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macaws2

Christmas European river cruise cruiselines

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Trying to decide which cruise line doing the European Christmas river cruises is the better all inclusive, there's several and all seem to be pretty good but would like some input from individuals that have experienced doing this type of cruise. Looking at doing it December 2018 and this is our first time doing one of these type of cruises.

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I have only done Crystal at this time (on Mozart). I just returned.

 

All the excursions I wanted to do were included (there were a few others at extra charges but most were when I was doing an all day excursion elsewhere or they involved renting a private car and driver). Drinks and gratuities were also included. Every room had a butler. Room service was included with every room but it was limited during non-meal times. We had free WIFI on the ship and on the buses and my room had its own Nespresso machine (which I didn't use but others loved.

 

My agent gave me OBC and I had nothing to spend it on.

 

I don't think you could go wrong with any of the high end lines. I never read a complaint.

Edited by Coral

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Thanks Coral. I just realized that I put the wrong date, its December 2019, but anyway, thanks for the input, we're also looking at cruiselines that include pre and post to make the most of it.

Gladys

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We did Avalon for Christmas markets in 2014 and had a lovely time. Not all inclusive but worked just fine for us - we loved the french "balcony" (HUGE windows - and yes, we even opened them. In December!) The tv had tons of different fireplace scenes  (literally, like, 11 different fireplace scenes!) and we had holiday music on our laptops and a small fir wreath we bought in Nuremberg before the cruise that we hung on our mirror with a suction cup hook - getting ready for dinner in our cabin was SO enjoyable!! With a local beer we'd picked up in port that day, usually....

 

My husband and I met my mom and her husband in Nuremberg for 2 days ahead of time. My in-laws did the Avalon pre-cruise in Prague and enjoyed it (I would have wanted more time and DIY in Prague and our cruise was already sort of long so we just did NUE that time and enjoyed having nights at the Christmas Markets). Our itinerary was NUE to Basel, there were some who got on in Vienna, some embarked in Frankfurt - so there wer multiple length trips you could experience. 

Edited by Hoyaheel

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Gladys

 

We sailed last Christmas/New Yrs on AMA Serena - boarded Christmas Day (spent 3 days in Munich pre and took the train Christmas morning to the ship). Would do it again in a heartbeat - so much so looking to do a similar sailing in '19. It was our first river cruise and learned a lot about "river cruising" - all positive! While we enjoyed AMA - looking at more all inclusive lines next time. If you research thru these boards you will find A LOT of information - all of which was spot on in terms of experiences and expectations. Our sailing was a very multi-generational sailing we found - families with teens/young adults (as were we). Christmas markets for the most part were closed down for the season-but we expected that.  Any questions - please ask - happy to share our experiences. Definitely do your research on the ports - esp the big cities since you stay in port late you have the opportunity to experience them more then you can (I feel) then on an ocean sailing - esp since you dock in most cases right in the heart of the city.

 

Bob

 

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2 hours ago, robertmartha said:

Gladys

 

We sailed last Christmas/New Yrs on AMA Serena - boarded Christmas Day (spent 3 days in Munich pre and took the train Christmas morning to the ship). Would do it again in a heartbeat - so much so looking to do a similar sailing in '19. It was our first river cruise and learned a lot about "river cruising" - all positive! While we enjoyed AMA - looking at more all inclusive lines next time. If you research thru these boards you will find A LOT of information - all of which was spot on in terms of experiences and expectations. Our sailing was a very multi-generational sailing we found - families with teens/young adults (as were we). Christmas markets for the most part were closed down for the season-but we expected that.  Any questions - please ask - happy to share our experiences. Definitely do your research on the ports - esp the big cities since you stay in port late you have the opportunity to experience them more then you can (I feel) then on an ocean sailing - esp since you dock in most cases right in the heart of the city.

 

Bob

 

Thanks Bob, I'm definitely looking at alot of information on different cruiselines and particularly at AMA because of the good reviews I've been reading about them. Thanks again for your input, greatly appreciated. 

Gladys 

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We've done the Christmas markets with Uniworld twice now and thoroughly enjoyed each trip. They are all-inclusive for the most part, although I've found them offering more additional 'optional' tours at an added charge for those who are interested. Massages, facials, etc. are also extra charges (but worth it!).  Tips, alcohol, etc. are all included. We've not done their pre- and post-trip add ons but instead have done our own arrangements. If you are in a suite, butler service is included, which includes free laundry service, etc. 

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I have done 2 GCT (Grand Circle) Christmas Markets cruises, 1 Teeming Christmas Market cruise (not all-inclusive) and 2 AMA summer cruises. Check into GCT-I think you'd be very pleased with them.

