Before we continue our Danube ramble, I wanted to add some information that struck me as worth-while, especially for first time cruisers. It really is important to chose a cruise line that is right for you before you take your first cruise.Do your research up-front, read reviews,talk to people who have done this before, etc.
Of course, some folks enjoy trying out the cruises offered by different companies. This can be fun, of course, but just like on ocean cruises, loyalty to a particular line pays off. Admittedly the Ramblers have only taken one river cruise to date, although another is coming up, but here’s the deal. With Uniworld, our choice after much research, once you’ve taken a cruise, you are enrolled in their River Heritage Club. Membership offers some additional perks on board, extra discounts on your next cruise, and sometimes they will even upgrade your cabin to the next level if there is room. Luckily for us, we were absolutely satisfied with our first choice and had no desire to switch to another line, even if it offered a “better” deal. It isn’t a better deal if you keep thinking you should have stayed with your original choice during the second cruise.
I am pretty sure that most of the leading cruise lines offer the same sort of perks for repeat cruisers. So, if you loved river cruising, but weren’t entirely happy with your first cruise, you might well try another company. If so, you will be starting from square one again, without club benefits. Just a thought.
Finally, a word about “all inclusive.” Many cruise lines cay they are all inclusive, but relatively few are so do your homework. On our Uniworld Christmas Markets Cruise, we spent absolutely no money on board or for tours. Everything was truly included, all food and drink, tips, etc. If we hadn’t bought some souvenirs and enjoyed a meal in Salzburg, we would have headed to the airport with our Euro’s unspent.