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Everything posted by reeves35

  1. Travelmarvel quoted 24 hours but we usually got it back in around 12 hours.
  2. WIth APT terminating its longstanding partnership with Amawaterways at the end of 2024, APT has released information about its 2 new ships that will launch in 2025, the Solara and Ostara. In a striking all-black livery, the 2 ships will hold 154 passengers and 60 crew. Two ships will represent a reduction of capacity from its current leased AMA fleet so I assume extra ships will join in coming years. As well as these 2 new ships, APT's other brand Travelmarvel will continue with its 3 riverships (Polaris, Capella, Vega) that were built over the pandemic and began operations in 2022. Details of the new ships can be found at https://www.aptouring.com.au/why-choose-apt/our-fleet/solara-ostara
  3. So what you are saying is that they do not police the policy as written on their website which is generally good but you are always concerned that you get the officious employee on the day you board that decides today is the day where the policy is enforced.
  4. From what you say, a drinks package does not seem appropriate especially if your cabin-mate is a non-drinker. It is also important to assess your itinerary. If you are on a port-heavy itinerary, you will be off the ship for a great deal of time so won't drink as much whereas an itinerary with lots of sea-days changes the equation a bit.
  5. There are few places on earth where you are tracked as much as a cruise ship with or without an app. Apart from cabins, the entire ship is covered by CCTV and facial recognition does the rest. In addition, anyone with a device connected to WiFi can be tracked. Systems track what you buy and where you go and feed a complex CRM system so targeted marketing can be directed to you for years to come. If you crave anonymity, cruising probably isn't for you. Acquiring a new company to join a group like Carnival is complex but that is no excuse for Carnival not having common back-office systems. The last major acquisition by the group was P&O/Princess and that was 21 years ago. That is at least two generations of IT systems ago. Bizarrely, Carnival Corp still seems to be a series of fiefdoms with at least 4 distinct groups with little crossover. Apart from common IT systems with visual difference largely being limited to reskinning a common white-label product, you would expect a shared loyalty program where status from one line os recognised on another. This is not radical and largely mirrors what airline alliances and hotel groups already do.
  6. Am I right in saying Cunard doesn't have a mobile phone app but instead just has the My Voyage mobile accessible webpage which has some but not all of the features of a proper app? I think P&O UK is the same with its My Holiday webpage. I don't understand why both don't have proper apps already. They are part of the global Carnival Corp and many of its brands including Carnival, Holland America and P&O Australia all already have proper apps. It surely can't be too hard to re-skin any of these apps and get up and running in the short to medium term. Does anyone have any insight as to why they have not done so as yet?
  7. Given all the Christmas Market cruises are completed now, how many river cruises are actually operating now? I imagine, given it is mid-winter, that the numbers of active cruises is actually very small with most ships hibernating for the next couple of months.
  8. As has been said, the entertainment on river cruises is unlikely to appeal to 20+ year olds. I imagine they'd even think the disco pretty daggy. But there are lots of day activities that would appeal. On Travelmarvel, we had bikes as well as younger entertainers who were quite active and did good fitness activities as well as tougher walks in some ports. I'd look for an itinerary that spends nights in ports or at least has late departures. This would mean the younger ones can experience the nightlife of the towns and cities they are visiting rather than having to spend every evening onboard. Of course. some ports don't have much nightlife or the dock is not towards the centre of town but ports such as Amsterdam, Cologne, Bamberg, Passau and Budapest all offer a good night experience. The biggest worry would be making sure they are back onboard before the ship heads off!! Vienna has great nightlife too but the ship mooring is not that close to the vibrant city centre though taxis are plentiful.
  9. The Edge class has some amazing innovative features but they sure aren't the prettiest ships.
  10. I do not get seasick so no, but in the first couple of days I did find it kind of weird with the scene moving outside the windows with no sensation of moving onboard. It kind of made me momentarily dizzy. I found this most when sitting near the window in the dining room which is basically at water level onboard the Travelmarvel ships. The sensation passed after a day or so.
  11. Is this time of year comparatively quiet on the Rhine and Danube? The main season is now over and, I assume, the Christmas cruises don't really reach their peak until December.
  12. Yes, it is surprising how much the level changes. We were on the Danube in August and had to bus from Nuremberg to Passau with a ship change due to low water. At the same time, there was significant rain in the upper Danube catchments and 2 days after we left, ships were unable to get through Passau due to high water. The flow was very strong and the captain had difficulty docking in Vienna and sometimes it felt like we were surfing towards Budapest.
  13. I mentioned in my trip review to bring along your own clothesline with suction cups at either end. We brought one along with pegs and never had a problem. Having said that, the laundry service is super cheap and really quick.
  14. I wonder what APT are doing for ships from 2025. I assume they must be doing bespoke newbuilds like they did for Travelmarvel.
  15. TUI continues to only market its river cruises in the UK. It is the same with its ocean cruise division (Marella). Both are sold as fly-cruise packages from UK.
  16. What country are you from? There are a few cruise lines that offer good value cruising such as TUI (if you are UK based) or Gate 1 Travel (US Based). Obviously, at this point, you are giving up some included extras but that may suit you. The next level up are lines such as Emerald or Travelmarvel which include more and are operating newer ships but the price-point is higher. On my Travelmarvel cruise in August, there were a number of Brit seniors who bought their cruise on a last-minute deal which appeared great value, included flights and no single supplement was charged so maybe that is also an option for you if you can afford to book late in the process.
