Rhine-Danube river cruise

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Interested in cruising the Rhine and Danube Rivers. Have seen cruises by AMA Waterways and Vantage. Anyone tried either? Other suggestions? Also best month to travel. Prefer fall if water levels are good then. dbp

Fall has nice weather for traveling in Europe, but it may not be the best time to river cruise because of water level issues. We did a Rhine cruise in late Sept. a couple of years ago and there had not been much rain that summer so water levels were low. Our Uniworld boat was one of the smaller ones so we were able to cruise the whole time and only had one port location change due to levels. However, folks on a Viking cruise, which used a larger ship, occuring at the same time had a terrible time as they ended up being bussed much of their route.

I have heard the the Danube is even more prone to river level issues--both too high some springs and too low in the fall.

I would query each cruise company as to how they deal with water level issues and also look at what precipitation levels have been for the year so far as well as any forecasts.

My wife and I used Avalon for a Christmas cruise 2 years ago. The river level was fine. The cruise was great. I would highly recommend Avalon as the boat had spacious cabins ( for a boat ) and the crew was very professional. We dealt directly through Avalon and also used their air. We compared air prices and in our case, the air through Avalo, was a better rate than what we could find on our own.

As posted elsewhere on the forum, the most important factor to us is the itinerary. Also, I understand, as others have posted, that water levels may be less in the fall -- in spring time they're higher due to snow melt in the Alps.

We've done 2 Uniworld (Bucharest-Amsterdam; St. Pete-Moscow + 6-day Baltic states pre-trip), 1 Avalon (Paris-Arles + 3-4 nite extension of Provence-Nice). At the time of the Russian cruise, Uniworld did not have their own ship, and we weren't thrilled with many aspects -- the Baltic states portion was fantastic and the reason we chose Uniworld. I understand Uniworld now has their own ships in Russia. However, the 28-day Bucharest-Amsterdam cruise (our first river cruise) was just fantastic: food; tour director/guides; accommodations; etc., etc. Avalon was great as well.

We're booked on Uniworld's Basel-Amsterdam w/Moselle May 16, 2013 cruise, followed by Viking's June 1 Berlin-Prague.

Uniworld (and I believe Avalon) offer up to $2,000 discount pp couple (depending on cost of cruise) if one pays in full at time of booking, which we elected to do. We booked Uniworld thru Costco (advertised in Costco's monthly magazine) and rec'd an additional 10% disc. besides a past passenger disc. Uniworld is affiliated w/Trafalgar (Avalon w/Globus) so if you've traveled with either one, this counts as past passenger.

As I've posted on Cruise Critic (under Delraydoll), depending on the terms of your credit card, there's a possibility that you'll be charged a foreign transaction fee as Viking's merchant code is shown as Basel, CH (Switzerland). Viking or your booking agent will reimburse this fee, but unfortunately at the time of booking, our Affordable Tours agent didn't advise us of this fact, and I was just so annoyed. If I had known, I would have used my Capital One visa card as there's no FTFs involved. I've since changed my BOA visa card to a "better" BOA card with no FTFs (and double points).

Viking also wants full payment by the end of the month in which you make your initial deposit and does not offer a discount, other than 3% if you authorized direct deposit. However, this final payment date is negotiable! We made our deposit in May for next June but after much discussion with Affordable and Viking, don't have to make final payment 'til Dec.