On its ships in France, Scenic also offers onboard cooking demonstrations. Cons: The ships aren't "Imagineered." Choose Viking ifyou want what has become the industry standard for river cruising, a semi-inclusive experience with a line that does more sailings on more rivers than anyone else. The big differences are between the type of access to the outdoors and butler service. We believe that travel should be easy. Each day, you'll receive an enamel pin reflecting the day's adventure such as Mickey dressed as Mozart or Donald cooking goulash. No other fleet of river cruise ships gives you a view of the world like Avalon. There is also Uniworld's Legendary Rhine & Moselle, 13 days. All are butler-serviced river ships with a high, almost one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio. You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here. Tauck also revamped its five older Jewel-class ships, which are smaller than the Inspiration vessels, and reduced the capacity from 118 to 98. Viking also has optional shore excursions that it sells in some ports; these excursions generally are limited to small groups and take you into smaller venues or provide immersive experiences that expose passengers to a port's culture and traditions on a deeper, often hands-on, level. Started June 21, 2021, By deluxe tour operator in North America and that title is well justified. COVID-19 procedures are available here. With an innovative product and rapidly-growing fleet of custom-designed ships, the line enjoys a reputation as the leader in river cruising. Save up to $2,800 per couple off the cruise price of Europe sailings. The cabins and public areas are also beautifully appointed with art, antiques, hand-painted murals, and luxury linens. Expect to pay $129 for the drink package on a weeklong cruise. As the name implies, the American Queen Steamboat Company uses old-school-style riverboats for their journey. It's a true gourmet experience, with well-thought-out and unusual wine pairings. Ships offer a wide choice of dishes to suit all tastes, including healthy choices and simpler "always available" dishes, although Tauck has more vegan and vegetarian options. For its upper deck passengers, Scenic offers Table La Rive, a 10-person chef's table in the main dining room. On all these journeys from the Ganges to the Rhne dining is a big part of the adventure. Started August 27, 2021, By Tauck's private shore excursions and distinctive inclusions valued at $2,788. These state-of-the-art, authentic paddle wheelers can accommodate from 150 to 400 guests, depending on the ship. Wine plays a role on both ships, with regional varietals served at every meal. Also check out Avalon rivercruises. Thanks for all the input. Choose Viking ifyou like dining alfresco. Is there a way of getting a discounted price with them? It sounds like it will be what we're looking for. You'll pay about $1,000 more than lines such as Viking, AmaWaterways and Avalon. Tauck, the well-known tour and river-ship operator, retained its No. Some ships on both lines have hot tubs or plunge pools on the top deck. Due to the size of the boats, the cabins are small, ranging from 80 square feet to about 300 square feet. Junior Suites are 240 to 250 square feet, two Royal Panorama Suites are 475 square feet and, on some ships, Royal Owners Suites are more than 500 square feet. Tauck is a family-run company that has shown travelers the world since 1925. Tauck also carries bicycles onboard so if you want to spend time exploring paths along the rivers instead of taking a tour, you can. Viking Longships carry 190 passengers and have 95 cabins. The main restaurant setup is very similar on the lines, with buffets at breakfast and lunch plus live cooking stations and made-to-order menu items. The river cruise division of Tauck is a relatively new component of the brand established in 1925 by Arthur Tauck, a true pioneer in the travel industry. But no matter how different the motivation, Tauck river cruising has a way of bringing everyone of every age and generation together to share . Price Comparisons: A Look At Pricing Differentials For European River Cruises, How River Cruising Compares To Luxury Ocean Cruising, River Cruise Reviews, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld River Cruises. Besides stringing words together professionally, Sunny once co-founded a luxury subscription box, curated a whimsical pop-up shop in San Francisco called Treasure Hunters Club, and recently inherited a vinyl-only records store in San Francisco. Choose from a wide variety of accommodations from well-appointed suites to small no-frills single staterooms that are a mere 80 square feet. Read on for our look at Scenic vs. Tauck. Learn