 

 

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Just got back from a Viking Christmas Markets river cruise w/post-excursion in Budapest so I can definitely tell you which cruise line NOT to choose! I've been on 4 previous river cruises (all with AmaWaterways) & was amazed at all the things I took for granted until they weren't offered on the Viking ship (Ve). I'm talking things like a soft comfy bed, complimentary postcards w/free postage, a thick terry bathrobe, complimentary slippers, daily Sudoku & crossword puzzle sheets, a wide selection of teas at the 24 hr coffee/tea station, a gift shop that includes items from ports visited as well as various sundries (not just a wall of overpriced merchandise plastered w/the company's logo), a computer & keyboard in my stateroom, a wall clock in the lobby for those of us who don't wear watches, delicious dinners every night & no "leftover" meal like I had on my last night aboard Viking's ship, regional wines (not just the same 2 complimentary wine choices every night), a choice of complimentary excursions each day (not just walking tours), a higher crew to guest ratio, and a housekeeper who knew my name the morning after I boarded & acknowledged me in the hall every time I passed. I realize these are all little things, but combining them together makes for a much better experience than I had on Viking. I've already cancelled the Viking cruise I had scheduled for next November, and I'll be happily back on an AmaWaterways' ship instead. Definitely a lesson learned!

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Your comparison of Viking River to AMA mirrors what I have been led to expect [which is why I have sailed AMA three times and Viking River none].  But I will say that Viking Ocean is an entirely different experience: at the top of the near-luxury ocean cruise lines.

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A travel agent told me Viking is thought of as the Carnival of river cruises. But the prices aren't like Carnival's!

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I thought I might feel about GCT vs AMA the way you felt about Viking vs AMA but I didn't-I was pleasantly surprised.

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Thanks everyone for your inputs, didn't realize I would start a good conversation going but am thoroughly enjoying reading all the comments. Well we decided to go with AMA and we are now booked on Amakristina, 12 day December 12-23 2019 and I've started a roll call for it, so thank you all so much and maybe you can join us. 

Gladys 

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6 hours ago, macaws2 said:

Thanks everyone for your inputs, didn't realize I would start a good conversation going but am thoroughly enjoying reading all the comments. Well we decided to go with AMA and we are now booked on Amakristina, 12 day December 12-23 2019 and I've started a roll call for it, so thank you all so much and maybe you can join us. 

Gladys 

How do you start a Roll Call?  I am booked on a Scenic cruise next October (2019) and would love to start something.  There is very little regarding Scenic on here.

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There isn't a simple way like when doing on ocean cruise because the river cruise companies aren't presented the same where you can easily locate your roll call, so I locate the roll call that says rivers cruises and just posted with putting in the cruise line,ship and date,will I get much activity, I doubt it but its there, don't understand why cruise critic doesn't have the river cruises set up like the ocean cruises. 

Gladys 

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2 hours ago, macaws2 said:

There isn't a simple way like when doing on ocean cruise because the river cruise companies aren't presented the same where you can easily locate your roll call, so I locate the roll call that says rivers cruises and just posted with putting in the cruise line,ship and date,will I get much activity, I doubt it but its there, don't understand why cruise critic doesn't have the river cruises set up like the ocean cruises. 

Gladys 

I wouldn't expect a lot of activity. Remember that the largest river cruise ships hold 200 people or fewer, so the potential for finding someone on your sailing is very small. I've been on 7 river cruises now, and I've posted roll calls for each one, but I've never contacted anyone who was going to be on my cruise. I hope that you'll have better luck.

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On 12/11/2018 at 1:35 PM, sjde said:

A travel agent told me Viking is thought of as the Carnival of river cruises. But the prices aren't like Carnival's!

 

Very interesting. Maybe that TA was paid to promote another line. I've only been on one Viking cruise and it was fantastic in every way. I've booked 2 more Viking river cruises and we'll see if I feel the same way after those trips.

 

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No, she was not paid to promote another line. She’s a relative of mine. 

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I just returned from a Rhine River Christmas Market cruise on AMAKristina and Stella.  This was my first AMA river cruise.  I have always sailed with Viking.  I chose AMA because of the pre-cruise that they offered.  We had to do a ship swap in the middle-ish of the  cruise because of the water levels in the Rhine Gorge.  This involved packing up,  taking a two-hour bus trip, then unpacking on the new ship.  No ideal, but under the circumstances AMA did they best they could.

 

AMA is a very nice line.  Almost everything was inclusive.  The ships are modern and clean.  Our CD, Betti Keese, was the best.  We enjoyed the nightly onboard activities.   My only disappointment was the food.  I like Viking better.  AMA food was just ok, IMO.

 

 

 

 

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We just returned from the Kristina last Wednesday.  Waterlevels we high enough that we didn’t have any problems.

Having been on both Avalon and 2Vikings, we can say that AMA is far superior.  Already booked Danube Christmas Market cruise for Dec 2019.

Questions?  Just ask.

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11 minutes ago, tallysmom said:

 

Having been on both Avalon and 2Vikings, we can say that AMA is far superior.  Already booked Danube Christmas Market cruise for Dec 2019.

Questions?  Just ask.

Thanks for your views. I hope when you get all caught up - you compare the 3 lines more in-depth. Glad you had an amazing trip.

Edited by Coral

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Glad to hear that I made the right decision by choosing AMA ,now cant wait to get my trip going, have a whole year to plan and wait 😊.

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