So here’s the sitch. I booked ABD Italy & Amalfi coast and did not like the heat of August in Japan with ABD or really the guided excursion aspect so I went to cancel. But Mike at Touringplans, the TA, said what about a river cruise? Because there is more flexibility, so I don’t lose the $2100 sunk costs. I looked into them and originally thought still looks too much guided like ABD land based. So I told Mike sunk costs don’t matter just cancel. But he didn’t because he was trying to think of a way to get my money back. So, when one night I was discussing this sitch with DH, whom I thought would never agree to this river cruising thing, and surprise he said that sounds fun, let’s do it. So since Mike hadn’t cancelled, we are considering it. Has anyone done any of the ABD ones and what are the pros/cons? I have seen that AMAWaterways is very similar to Viking in class which my parents rave about. There is more flexibility in choosing your excursions than on a land based ABD and you can always do your own thing. But it still seems very regimented. Will I still hate that?
Seine - Pros: I can add DLP which is the last of the Disney parks for me to check off the list, and I mean it’s France and there seem to be lots of more active excursions like biking and hiking which is more up my alley than museums and architecture. Cons - I’ve been to a lot of the places they go like Normandy and Etretat but I have never been to Giverny or Monet’s house and it’s been decades since I’ve been to the others so maybe not such a con. Also when I went to Etretat we didn’t hike, just played on the beach (and fun note I still have a rock I stole from this beach at 13yo; not sure if that’s allowed so don’t tell anyone but I was 13 and that was 30 years ago so I’m hoping I can claim statute of limitations?).
Rhine - Pros: I’ve never been any of these places, and Amsterdam is on my list. There is EuropaPark on the tour and they offer a pretty cool looking Christmas version. Cons: Going during Christmas has some activities not in the warmer months like canoeing but does have ice skating so kind of a balance of different active activities.
Danube: Pros: Seems the most exotic and I’m highly intrigued by the rafting in the salt mine which pro you can do on the Christmas version of this tour too. Cons: Bigger river and bigger places and I’m more of a nature girl than a big city girl so Rhine might be better for that?
Any thoughts are appreciated if you’ve done ABD River cruising or just river cruising in general or been to any of these places and are more active like me! Thanks! Or would I prefer one of the expedition cruises?
Is there an easy quick copy/paste for you to post the individual cities? I’ve traveled fairly extensively along the Rhine and Danube. River cruises have always intrigued me and they look gorgeous but I have not been able to get over the hurdle of considering the hotels and restaurants to be too integral to lose to the ship. Does that make sense? BUT if it’s lose $2k or take a river cruise, then I certainly would heavily consider it!
You can wait until after my Christmas market trip report to see how strongly Christmas draws you to Germany!
(The Salt Mine thing and the Mozart concert are highly intriguing to me)
I would do the Danube of these three hands down. I can’t say the Rhein one is particularly nature-ridden (Cologne is nice but on the more industrial side). I don’t know where exactly the excursions go though. I studied abroad in Vienna and also spent a lot of time in Budapest. I’m sure you can’t quite go wrong.
How do you feel that a river cruise is more flexible for you than your previous ABD? Could they move the $2k to DLP or WDW instead?
Nope, has to be ABD and whatever is on the schedule before you enter that final payment date of 90days out I think. It’s not like you can just get a future credit sigh.
Really the only way I see it’s more flexible is this:
Choose Your Afternoon Activities
On Your Own in Passau
Explore the beautiful “City of Three Rivers,” where the Danube, Inn and Ilz Rivers converge. Browse the delightful shops that run from Old Town through the pedestrian zone to the “New Center.” Taste refreshing German beer at one of Passau’s 5 breweries and sample some delicious Bavarian fare in one of the excellent restaurants, wine bars or pubs.
Aldersbacher Brewery Tour and Monastery Visit
Experience the spirit of Lower Bavaria at Aldersbacher Brewery. A working brewery and museum, the Aldersbacher Brewery is also home to a Cistercian monastery, founded in 1776. Adult Adventurers can enjoy a pretzel and beer tasting during your visit, while Junior Adventurers receive a privately guided tour.
