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Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship #27936
07/04/2014 09:23 AM
07/04/2014 09:23 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,250
sxmsandbum Offline OP
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sxmsandbum  Offline OP
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We have never done a cruise always opting for land based trips. We have not been to Europe and thinking next year for a major anniversary we would like to try it. Thinking of either a River cruise through Germany...Rhine or Main river or a Med cruise starting in Barcelona doing southern France and Italy. Any thoughts out there on either of these? We like structure but not so rigid that you don't have any free time to explore on your own. Anyone with experience with both that can give us their thoughts or comparisons to the two? Thanks in advance!

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Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27937
07/04/2014 03:00 PM
07/04/2014 03:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 327
swg Offline
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swg  Offline
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I posted earlier today, but that has gone missing.

The 2 types of cruises are so different it is hard to compare. We highly recommend Viking's Romantic Danube Crusie starting in Budapest and ending in Nurnberg. You can also do the same cruise from Nurnberg to Budapest.

Mornings are almost always a tour with a wonderful local guide. (Viking hires their own guides instead of using an agency). Your tour group is small, and they schedule tours so you arrive at crowded venues ahead of the crowds.

Most afternoons allow you to spend time in the port town doing your own thing. The exceptions would be when you are underway. The scenery as you cruise is stunning.

We have done 3 European river cruise with Viking and loved them all. 1. Tulips and Windmills (Holland and Belgium). 2. The Romantic Danube (Germany and Austria). 3. Portraits of Southern France (Starts in Burgundy; ends in Provence).

You will mostly certainly get a more intimate view of the country on a river cruise because they are so much smaller that a megaship. What you will not have is a casino, production shows, etc.

My trip reports for each cruise are in the TTOL archives.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

Sue

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27938
07/05/2014 07:40 AM
07/05/2014 07:40 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 74,054
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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I actually haven't done a river cruise, but you really are talking about apples and oranges here. A river cruise is focussed on a very specific area versus a large ship cruise, where you visit several countries and different areas within countries. As far as structure, actually the big ship cruise is going to give you more different things to do, by virtue of how many more different types of entertainment they provide. Suggest you talk to a cruise only travel agent, who can help you compare them better.


Carol Hill
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27939
07/05/2014 08:44 AM
07/05/2014 08:44 AM
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Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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We've taken both, although not in Europe.

The river cruise is more intimate, with a smaller ship and fewer passengers. You will be in sight of shore the entire time, so the scenery is more interesting. Heavy rains before or during your cruise could cause delays or cancellations, as the boats must be able to navigate under bridges on the rivers and if the water is too high they cannot. We found our river cruise (China, Beijing to Shanghai) to be more structured than a megaship cruise, with most tours scheduled and included in the price of the trip. On a megaship cruise, most shore excursions are optional and not included in the cost. Your river boat will have one restaurant, with no room service and no alternate venues for meals.

Larger ships are more crowded, but there are more on-board activities. They have more than one restaurant, offer room service, and have plenty of dining options. We preferred the river cruise to our megaship experiences because of the lack of crowds, but people we met on the ship felt just the opposite because of the lack of a sizeable onboard gym and spa, and shows and other entertainment venues like a casino. It would have been nice to have more than one dining option.

It's all about what you like.

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27940
07/05/2014 01:19 PM
07/05/2014 01:19 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,199
Devon, UK
salica Offline
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Have not done any cruising so listen to the other posters here. Thought you might be interested in a British guide to cruising through Europe, both rivers and Mediterranean. Check out www.telegraph.co.uk/travel where you will find an awful lot of information (almost too much) on all types of cruising. FYI the Daily Telegraph is the UKs most prestigious broadsheet newspaper and very well informed.

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27941
07/05/2014 04:36 PM
07/05/2014 04:36 PM
Joined: Apr 2001
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RobT Offline
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I have done river cruises but not in Europe. Did a Med Cruise last year. The Med cruise allows you to travel farther, with activities on board at night. We spent extra nights before (Venice) and after (Barcelona) which gave time to explore those cities on our own. Some cities, like Rome and Florence are not close to the port so you spend a lot of time just getting to the cities from the ship.

River cruises tend to get you really close to town, so you do not spend a lot of time in transit. And the tours are often include in the price. But the activities at night or even the gym are minimal.

Part of the decision is where you want to go. I always wanted to see the Acropolis of Athens and Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was easy from the Med cruise, but not on a river cruise. Just got a tease of Rome, so we have to go back.

Traveling down the Mekong, can only be done on a river cruise.


Beach Hunter
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27942
07/06/2014 11:40 AM
07/06/2014 11:40 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,250
sxmsandbum Offline OP
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sxmsandbum  Offline OP
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Thanks for all the input and realize they are totally different. Just was looking for thoughts of the two different trips and what people thought of the river cruises as I don't know anyone personally who has taken one. Will probably be asking more questions once we decide which one we might prefer.

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27943
07/06/2014 01:43 PM
07/06/2014 01:43 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 327
swg Offline
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One important difference that I forgot to mention in my first post. Excursions on a megaship, except for the vey expensive ones, are not included. They are an extra expense that can add a considerable amount to your cruise.

River cruises include excursions in your fare. They do offer some extra cost excursions. But even if you don't do any extra costs excursions, you will have an excellent tour. On our river cruises we had some kind of an excursion every morning (included) and the option of afternoon excursions (extra cost). On our first river cruise we did not do any extra cost excursions. On our second cruise we did one extra cost excursions, and on our third cruise we took and extra cost excursion almost every afternoon. That involved a lot of walking. (We figured at least 2-3 miles a day total). It also makes for a very long day. Would we do it again--yes.

