August vs Sept, and East vs West (2021)

edited August 2020 in The Blue Danube

Well, the forum has been quiet lately...

I was booked on The Blue Danube going East next month, Sept 2020. Obviously not happening. Ready to rebook for 2021, and due to a wedding conflict, may need to make some adjustments in cruise dates. Trying to figure out if either of these is an issue:

1) I was told going EAST was the better cruise and view. Timing may force me to go WEST. Big deal, no big deal?

2) Was also told Sept is the best month for this cruise, due to weather, temps, river levels, etc. Timing may force me from mid-Sept to early August. Big deal or no big deal?

Thanks in advance for your feedback! Hope everyone is staying safe.

PS: Booking a Cat 7 Diamond Room. Any preferences on room location?

Comments

  • edited August 2020

    Since I doubt anyone has done this cruise in both directions, you'll need someone who has taken this cruise in one direction and another cruise (e.g. Amsterdam to Budapest) in the opposite direction. All others can only offer opinion and the rationale why they chose one direction over the other.

    One consideration is pre or post tour excursions. Will you have the time at both ends to do any excursions you might be planning?

    As you know, you'll have options in Prague and later in the cruise so must choose one excursion over another. We took the eastbound cruise and used an early arrival to do some extra touring with a local guide in Prague (Jewish quarter) so we could take the Tauck option which covered a different area. We also took a day long excursion with driver and guide from Prague to Cesky Krumlov so we could take the Salzburg option later in the cruise. Our strategy allowed us to see most of the Tauck options. This strategy can also be used in the opposite direction if you have a post stay. In fact, time might not be a restriction like it was for us in Cesky Krumlov- we had to be back in Prague for the welcome dinner.

    I suggest going to a weather site like "Weather Spark" to see what it will be like at variours places and times. We went in mid-April. It wasn't my choice, I thought it would be a bit too chilly, but it was perfect, especially for the 43 km bike ride.

  • We did the Budapest to Amsterdam (west) cruise last summer which includes many of the same stops. Would not take in Aug as the later in the summer you get the more chance of low water levels. Then come Sep they start to get some rain which tends to resolve it. Of course from year to year it can really change. Low water levels mean your ship can get stuck and you get bused to tour locations. Doable but not ideal. Not to mention that Aug in Europe can suck - very crowded and heat waves which make touring miserable.

    I would not book a cruise direction based on view (we've done 4 so far). It's not like you sit in your cabin the whole time watching the scenery. Much better to be on the sun deck watching both sides of the river. When docked, your "view" can also be blocked by ships tied up next to you. Very common in river cruising especially on the Danube where there are loads of river cruises going. More important is where do you want to start or end you cruise, are you going to have extra days at either, which part of the cruise do you want to be jet lagged for.

    As for cabin, we've had Cat 6 cabin #205 for our last 2 cruises and love it. Two cruises ago friends had a Cat 7 but checked out our room. On the next trip they decided to save the money and had rm 206 across from us. They didn't think the extra $$ worth it. You gain a little more room, a small sofa, a walk in closet and breakfast room service (though the later may become more the norm with covid).
    We like the Ruby deck - less stairs to climb - and prefer to be about mid-ship. Too close and you can get lobby noise, too far and it's a fair amount of walking to the lounge, restaurant, getting on/off the ship for excursions. The Savor/Inspire also have Cat 5 cabins which are the same size as Cat 6 but have a little less window. The delta between Cat 5 and 7 is $700 per person - that could be 3-4 nights extra at the Tauck hotels.

    Good luck.

  • kfnknfzk, curious about the extra gifts. We've gotten extras on all our tours - especially the last few years - and never had a Cat 7.

  • I appreciate the feedback from all of you. I decided to move this cruise to 2022. That way I don't need to work around the potential wedding event conflict. Plus I have a feeling that even a year from now, the world of travel won't be back to normal. An extra year hopefully will allow life to get (somewhat) back to normal.

  • (re)Booked! Blue Danube, going Prague to Budapest, Sept 2022. Only a year and a half to go :D

    Sometime over the next year, will need to figure out how much time to add to each end, and what to do in those cities. And book air. Plenty o' time! But finally excited to be booked again.

  • Austin Gal here~
    This is a delightful trip. You will love it. We sailed on the East-West MS Savor in the month of May. The weather was just lovely. I agree with Alan, either way is good, just depends on what city you want to go early or stay later. Since your going West to East I would HIGHLY recommend you go in a day or two early if you can. Prague is just the best city to tour on you own. Beautiful spires, walking across the Charles Bridge, the Cucoo clock, and old town square, hop on the cable car. Vienna was a surprise to us. I had no idea I was a fan of classical music until we got to Vienna. There is music EVERYWHERE, and found myself humming songs that I did not realize I had known. Budapest Hungary has wonderful food, UM PA music and great beer. Just a wonderful experience all around. Hope you enjoy!!