to make goulash and feast on it in the Hungarian countryside while listening to a live performance by Hungarian folk musicians. River cruise ships dock near city centers, enabling visitors to explore on their own or take advantage of the array of excursions organized by the cruise line, from going on a strenuous hike to touring a castle, or sipping wine at a vineyard. Choose Tauck ifyou like open seating and want the choice of having room service and a true alternative dining venue where you can get casual, hot food. While other river cruise cabins shove your bed against a wall for a view of the other wall, our Comfort Collection Beds SM beds face the widest-opening, wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows in river cruising. Choose Viking ifyou don't need a gym or a lot of extras onboard. 3 Viking Cruises also fared well this year, with readers . (The amount varies from country to country, but it is generous and enough to buy a meal and drink). Viking does seem to pay a little more attention to making sure dishes are regional in nature. The iconic river ships of No. They don't seem to be on Cruise Compete's site. Why Take A Tauck River Cruise. The design is sleek and minimal and there are usually five tiers of cabins. We welcome your feedback. All guests must have received their COVID-19 vaccine prior to sailing. Typical starting price: $4,599 for 7 days (per person based on double occupancy $657 per night, all-inclusive), Specialty cruises: Danube Christmas markets, Oktoberfest, Rhine food and wine, Seine National Geographic photography, Amenities (may vary by ship): High-speed Wi-Fi, gym, sun-deck, walking track, bikes for shore use, pool or whirlpool, fitness classes, salon, massage, Inclusions: All meals, unlimited beverages (local wine, beer, and soft drinks with meals), daily excursions, all gratuities onboard and at restaurants, daily cocktail hour, select meals off the ship during excursions, onboard entertainment. Some of the shore excursion options are truly special, such as truffle hunting in Bordeaux, visiting Highclere Castle where "Downton Abbey" was shot or cognac blending in Camus. Plan Far, Far Ahead, Viking Kadlin (Photo: Viking River Cruises), Viking Einar (Photo: Viking River Cruises), Tauck ms Emerald (Photo: Tauck River Cruises), Viking Helgrim (Photo: Viking River Cruises), P&O Cruises Reveals Nicole Sherzinger as Godmother of New Ship Arvia, Carnival Miracle Set to Become Fourth Carnival Ship to Sail From Galveston, Life at Sea Cruises Opens Sales for World's First Three-Year Cruise, Oceania Reveals Giada de Laurentiis as Godmother of New Ship Vista. Both have hotel-style amenities, including high-tech TVs with entertainment on-demand and information channels, complimentary Wi-Fi, safes, included mini-bars that are replenished daily, hair dryers and designer bath products (L'Occitane on Scenic, Molton Brown on Tauck). You'll pay about $1,000 more than lines such as Viking, AmaWaterways and Avalon. After experiencing the river cruise lifestyle, I was sold. All upgraded suites come with butler service, nightly turndown, and a laundry concierge. Experience the "Wild West" of France in la Camargue with farm-fresh meals, local music, and a horse show. Whats the Best Choice for a SeineRiver Cruise? Visit the Amazon Rainforest with Aqua Expeditions' naturalist guides. Crystal Cruises river cruise line features all-suite ships. Book a cruise on American Queen Steamboat Company, Book a cruise on Adventures by Disney River Cruise, Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. At 445 square feet, they are among the largest on the rivers with wraparound balconies, a separate bedroom and living room and another French balcony. Tauck has its headquarters in the United States, and most of its passengers are American, with a smattering of Brits and other nationalities. These are all decorated in a modern, contemporary style and feel airy and spacious due to the liberal use of mirrors and reflective panels. While many cruise lines have a strict dining schedule, these ships offer several different onboard restaurants. AmaWaterways: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes? Uniworld: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes? Dinner is served to the table (although on Scenic, you'll have a buffet your first night onboard) and, on both lines, staff are attentive. When cruising the Nile, ride a camel as you visit the pyramids in Cairo, Egypt. Both AmaWaterways and Avalon Waterways sail these rivers and have a wide variety of stops which can vary by cruise theme. We have done 2 cruises - Paris/Normandy with Uniworld - and Blue Danube Discovery with AMA. For example, European river cruises run fromMarch