|Subject: Re: European River Cruise|
Hi Ziners and Ken!
Sorry abut India - it's a great experience.
Back to river cruises: I've done Uniworld and KD cruises. Actually I did the Uniworld cruise through General Tours as they helped me with extra accommodations and met me at the airport, even though I independently booked my own flight. The Uniworld cruise was the Russian Volga one, sort of a three star, with mostly Americans but a small group of Canadians. Also a group from GoAhead vacations. Apparently Uniworld manages these cruises and various tour companies book - and they all charge different prices, so you might want to check!
There were optional tours at various stops: we had an excellent evening speaker who was very on top of the political situation in Russia. Staff was good about arranging extras, eg: we wanted to go to the concert in Moscow and the Ballet in St Peterburg. In fact, staff was marvelous.
KD is a German outfit and it was the Holland to Switzerland Danube cruise with a motley group of Americans, Europeans, Brits, Aussies and the like. Good group, good service. We were on the last cruise of the season so it was a bit extra. Again, about a three star boat. But in both cases we had the least expensive accommodations. Shore tours were well paced; didn't do all of them with the group - wandered about on our own some. Remember though, on cruises be prepared to tip at the conclusion - everyone! Staff really get their income from the tips. So it's the cost of the cruise, plus tips, plus optional shore tours!
Oh one other thing: on these river cruises you really don't have to get gussied up to the nines! More informal than on some cruises. From what I've heard, Vantage and Viking are a bit more plush, but you really should check with someone who's been. And depends on where you want to go!
Anyway you do it, you'll enjoy. Jo in Sunnyvale CA.