They often feature DJs, silent discos, mixology classes, yoga, and rooftop camping (tents are supplied). These range from shoeshine, concierge service and restocking the mini-bar in Standard Suites, to packing and unpacking, arranging in-room cocktail drinks and even running a bath in the top suites. A good mid-tier option is theRoyal Balcony suite, which comes with a great view and perks like daily fruit skewers, canapes, and petit fours. Their twin-balcony staterooms feature both a French balcony and an outside balcony. Scenic operates 11 "Space-Ships" sailing on the main rivers ofEurope-- Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone and Seine, as well as Portugal's Douro. Because the Inspiration ships are the same size as Viking ships with fewer passengers and cabins, the staterooms are larger. We have done 2 cruises - Paris/Normandy with Uniworld - and Blue Danube Discovery with AMA. I need to be able to contact Avalon, Scenic, Uniworld, Tauck directly to arrange terms of the lease of a vesssel, crew, with at least two meals per day provided. While in Germany, visit the oldest brewery in Nuremberg for a bratwurst and beer. The difference comes with a significant impact on your wallet, particularly in the lower categories. These state-of-the-art, authentic paddle wheelers can accommodate from 150 to 400 guests, depending on the ship. Whats the Best Choice for a MainRiver Cruise? They even pay the public restroom fee for you. Choose Viking ifyou want a true balcony and don't mind sacrificing space to do it. It's a true gourmet experience, with well-thought-out and unusual wine pairings. Sail through France and visit the picturesque Old Town in Strasbourg. Love Scandinavian Design? Tauck does have a few high-end extras onboard, including a fitness center, complimentary bikes and a plunge pool on the top deck. Because most people travel in pairs or a family on a cruise, rates are based on double occupancy. Choose Viking ifyou want a good introduction to a port without a lot of handholding, don't mind paying for special excursions and want the best berthing in town. Started August 27, 2021, By These excursions are all included in the price of the cruise and are considered part of the river experience, although they aren't included for the sole domestic option on our list, the American Queen Steamboat Company. Cabins with French balconies are 135 square feet and standard cabins with a true balcony are 205 square feet (balcony inclusive). The open dining time is a nice addition since many cruise lines have a set dining schedule. Guests dine on four-course dinners, complemented by regional wines. The line's larger ships carry 169 passengers, while smaller vessels in France have 155 passengers. Experience the "Wild West" of France in la Camargue with farm-fresh meals, local music, and a horse show. Dining is Michelin-inspired and farm-to-table fare. It's open for lunch and dinner, and it's free for everyone. Typical starting price: Starting at $3,499 for 7 nights (per person based on double occupancy $499 per night, all-inclusive). The summer months will be far warmer, while the December cruises are cold but come with the added bonus of experiencing Christmas festivities. Notable Excursions (note, these excursions are not included and involve an extra fee): COVID-19 vaccinations are required for all guests and crew. By Automobile lovers have the chance to visit BMW World to see luxury German-made cars. You can also buy wine along the trip and have it served with your meal at no additional cost. There's a salon that provides hair and nail services, as well as a small spa for massage treatments. I have a few specific questions which I can't seem to find answers for on the websites. Featuring modern luxury ships, with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, our clients love Avalon, and some of their river itineraries are our biggest sellers. At 445 square feet, they are among the largest on the rivers with wraparound balconies, a separate bedroom and living room and another French balcony. Uniworld: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes? This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. No other fleet of river cruise ships gives you a view of the world like Avalon. Not as well known locally as APT or Scenic, Avalon Waterways have nevertheless been cruising the rivers of Europe and Asia since 2004. Compare River Cruise Lines: Which Company Fits Where? Viking has the largest fleet, by far, in Europe, with 55 nearly identical Scandinavian-inspired Longships. "Free choice" dining allows you . A river cruise is kind of like a floating hotel, except you'll visit a variety of places but only have to unpack once. Visit a farm along Normandy's Cider Route to taste the region's elegantly crafted apple ciders and calvados, and see how they're made; in Normandy, cider is an art, like winemaking, centuries old. River cruising is an efficient way to travel visit a variety of destinations and only unpack once. Although children are allowed, the line does not offer extra amenities or perks for kids. Cons: TVs are small and the cabin design is basic. Due to the size of the boats, the cabins are small, ranging from 80 square feet to about 300 square feet. Book online and enjoy exclusive savings on APT's 15 Day Rockies Icons and Alaska Cruise. The Tauck Suites are large, at over 300 square feet and have a large bed as well as a fold-out sofa. We can chat later about other destinations. Besides stringing words together professionally, Sunny once co-founded a luxury subscription box, curated a whimsical pop-up shop in San Francisco called Treasure Hunters Club, and recently inherited a vinyl-only records store in San Francisco. Visit Salzburg, Austria, the town featured in "The Sound of Music.". While Tauck also has a Lagniappe event, as well as an offsite dinner, it's not as prominently promoted as the Scenic events; it's not even listed in the daily program. Only Tauck offers family cruising through its Tauck Bridges program. Choose from a wide variety of accommodations from well-appointed suites to small no-frills single staterooms that are a mere 80 square feet. There is also Uniworld's Legendary Rhine & Moselle, 13 days. Uniworld has bicycles, and there is an included excursion every day, although there are also optional excursions. Learn more. For passengers who like convenience, though, the extra money is worth it. With over 50 riverboats, there are many cruises ships, dates, and itineraries to consider. Wine plays a role on both ships, with regional varietals served at every meal. It all boils down to what is important to you. Scenic operates custom-made vessels and a variety of cabins types. By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critics. The average is about 156 guests, which is far less than most cruise lines. Since Aqua Expeditions ships are so much smaller than the average river cruise liner, they can visit more remote destinations and the excursions reflect that, from watching Amazonian pink dolphins to receiving a blessing from a Buddhist monk while traveling the Mekong. Find the latest travel requirements for your trip. Plus, get air rates starting at $599 per person from select gateways. Viking, the world's largest river cruise company, moved up two spots into the lead position. For each, passengers are divided into groups (around the same size on both lines) and have individual audio headsets that make it easy to hear the commentary without having to cluster around the guide. Take a thrilling alpine toboggan run in Germany's Black Forest. They are more expensive, but do things first class. Most cabins also have a French balcony, which allows the rooms themselves to be larger than full balcony cabins, while still letting in fresh air. Sign up for our newsletter to get honest reviews on top products & services delivered weekly to your inbox. Book their "Open-Air Balcony" and enjoy wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows that open for fresh air. Basically, if you need anything while you're off the ship, they are only a few steps away. On its ships in France, Scenic also offers onboard cooking demonstrations. Typical starting price: $4,599 for 7 days (per person based on double occupancy $657 per night, all-inclusive), Specialty cruises: Danube Christmas markets, Oktoberfest, Rhine food and wine, Seine National Geographic photography, Amenities (may vary by ship): High-speed Wi-Fi, gym, sun-deck, walking track, bikes for shore use, pool or whirlpool, fitness classes, salon, massage, Inclusions: All meals, unlimited beverages (local wine, beer, and soft drinks with meals), daily excursions, all gratuities onboard and at restaurants, daily cocktail hour, select meals off the ship during excursions, onboard entertainment. The main restaurant setup is very similar on the lines, with buffets at breakfast and lunch plus live cooking stations and made-to-order menu items. In Italy, go on an after-hours visit to St. Mark's Basilica in Venice and tour the 9th-century church without crowds. Learn to paint like Van Gogh at the Ateliers Art Institute in Amsterdam. Visit Schloss Hof in Bratislava for chocolate tasting and learn to waltz in the grand ballroom. The line reduced capacity on its five older vessels, which are smaller, bringing the passenger counts from 118 to 98. Scenic and Tauck have many similarities, even if fans of one haven't heard of the other. 19952023, The Independent Traveler, Inc. Tauck has its headquarters in the United States, and most of its passengers are American, with a smattering of Brits and other nationalities. They also use the Quietvox system during excursions, where the tour guide speaks into a headset while passengers listen on receivers. Scenic is based in Australia, and about half of the passengers on its river cruises are from Down Under (with the rest from other English-speaking countries such as New Zealand, the U.K., Canada and the U.S.). I'm not sure you will find Tauck discounted in many places. Beyond advertising budgets, the lines offer vastly different experiences. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 2 spot. Scenic offers butler service to passengers in every cabin, with set services according to the cabin category. The Adventures by Disney river cruises are designed for families, and their itineraries, both onboard and onshore, have something for every age group. A river cruise is an all-inclusive journey where you unpack once but visit many destinations. Choose Tauck ifyou like a more intimate ship or want a multigenerational cruise. Comparing Stateroom Sizes On River Cruisers, Staterooms: River Cruisers vs. Cruise Ships, Rhne & Sane River Stateroom Size Comparisons, Rhine, Main & Danube River Stateroom Size Comparisons. Indulge in regional cuisine on Viking ships flavored with herbs grown in an on-board garden, though familiar classics are always available. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. A WORLD OF WATERWAYS The Rivers of Avalon We enjoyed AMA in May when we took the Danube Cruise. In terms of enrichment, both lines bring on local entertainers, although Scenic is more likely to bring on a band to play classic rock and music you can dance to, as opposed to folk performers. The dishes are paired with a selection of wines from the area that is being explored. Most cabins also have a French balcony, which allows the rooms themselves to be larger while still letting in fresh air. Learn to make goulash and feast on it in the Hungarian countryside while listening to a live performance by Hungarian folk musicians. Click here . Whats the Best Choice For A Rhine River Cruise? Rest easy (literally) as you enjoy bigger views, more space and 24/7 access to open-air cruising. Avalon River Cruises is recognized for their all suite concept. Tauck Tours and thus Tauck River Cruises may be the most well respected. Compared to other bigger companies, the selection of river cruises is limited. Prices shown reflect discount. AmaWaterways requires COVID-19 vaccinations for all their guests. Tauck features a wide variety of itineraries, including themed river cruises and the Tauck Bridges sailings designed for families and multigenerational groups. Pro: You'll save money as you won't have to pay to fly overseas. There is no special programming for kids, and children under eight are not allowed to sail. Onboard enrichment on both lines is based around the destinations visited. TAUCK VALUE INCLUDES. River Cruising Along The Rivers of France Whether the Seine, the Sane or the Rhne, on a river cruise with Tauck you'll feel it the moment you step ashore in village and towns - that palpable realization of the true meaning of joie de vivre, enjoyment of life. And yes, Sunny is her real name. About Viking - do they have open seating for dinner? Tauck's alternative restaurant, Arthur's, has evolved into a casual grill, with a menu offering everything from hamburgers and salads to pastas and steaks. Having fewer people on the same size ship does make a difference in terms of seating, service and overall vibe. Viking also has six smaller "Baby Longships," which sail theDouro Riverin Portugal and the Elbe River in Germany and the Czech Republic. During the trip, Guests will be required to complete a self-assessment daily. Viking ships sail all of Europe's major rivers, including the Rhine, Danube, Rhone, Main, Moselle, Seine, Dordogne, Garonne, Gironde and Dutch waterways. On Tauck's four Inspiration ships, you'll find 67 cabins, and 49 on its Jewel-class ships. Standard staterooms, which are the least expensive, hover at the water level, and come in at about 150 square feet. Choose Viking ifyou want what has become the industry standard for river cruising, a semi-inclusive experience with a line that does more sailings on more rivers than anyone else. Its ship have suites with pullout sofas to accommodate third or fourth passengers. Catching up with Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection - What's it Like On Board Evrima? We had cabin 308 (cat. Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $2,788. smalltowner, October 30, 2010 in River Cruising. Ships offer a wide choice of dishes to suit all tastes, including healthy choices and simpler "always available" dishes, although Tauck has more vegan and vegetarian options. COVID-19 procedures are availablehere. Viking has a top suite category that is pricier than anything you'd find on Tauck, however. Tauck and Scenic include more in their fares than anyone else, with gratuities, all alcohol, transfers, choice of shore excursions, all dining and Wi-Fi included. Like most cruises, the food served is reflective of your destination's local cuisine and there is also a light menu and options for vegetarians, vegans, and kids. Whats the Best Choice for a Sane River Cruise? Scenic offers all passengers a limited 24-hour room service menu, with full in-suite dining for passengers in Royal and Royal Panorama Suites. The Aquavit Lounge is glass-enclosed and it can open to the elements in nice weather. Both Tauck and Scenic are at the high end of river cruises, in terms of price and inclusions. While Scenic has casual dining in its River Cafe, it closes at 6 p.m. Arthur's can be a real boon, particularly if you've already snacked at a local cafe and want a simple nosh at night, instead of a full-blown three-course meal. (The amount varies from country to country, but it is generous and enough to buy a meal and drink). Both Tauck and Scenic boast spacious, contemporary cabins that are among the most comfortable in river cruising. I think they'd maybe be my first choice, and I know everything is included with them, but I like to get a bargain if I can. The River Cafe offers light bites from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for everyone, while Table La Rive is an upscale Chef's Table for upper-deck passengers only. Pros:The boats have a small number of guests so they feel very intimate. Concierges can arrange services while you're in port at various hotels or providers along the way. Special diets can be catered for with advance notice, and menus are labeled for people with dietary restrictions. In French balcony cabins, the beds generally face the window for better views. However, for me probably the highlight was the tours. And that is the very essence of our France river cruises. Adventures by Disney is the best option for families since they curate their onboard and onshore activities with kids and teens in mind. They are owned by Globus and do a fantastic job. All told, the fleet stands at 70 (excluding ships not currently operating in Russia). To stand in long lines, push through the crowds, and generally have the same standard-issue vacation as everyone else. 19952023, The Independent Traveler, Inc. Get the real picture with both traveler and expert reviews to ensure the trip you book is the right one for you. Choose Tauck ifyou want an all-inclusive river cruise with more extras and a higher-end feel -- and don't mind paying for it. It should re-energize and transform. On Tauck's four newer ships, you'll find 67 cabins: nine measuring 150 square feet, four measuring 190 square feet, 32 measuring 225 square feet and 22 suites measuring 300 square feet. CC Help Jenn While many cruise lines have a strict dining schedule, these ships offer several different onboard restaurants. Viking, Avalon, AmaWaterways, Crystal, Uniworld, U by Uniworld, and Tauck each supplied a ship for the special occasion. Cons: Viking is adults only; passengers must be over the age of 18. COVID-19 procedures are availablehere. The river cruises ships all have comfortable, well-appointed cabins and an array of perks like complimentary in-room dining, pillow menus, and epic views that make the journey feel luxurious. Viking Longships carry 190 passengers and have 95 cabins. Those are also offered all day, not just at mealtimes, which is a nice addition. But that's not good enough for us, and it's not good enough for you. Whats Included In All-Inclusive River Cruises? These are the best river cruise lines, sorted by price from low to high. Crystal Cruises river cruise line features all-suite ships. Viking has built its name on destination immersion, and the company doesn't provide extras such as gyms, spas, bikes or pools on its ships. Both lines offer passengers a choice of included excursions in every port. It's easy to see the world's sights. (Scenic has. The boats are all relatively new, and can accommodate up to 190 passengers. The least expensive cabins are interior and have no windows. Tours & Operators on Travelstride Awarded and Featured by: 2023 Travelstride. On Viking, everyone eats at the same time, which can create a "herding" effect that some people dislike. Scenic also has theTailormade App, which works as an audio guide and offers independent city tours, and an offline navigation system. Avalon's vacations are categorized as deluxe on the industry rating scale (budget, first class or deluxe). Avalon Waterways My cabin (#312) aboard Avalon Tapestry II on the Seine River in Normandy. The line is mostly known in the United States. The pours at lunch and dinner are generous, so if you're not a liquor drinker -- or don't like alcohol at all -- you might not need all the extras that Tauck provides. We operate independently from our advertising team. As for the bed itself, guests can choose their own mattress and pillow firmness from Avalon's Comfort Collection. The large array of excursions has something for everyone from a cooking class to strenuous hikes, and visiting an ancient castle. Copyright 19952023 The Independent Traveler, Inc. Amazing, Funny & Totally Awesome Cruise Photos, http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1224277, Click here to reload the page in order to enable certain features, Policy regarding COVID related Discussions, C858B0A9-6769-424D-B129-59363EDAC023.jpeg, B5073042-BF8A-4EEC-BD19-0938D8732763.jpeg. Book a signature suite and indulge in larger marble bathrooms, a fully-stocked bar, and fresh cookies and fruit delivered daily. Tauck River Cruises: Is Tauck the Best River Cruise Line For You? Choose Tauck ifyou're fine with a French balcony and want a larger standard cabin. The cabins are large with King-sized beds, which is a rarity in river cruising. When she's not out shopping, she's plotting her next trip to Disneyland, remodeling her 1920s bungalow, and hanging out with her tween and their new puppy. Is there a way of getting a discounted price with them? AmaWaterways, with over 25 ships, is known for having a smaller amount of passengers on board. River Cruise Advisor's video reviews take two forms: ship and experience reviews, and Riverside Chats, more of a question and answer style video. Avalon Waterways has used their 80-plus years of travel expertise to design the very best river cruise experience. On the Danube sailing, see the Wachau Valley from a canoe and visit a hidden beach. Choose Tauck ifyou like open seating and want the choice of having room service and a true alternative dining venue where you can get casual, hot food. What are the differences between Viking River Cruises & Uniworld River Cruises & AmaWaterways & Tauck & CroisiEurope & Riviera & Scenic? In the Netherlands, explore the windmill village of Zaanse Schans with its houses from the 18th and 19th centuries. The cabins and public areas are also beautifully appointed with art, antiques, hand-painted murals, and luxury linens. Tauck just looked fabulous but, for us, the premium is not worth it as the additional inclusions are not important to us. All cruise lines have new COVID-19 policies that prioritize the health and safety of guests. In fact, there are many kid-friend amenities, such as cooking classes, a young travelers' lounge, and a game room complete with PlayStation, games, movies, and local treats. Come face-to-face with the gentle manta rays of Komodo National Park in Indonesia. Window cabins are 150 square feet to Viking's 135, and most of Tauck's cabins have a French balcony and are 225 square feet (while the standard on Viking is 205 square feet). Spacious ships carry between 84 and 130 guests, and since the single supplement is waived on select cabins, it's a good choice for solo travelers . The line sails on the major European rivers: Rhine, Main, Danube, Rhone, Seine and Moselle. In Portugal, visit the Burmester Cellars for a fine dining experience along with a traditional Fado musical accompaniment. Keep in mind that the itineraries are still destination-immersive, so you might not have as much time to use these as you think you will. The beds in the Panorama Suites are also cleverly placed against the opposite wall so guests may view the scenery from bed. Expect to sail with Aussies, Brits and other English-speaking nationalities. They are also more likely to offer a hike or a strenuous walk than Tauck. Grownups may enjoy adult-only dinners and wine tastings, and there is actually a nice variety of adult-exclusive sailings (generally when school is in session), which offer more sophisticated offerings. Many of the river cruise passengers will have taken land tours with the company. Large private bathrooms include full showers and. For example, European river cruises run fromMarch through December. These sleek ships generally host less than 200 passengers and go where giant cruise liners cannot, such as the Danube, Rhine, Rhne, Mekong, Mississippi, and Nile Rivers. Adventures by Disney recommends that children be 8 and up, but they only need to be 4 and up to sail. The river cruises ships all have comfortable, well-appointed cabins and an array of perks like complimentary in-room dining, pillow menus, and epic views that make the journey feel luxurious. Pros: Tauck boasts exclusive cultural experiences that are truly unique. Not only are Avalon Panorama Suites 30% larger than the industry standard . Tauck is a much more deluxe experience, with alcohol and spirits included at all times, plus an in-room mini-bar stocked with bottled waters and sodas; all excursions; Wi-Fi; bikes onboard; gratuities; money to buy lunch in port; and special events such as dinner at a one- star Michelin restaurant. Any input from people on this forum would be appreciated. The line's revamped older ships have 49 cabins: eight measuring 150 square feet, four measuring 183 square feet, one measuring 182 square feet, 20 measuring 225 square feet and 14 suites measuring 300 square feet. Aqua Expeditions is all about luxury with a modern take. I've come up with 4 that I think might suit us, and I'd appreciate comments from anyone who has experienced any of them. They are also one of the most affordable river cruise options. The line also offers a "bite to eat" snack menu that can be delivered to your cabin as room service, or to any of the lounges as a small plate. During the Nile adventure, take a traditional Egyptian boat ride and have afternoon tea at the Old Cataract Hotel Aswan in Aswan. The cruise lines are priced to start at $241 per night, depending on the time of year and the cruise line. But no matter how different the motivation, Tauck river cruising has a way of bringing everyone of every age and generation together to share . Cons: This is the most expensive on our list, so it is an investment. Some ships on both lines have hot tubs or plunge pools on the top deck. The staff was awesome, and the entire experience was great. Viking has more weeklong cruises than Tauck and sails in more places and on more dates. It depends on what you are looking for in your vacation. Uniworld stands out immediately for its impressively designed interiors; each ship is themed to the areas that ships sail through. The ship's "Design Your Time" concierge service will help personalize your onboard and onshore experiences. On both lines, the main restaurant setup is very similar, with buffets at breakfast and lunch plus live cooking stations and made-to-order menu items. Scenic also has special "TailorMade" devices that allow travelers to head out by themselves and follow GPS guided tours that are pre-programed into the personal audio systems. Special diets can be catered for with advance notice and menus are labeled for people with dietary restrictions. It should be fun. On all these journeys from the Ganges to the Rhne dining is a big part of the adventure. First, about Tauck. Stay at the 'Castle in the Rockies', and relish a Rocky Mountaineer rail journey. If you want flexibility, the line is hard to beat. Why Take A Tauck River Cruise. Choose Viking ifyou like dining alfresco. You'll pay about $1,000 more than lines such as Viking, AmaWaterways and Avalon. At the top end are large well-appointed suites with two full-sized rooms and great views, measuring about 445 square feet. All rights reserved. They are smaller than traditional cruise ships and boast more tailored offerings, such as carefully curated cuisine that is reflective of the areas being visited.