Again, I'd be happy to answer any river cruise questions you have.

Sue

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: swg] #27944
07/06/2014 07:23 PM
07/06/2014 07:23 PM
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Posts: 1,250
sxmsandbum Offline OP
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sxmsandbum  Offline OP
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Thanks I will PM you in a little while Sue. Want to look up trip reports first so I know what questions I want to ask. Appreciate it!

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27945
07/09/2014 09:02 AM
07/09/2014 09:02 AM
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sxmsandbum Offline OP
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sxmsandbum  Offline OP
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Well we have decided on the Med cruise or something in that area. River cruise does sound interesting but decided this trip to try the bigger ship. I will ask questions once we decide itinerary. Thanks everyone!

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27946
07/09/2014 12:57 PM
07/09/2014 12:57 PM
Joined: Oct 2003
Posts: 327
swg Offline
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swg  Offline
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Will be looking forward to your trip report.

Sue

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: swg] #27947
07/09/2014 08:32 PM
07/09/2014 08:32 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,250
sxmsandbum Offline OP
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sxmsandbum  Offline OP
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Thanks. Never cruised before so will for sure post one. It won't be until a year from now, so you have a while to wait! lol Any comments on Celebrity, Norwegian, or Royal Caribbean lines? Those are the three we are looking at. Ships are Equinox (Celebrity), Jade or Epic (N), or Allure of the Seas (RC). + or - on these ships. How much time would you get there before the ship is to leave? 1-2 days? Any thoughts on deck choices as I hear that makes a difference, and what about time of year that is best to do the Med? Thanks!

Last edited by sxmsandbum; 07/09/2014 08:35 PM.
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27948
07/09/2014 08:49 PM
07/09/2014 08:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 74,054
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Would suggest Celebrity, as of those lines, it really is the most premium line. Food and service better. Many or most people these days prefer balcony cabins, which give you your own piece of outside space on a ship. It really can make a huge difference. Not sure of the NCL policy at this point, but if you are a smoker, Celebrity does not allow smoking on their balconies. It's been a long time since I was on Royal Caribbean, but I think they still allow smoking on their balconies.


Carol Hill
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: Carol_Hill] #27949
07/09/2014 09:56 PM
07/09/2014 09:56 PM
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Posts: 1,250
sxmsandbum Offline OP
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sxmsandbum  Offline OP
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Thanks Carol not a smoker so non issue, though I hear that the Epic is really smoky as the casino is in center of ship and it spreads to other areas. I too am leaning towards Celebrity. One question. If you don't want to do formal night...if you choose not to bring a tux or suit is there other options to eat for the evening or is it room service for the night? We plan on adding on a day or two in front or after the cruise and really don't want to pack that heavy.
Thanks!

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27950
07/10/2014 07:24 AM
07/10/2014 07:24 AM
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Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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You definitely could dine in one of the ala carte restaurants (for an upcharge). I actually don't know whether there is a buffet open in the evening on Celebrity or not, especially when you're talking in the med, as they might have different dining arrangements there. Check the Celebrity website.


Carol Hill
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27951
07/10/2014 02:32 PM
07/10/2014 02:32 PM
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Florida
RobT Offline
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I like to get there at least 2 days prior to sailing for foreign destinations. That will give you time to explore the city you are leaving from. The cruise itinerary usually does not give you time to see the starting or ending city.

It will also give to insurance time in case your flight is delayed or your bags are delayed. In two recent cruises my bags were delayed 1 day (Baltimore to Vancouver, BC) and 2 days (Dulles to Cambodia). In both cases they made the boat, but it was close.


Beach Hunter
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27952
07/12/2014 03:40 PM
07/12/2014 03:40 PM
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Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline
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Another vote for Celebrity, although it's been well over ten years since we've cruised on any megaship. Definitely go for the balcony cabin if you can swing it. My favorite time of day on a cruise is leaving port while sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine.

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27953
07/12/2014 05:29 PM
07/12/2014 05:29 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 5,884
St. Thomas, USVI
Nutmeg Offline
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I didn't know that they took the Allure to the Med. I thought it was stuck here in the Caribbean because of the size.


[color:"red"]NUTMEG[/color]
Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday.
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: Nutmeg] #27954
07/13/2014 10:45 AM
07/13/2014 10:45 AM
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sxmsandbum Offline OP
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Quote
Nutmeg said:
I didn't know that they took the Allure to the Med. I thought it was stuck here in the Caribbean because of the size.


Don't know but this is for during the summer listed for 2015 which is what we are looking for.

Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: sxmsandbum] #27955
07/13/2014 01:17 PM
07/13/2014 01:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2001
Posts: 5,884
St. Thomas, USVI
Nutmeg Offline
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Ouch! That is going to hurt us on St Thomas. They are one of the summer visitors here now...


[color:"red"]NUTMEG[/color]
Today is the tomorrow you talked about yesterday.
Re: Germany river cruise vs Med on mega ship [Re: Nutmeg] #27956
07/13/2014 06:10 PM
07/13/2014 06:10 PM
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Posts: 1,250
sxmsandbum Offline OP
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sxmsandbum  Offline OP
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Quote
Nutmeg said:
Ouch! That is going to hurt us on St Thomas. They are one of the summer visitors here now...


The Adventure of the Seas is still listed for Caribbean on the RC website but not the Allure so Marriott site must be correct.


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