Honeymoon Discussions

European River Cruise - Recommendations?

H and I are frequent travelers (we just returned from 2 weeks in Greece) but we've never done a river cruise (did a Royal Carribean cruise a few years back on the Western Carribean, and while I enjoyed the accessibility of basically everything on a cruise, I didn't enjoy the ports or activities in the ports, and didn't like the massive ship with thousands of people). I've always been interested in a river cruise, but don't know much more than what I've seen via Viking. We've done "middle" Europe (Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece, Austria, Slovenia) but never more Western Europe, where a lot of the river cruises run. We'd probably do a Christmas-time cruise; I would like to be back by the 22nd so I can work the week of Christmas (so I can give my teams off, and frankly, Christmas week is the BEST at work because it's quiet and I can get stuff done!) H and I are 32 and 31, and I realize we'll probably be among the youngest adults on-board, but we're ok with that. Recommendations on cruise lines? How to get a great deal? (If I wait until November to book, with the risk of not being able to, is that a bad idea?) I don't want to say money is no concern, but I don't have a set budget for this (but I probably couldn't stomach spending 8k on a week-long cruise coming to 1k per day...unless I'm getting full spa service or something like that). @CMGragain you must have some thoughts on this!
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Re: European River Cruise - Recommendations?

  • Jells2dot0Jells2dot0 Cowtown mod
    Moderator Ninth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its
    @JoanE2012 has been on one! I keep trying to plan one, but I end up doing the itineraries via land instead. I have primarily been looking at Uniworld and AmaWaterways. The Christmas Market cruises are super popular and I do not think it's wise to wait until the last minute to book.

     







  • freebread03freebread03 member
    1000 Comments Fourth Anniversary 250 Love Its First Answer
    edited July 2015
    @Jells2dot0 thanks! Especially for recommendations on other lines. If we couldn't get a last minute booking, we would probably do something local (i.e. staycation) which is fine too since Christmas in DC is beautiful (I'm embarassed to say we never go down to see the National Christmas Tree, but I always try to remember to enter us into the drawing for the tree lighting tickets!) But I don't like the last minute booking idea either (I like to plan). Looks like a lot of pre-Christmas dates are already sold out, at least on Viking!
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    edited July 2015
    We did this Christmas river cruise a couple years ago (we also did the 2 nights in Prague before sailing)


    We did extensive research on the various river boats - we liked AmaWaterways because it felt more modern than most companies.  We were mid 30s, and there were probably about 2 other couples younger than us.  We still had a wonderful time!  It is VERY different from an ocean cruise though - one seating for dinner (wonderful food!), some entertainment at night (usually a local person or group brought on board to sing, dance or play piano).  But that's pretty much it.  But by the time 9 or 10 rolled around, we were tired and ready for bed anyway. 

    We saved money by NOT booking a balcony cabin - we knew we wouldn't use it when it was cold outside (and if we REALLY wanted to go outside, we'd go up to the top deck).  We also knew though that we didn't want just a window - so we chose a french balcony that you could just slide open.  There's not many, so we didn't wait too long to book - I think we booked in June.

    That said, many of the dates for the Christmas cruises are now $1,500 off per person!  We'd do it again in a heartbeat but it's hard for my DH to get time off that month now.  We're trying to plan their tulip cruise next spring.  Happy to answer any questions you may have!

    PS - Bring a separate duffel bag if and when you go - much of our house is decorated at Christmas with things we brought back from the markets!
  • About eleven years ago, we went with Uniworld during the summer.  It was memorable, and I highly recommend them.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • @JoanE2012 thanks for the great recommendations!  If we get closer to booking, I will DEFINITELY PM you with some questions.  H and I were talking about balcony vs none--we usually like a large balcony but realized that we don't need anything more than a juliette balcony for a winter cruise--but definitely want the giant window (not the little sliver window type thing).
  • Those boats are much smaller than cruise ships.   We noticed a lot of vibration and engine noise on the lower decks, but it was fine on our 3rd deck.  Most of our viewing time was in the lounge or up on the top deck  The balconies weren't really necessary..
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • dalm0mdalm0m member
    Ninth Anniversary 500 Comments 25 Love Its Combo Breaker
    Check out the River Cruise section of www.cruisecritic,com