There are tour options. That was not the case on the land-based. It’s still guided and regimented as far as I can’t pick where I want to eat exactly like you said and that was a bother for me with Japan. I am better at it frankly (or at least better at knowing what me and mine will enjoy). I am more active and more dangerous I suppose LOL. My Japan guide said they took out this museum in Japan for safety reasons:
teamLab Planets TOKYO | teamLab / チームラボ
We went in our downtime (which since these were time based entry tickets I had to first freaking inquire when those downtimes would be because they only say you have them in the itinerary and not what times they are. They also change them on the fly which is real pain in the butt for trying to plan additional things I sure tell ya!). But it’s that kind of thing that is just not okay with me and I don’t want to do another ABD. But DH doesn’t want me to walk away from the money dropped in and is apparently interested in a river cruise. He also did not mind the regimentation of ABD Japan. But also from his perspective that’s no different than when I do all the planning LOL
*Also I suppose the other way they are less regimented but truly it’s not because I suppose technically in Japan we could have done it too, is you can just not do the excursions and go out on your own. But you’re very much paying for them so that seems stupid.
Cool. That’s my instinct too. We have months to make a decision or by the time it might sell out I suppose. So I’m gonna keep pondering just walking away from the money and doing this kind of thing on my own some day. In that case, I have some other higher priority trips on my list that’ll happen first. Stupid limitation of vacations days and money keep getting in the way!
We’re doing the AbD Rhine river cruise next summer! My parents did the Danube with Ama last fall and loved it. We’re only doing AbD since it skews younger and the Rhine because my sister teaches so we have to go over the summer and that’s the one that was available (plus my parents wanted to do something different). This is also our first AbD trip so no other experience there, but my parents would definitely recommend the Danube (pretty sure it’s the same itinerary as they had, although the activities are probably a little different)
Yes I compared and same stops but some slight diffs in excursions
And doing it thru AMA is cheaper.
A fellow TA did both abd and ama river with her kids and said the kids were bored stiff with ama and loved the abd because of the kid specific programming and engagement of adventure guides. Yours may be old enough for that not to matter.
Christmas market cruise is on my list big time. Those do tend to sell out though. What about the Adriatic expedition cruise they’re doing for the first time this (next?) year?
Following because while I’ve never been on a European river cruise, it’s on my list. I get emails from all of the big ones but haven’t taken the plunge yet because I’ve been concerned that DH and I (in our 50s) are still too young for the crowd (on Viking specifically.) I was thinking AMA or ABD might be better for us but would love to read others’ opinions on these cruises. I’m also trying to plan a trip (somewhere-haven’t decided yet) for our 30th anniversary in 2025. So, carry on, I’m a willing reader!
I would actually like that one much more. Very dramatic and adventurous but it’s two dates both of which overlap a piece of my Scotland trip.
I would have maybe went deep into pockets and just did Antarctica cuz that’s on my list and you have to do it by boat but they seem to have cancelled next years and have only left this year and it is sold out. I guess they weren’t getting the interest they wanted and my bet is it won’t be coming back.
I am trying to watch YouTube vloggers and get a feel. Im still not sold so it may or may not happen. I’ll report back when a decision is made.
So I price compared and remembered why I said cancel initially. It’s $6430 more to do this same exact cruise thru ABD than direct thru AMAWaterways. So even losing my $2100 it’s still cheaper and I have other things I’d rather do but I do really want to go to S Africa so now I’m gonna price compare doing it my own versus ABD. Usually I can do it for half the cost same hotels and similar day guided tours but just for my family. Let’s see if that’s still the case in which case I’m just walking away.
Ah that’s a hugely important point! I think I was kind of looking at it like the $2000 would cover the trip but what was I thinking! (It’s Disney!) If it’s $6000 more than another cruise then I really don’t even want to know what the total price is. I feel confident you could do a customized land tour for less than $8000. If you don’t count flights my almost 3 weeks in Germany and Italy will cost slightly less than that.
EXACTLY! I didn’t do ABD China becuase it was like 10 days for $10K pp not counting your international flight. I did China for 20 days (X2 amount of time as Disney), stayed in some of the EXACT same 5* hotels like The Peninsula and even got higher rooms than Disney would have booked (like we did a 2 story one for kiddo) and included international flights for $10K pp. Tim and I were discussing that with AMAWaterways which is the exact same cruise liner ABD uses and it also comes with the food/excursions and he said that $6K for two pp was paying for the guides to do the tour too. But the boat is 150 people so they are making $6K x 75 = almost half a million bucks on top of whatever they are paying AMAWaterways per boat. That’s insane. It’s extremely upcharged. And so I thought there must be something Disney magical they do but after doing ABD Japan, I’d say nope. You can pay for that same 5 star level of service and if you just book it yourself save thousands of dollars per trip. Big families, tens of thousands. So unless you’re just okay throwing money away and don’t like trip planning at all and just want to be surprised and do barely nothing, it’s not for you imho.