell cruises belong to. They don't 'prefer' or 'recommend' any of their members over another member, but, just like any other association that you belong to, they do suggest using their members over non-members. I'll be very honest and say I'm not crazy about CLIA, because all they really do is offer courses to agents on how to sell cruises. That's great if they want to be a salesperson. I don't want to be a salesperson - I don't consider that my job. My job is to provide as much information as someone can handle, so they can make an informed decision on what's best for them. Anyone who says they 'prefer' or 'recommend' something is selling and that, to me, is not providing a good service to their clients. As with CLIA and most travel agencies, they give awards for being a big seller - they don't give awards for providing best service, which shows me where their main interests are. Agencies and agents love to brag about their accomplishments and sales numbers. I've been around enough of them over the last 35+ years to know what they're really like. Which is why I really don't like being called a travel agent, because they are salespeople. I look at my job as more of a consultant.

Anyway, as I've learned over the years, if an agent says they prefer, recommend, or they are pushing something, it's usually in their best interest not yours. I've stood there and watched agents push a particular cruise on someone who was definitely not suited for it just because the agency or the cruise line was offering a bonus commission. That's not providing good service. And stay away from agents or agencies that require you to come into their office or charge a fee for their services. There's absolutely no reason for either of those to occur. And by all means, NEVER deal with an agency or agent that says they are going to charge your credit card! They are an agent for the cruise line, resort, tour company, etc. and it should only be those entities that charge your card, not the agent. Same holds true if an agency/agent requires cash, check, debit card, cashier's check, etc. Run the other way!

As I said, I've been involved in travel for over 35+ years and have owned my own company for over 16 years, so I've pretty much seen and heard it all.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now, but bottom line is you have to do your homework when considering what is best for you. Remember, best price is not always best deal. And those who advertise the most are usually not the best. But with all that said, never book directly with the cruise line, the resort, the tour company, or an online site. Find a good agent who wants to work for you, provides good service, and is there when you need them - they don't just work 9-5 M-F.

But no matter what river cruise company you decide on, and there are alot more than you know, you will have an absolutely wonderful time and enjoy some amazing experiences.

Pete

kandajones September 8th, 2018 06:35 PM

We are trying our first river cruise later this year on the Danube with Viking & are really looking forward to it. However in the build up we have become aware are 2 element that all potential river cruisers need to keep in mind when choosing location & season ... 1) lack of rain abd 2) too much rain.
Most of the Danube & Rhise cruises this Summer have been affected by the very shallow waters, so much so that many river cruises have turned into coach trips with small hotels with |Viking themselves alerting passengers to this. At the other end of the scale is when rivers are too high, this means that some bridges cannot be passed under due to lack of headroom.

There is a very good report about this unlikely "spanner" at https://www.rivercruiseadvisor.com/water-levels/ plus lots of news items in the European sections at the moment.

Fingers crossed that the only high levels I see are in my wine glass :o)
Alan

storybookcruises.com September 8th, 2018 07:48 PM

You brought up a VERY good point that some people don't consider. The rivers over there are very dependent on the rain. Often times there can be too much rain and river boats cannot navigate under the bridges. Other times, they don't get enough rain and can't navigate close to the piers, so they have to dock someplace else. And many people definitely don't consider this during the Christmas market cruises - not enough snow equals not enough runoff, etc.

Thanks for bringing that up.

Pete


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