  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    H and I were looking into Scenic Cruises. It touts itself as a luxury cruise line. It seems to have mixed reviews though. What I liked about what they offer is that the shore excursions are included. 
  • H and I were looking into Scenic Cruises. It touts itself as a luxury cruise line. It seems to have mixed reviews though. What I liked about what they offer is that the shore excursions are included. 
    Viking and Uniworld also include the shore excursions.  Few buses, and lots of walking, but that's how you get to see things.  Europe was not developed around the automobile, like te USA was!
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    H and I were looking into Scenic Cruises. It touts itself as a luxury cruise line. It seems to have mixed reviews though. What I liked about what they offer is that the shore excursions are included. 
    Viking and Uniworld also include the shore excursions.  Few buses, and lots of walking, but that's how you get to see things.  Europe was not developed around the automobile, like te USA was!
    I think most of the river cruises include excursions.  AmaWaterways did too.  We liked that they broke the ship down into smaller groups for each excursion, and often had one group that was designated the "slow" walkers and one group the "fast" walkers.  Everyone also had headseats so you didn't have to be up close to the guide to hear.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    @JoanE2012 thanks for the great recommendations!  If we get closer to booking, I will DEFINITELY PM you with some questions.  H and I were talking about balcony vs none--we usually like a large balcony but realized that we don't need anything more than a juliette balcony for a winter cruise--but definitely want the giant window (not the little sliver window type thing).
    We're the same way - we usually like a large balcony (and a porthole or small window wouldn't be enough!).  But the difference was around $800, so we decided to just stick with the french balcony.  About half of one floor of the ship was a huge lounge with comfy couches and chairs, so we found ourselves there on the few times we were sailing during the day.  We could watch the countryside go by, read, or nap!  And with a small ship, it's so easy to get up to the sundeck (in the nice weather) or the lounge....we'd probably always save the money and just do a french balcony.
  • I'm really hoping we can get our acts together to make this work--I'm looking forward to not having to pack and unpack (my biggest gripe during my Greece trip a few weeks ago...and I packed light-I'm proud of the fact that I only used a carryon for our two week vaca!)

    Definitely agree with you @joanE2012 -with the open common space on the boat, no need for a giant balcony (and I can spend that money on something else).  @CMgragain thanks for mentioning location of the room-I wouldn't have thought about a low vs high room (I haven't cruised much--maybe H would have thought about it since he's been on a lot of cruises growing up).

    Also, I told H I would ask the ladies of The Knot, and he said, "you know people on The Knot? I thought you just liked to read the Etiquette board."  I had to explain to him that there were lots of people who know a lot about a lot, and that I KNEW I'd get good river cruise feedback.  When I shared ya'll feedback, he said "reaaallly."  #winning
    JoanE2012
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited July 2015
    CMGragain said:
    H and I were looking into Scenic Cruises. It touts itself as a luxury cruise line. It seems to have mixed reviews though. What I liked about what they offer is that the shore excursions are included. 
    Viking and Uniworld also include the shore excursions.  Few buses, and lots of walking, but that's how you get to see things.  Europe was not developed around the automobile, like te USA was!
    Yeah, I'm aware of this. I sailed on the QE2 for 10 days on the Mediterranean in addition to 3 other trips to Europe. You're not the only experienced European traveler. 
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    CMGragain said:
    H and I were looking into Scenic Cruises. It touts itself as a luxury cruise line. It seems to have mixed reviews though. What I liked about what they offer is that the shore excursions are included. 
    Viking and Uniworld also include the shore excursions.  Few buses, and lots of walking, but that's how you get to see things.  Europe was not developed around the automobile, like te USA was!
    Yeah, I'm aware of this. I sailed on the QE2 for 10 days on the Mediterranean in addition to 3 other trips to Europe. You're not the only experienced European traveler. 
    Do you have to respond to CMGr in such a snarky manner all the time?

    lyndausviShesSoColdohmrs2014kmmssg
  • I know you said you'd be find being some of the youngest adults on board, but I just wanted to mention that my parents recently went on one- they are 60 and were the youngest adults on board by 15 years.
  • I know you said you'd be find being some of the youngest adults on board, but I just wanted to mention that my parents recently went on one- they are 60 and were the youngest adults on board by 15 years.

    Yikes really?! We might end up waiting until next year when we can get my parents to come...they're in their 70s. I guess either way we'll be far under the average age, but I think we'd be fine doing our own thing (that's kind of us anyways...)
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    hahaha - I will say that on our cruise, there was a decent number of folks in their 40s and 50s.  But when we were greeted by the captain at the welcome cocktail hour, he mentioned how he was happy to see "younger" people on board.  hahahaa.  I will also add  - my parents went on the cruise with us.  @freebread03 - those memories of that trip with my folks will be with me forever - priceless.

    But we would've been ok on our own too - I enjoyed the conversations I had with some of the "older" folks - they often had great travel stories to share!
  • CMGragainCMGragain member
    10000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 25 Answers
    edited July 2015
    The explanation of the older passengers is simple - there is no  kids program on board.  Nothing for the little tykes to do.  Younger couples with children usually opt for the Carnival or Disney cruises with kids programs.
    DH and raised our two kids with no help from relatives.  No grandma to babysit when we wanted to go out.  We finally trusted them alone in the house on our 25th wedding anniversary.  That is when we began to travel, ages 50+.  This is true for a lot of cruisers.
    Also, most working people can't take off for  two weeks to go traveling.  This is why the shorter cruises tend to have a younger passenger age average.
    We had a few younger couples on our European river cruise (Amsterdam to Budapest), but we didn't see much of them.   The older folks actually seemed to be more adventurous.  They were taking the trip of their lifetime, and they were ready to party.  Strauss waltz, anybody?  Who knows the words to "Lilly Marlene" in German?  "Ja, ja, ja, ja!"
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg


  • I know you said you'd be find being some of the youngest adults on board, but I just wanted to mention that my parents recently went on one- they are 60 and were the youngest adults on board by 15 years.




    Yikes really?! We might end up waiting until next year when we can get my parents to come...they're in their 70s. I guess either way we'll be far under the average age, but I think we'd be fine doing our own thing (that's kind of us anyways...)


    Yeah. They wound up really feeling out of place. Even the fast walking tours were much too slow, they felt like the food wasn't exciting or particularly flavorful, didn't like the nightlife ending on the early side etc. I can't remember which line it was, and of course they might have just stumbled across a particularly elderly sailing but I just don't think it's a great option for two active mobile people in their 30s.

  • I know you said you'd be find being some of the youngest adults on board, but I just wanted to mention that my parents recently went on one- they are 60 and were the youngest adults on board by 15 years.

    Yikes really?! We might end up waiting until next year when we can get my parents to come...they're in their 70s. I guess either way we'll be far under the average age, but I think we'd be fine doing our own thing (that's kind of us anyways...)
    Yeah. They wound up really feeling out of place. Even the fast walking tours were much too slow, they felt like the food wasn't exciting or particularly flavorful, didn't like the nightlife ending on the early side etc. I can't remember which line it was, and of course they might have just stumbled across a particularly elderly sailing but I just don't think it's a great option for two active mobile people in their 30s.
    Not all senior citizens are slow.  DH's hiking group has people in their 80's who hike rings around him.  He's the youngest and the slowest member of the group.
    Nightlife?  Not on the river boat.  It isn't a large boat, and noise would disturb sleeping passengers.  Often, the boat is docked at night in the middle of an old European town.  You simply walk off the boat and stroll around town to find a lively place.  Nobody tells you that you can't go where you want, but I would advise not going out alone in cities like Vienna or Budapest.
    Please don't stereotype us older folks.  We come in all shapes, sizes, and energy levels.
    httpiimgurcomTCCjW0wjpg
    Denise40
  • STARMOON44STARMOON44 member
    Knottie Warrior 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    edited July 2015
    CMGragain said:






    I know you said you'd be find being some of the youngest adults on board, but I just wanted to mention that my parents recently went on one- they are 60 and were the youngest adults on board by 15 years.




    Yikes really?! We might end up waiting until next year when we can get my parents to come...they're in their 70s. I guess either way we'll be far under the average age, but I think we'd be fine doing our own thing (that's kind of us anyways...)

    Yeah. They wound up really feeling out of place. Even the fast walking tours were much too slow, they felt like the food wasn't exciting or particularly flavorful, didn't like the nightlife ending on the early side etc. I can't remember which line it was, and of course they might have just stumbled across a particularly elderly sailing but I just don't think it's a great option for two active mobile people in their 30s.

    Not all senior citizens are slow.  DH's hiking group has people in their 80's who hike rings around him.  He's the youngest and the slowest member of the group.
    Nightlife?  Not on the river boat.  It isn't a large boat, and noise would disturb sleeping passengers.  Often, the boat is docked at night in the middle of an old European town.  You simply walk off the boat and stroll around town to find a lively place.  Nobody tells you that you can't go where you want, but I would advise not going out alone in cities like Vienna or Budapest.
    Please don't stereotype us older folks.  We come in all shapes, sizes, and energy levels.


    I'm not stereotyping older folks. I am describing the specific experience my parents had on one cruise, and I even said that of course that one cruise couldn't speak for every experience. My parents felt out of place, too young, and didn't like how the cruise was catering to those who weren't as active as they were. Those inactive people were elderly.

    Why on earth wouldn't you go out alone in Vienna or Budapest though? I've been to both and they're perfectly safe and lovely cities.
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers
    @STARMOON44 - Curious what river cruise line your parents sailed with?
  • JoanE2012 said:

    @STARMOON44 - Curious what river cruise line your parents sailed with?

    If I can track that down I will update (they're rocking retirement and are in Norway now. Totes jealous).
  • JoanE2012JoanE2012 Exit 21 (Jersey!) member
    5000 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary 5 Answers

    JoanE2012 said:

    @STARMOON44 - Curious what river cruise line your parents sailed with?

    If I can track that down I will update (they're rocking retirement and are in Norway now. Totes jealous).
    Oh wow! Good for them! I hope to be able to do lots of traveling like that in retirement too!
  • climbingsingleclimbingsingle NYC 'burbs member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    When we sailed on the QE2 in 2013, we were by far the youngest people on board by many, many years. We also traveled with my MIL (in her 60s), H's step-grandma (in her late 70s) and her friend (I think she was around 80 at the time). We had a blast. We only did a few tours through Cunard (a jeep safari in Portugal, a beach trip in Spain and a tour in Gibraltar) though they did seem to have a large variety of activities suited to people of all ages. There wasn't a ton of nightlife on board, but honestly, each day we were so exhausted that we were in our room by 11pm. 

  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    I took a 10-day mediterranean cruise when I was 27. It was me, BFF and my parents.  My parents were in their 50's and they were on the young side.    We were definitely the youngest. 

    My GF and I had a blast.  The crew loved us.  We were at the captain's table, we went to special parties.   We loved the other passengers.  We danced with them, hung out, shared bottles of wine (which they bought :p ).  We had meals with random older guests.   While the older passengers were on bus tours we were on mopeds.  They all lived vicariously through us.  They all were so interested on what we were doing.   


    Both my BFF and I come from large multi-generational families.  We both hang out with "old" people.   Having a mostly older crowd was NOT an issue for us.    We loved hearing them tell stories of the past.  How they met 50 something years ago.

    It's all about attitude.   When we were in line to get on the cruise someone looked at us and said "Why are you on this cruise? Most passengers are normally newlywed or nearly dead".   

      Yes, that was mostly true, but that didn't keeps a bunch of cute 27-year old females from having a great time.   I think it's kind of sad that different generations can't just hang out together.

    If you want to go, go.  Have a great time.       




    My parents are in the Dakotas right now.  They are ticking off a few more states to hit 50 (not sure where they are, but it's near or more than 40).    In Sept they are taking a 2 week cruise to New England and Canada.   In February they are going to South American and a drive-by of Antarctica.   That will be their last continents.  Next year they are coming here, then heading up to Wyoming, Idaho, Montana.    

    Say what you will, but there is something to be said about having kids earlier in life.   






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    Maggie0829
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    lyndausvi said:
    I took a 10-day mediterranean cruise when I was 27. It was me, BFF and my parents.  My parents were in their 50's and they were on the young side.    We were definitely the youngest. 

    My GF and I had a blast.  The crew loved us.  We were at the captain's table, we went to special parties.   We loved the other passengers.  We danced with them, hung out, shared bottles of wine (which they bought :p ).  We had meals with random older guests.   While the older passengers were on bus tours we were on mopeds.  They all lived vicariously through us.  They all were so interested on what we were doing.   


    Both my BFF and I come from large multi-generational families.  We both hang out with "old" people.   Having a mostly older crowd was NOT an issue for us.    We loved hearing them tell stories of the past.  How they met 50 something years ago.

    It's all about attitude.   When we were in line to get on the cruise someone looked at us and said "Why are you on this cruise? Most passengers are normally newlywed or nearly dead".   

      Yes, that was mostly true, but that didn't keeps a bunch of cute 27-year old females from having a great time.   I think it's kind of sad that different generations can't just hang out together.

    If you want to go, go.  Have a great time.       




    My parents are in the Dakotas right now.  They are ticking off a few more states to hit 50 (not sure where they are, but it's near or more than 40).    In Sept they are taking a 2 week cruise to New England and Canada.   In February they are going to South American and a drive-by of Antarctica.   That will be their last continents.  Next year they are coming here, then heading up to Wyoming, Idaho, Montana.    

    Say what you will, but there is something to be said about having kids earlier in life.   
    The bolded is so true.  Who cares if you are the youngest by many, many years?  "Old" people can still be a ton of fun to be with.  My parents live in a retirement community in Florida and they party more then I do.

    But really whether or not you have fun is dependent upon your attitude and what you make of your vacation.  If you sulk because the nightlife ends at 11pm or there are only "old" people on the cruise then you aren't going to have a good time.

