Jump to content

Looking for the right cruise company - questions about clientele and veggie food


 Share

Recommended Posts

We’re first-timers looking for the best European river cruise line (4.5 star level – real nice but not over-the-top luxury and prices) that fits our tastes. I have two questions, and could not find an answer using the search option - sorry.

 

Clientele:  We’d prefer a cruise with a diverse clientele – from a mix of countries and with few organized groups (which limit socializing). AMA seems to get very good reviews, but seems to be mostly passengers from the US – is that true, and are there other lines we should consider? (And, FYI, I am a US citizen).

 

Vegetarian options.  We like excellent food and would like a line that makes as much an effort for vegetarians as they do for others (not just double-sized vegetable side dishes with no protein…). I’ve seen references to Avalon and Amadeus, and also to AMA, as possible good lines, and was told to avoid CroisiEurope that imposes a fixed menu with very limited options. Can anyone recommend from your own experience lines that serve “foodie” vegetarian/vegan dinners?

 

Thanks for your advice! Tom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most lines cater to dietary needs...usually each meal will have a vegetarian option. The only limit is you have to remember the kitchens feed everyone all at once, so choices (even for other diners) are usually limited to meat, fish, vegetarian.  Some lines display menus on their website (at least Avalon does) to give you an idea.  Also, you could do a forum search for the lines you are thinking of and possibly pull up menus, but remember that with Covid, things have change.

 

As to "best" lines.. I think they are all good,  Some like Viking, Avalon and I think Emerald only have beer/wine included with meals, some are all inclusive. I don't think any are overly "fussy", we enjoy Avalon as they are quite casual but with great food and service.

 

I would suggest looking at what river you wish to try, and see what lines are on them.

 

Our forum Host - HostJazzbeau has put a batch of "stickies" on the main page that are excellent reading, as they will help you decide the style of boat etc.  I also did YouTube searches (looked at passenger postings, not the ones by the cruise line to see how dressy they were, food served etc.  

 

Good luck with your hunt, and don't hesitate to ask any questions.  The best cruise is one you take prepared for all obstacles. 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Tom11_Montreal said:

We’re first-timers looking for the best European river cruise line (4.5 star level – real nice but not over-the-top luxury and prices) that fits our tastes. I have two questions, and could not find an answer using the search option - sorry.

 

Clientele:  We’d prefer a cruise with a diverse clientele – from a mix of countries and with few organized groups (which limit socializing). AMA seems to get very good reviews, but seems to be mostly passengers from the US – is that true, and are there other lines we should consider? (And, FYI, I am a US citizen).

 

Vegetarian options.  We like excellent food and would like a line that makes as much an effort for vegetarians as they do for others (not just double-sized vegetable side dishes with no protein…). I’ve seen references to Avalon and Amadeus, and also to AMA, as possible good lines, and was told to avoid CroisiEurope that imposes a fixed menu with very limited options. Can anyone recommend from your own experience lines that serve “foodie” vegetarian/vegan dinners?

 

Thanks for your advice! Tom

Our search criterial was very similar.

Our short list came down to Tauck, AMA, and Scenic.

We went with Scenic since it trended to have more AUS/NZ travelers (when COVID doesn't keep them at home), and cruise dates fit our schedule better. 

 

I truly think its hard to make a bad decision!

Edited by mapsd
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Viking owns the marketing prize for river cruises, but they are really mid-market +.

 

Our experience is that Crystal is really top.  Once you actually price out a reasonable size room and then add in all the X factors they are the top.  Food is excellent and I think that if you are looking for veg options  it would be a place to be.  

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Does Crystal market to other than North Americans? One of the OPs original conditions was a diverse group of customers.

 

For example, I don't think he would be interested in Grand Circle. This comes from their "The Grand Circle Difference". I must say this turned me off the first time I saw it.

American travelers

We cater exclusively to American travelers: English is the only language used during tours and presentations, and your trip is tailored to an American perspective, from experiences to accommodations to dining—which include regional specialties.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would tend to agree that CroisiEurope is perhaps too limited in food choices for a vegetarian, although they are proud of their French European cuisine. I have not sailed with them so my comment is anecdotal.

 

Have you looked at past menus posted on the river cruising roll calls? A bit of searching involved in that of course.

 

There are European lines that may fit. Riviera Travel is British so will mostly but not exclusively have UK passengers, which will be reflected in the food options. For details you will probably need to contact the line itself.

 

A-ROSA is a German line that is available on the American market and they are "German European plus further afield" in their food from what I have seen in videos. You will be on a bilingual cruise most likely so have a mixed crowd. Check to see what your desired cruise date says (German/bilingual/only English). They tend to not have the all-inclusive policy - you buy a basic product and add things. See the website for details.

 

Uniworld has gone even more European lately and offers the cruises to a German audience but the cruises remain only English-speaking - expect a few people with foreign accents among the American crowd.

 

AmaWaterways will be available on the German market, I would not say fully established but they are certainly continuing their cooperation with a German online agent in 2022. So quite a few Europeans there as well as they of course market in the UK as well.

 

Have fun planning.

