Okay, so about the river tour itself, first, I hate long tours of castles, churches and palaces. Maybe one per year of one of them is about all I can take. ALL river cruises feature them, and this happens just about every day. Worse, you can have two or three of them on the same day, back to back to back. And you're trapped on a bus or something, so must stick around until the end. Sure, you can skip the tour, but they are part of the one price, so it would be a waste to remain on the boat, or maybe this is large enough to be called a ship.
one rating, with the dollars/day cost from a second source.
- #1 (5 stars--$380): Tauck. If you have the opportunity, get on the Swiss Emerald, for it is the best on any European river. While many cruise lines feature free booze (even premium alcoholic brands--and from 9AM to midnight for Tauck), free tours, free internet (adequate for e-mails, but slow, very slow if you need to process photos) and no tipping (even at the end), as Tauck does, it is in the quality of service and excellence of cuisine that Tauck shines.
- #2 (4.5 stars--$473): Uniworld. They supposedly lend out Nordic walking sticks, which for me would have been important because I bought a cane on my Tauck tour.
- #3 (4 stars): AMA Waterways--$427--formerly known as Amadeus, has a newer fleet and champagne at breakfast.
- #4 (3 stars--$320): Avalon Waterways, owned by Globus. Quieter ride and is improving.
- #5 (3 stars--$264): Viking River Cruises, the largest of the European River Boat companies. Said to be okay, but service and amenities are not the best. They sell water bottles on board! Food not memorable. A great unsophisticated cruise for those who want to be treated like children. (These are not my words.)
Incredibly, a weather disturbance over the past day has become 155 MPH Super Tropical Cyclone Chapala off the coast of Yemen. The expectation is further strengthening: