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River Cruises

I'm not sure if anyone on this forum has taken a River Cruise, but we have and were very happy that we did! We took Avalon Waterways' Paris/Normandy Trip. We spent three days in the beginning of the cruise in Paris, on our own. I cannot wait to go back; I loved Paris!

Next time I plan on another river cruise to Prague, Vienna and Budapest and perhaps spend a few days in the beginning and at the end of the cruise. So here are my questions:

If any of you have been on a river cruise, do you have a preference?
Also, do you prefer Prague or Budapest?

Posted by
4 posts

We have taken two trips with Viking - one on the Danube from Nuremberg to Budapest during the Christmas markets and one on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel in June. We currently have reservations for the Paris to Normandy cruise in December, 2015.

We really like Viking. Their cruises are for adults who are interested in culture and history. The excursions are with local guides and are included in the fare.

One thing that has been really good for us is that I can go on the more strenuous excursions while Joanne either stays on the boat or does not do the more strenuous portions of an excursion.

Posted by
11153 posts

"Also, do you prefer Prague or Budapest? "

Ah, the eternal question - with no "correct" answer. Even though Prague, Budapest, and Vienna are often thought of as triplets, and of course they have linked history and geographic proximity, they are as different as apples, oranges, and bananas. You can see two or all three on one trip and not, in any way, feel you are "duplicating." For this reason, I think they make a good combination, if you want a city-focused itinerary. And there are daytrips and overnight trips from all three to smaller towns.

Some personal opinions: I loved Prague and Budapest (would gladly return to either), and was cooler to Vienna (not eager to return, even though there are plenty of "sights" I missed). My sister loved Prague, was cool to Budapest, and hated Vienna. A friend loved Vienna, and merely liked Prague and Budapest. And another friend loved Vienna and Prague, and didn't like Budapest. You see how it is.

Posted by
794 posts

I have taken three river cruises with Grand Circle Travel and enjoyed them greatly - Vienna to Amsterdam, Rhine and Mosel, and Budapest to the Black Sea. That last trip had a pre-trip extension to Prague so we spent 4 days there. I see they also have a trip "Prague and the Blue Danube", which includes Vienna and Budapest; I'd be happy to take that one of these days. We have found the staff on GCT trips outstanding, the other travelers friendly and interesting, and the days very well planned with a lot of historical and cultural information, and not much shopping... which is perfect as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by
131 posts

We were on a river cruise with AMAWaterways last November on the Rhine River from Basel to Switzerland. It was one of the most remarkable experiences of our lives. Everything about the cruise was excellent--the food, the tours at each stop, the wine served with meals, the friendliness of the staff. I highly recommend AMAWaterways. I had not heard of them until we signed up to cruise with them but found out that they are one of the highest rated cruise lines in the world. We would like to take one of their cruises on the Danube next time beginning with time spent in Prague and then going to Budapest and on to Vienna.

Posted by
16 posts

I took the Avalon Cruise from Budapest to Prague last April and loved it. But I would definitely spend an extra day in BOTH Budapest and Prague. My partner and I added a day in Prague, which was well spent, but we failed to book extra time in Budapest and regretted it. Budapest was the biggest surprise -- as many have said, it has the charm of Paris, but without the crowds, the tourists and the attitude. We also found the people warm and friendly. We arrived on Monday afternoon and embarked Wednesday around 4:00 p.m. This really gave us only a day and a half of solid sightseeing and we ended up missing some important sights. (I still regret not seeing the Terror House, the Opera House, Memento Park, or visiting Szechenyi Baths.) You will definitely need more time.

But by all means book extra time in Prague too - you will need it.