An Amsterdam to Budapest river cruise is one of the most popular European itineraries out there, particularly for first timers. Being a well loved route, plenty of operators bring you carefully curated journeys along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. Their offerings can be quite similar, and it is sometimes difficult to narrow down which one is right for you. To help out, we’ve put together a quick guide covering off some popular trips and what you can expect from each.
Accommodation: Guests can choose from a range of accommodation options on APT’s fleet of Concerto River Ships. Pricing is based on the Twin Window Suites, but passengers can choose to upgrade to a French Balcony, Twin Balcony (featuring a both a French balcony and an outside balcony), or Royal/Owners Suite (depending on your ship).
All accommodation options include complimentary Wi-Fi, a flat screen and complimentary TV, movies and music library. Select cabin categories enjoy additional perks such as complimentary laundry and butler service.
Dining & Beverages: Passengers can enjoy all meals included, as well as complimentary beverages throughout the day and night (including fine wine, beer, spirits).
Entertainment: Guests are treated to a range of themed entertainment, and often local artists give performances on board. Throughout the journey activities on offer can include trivia and games, language lessons, lectures and wine tastings.
Excursions: APT includes their ‘Freedom of Choice’ excursions and unique or exclusive ‘Signature Experiences’ in the price. There are also bikes available, as well as destination focussed onboard commentary and local maps loaded into the APT Concierge app to further assist with independent daily exploration.
Extra Inclusions: APT includes gratuities (both on board and on shore) as well as arrival and departure airport transfers.
Accommodation: Scenic currently has seven ships showcasing the Jewels of Europe. On board the Scenic Jewel, Ruby, Jade, Pearl, Jasper, Opal and Crystal, guests can choose from a range of different accommodation levels – from Standard Suites with large picture windows to upgraded suite categories offering full length outdoor balconies.
All suites include a complimentary mini bar replenished daily, free Wi-Fi, a high definition TV, a complimentary laundry concierge, and a butler service for every cabin.
Dining & Beverages: All meals are included, along with all beverages day and night (except a very small number of fine and vintage wines, Champagnes and spirits).
Entertainment: Guests can revel in performances of music and dance, as well as folk shows and themed events. There is also a range of wellness activities to partake in should passengers choose, with daily yoga and other rejuvenating options on offer. Ships also offer a Salt Therapy Lounge handcrafted from salt bricks, another space to find relaxation and wellness on board.
Excursions: Scenic includes shore excursions in their river cruise price, with activities in Scenic’s “Freechoice” collection allowing guests to choose the experiences that suit their interests and an “Enrich” series offering travellers special behind the scenes encounters. Guests can also use the Scenic Tailormade app equipped with maps, commentary and point to point navigation for travellers to sightsee at their own pace.
Extra Inclusions: All tips and gratuities are included, along with arrival and departure airport transfers.
Accommodation: On board the River Duchess, guests can choose from a Classic Stateroom (half height window), Deluxe Stateroom (picture window), French Balcony Stateroom or a Suite complete with a French Balcony and 214 sq ft of private space.
All accommodation options feature a flat screen TV with infotainment centre and satellite, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Suite guests enjoy additional special amenities and services, including a butler service, laundry services, and a fully stocked in-suite mini bar.
Dining & Beverages: Uniworld includes all meals in the cruise price, along with complimentary unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, and spirits.
Entertainment: Throughout the journey, Uniworld provides onboard entertainment and enrichment including local performers and a Signature Lecture. There are also wellness offerings such as yoga classes available.
Excursions: Uniworld offers a collection of complimentary shore excursions which gives travellers the option to get moving on the “Let’s Go” active excursions (use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks included), get an in-depth insight into destinations with “Village Day” selections, and experience the local life with “Do As the Locals Do” excursions. While most are included, there are also some optional special experiences on offer for an additional cost.
Extra Inclusions: All gratuities on board and on shore are included in the cruise price, as are arrival and departure transfers.
Accommodation: Guests setting off on the Grand European on one of Viking’s Longships have the choice of Standard Staterooms (half height picture window), French Balcony Staterooms, Veranda Staterooms, Veranda Suites and Explorer Suites.
Each is fashioned in a Scandinavian design and equipped with a flat screen TV featuring complimentary Movies on Demand (and more) along with Wi-Fi access free of charge. Suites boast extra space spread across two rooms (the living room with a veranda and bedroom with French balcony) and added perks like a mini-bar replenished daily with wine, beer and soft drinks. Room service is also included for Explorer Suite guests.
Dining & Beverages: Passengers will enjoy complimentary onboard meals daily, with beer, wine and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner only. Guests can purchase an upgraded beverage package if they choose (a Silver Spirits beverage package is included complimentary for Explorer Suite guests).
Entertainment: On board guests are treated to enrichment lectures and activities such as hands-on demonstrations, cooking classes and local tastings. Destination inspired shows and traditional performances are also on offer, and included in the cruise fare. With Viking’s minimum guest age of 18 years, your onboard experience will be child-free on every sailing.
Excursions: Viking include complimentary shore excursions as well as optional experiences for an additional cost. Their collection is designed to cover the cultural and historic highlights of each destination, and they share The Viking Way with ‘Local Life’ encounters, ‘Working World’ excursions, and ‘Privileged Access’ experiences that provide exclusive entry to cultural treasures around the globe, exclusively for Viking guests.
Extra Inclusions: Gratuities are included, as are arrival and departure transfers when airfares are purchased in conjunction with your cruise (Viking Air) or if you are cruising in an Explorer Suite.
Accommodation: On Avalon’s Suite Ships, guests can choose from Deluxe Staterooms (with twin windows), or Panorama Suites and Royal Suites. Both Panorama Suites and Royal Suites have wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows that transform the space into an open-air balcony allowing for more suite space than the industry average.
Across Avalon’s modern fleet, each stateroom and suite comes complete with a flat screen satellite TV equipped with a series of complimentary entertainment options (including movie channels), and Wi-Fi access free of charge.
Dining & Beverages: All meals are included on board, and wine and beer are served complimentary with lunch and dinner. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at other times.
Entertainment: On board Avalon's Suite Ships, guests can enjoy a program curated to further enrich their journey. This includes guest lectures, interactive activities and evening entertainment.
Excursions: Travellers can personalise their holiday with Avalon Choice, with three different styles of complimentary activities available (options vary by port). Classic excursions showcase the history and heritage of local destinations with an expert local guide, Discovery excursions offer creative and hands-on activities (from cooking classes to painting workshops) and Active excursions are designed for exploration on the move. An additional selection of optional excursions is available for purchase, and the AvalonGO app is loaded with recommendations and navigation to help with independent exploration.
Extra Inclusions: Gratuities are included on board and for included excursions, however, tipping your local guides for optional excursions is not included and at your discretion. Transfers from the meeting location to the ship on embarkation day is included in the river cruise price. Airport transfers can be added for an additional charge.
Accommodation: Guests can enjoy the European Gems itinerary aboard two of Travelmarvel’s Classic Ships, the Travelmarvel Diamond and the Travelmarvel Jewel, or the Contemporary Ship Travelmarvel Polaris debuting in 2020. Accommodation options include Window Staterooms, French Balcony Staterooms, or Owner’s Suites.
All guest accommodation comes equipped with a flat screen TV with a selection of channels and complimentary movies, along with Wi-Fi access free of charge.
Dining & Beverages: Travelmarvel includes all meals on board along with soft drinks, beer and local wine during lunch and dinner. Other beverages are available for purchase.
Entertainment: On Travelmarvel’s river ships there is a range of entertainment on offer, and may include local entertainers stepping aboard to perform, onboard parties with your fellow cruisers, games and dancing. Further enrichment comes from inspiring guest speakers and commentary provided by your Travelmarvel Cruise Director.
Excursions: Travelmarvel offer a collection of excursions free of charge, including ‘Insider Experiences’ designed to take travellers to the very heart of destinations. They also offer a range of select experiences at an additional cost. For guests who prefer to sightsee independently, interactive local maps are loaded into the Travelmarvel Companion app and there are complimentary bikes available for guest use.
Extra Inclusions: Gratuities for the Cruise Director and ship crew are included, as is tipping for shore excursions. Arrival and departure transfers are included on the first and last day of your river cruise holiday.
Each journey from Amsterdam to Budapest includes all your necessities, with comfortable river ships and all your day to day must-haves included. Itineraries are quite similar, with Scenic, APT and Uniworld offering your most inclusive cruise fares for the journey, while you’ll have to factor in beverages for purchase outside of meal times with Viking, Avalon and Travelmarvel.
Ship design varies for each operator, and while most are reminiscent of traditional European river cruise ships, Uniworld promotes a more boutique design, Viking has Scandinavian touches, and Avalon boasts a fresher more modern feel. It’s worth taking a look at the ship information for the trip you are considering – you will find this in the ‘Dates and Prices’ section of each itinerary, or check out our operator pages for more information on each along with fleet details. You can find them here: APT, Scenic, Uniworld, Viking, Avalon, Travelmarvel.