through December. In effect, it feels kind of like a chartered yacht. Choose Viking ifyou want a good introduction to a port without a lot of handholding, don't mind paying for special excursions and want the best berthing in town. On Viking, everyone eats at the same time, which can create a "herding" effect that some people dislike. Viking also has an alternative restaurant, the Aquavit Lounge, but it's much more limited in its menu and only serves food during certain hours. We operate independently from our advertising team. And that is the very essence of our France river cruises. Elevate your cruise experience with fewer passengers, more choices, and endless possibilities. "Free choice" dining allows you . Large private bathrooms include full showers and. Delivering unparalleled experiences and boundless exploration, Avalon puts you in the captain's seat to navigate your journey, fuel your passions and steer clear of the unexpected as you cruise down the world's most memorable and mesmerizing waterways. These range from shoeshine, concierge service and restocking the mini-bar in Standard Suites, to packing and unpacking, arranging in-room cocktail drinks and even running a bath in the top suites. Window cabins are 150 square feet to Viking's 135, and most of Tauck's cabins have a French balcony and are 225 square feet (while the standard on Viking is 205 square feet). For each, passengers are divided into groups (around the same size on both lines) and have individual audio headsets that make it easy to hear the commentary without having to cluster around the guide. Tauck and Scenic include more in their fares than anyone else, with gratuities, all alcohol, transfers, choice of shore excursions, all dining and Wi-Fi included. Given the price point, the passengers seem more well-heeled on Tauck. On Viking, Scandinavian design rules the day, with light wood tones and a modern, clean look throughout. Get expert advice, insider tips and more. They are also one of the most affordable river cruise options. While in Russia, visit the Palace of Prince Vladimir for an exclusive concert and ballet performance inside the last Imperial palace to be built in St Petersburg. Cons: Cocktails are pricey and not included; a martini or a Manhattan will set you back about $12 dollars. The river cruises ships all have comfortable, well-appointed cabins and an array of perks like complimentary in-room dining, pillow menus, and epic views that make the journey feel luxurious. Spacious ships carry between 84 and 130 guests, and since the single supplement is waived on select cabins, it's a good choice for solo travelers . Scenic attracts more passengers in their 40s and 50s than you'll find on many vessels and, being Australian-owned, is not dominated by travelers from the United States. You'll Adore these Ships. Special diets can be catered for with advance notice and menus are labeled for people with dietary restrictions. Both cruise lines sail around Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Click here . On its refurbished ships in France, Scenic has a salt room and a hair salon. Automobile lovers have the chance to visit BMW World to see luxury German-made cars. Pros: Tauck boasts exclusive cultural experiences that are truly unique. Choose Tauck ifyou're fine with a French balcony and want a larger standard cabin. Guest lectures and performers also come aboard to highlight the destination, from Viennese opera to Portuguese fado, and local craft and culinary demonstrations are sprinkled throughout voyages as well, such as lace-making and Austrian apple strudel. By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critics, 17 Cruise Lines That Include Alcohol in Your Fare, 7 Challenging Cruise Ports We Can Help You Navigate. Scenic is based in Australia, and about half of the passengers on its river cruises are from Down Under (with the rest from other English-speaking countries such as New Zealand, the U.K., Canada and the U.S.). These are the best river cruise lines for comfort, destinations, and irresistible perks and tours. On both lines, the main restaurant setup is very similar, with buffets at breakfast and lunch plus live cooking stations and made-to-order menu items. Tauck prides itself on offering off-the-beaten-track experiences in each destination, including multigenerational family tours that are curated to include itineraries for both kids and adults. She also happens to be a shopaholic whose personal mission is to find the coolest and best new things out there. There are a fair amount of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the itineraries, which are almost always awe-inspiring. We cruised Budapest to Amsterdam 2 years ago with Avalon and it