    CMGragain
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    edited July 2015
    lyndausvi said:
    I took a 10-day mediterranean cruise when I was 27. It was me, BFF and my parents.  My parents were in their 50's and they were on the young side.    We were definitely the youngest. 

    My GF and I had a blast.  The crew loved us.  We were at the captain's table, we went to special parties.   We loved the other passengers.  We danced with them, hung out, shared bottles of wine (which they bought :p ).  We had meals with random older guests.   While the older passengers were on bus tours we were on mopeds.  They all lived vicariously through us.  They all were so interested on what we were doing.   


    Both my BFF and I come from large multi-generational families.  We both hang out with "old" people.   Having a mostly older crowd was NOT an issue for us.    We loved hearing them tell stories of the past.  How they met 50 something years ago.

    It's all about attitude.   When we were in line to get on the cruise someone looked at us and said "Why are you on this cruise? Most passengers are normally newlywed or nearly dead".   

      Yes, that was mostly true, but that didn't keeps a bunch of cute 27-year old females from having a great time.   I think it's kind of sad that different generations can't just hang out together.

    If you want to go, go.  Have a great time.       




    My parents are in the Dakotas right now.  They are ticking off a few more states to hit 50 (not sure where they are, but it's near or more than 40).    In Sept they are taking a 2 week cruise to New England and Canada.   In February they are going to South American and a drive-by of Antarctica.   That will be their last continents.  Next year they are coming here, then heading up to Wyoming, Idaho, Montana.    

    Say what you will, but there is something to be said about having kids earlier in life.   
    The bolded is so true.  Who cares if you are the youngest by many, many years?  "Old" people can still be a ton of fun to be with.  My parents live in a retirement community in Florida and they party more then I do.

    But really whether or not you have fun is dependent upon your attitude and what you make of your vacation.  If you sulk because the nightlife ends at 11pm or there are only "old" people on the cruise then you aren't going to have a good time.
    so true.  The club has a lot of retirement aged people.  Those people party.    I'm invited to one of their parties next month.  I'm so going.  

      No, they do not party until the wee hours of the morning, but they have sure mastered day drinking.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
    Maggie0829CMGragain
  • Maggie0829Maggie0829 Ravens & Bohs & Crabs & O's member
    Eighth Anniversary 10000 Comments 500 Love Its 25 Answers
    lyndausvi said:
    lyndausvi said:
    I took a 10-day mediterranean cruise when I was 27. It was me, BFF and my parents.  My parents were in their 50's and they were on the young side.    We were definitely the youngest. 

    My GF and I had a blast.  The crew loved us.  We were at the captain's table, we went to special parties.   We loved the other passengers.  We danced with them, hung out, shared bottles of wine (which they bought :p ).  We had meals with random older guests.   While the older passengers were on bus tours we were on mopeds.  They all lived vicariously through us.  They all were so interested on what we were doing.   


    Both my BFF and I come from large multi-generational families.  We both hang out with "old" people.   Having a mostly older crowd was NOT an issue for us.    We loved hearing them tell stories of the past.  How they met 50 something years ago.

    It's all about attitude.   When we were in line to get on the cruise someone looked at us and said "Why are you on this cruise? Most passengers are normally newlywed or nearly dead".   

      Yes, that was mostly true, but that didn't keeps a bunch of cute 27-year old females from having a great time.   I think it's kind of sad that different generations can't just hang out together.

    If you want to go, go.  Have a great time.       




    My parents are in the Dakotas right now.  They are ticking off a few more states to hit 50 (not sure where they are, but it's near or more than 40).    In Sept they are taking a 2 week cruise to New England and Canada.   In February they are going to South American and a drive-by of Antarctica.   That will be their last continents.  Next year they are coming here, then heading up to Wyoming, Idaho, Montana.    

    Say what you will, but there is something to be said about having kids earlier in life.   
    The bolded is so true.  Who cares if you are the youngest by many, many years?  "Old" people can still be a ton of fun to be with.  My parents live in a retirement community in Florida and they party more then I do.

    But really whether or not you have fun is dependent upon your attitude and what you make of your vacation.  If you sulk because the nightlife ends at 11pm or there are only "old" people on the cruise then you aren't going to have a good time.
    so true.  The club has a lot of retirement aged people.  Those people party.    I'm invited to one of their parties next month.  I'm so going.  

      No, they do not party until the wee hours of the morning, but they have sure masted day drinking.
    Yup!  Pretty much everything closes up by 10pm (at the latest) but happy hour starts at like noon.  So not only do they get to party it up, they also get a pretty good nights sleep to be able to get up the next morning and do it all over again.

    lyndausviCMGragain
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