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Germany River Boat Cruises Info
Old 07-29-2016, 12:51 AM   #1
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Germany River Boat Cruises Info

Thinking of doing a long boat river cruise in Germany in the fall. Looking for advice of boat tour companies, the good/not good. Also best river to tour and what to expect on-board i.e. rooms, food, etc.. Greatly appreciate info.
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Old 07-29-2016, 08:29 AM   #2
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We've traveled with Viking River cruises twice: The Rhine from Basel Switzerland to Amsterdam, and The Rhine/Main/Danube from Amsterdam to Budapest. We really enjoyed them both.

The rooms are comfortable - make sure you on the newer "Viking Longships" for the best experience. We traveled once on a brand new Longship and once on an older boat. We could see the difference - the newer rooms are larger, the bathrooms are nicer, there are more outlets, etc. They definitely learned how to make them better. We loved not having to pack/unpack since your "hotel room" travels with you.

We enjoyed the food on board. This includes all the wine/beer you can drink during meals. They are also very good at providing special needs diets if you let them know ahead of time.

The shore excursions are fun, but it's worth striking out on your own sometimes - you are typically docked right in the middle of town in most places. For example, we did a special evening in Vienna at a nice restaurant that was very memorable.

A downside is that you can't control the weather. Some seasons the rivers are low or high and in the worse case scenario they end up bussing you.

Is there anything more specific you want to know?
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Old 07-29-2016, 09:14 AM   #3
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If you don't like socializing all the time: get a room with small open balcony.
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Old 07-29-2016, 10:07 AM   #4
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If you don't like socializing all the time: get a room with small open balcony.
We took a number of river cruises with Vantage and enjoyed them. A word of caution with Viking-they have so many boats on the river that there is a lot of "rafting" where boats are tied up next to each other. The view from your balcony may be the balcony of the next boat. Also if you are not tied up to the dock, you have to go through the lobby or up through the sundeck of another ship.
This may be a problem for anyone who is mobility impaired.
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Old 07-29-2016, 12:06 PM   #5
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We cruised the Baltic Sea 11 nights to Germany, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen 8/2015. Then we flew to Oslo and took a train/cruise to Bergen.
4/2016, we took a 12 day cruise from Rome to Malta, through the Greece Isles to Turkey and back to Rome.

Both of our trips would have been a trip of a lifetime had we not been so well traveled.

We paid less for those two trips and two flights to Europe than just one week on a European river cruise (excluding flights.) I don't consider Viking river cruises to be very good travel values.
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Old 07-29-2016, 01:16 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
We cruised the Baltic Sea 11 nights to Germany, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen 8/2015. Then we flew to Oslo and took a train/cruise to Bergen.
4/2016, we took a 12 day cruise from Rome to Malta, through the Greece Isles to Turkey and back to Rome.

Both of our trips would have been a trip of a lifetime had we not been so well traveled.

We paid less for those two trips and two flights to Europe than just one week on a European river cruise (excluding flights.) I don't consider Viking river cruises to be very good travel values.
These cruises you took, what boat/ship were they on ?
Could you describe your experience a bit more as We are also considering a Europe trip. Our cruise experience so far has been a 4,000 passenger ship on Carnival Eastern Carribean 7 day.
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Old 07-29-2016, 04:33 PM   #7
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These cruises you took, what boat/ship were they on ?
Could you describe your experience a bit more as We are also considering a Europe trip. Our cruise experience so far has been a 4,000 passenger ship on Carnival Eastern Carribean 7 day.
We took a similar trip on the Star Princess. We did it after taking the Rhine River cruise and spending a couple days in Amsterdam. we flew from Amsterdam to Copenhagen to pick up the ship.
we stopped in Stockholm.Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallin, Gdansk, and Oslo. We chose that cruise as we did not want to miss Frogner park and the Viking Museum in Oslo.
Without sounding snobbish, there is a world of difference between a Princess European cruise and a Carnival Caribbean cruise.
We thoroughly enjoyed both the river cruise and the Baltic cruise, as well as the time in Amsterdam.
STOCKHOLM
We Sailed into Stockholm passing numerous houses sprinkled on all the little islands, which were summer houses. When you are this far North, you must make the most of every summer day.
Since Stockholm, like Venice, is situated on a number of islands, we felt the best way to sightsee was on a tour boat. We passed by the beautiful Nordic Museum located on Djurgården in central Stockholm, displays the cultural history of Sweden from the 16th century until today. We also passed the Stockholm City Hall, which is where the Nobel Prizes are awarded.


HELSINKI
We boarded our private launch along with our guide for the approximately 90-minute scenic cruise. We sailed past the old Yacht Club, a city landmark, and the diplomatic district, located on a peninsula that juts into the bay.
We cruised past Suomenlinna Fortress, the "Gibraltar of the North" built by the Swedes to protect Helsinki from Russian attack.

ST.PETERSBURG
One of the real highlights of our cruise was the visit to the Hermitage, the Tsar's former Winter Palace and four other buildings which house one of the world's premier art collections. Our guided tour visited the display rooms, which contain over three million art works, including paintings by DaVinci, Rafael, Monet, Rembrandt, Renoir - to name a few. Designed by Rastrelli, the Baroque Winter Palace boasts patterned parquet floors, ornate staircases, molded and decorated ceilings and gilded appointments.


TALLINN
Old Tallinn is closed to motor coaches, so we drove around the Old City's medieval walls, gates and watchtowers. We walked around the city walls and then walked up the road to visit the Alexander Nevsky
Cathedral. It was a typical Orthodox cathedral, with beautiful icons behind the altar.

