Rhine River Cruise - ABD vs. Amawaterways

DisneyWishes14

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 21, 2011
A Rhine River cruise is on my bucket list and I've been eyeing the ABD option. I've also looked at booking directly through Amawaterways (ABD's river cruise ship provider) as the price is substantially lower and many of the excursions look exactly the same. Can anyone who has done a river cruise through ABD comment on what the differences might be between ABD and booking directly through Ama? I understand there would be ABD guides onboard, but do they offer more or different experiences on the ABD?
 

nifferearly

Mouseketeer
DVC Gold
Joined
Jan 9, 2008
We did the Danube through ABD the first year and I seriously debated between Amawaterways and ABD. I think it was approximately $1,000 more per person to do ABD. Ultimately, I went with ABD because there were so many more shore excursion options and the shore excursions were more geared to children/families (my son was 10 and my mom came with us). Totally worth the extra money - it was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken!
Something to consider. there is no tipping with ABD (at least there wasn’t a few years ago), which helps close the gap a little. And we literally could have spent no additional money on the trip. ABD was great about buying meals and snacks on shore excursions.
 

Fred M

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Back in 2011 I did the Rhine and Moselle cruise through a different provider. It was absolutely the best trip I've ever had. The food was so good on the vessel that I didn't need to spend money in town unless I wanted to. I think the experience will be awesome whether it's through Amawaterways or ABD. Just price out everything and go with what works for you!
 
  • tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    I've been on three river cruise ABDs and my answer is, it depends.

    I've been on the Danube Holiday ABD with just DH. We both felt that if traveling with just the two of us, AMA made more sense. The tours are similar (and on some itineraries have MORE options), and AMA offers both pre and post trips. ABD has eliminated the Prague pre/post trip that was the highlight of that ABD, honestly.

    We traveled as a family (DH, DD and I) for the Rhine Holiday ABD and DD loved it, so we were happy.

    DD, DM and I just returned from a summer ABD Danube and again, mom and DD had a good time so it was a good trip. I did the logistical planning and added a couple of days prior in Budapest (next year there is a pre trip option) and post days in Prague (just a beautiful city, I love it).

    I think if you're traveling as a multigenerational group and/or with children ABD is definitely a great option but as a couple we sort of noticed a lot of families/families traveling together and didn't really feel included.

    If you have any questions please feel free to pm me.
     

    DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    I've done both and did a writeup on it!


    edit: no matter what you do go on a river cruise. They're incredibleeeeee.
    Wow. Thank you, everyone, for your incredibly helpful responses! OhanaCuz, your writeup was fantastic, thank you! Wow - I'm so torn!!! We really could go either way on this. It would be me, DH and DS12 traveling and I would love to do connecting staterooms, so that single supplement that you mention, OhanaCuz, could be a big factor in the decision. On the other hand, I do like the Disney extras. We enjoy Disney trips (WDW, DL, DCL, ABD), but also enjoy smaller non-Disney cruises (Paul Gauguin and Lindblad/Nat. Geo.), so DS12 would probably be fine either way as well. Ok, time to crunch some numbers! It sounds like we really couldn't go wrong either way. Thank you, again, for your incredibly helpful responses everyone!
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    Wow. Thank you, everyone, for your incredibly helpful responses! OhanaCuz, your writeup was fantastic, thank you! Wow - I'm so torn!!! We really could go either way on this. It would be me, DH and DS12 traveling and I would love to do connecting staterooms, so that single supplement that you mention, OhanaCuz, could be a big factor in the decision. On the other hand, I do like the Disney extras. We enjoy Disney trips (WDW, DL, DCL, ABD), but also enjoy smaller non-Disney cruises (Paul Gauguin and Lindblad/Nat. Geo.), so DS12 would probably be fine either way as well. Ok, time to crunch some numbers! It sounds like we really couldn't go wrong either way. Thank you, again, for your incredibly helpful responses everyone!
    Full disclosure the deal I got (don't remember what type) might not be around anymore. Another thing to consider if you really want to make the ABD work is that they do have rooms that fit 3 people with a sleeper recliner bed. It would be tight but I saw several families doing it.
     
  • DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    Full disclosure the deal I got (don't remember what type) might not be around anymore. Another thing to consider if you really want to make the ABD work is that they do have rooms that fit 3 people with a sleeper recliner bed. It would be tight but I saw several families doing it.
    Thank you so much!
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    Full disclosure the deal I got (don't remember what type) might not be around anymore. Another thing to consider if you really want to make the ABD work is that they do have rooms that fit 3 people with a sleeper recliner bed. It would be tight but I saw several families doing it.
    We’ve sailed with DD twice and both times found it cheaper to book 2 cat D (the cheapest available to passengers since the ABD guides are in the E rooms) staterooms v. the room that sleeps 3. The sleeper chair on those rooms is small! Now if y’all book a suite it’s a full sleeper sofa but $$. I didn’t mind sleeping in a twin bed in the same room for less money and an extra bathroom, but everyone is different :)

    ps- yes even with the single supplement which was charged it was cheaper-crazy I know! I encourage you to run the numbers because the travel agent or ABD vacationista will not tell you that.
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    We’ve sailed with DD twice and both times found it cheaper to book 2 cat D (the cheapest available to passengers since the ABD guides are in the E rooms) staterooms v. the room that sleeps 3. The sleeper chair on those rooms is small! Now if y’all book a suite it’s a full sleeper sofa but $$. I didn’t mind sleeping in a twin bed in the same room for less money and an extra bathroom, but everyone is different :)

    ps- yes even with the single supplement which was charged it was cheaper-crazy I know! I encourage you to run the numbers because the travel agent or ABD vacationista will not tell you that.
    I can't give up the French balcony now. I'm too spoiled! :guilty:
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    I can't give up the French balcony now. I'm too spoiled! :guilty:
    I've done 3 and been upgraded twice (once to cat AB, once to cat AA, but how/why I have no idea). TBH the balconies are nice in the summer but I didn't use mine it at all during our winter cruise. I can understand the preference though.
     
  • OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    I've done 3 and been upgraded twice (once to cat AB, once to cat AA, but how/why I have no idea). TBH the balconies are nice in the summer but I didn't use mine it at all during our winter cruise. I can understand the preference though.
    That's actually what's holding me back from a winter cruise. I think the Christmas market cruises look amazing but I hateeeeee cold weather and loveeeeed my balcony.
     

    tink1970

    DCL Platinum
    Joined
    Dec 29, 2012
    That's actually what's holding me back from a winter cruise. I think the Christmas market cruises look amazing but I hateeeeee cold weather and loveeeeed my balcony.
    When we were sailing through the gorge with all the castles. AMA staff came out with hot chocolate and Rudesheim coffee- and it wasn’t so cold, lol. AMA staff are the best!
     

    DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    We’ve sailed with DD twice and both times found it cheaper to book 2 cat D (the cheapest available to passengers since the ABD guides are in the E rooms) staterooms v. the room that sleeps 3. The sleeper chair on those rooms is small! Now if y’all book a suite it’s a full sleeper sofa but $$. I didn’t mind sleeping in a twin bed in the same room for less money and an extra bathroom, but everyone is different :)

    ps- yes even with the single supplement which was charged it was cheaper-crazy I know! I encourage you to run the numbers because the travel agent or ABD vacationista will not tell you that.
    Thank you so much for this info! Yes, I was thinking of pricing out a triple, quad and also connecting rooms to see what our best options would be. I don't mind paying a little more to ensure we all have something resembling a real bed.
     

    Eastridge

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 24, 2018
    I did the ABD Rhine River cruise with an 11 year old. I didn't consider the AmaWaterways version for our trip because of what OhanaCuz described (much older clientele, no kids). But the ABD version has many activities suitable for kids.

    Dreams Unlimited provided an episode about the ABD version of the cruise:

    The Disney Rhine cruises only go downstream. The guides on my trip said that was to maximize the amount of time for excursions. The ship tends to travel at night and most of the time it is docked during the day. The AmaWaterways versions spend more time cruising during the day.
     

    OhanaCuz

    I can finally say that I've been on an ABD.
    Joined
    Jan 22, 2014
    The Disney Rhine cruises only go downstream. The guides on my trip said that was to maximize the amount of time for excursions.
    That is so interesting. I didn't know that! Our AMA-only cruise was from Basel to Amsterdam.
     

    DisneyWishes14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2011
    I did the ABD Rhine River cruise with an 11 year old. I didn't consider the AmaWaterways version for our trip because of what OhanaCuz described (much older clientele, no kids). But the ABD version has many activities suitable for kids.

    Dreams Unlimited provided an episode about the ABD version of the cruise:

    The Disney Rhine cruises only go downstream. The guides on my trip said that was to maximize the amount of time for excursions. The ship tends to travel at night and most of the time it is docked during the day. The AmaWaterways versions spend more time cruising during the day.
    Very interesting info, thank you! That will definitely be a factor in trip planning. I was hoping to start in Germany (probably Berlin), head south to Munich and then into Switzerland to start the cruise in Basel. I suppose I could reverse that and start in Amsterdam . . . so much to research!! Thank you so much for weighing in!
     

    Eastridge

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 24, 2018
    They only go downstream? Do you mean Basel to Amsterdam (where it empties out)?
    Yes. The Rhine loses elevation from Basel to Amsterdam, so the ship sails with the current in that direction. Apparently the current is strong enough that it makes a significant difference in sailing time, where Basel to Amsterdam is faster than Amsterdam to Basel
     

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