Our first River Cruise
Having done a number of P&O sea cruises we were eager to see what a river cruise could offer and traveled with friends who had done both. The first major difference is the size of the ship, 115 passengers and 40 crew on three decks plus the open sun deck. The cabin was fine, with a sliding window with a railing across allowing me to lean out and feel the cool breeze, with a good size shower room with wash basin and toilet. Plenty of storage space plus room under the large double bed for our cases made it a comfortably cabin. The ship is compact so everywhere is very close to hand and although full it never felt crowded as the big ships can at times. The dining room was well laid out with windows all around and was used for all meals. The breakfast had a range of hot food as well as a continental buffet and was open for two hours daily. The lunch and dinner service was very good, with a varying menu daily and the food was well presented and served hot. The waiters were very attentive and if you didn't like the particular choices they would get you something else. The lounge at the bow of the ship held the evening entertainment, a singer and musician each evening and on one night an excellent folk dancing and music show was held. The only criticism of the ship was that the aircon in the lounge did not work and when full it was sweltering, and some people left for some fresh air. The weather for our seven days was very good so full use was made of the sun deck where there was a full range of chairs, loungers etc, in fact as opposed to the big ships there were more seats than passengers. The beauty of a river cruise is lazing on the sun deck watching the wonderful and varied scenery passing by as a waiter brings you a lovely refreshing drink. The excursions were available singly or included in three different packages, and we chose the B package which included seven of the nine available trips, and by prepaying we saved 15% on the price. Our Danube voyage passed through some amazing cities such as Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest as well as some smaller and more varied locations and is a trip we would thoroughly recommend. As always the crew on board any ship can make or break a trip but the entire crew, ably led by the brilliant cruise director Casper, made us feel at home from the moment we boarded the ship. The ship itself, Amadeus Royal, was refurbished in 2015 and is absolutely fine but Amadeus have some very new, and much grander ships and we look forward to trying one of those on a different river some time in the near future. For our first river cruise this was a great success and has us looking forward to our next one already.
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