  17. We had a French Balcony on Travelmarvel and probably used it less than we expected. As has been said, rafting happens quite a bit and sometimes a dock or lock is right beside you so you prefer to keep it closed. The window was nice to put down to bring in fresh air if we were having a brief afternoon rest but, it it was a nice day, we'd prefer to sit on the sun deck. The room aren't huge; the ships are only 11 metres wide and, after allowing for the hallway, it means the cabins are only around 5 metres long including the bathroom and balcony. The advantage of the French Balcony is that the chairs you sit at when the balcony is open are also chairs you can use when you're not. Viking partially gets around this by using its asymmetric layout which means there is more space for the outdoor balcony but the cost of this is a tiny French Balcony cabin much smaller than you would find on any other line.
  18. 38 is a surprisingly large number but there are so many lines targetting particular segments. Many of the lines are just addressing one language so, here in Australia for example, we will only ever be exposed to a limited range and, even then, there are English language lines that limit their marketing to particular countries. For example, TUI doesn't advertise its English language cruises outside of UK and APT/Travelmarvel doesn't target the North American market. There will be plenty of other examples possible. It would be good to see a matrix of cruise lines split between language on the horizontal axis and market position (luxury, premium, etc) on the vertical. From that, you could actually see what cruise-lines are actually participating where.
  19. The high incidence of low water on the Danube this year, particularly between Nuremberg and Passau, will undoubtedly mean cruise lines look at their schedules for their future 14 day Grand European (European Gems, Splendors of Europe, etc) classic cruise between Amsterdam and Budapest and try to time them so they have a cruise leaving from each endpoint on the same day so, if a ship swap is needed toward the midpoint continental divide, they have an easier time handling it. I was fortunate that on my Travelmarvel cruise on Vega departing from Amsterdam in August there was a corresponding cruise on Polaris that left from Budapest on the same day. When a swap became necessary due to low water, it was relatively simple with only one day of the itinerary really changed. Unfortunately, those on Capella, three days behind us, were also delayed at a similar point, though ironically by high water, and there was no ship to swap with so they were stuck for 3 days and the cruise itinerary altered significantly. Since then, I believe this has happened again though, this time, Travelmarvel swapped with an AMA ship operating for sister line APT.
  20. Viking's docking location in Passau is a fair way out of town. Most ships, except Viking, dock along the promenade so are right on the edge of the city.
  21. Travelmarvel is owned by APT. Well, technically, they are the same company but two brands. This is not unusual given the brands are targetted at different market sectors. For example, it is very common with ocean cruise companies such as Carnival having many brands; hotel companies such as IHG and Marriott do likewise. The Travelmarvel ships are bespoke designs built for Travelmarvel. I believe the ships themselves are actually leased from a European investment company but that is not unusual just as it is typical that the marine and hotel staff actually work for European companies and are engaged by the cruiselines on a labour hire basis. APT charters AMA ships for APT branded cruises and the ships have APT branding on them. Given so much of an AMA ship's life will be with APT, the latter has a significant say in the AMA designs. To add to the confusion, APT has a significant shareholding in AMA Waterways.
  22. As has been said, there is always a hard copy of the daily planner on the wall near reception. Some people just took a photo of this on their smartphone so they could keep a copy. Travelmarvel is positioned one step below APT (and, by definition, AMA) and priced accordingly. I'm surprised you didn't realise that optional excursions were an extra cost; it is clearly shown in their brochures. The price differential between APT and Travelmarvel (or Scenic and Emerald) is quite significant; for our cruise, the difference was over AUD3000p.p. for the same cruise itinerary. You need to assess if the all-inclusive features of APT and Scenic (all excursions, full drink package, single laundry bag, butler to unpack clothes) justify the difference. Everyone will have a different viewpoint depending on their wants.
  23. Yes, there is soup every day at lunch and dinner. Just ask for the menu at lunchtime. There are no free laundry bags but laundry onboard Travelmarvel is great value. It is much less than you'd pay in a hotel or onboard an ocean cruise ship; most items are between EUR1.50 and EUR2.50. I did wash smalls in the shower but you will need to take a travel clothes line with suction cups at each end with you as there is no retractable clothes line installed. Nothing is far away onboard so, from a Deck 3 cabin, you'll be able to get anywhere you need to be in a minute or two. McGeary's is not open during the day so, if you want a drink, you'll need to head to the main lounge forward. There are no daily puzzles as there is no daily newsletter with everything now on the screens in your cabin or around the ship. It is claimed to be an environmental measure though probably cost-cutting also. Onboard currency is Euro. It is completely cashless though you can pay for your account with Euro notes if you prefer that instead of registering a credit card.
  24. During our ship swap between Nuremberg and Passau, our bus stop was at the Seidl Chocolate Factory near Regensburg. The toilets were free and there was an opportunity to buy from their store or grab a fairly good coffee. It sounds preferable to Macca's.
  25. Glad you had a great experience on APT and are going on Capella later this month; I will be interested to hear your comparison thoughts. I imagine the cabins on Capella will be a bit smaller though they are well designed and we never felt cramped. APT is a long-standing company here in Australia. When I was young, it was called Australia Pacific Tours and specialised in coach tours to places like NZ, Central Australia and North Queensland. They smartly identified about 15 years ago that their target demographic were moving towards river cruises in Europe, Asia etc and moved into those markets.
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