 

notamermaid

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, gnome12 said:

Does Crystal market to other than North Americans? One of the OPs original conditions was a diverse group of customers.

 

There were several individuals from Asia.

Edited by Coral
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, for diverse passengers, I have been consistently impressed when traveling with Road Scholar. I'm an introvert, generally have no interest in making random new friends, and have truly enjoyed the people I've met on Road Scholar trips. Yes, they're generally all Americans, but from all walks of life, with a general curiosity about the world.  BUT, they generally use Croiseurope for their river cruises.  We did one with RS on the Rhine a few years ago.  The line is not fancy, which is how RS keeps it's costs very reasonable, though the ship was in good shape, clean, and the crew was delightful.  I would agree with the food assessment.  I'm not a vegetarian, but highly favor veggies, and some nights were a challenge for me.  

 

Not quite what the OP asked for, but offering a perspective.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, Tom11_Montreal said:

We’re first-timers looking for the best European river cruise line (4.5 star level – real nice but not over-the-top luxury and prices) that fits our tastes. I have two questions, and could not find an answer using the search option - sorry.

 

Clientele:  We’d prefer a cruise with a diverse clientele – from a mix of countries and with few organized groups (which limit socializing). AMA seems to get very good reviews, but seems to be mostly passengers from the US – is that true, and are there other lines we should consider? (And, FYI, I am a US citizen).

 

Vegetarian options.  We like excellent food and would like a line that makes as much an effort for vegetarians as they do for others (not just double-sized vegetable side dishes with no protein…). I’ve seen references to Avalon and Amadeus, and also to AMA, as possible good lines, and was told to avoid CroisiEurope that imposes a fixed menu with very limited options. Can anyone recommend from your own experience lines that serve “foodie” vegetarian/vegan dinners?

 

Thanks for your advice! Tom

I've taken three Avalon cruises and can only tell you my experience with them.  All of our cruises were fairly diverse, more passengers from the US but also quite a few Canadians as well as people from Australia and New Zealand.  Like you, we enjoyed meeting a variety of people and are still in touch with Canadian friends we made on our last cruise.  Two of our cruises had organized groups of about 20 people.  It wasnt an issue since usually they had their own excursions and we found plenty of other people to socialize with. Like you, I wouldn't want to be on a cruise where there was a large organized group since it does limit socialization.

 

I'm not a strict vegetarian but choose vegetarian options when available.  I think on our last cruise I had vegetarian entrees for 5 out of 7 dinners.  I don't remember what they were but know they were delicious!  I didn't save the menus, but if you search the forum you may find some.  Avalon does a great job of working with cruisers on any dietary issues and will make changes to an entree if needed.  We found the food to be excellent.

 

As Daisi said, the stickies give lots of good information, and keep asking questions!

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/25/2021 at 5:15 PM, mapsd said:

Our search criterial was very similar.

Our short list came down to Tauck, AMA, and Scenic.

We went with Scenic since it trended to have more AUS/NZ travelers (when COVID doesn't keep them at home), and cruise dates fit our schedule better. 

 

I truly think its hard to make a bad decision!

We too chose Scenic for our first cruise based on price Vs amenities and found a nice mix of Aussies, New Zealanders, Brits and Americans. 

We've tried three lines (also Uniworld and Ama) and felt Scenic was the nicest. 

Good luck with your search.

Paul

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've been on 19 river cruises across 6 lines and AMA remains my favorite, followed by Amadeus, then Uniworld.  Tauck, Scenic and Avalon are next, in that order.

I was very underwhelmed with the food on Scenic (2 cruises) and found their preparations way too heavy for my tastes.  Their buffet lunch was especially disappointing, with no menu items to order.  The Aussies were the best part of my Scenic cruises.

I often order vegetarian options and both AMA and Amadeus were great with this, as well as my other preparation requests.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 


I wouldn’t be so quick to get turned off by one brief quote about “the Grand Circle difference.” Read it all https://www.gct.com/grand-circle-difference


As Gnome12 notes, Grand Circle Travel does only market and sell their product in the US and sells only in USD; no foreign currency. If OP doesn’t have a US bank, this precludes booking with GCT. English is the ship’s language regardless of where the cruise is; but how different is that from Scenic, AMA, or Viking (and perhaps other lines too)?

 

The chefs on GCT ships go out of their way to accommodate vegetarians and vegans with diverse protein sources and they sometimes make custom dinners if the planned vegetarian entree doesn’t fit ones needs. During one of my cruises I was on a very restrictive diet and the chef met with me daily to discuss my meals for the next day. 


GCT doesn’t usually have affinity groups or large groups that might inhibit socializing. We have found most of the pax, even those traveling with friends, do enjoy socializing with the other pax. By and large the pax are a well traveled, inquisitive, diverse group of Americans.

 

If they use hotels on an itinerary, say in Prague for a few nights or at CDG for one night for the bus trip to or from the ship in Honfleur, it is one large enough to accommodate a ship load of people that meets the standards and has the amenities Americans are accustomed to.
 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • Holland America Line’s Alaska Exploration Sale
      • Cruise Critic Live Special Event: Q&A with American Queen Voyages
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...