was the best vacation,most relaxing we ever. First, about Tauck. Pros: The ships are smaller than most with just over 100 passengers and children are allowed. I've always been a fan of traditional cruise line journeys, but a river cruise is much more intimate and in many cases, luxurious. Click the links in the right column to access current price comparisons among all major river cruise companies and for tips on how to save. Cruise Critic named Avalon's staterooms the best in the business, and yes, we're blushing a bit. Scenic offers all passengers a limited 24-hour room service menu, with full in-suite dining for passengers in Royal and Royal Panorama Suites. Basically, if you need anything while you're off the ship, they are only a few steps away. On both ships, there's a "secret cellar," with better vintages available if you ask. Pros: Adventures by Disney guides add a wonderful touch to each journey with storytelling, educational information, and goes above and beyond to ensure every guest has a great time. While there, the ladies had the opportunity to experience seven ships from the leading River Cruise Companies. They are the least expensive, since we'd probably go cruise-only and make up our own land tour before/after, but the cabin seems pretty small, and we'd really like the option of bikes, which is offered on Tauck and AMA, but not on Viking or Avalon, as far as I can make out (please, correct me if I'm wrong). The itineraries would be suitable for older teens interested in culture and history, and the option of bike tours and independent exploration with the Scenic TailorMade devices mean they aren't forced into day after day of walking or bus tours. These sleek ships generally host less than 200 passengers and go where giant cruise liners cannot, such as the Danube, Rhine, Rhne, Mekong, Mississippi, and Nile Rivers. We enjoyed AMA in May when we took the Danube Cruise. Otherwise, most welcome children but don't offer extra programming for them, and Viking doesn't allow children at all. It should re-energize and transform. Europe River Cruise Company Comparisons 2022-23 River Cruises. Choose Tauck ifyou want the feeling of five-star service while still having the freedom to explore. In general, you'll find a less international crowd on Tauck than Viking, simply because the latter is better known. Tauck is a much more deluxe experience, with alcohol and spirits included at all times, plus an in-room mini-bar stocked with bottled waters and sodas; all excursions; Wi-Fi; bikes onboard;. It should be fun. Cons: Entry-level cabins are small, at 150 square feet, and have just two small windows. One place where Viking shines, however, is with its Explorer Suites. Scenic **: Inclusions are for all guests, regardless of ship or suite. Prices shown reflect discount. With over 50 riverboats, there are many cruises ships, dates, and itineraries to consider. The line reduced capacity on its five older vessels, which are smaller, bringing the passenger counts from 118 to 98. Tauck features a wide variety of itineraries, including themed river cruises and the Tauck Bridges sailings designed for families and multigenerational groups. These excursions are all included in the price of the cruise and are considered part of the river experience, although they aren't included for the sole domestic option on our list, the American Queen Steamboat Company. Delivering unparalleled experiences and boundless exploration, Avalon puts you inthe captains seat to navigate your journey, fuel your passions and steer clear of the unexpected as you cruisedown the worlds most memorable and mesmerizing waterways. Scenic and Tauck are both lines that carry lower passenger loads than most of their competitors and have put a significant effort into upgrading vessels. "The itinerary was. While there are plenty of places to curl up with a book or play a game in the public spaces, a bevy of activities will lure you onshore. On Viking, you can pay extra for a better bottle of wine, whereas Tauck has a wine cellar with some special bottles that are included in your fare (although they don't exactly volunteer these premier offerings; you have to ask). The perfect combination of icons and lesser-known wonders. In Italy, go on an after-hours visit to St. Mark's Basilica in Venice and tour the 9th-century church without crowds. Bike along the Danube River between Drnstein and Melk in Austria's Wachau Valley. Many also have balconies and walk-in closets, and all are above the waterline. For passengers who like convenience, though, the extra money is worth it. Although children are allowed, the line does not offer extra amenities or perks for kids.

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