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Review: Saga Rhine River Cruise

Cruise - River Cruise

Saga Danube river cruise

  • By SilverTraveller Charmingjim

    1 review

  • April 2017
  • Wife
  • Regular holiday
  • Balcony
  • Nuremberg

63 people found this review helpful

My wife and I are experienced travelers and a couple of years ago we drove to Vienna and Budapest. This year we decided to take a River cruise there with Saga.

The trip started with a B.A. flight to Prague where we spend two nights in the Corinthian Hotel, We were met at Prague airport by the Saga representative and taken by coach to the Corinthian which was about 20 minutes from the airport. The Corinthian must be one of the best hotels in Prague, a tall modern building which is just across a plaza from the tube station. From here it is only three stops to central Prague. Please note that the map provided by the hotel is not much use. If you can get one from The Hard Rock Cafe you will find it much more useful.

After two days exploring the delightful city of Prague we were taken by coach some 200 miles to Nuremberg. There was a lunchtime stop at a MacDonald’s near the German border and a toilet break a bit further on. We arrived at Nuremberg about 4 p.m. and boarded the Filia Rheni 2 where we were shown to our 14M2 cabin with a balcony window. Space is quite limited in these cabins but that is probably due to the limited width of the riverboats which have to be able to pass through the numerous large locks on the Danube. Do not pack too much luggage or use really large suitcases because you have to store these cases under the bed. Aside from the size restriction the cabin was fine and the bed comfortable.

Our cruise was from Nuremberg to Budapest taking in Regensburg, Passau, Melk, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest, with an optional trip to Saltzberg.. All very interesting places with (aside from Saltzberg) most attractions not that far from the boat. Mosdt of the sailing was done at night givin g time to explore places of interest during the day.

There were 108 passengers aboard the boat with 35 crew and 4 Saga employees. The ship was very pleasant and. unlike sea cruises, had a very intimate feel. I think that at one time or another we talked to all the passengers and got to know most of the crew. It was a very cosy and friendly atmosphere.

Because of the limited number of passengers there were no queues for anything and no problem going ashore when in port. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner were provided. These were generally of good quality but afternoon tea could have had more items that were not as fattening as the cakes provided.

There were some trips provided as part of the package and a number of optional ones available. These were mostly good and well organized but, of course, the guides tended to give too much information in order to justify their existence. A Saga guide accompanied each tour and the one we had, Ira from Holland, was great.. All the Saga employees worked very hard to make our holiday enjoyable and for this we must thank them.

The ship’s employees were also very good. Most of them were from Albania, Bulgaria and Romania plus one from Brazil. All were very good and spoke acceptable English. Our dinner waitress was the best English speaker on board and worked very hard to make sure that everyone was happy. We must also comment on the lovely chambermaid we had for our cabin (329) who did a first class job.

When we got to Vienna we had a free excursion to the city centre with free tea and cake at a hotel. After this we had free time until we returned to the ship for lunch. After that an optional excursion to Schonbrunn Palace was to be available. Unfortunately not enough people signed up for the trip so it was cancelled. This did not matter to us because we had visited it previously when we drove down to Vienna but the rest of the ship’s passengers missed out on one of Vienna’s main attractions.

I would suggest to Saga that it would have been better if people were taken to Schonbrunn Palace (which is about 10 miles outside the city centre) in the morning and then taken to the city centre for lunch and exploration before returning to the ship for dinner.

The evening entertainment on the ship was good. One night we had the entertainment director, Simon, doing a good Elvis impersonation. Another night a good talent competition for the passengers was provided… Yet another evening saw us entertained by an Austrian brass band. In general any music played was 50;s and 60’s pop but there was one night when this eventually degenerated into the dreaded disco rubbish. Thankfully it was short lived.

We have been on a couple of Ocean cruises and can honestly say that the river cruise provided a better experience. We think that Saga did well and would go with them again. We would, however, ask for later flight times. This flying at 7:30 in the morning is horrible because it means getting up about 4 a.m. and that is not fun.