GDANSK
On the way to Gdansk, we stopped at Sopot, the summer capital of Poland this seaside resort featuring miles of beaches and the longest promenade pier on the Baltic. There was an interesting lighthouse on the beach there. After Sopot, we passed by Oliwa and its 13th-century cathedral.
The buildings were very reminiscent of Amsterdam, and we wandered through the Long Market “window shopping”. On the way back to the ship weyou passed Gdansk Shipyards and Solidarity Square with its monument to the striking workers slain by the regime in 1970

OSLO
We sailed up the Oslo fiord and docked at the edge of town. From our ship we could see the ski jump in the distance and also the small castle of King Oskar I.
Our first stop was at the Holmenkollen ski jump. Perched high above Oslo, Holmenkollen is the cradle of ski jumping and the site of the 1952 Olympic ski jumping competition. It is in the process of being rebuilt for future Nordic ski championships.
Our next stop was at Vigeland Sculpture Park, Once considered controversial; the park is now one of Oslo's favorite attractions. Our guided walk visited the stone, iron and bronze sculptures of Gustav Vigeland. The sculptures depict a complete human life from birth to death. Fortunately, we started at the highest point, so it was easy to walk down as opposed to climbing all the stairs.
The most striking sculpture is the Monolith which towers 46 high and is composed of 121 human figures rising towards the sky. This is meant to represent man’s desire to become closer with the spiritual and divine. It portrays a feeling of togetherness as the human figures embrace one another as they are carried toward salvation.
After leaving the Vigeland Park, we visited the Viking Ship Museum. The museum is home to three Viking long boats uncovered during 19th-century, and early 20th-century excavations near Oslo fjord. In addition to the superbly crafted ships, the museum exhibits sleds, carts, jewelry and other artifacts found aboard the vessels.
This is just a thumbnail of our experiences.















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Old 07-29-2016, 10:00 PM   #8
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Will be interested to follow this discussion. Have been considering one of these cruises. We did the Baltic last July with Royal Caribbean.
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Old 07-30-2016, 07:57 AM   #9
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I've been a regular ocean cruiser (Caribbean, Central America, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Mediterranean, Antarctica) but only took one European river cruise. Didn't get stuck due to high water or anything, but it still kind of felt like a bus tour.

You might read the quoted part of this post to set expectations, or look for the entire review on CruiseCritic. I contend that you could see more without the crowd of your river boat around you if you just booked 2 or 3 hotels in cities along the river, take day cruises on the river for city vistas, and do day trips in a rental car. You'd not get the unpack once, all inclusive payment, nor the social aspect of the river cruise, but you'd get away from being transported and trudging with a group of 50 of your shipmates.
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Old 07-30-2016, 11:39 AM   #10
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We just completed The Moselle with VBT. 18 passengers and biking. Expensive but very good. 8 days. Intimate 2 days in Luxembourg before and 2 days in Koblenz after.

Also did a 38 passenger Dalmation Islands cruise a couple of years ago. The larger size of craft made it easy to avoid the noisy Ozzie gang if we wanted to.
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Old 10-28-2016, 07:56 PM   #11
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Just back from an eight day Viking Cruise on the Elbe River in Northern Germany.
We started in Prague and finished in Germany. Only 6 nights actually on the river. The Elbe is one of the smaller rivers Viking travels and uses specially built low draft boats. The vessels are smaller than used on the "big rivers" like Danube and Rhine.
Positives: Consistently great food, excellent crew including housekeeping, servers and overall boat management; well designed cabins, decent wifi for entire journey.
Disappointments: Despite having excellent food, house wine was lacking both in quality and lack of pairing with an excellent menu. Despite Viking's marketing as the premier European cruise line, they served a 2014 Argentina Malbec (4 Euro at retail) for five of the six nights. We were on our own in Tuscany before joining the cruise--had a lot of house wine and it was all better than anything on board.
We also found the guides only average--almost like a guide book being read to you while walking. A quarter of their guides were animated and incorporated personal stories in their presentations.
Finally, having to cough up gratuities at the end of the trip is not our cup of tea.
We have travelled with Tauck on non river cruises and while the initial list price is higher, by the time you add back gratuities (included at Tauck) and all trips are included, they provide a better overall package.
Viking includes at least one escorted trip at each port but also promotes added extensions while in port at what we felt were pretty high cost. They also includes house wine and beer at lunch and dinner. I did not read the fine print close enough to realize that wine and beer during their cocktail hour ahead of dinner was not included. You can bring you own wine on board so we did that after the first night.
Overall, not a bad trip but will probably go with Tauck if we do another river cruise. Never had anything but fabulous guides with Tauck.
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Old 10-28-2016, 09:11 PM   #12
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Your comments are pretty consistent with our feelings about Viking. Everything was very pleasant, but the tour guides just weren't very knowledgeable or interesting. So we mostly went off on our own. We would definitely consider Viking again, but only if we felt that we could get a really good price.
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Old 10-29-2016, 07:58 AM   #13
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We did the 15 day Viking cruise (Budapest to Amsterdam) and had a great time. I thought Viking did a remarkable job. Some tour guides were better than others but all of them were friendly and knowledgeable in our view.
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Old 10-29-2016, 08:08 AM   #14
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To sum it up, the river cruises can be luxurious but they're also very expensive. It is traveling slowly, and you can get up close and personal along the way.

Many people love traveling on river cruises, however.
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Old 10-29-2016, 09:34 AM   #15
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We had a very enjoyable trip with Viking last year, Paris to Prague, and the local tour guides, with just one exception, were excellent.

Our only complaint was that since the Moselle River was too high, we had to skip that part and go directly to the Rhine. That meant longer bus rides for much of the trip, which was kind of a bummer.

However, Viking understood and gave us a huge credit for a future trip, and we still had a good enough time that we're doing another one next year, Amsterdam to Basel.
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