  • edited February 10

    If you search the archives you'll find my posts about what we did to maximize touring since you must choose excursions. For example we wanted to see as much of Prague as we could, so went almost two days early to take a tour of the Jewish Quarter with a local guide then did the city tour with Tauck two days later; we wanted to see both Salzburg and Cesky Krumlov so booked the same tour company as our walking tour and made a day trip from Prague to Cesky Krumlov; then when the boat got to Lintz we took the Tauck excursion to Salzburg instead of Cesky Krumlov. When researching, we watched a Rick Steves show about CK (still available on his website) and used his recommended tour guide company ( PragueWalker ) - we had the same guide, Tereza, for the Jewish Quarter as we did for CK day trip- she was fantastic and so was the company!

  • Thanks for the feedback! Perhaps since I'm so far ahead of the schedule, I can see if Tereza is open then :).

    I'm looking to do much of the same--Jewish Quarter, Charles Bridge, etc

  • edited February 10

    The PragueWalker website use to have short bios of their guides, but they appear to be gone. Katka seems to have a much larger staff now. They were all experienced and educated. We typically make initial contact and book many months ahead of our departure date. Frankly, we have never been disappointed with any of the private European guides we've hired, whether in Prague, Frankfurt, Naples, Florence, Dresden, etc.

  • Just wanted to bump this thread, since there hasn't been any activity in this forum in a while. Still booked for Sept 2022. I'm reading in the news that Americans are booking overseas trips for 2022 like crazy. Pent up demand. It's supposed to put a strain on flights also. So I guess I'll start looking into flights in a month or so. (Houston to Prague). Finger crossed everything stays on track!

  • I booked our air for our Rhine Enchantment trip on the first day tickets were available, and Tauck was able to get me a better deal than what I could find on a business fare. I just checked the United website, and prices have gone up substantially in only a week. 330 days from the ‘return’ date for booking.

  • Thanks for the feedback. I better get on this!

  • My husband and I just returned home after this fabulous October 2021 Blue Danube Eastbound River Cruise (Prague to Budapest) . Tauck is a fabulous company!! We stayed in one of the loft rooms (107)on the boat and I would recommend one of these loft rooms to anyone!! Had excellent tour directors ( Andrea, Gilli, Katalin, and Scott)!!! This is a wonderful River Cruise and I would recommend this trip to EVERYONE!! Eastbound does not include seeing the Budapest Lighted Parliament Building ( seen on Tauck videos) as the ship traveled during the night and arrived into Budapest @ 4AM. Food was delicious and the staff worked hard to accommodate all types of dietary needs. Tauck worked hard to be COVID safe during our trip and our entire group tested Covid negative at the end of the tour. The hardest part for us was getting COVID tested and filling out passenger locator forms PRIOR to our cruise. No one had quite the right answers for our questions when trying to prepare for our trip. We ended up getting COVID tested @ CVS twice prior to our trip( 3days prior and 2 days prior) with 24 hour test turnaround results only to discover that NO ONE ever checked our COVID test results going , during, or coming home. We were both fully vaccinated ( with booster) for our trip and we were required to show our COVID vaccination card on numerous occasions. Passenger locator form (Prague) was checked prior to boarding planes going to Europe, and Tauck issued a USA COVID attestation form that was collected by airline departing for the USA . Felt comfortable with Tauck assistance coming home to the USA , but needed more assistance getting ready for departure for entering Europe (Prague). Traveling is a little more difficult than it was 2 years ago , and we were some of the first groups to experience all these new requirements during these difficult COVID times. I hope my post here helps others in the coming months that may be planning a Blue Danube River Cruise with Tauck!! I also recommend calling the airline you will be traveling with for any questions that you may have about needed documentation. Good luck and Happy Travels!! Oh by the way, I definitely plan on traveling with Tauck again- next trip will be to Alaska! KC

  • KatrinaC01,

    Thank you for such a great and informative post! I can empathize with you insofar as having to fill out pre-tour paperwork mandated by some countries. I'm leaving next week for Tauck's Douro River Cruise and am struggling with making sure I complete the paperwork correctly. Anyway, welcome home.

  • edited November 3

    If Gilli was this Gillian, she is a hoot! :D

  • Gilli/Gillian was the TD on the my Iceland tour that I interacted with the most. "She is a hoot" is a perfect description. In addition, she is a great dancer. If I knew how to post videos I'd post one of her dancing skills from the Iceland tour.

    Here she is in her Puffin outfit welcoming us to Grimsey Island.

  • Smiling Sam - Although a much different tour, the playfulness of the above tour director reminds me of Patricia H. on the Spain and Portugal tour. Sorry for the digression.

  • I had Patricia on the Spain and Portugal tour as well. She did a great flamenco dance on the bus for the group. Here she is with a big smile at the St John Bosco house in Ronda.

    And handing out goodies on the bus.

  • My all-time favorite tour and favorite tour director. I hope I will have the pleasure of seeing her on the Douro River cruise next week.

  • kfnknfzk , AlanS, Smiling Sam,
    Yes Gilli is Gillian! Amazing tour director! So much energy!! Have fun on your River cruise!! Any Alaska tour info would be appreciated by KatrinaC01. KC

  • I was just thinking about the direction. I found Prague to be more interesting, so I would plan any extra days to be there. We went from Budapest to Prague and stayed later.

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