Thank you Saga, your employees and the crew of Filia Rheni 2 for giving us a good holiday experience.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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Other Members' Thoughts - 8 Comment(s)

  • candy
    almost 3 years ago
    This sounds fabulous..never tried a river cruise yet...but would love to
  • discerning-traveller
    almost 3 years ago
    Thank to both of you. I have a feeling that cruise i saw was on the more basic Rheni. Will check. Encouraging for both, though.
  • ESW
    almost 3 years ago
    From your comments charmingjim, I think Filla Rheni is one step (or more) up from Rex Rheni. I've been looking at google images and it does look a nice ship.
  • Charmingjim
    almost 3 years ago
    On the Filla Rheni 2 there is a main forward lounge where most people tend to congregate. At the rear of the ship there is a library which we found to be almost empty most of the time. There are also areas at the sides and the back of the outside deck which are quiet so you should have no problem. The age range of the guests was between 50 and about 80. On excursions slow walkers are all put on the same coach. We also noticed aids to mobility throughout the ship.

    We noticed some people using mobility aids and, at the other end of the spectrum there were a number
    of people like us who could run about and climb steep hills on some of the trips. Whatever your fitness level you should have no problem because Saga catered well for everyone.
  • discerning-traveller
    almost 3 years ago
    Good morning ESW, that's very encouraging . Thank you. That sounds fine. I did a tour with Saga in 2014 and, as you say, they discreetly and caringingly looked after anyone who needed it. Again, the age range was as you described which is a nice mix. I was very impressed with Saga but not toured with them since. Springtime in Holland sounds nice. Look forward to reading your review :)
  • ESW
    almost 3 years ago
    Good morning Discerning Traveller... I'll leave Jim to comment on the Filia Rheni 2, his group and places to escape....

    I'm just back from Springtime in Holland with Saga on Rex Rheni. I'm assuming the age range will be similar on all their cruises. Ours was 50+ to 80+ with the majority between 60-70 I've been on a river cruise when a couple of the passengers really shouldn't have booked as they weren't able to cope with the ship or excursions, so understand where you are coming from.

    When booking the Saga operative did carefully take me through the different cabin options and the boat with regard to mobility and lifts. Tours were graded with a walking content, so you knew what you were letting yourself in for. When I rang Saga to check on one of the optional tours the person I spoke to was really knowledgeable and could explain just what was involved. I got the feeling that if something wasn't suitable, they would let you know and advise against booking.

    There was one lady in a wheelchair and a few people with walking sticks. The rest were all fit and mobile. Obviously people walk at different rates but this was managed carefully with a sweeper up at the back of the group who made sure no one got lost or left behind. This was done very sensitively so you weren't made to feel embarrassed and the rest of the group weren't aware of it happening.

    As might be expected with Saga catering for the older market, the three reps were excellent at looking after people both on the ship and on excursions. Instructions were clear and they made very sure we all knew where the meeting point was and what time we had to be there. If the coach was a short walk, there was always a rep to make sure we found it safely.

    In April I usually had the sun deck to myself if I wanted to get away from people. I suspect that might not be the case at the height of summer (although the lounge areas may be a lot quieter then). I was always one of the first into breakfast and usually had a table to myself then, which allowed me to eat in peace.

    Go for it!
  • discerning-traveller
    almost 3 years ago
    Thank you for your review. I actually read it twice as I've been wondering about a sm liar cruise on this ship with Saga. They do one for solo travellers.
    One thing that concerned me was whether there was anywhere other than your cabin to get away from everyone for some headspace? Don't misunderstand - I'm very socialable and love meeting new people but also relish time to myself.
    Also roughly what was the age and mobility of the cruise? again, please don't be offended, it's just that I went on one with Fred Olsen last year - hence the questions!
    Thank you.
  • ESW
    almost 3 years ago
    Having just done my first river cruise with Saga (to Holland), I was interested to compare your experience. I was very impressed by Saga too - they really do take good care of you.