May 14, 2024


Ep. 424 - Live Bonus Show - Current Affairs: Everything You Need to Know About River Cruising

Hosted by

Brian Sam
Ep. 424 - Live Bonus Show - Current Affairs: Everything You Need to Know About River Cruising
DCL Duo Podcast: A Disney Cruise Line Fan Podcast
Ep. 424 - Live Bonus Show - Current Affairs: Everything You Need to Know About River Cruising

May 14 2024 | 01:17:35


Show Notes

Karen, owner of My Path Unwinding Travel (our show sponsor), joins us to chat all about river cruising. Karen recently attended a conference focused on river cruising and has so much information to share. We're chatting about the various river cruise lines - Viking, Ama, Tauck, Riverside, Avalon and Uniworld, and answering your questions. What the experience is like onboard? Who is river cruising for? Is river cruising good for families? What's included in your river cruise fare? What kind of amenities and facilities you can expect? What are the staterooms like? What kinds of excursions can I expect? What is food like onboard? Karen also has some fabulous special offers to share. If you've been thinking about experiencing a river cruise - this is the show for you.

If you are looking to book your next Disney Cruise, then head over to My Path Unwinding Travel so Karen and her team of expert travel professionals can help you find the perfect vacation for you and your family. 

If you use Sea Bands to prevent motion sickness, then you need to check out Blisslets (via our affiliate link), a stylish alternative to traditional sea sickness bands.

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: So, I mean, I definitely think that the Danube and the Rhine are like, kind of, you know, eastern slash, western caribbean itineraries. Right? [00:00:12] Speaker B: But fantastic. I cannot say enough about that sail into Budapest. I mean, it was gorgeous. You have to see it. [00:00:19] Speaker A: So beautiful. [00:00:33] Speaker B: Welcome back, everybody, to a live edition of the DCl duo podcast brought to you by my path unwinding travel. And Sam, it's a doozy. Today we're going to be talking a different kind of cruising, a little river cruising with our friend Karen. Yeah. [00:00:45] Speaker C: I am so excited. Hello. We just mentioned my path unwinding travel. But of course, who better to talk about my path unwinding travel than Karen? Welcome to the cruise. Yeah, we're so happy to have you back, Karen. As Brian mentioned, we're going to talk a different kind of cruising. We're going to talk river cruise cruising tonight. Before we dive into the topic, we've got to let Karen reintroduce herself to the audience. It's been a few months, I think, since we've had you on the show, Karen, but why don't you tell folks your cruising background, which is super, super extensive and a little bit about my path unwinding travel. Yeah. [00:01:25] Speaker A: Thank you. So great to be back, Ryan and Sam. Thanks for having me. So I am the owner of my path unwinding Travel. We are a full service boutique travel agency. We like to say that Disney is at the heart of everything we do, but we do so much more than that. So we all kind of speak that common Disney language. We are now celebrating our 9th year in business, which is crazy to me. We have 15 advisors coast to coast. You've seen many of them on your show. My very first cruise was on my honeymoon, which is over 30 years ago now. And my travel agent at the time was actually my cousin who told Harv, my now husband, that if he took me on a cruise for a honeymoon, that would be the only way I would ever want a vacation. And I guess those were wise words. And, yeah, now we've been on, I can't even say, probably over 30 cruises total. I would say we are somewhere between platinum and pearl on Disney Cruise line, which is definitely the cruise line that we've experienced the most. But we've been on most of the major cruise lines and now starting to really branch out into some of the more specialty cruise lines and river cruising. [00:02:54] Speaker C: Awesome. [00:02:54] Speaker B: Nice. Well, we had our first taste of river cruising this past December and really enjoyed it and have been eyeing some things in the river cruising space. So excited to talk to you about that. You just got back, though? Well, maybe not just, but about a month or so ago now or two months ago. So now you got back from a big river cruising conference. So we're excited to hear what you learned there. Let's start off with what is river cruising? Right. I think people have a general idea of it, but we talk about river cruising. What is it and what are the biggest distinctions between it and. And sort of ocean cruising? [00:03:30] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:03:31] Speaker B: Yes. [00:03:31] Speaker A: I did just get back from the Asta river cruise expo, which is the American Society of Travel Advisors, a really amazing event where the river cruise lines bring their ships to a city. This year it was in Amsterdam, and there were nine cruise lines and 13 ships represented. And all of the travel advisors sleep on board the ships for the most part. Some did stay in hotels, but we slept on board. We got to dine around all the different ships, tour them all, and then take a river cruise. So that was an incredible event to really learn about some of the key differences. What is river cruising? I mean, it is a small ship experience where you are floating through the highways of old, right? So the highways of Europe were the rivers. So we are floating on calm, gentle waters, not on open ocean, and going, which is, which makes a really big difference for people who say they don't like to cruise because of motion sickness floating through the different destinations. Most river cruises are in Europe, but there are river cruises in southeast Asia. There's river cruises in Egypt, river cruising in Colombia. South America is becoming popular, and there's some new cruise lines going there. And then there's actually river cruising right here in the United States. [00:05:12] Speaker C: Yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:05:14] Speaker B: We have one about 200 miles south of us. Yeah, yeah. [00:05:17] Speaker C: On the Columbia river. And, of course, there's, you know, some on the Mississippi river. There's, you know, some. Some of the major rivers in the US. Tell us, Karen, what are like the. The big players in the river cruising industry for american tourists? [00:05:33] Speaker A: That's a great question. And I would say that almost everyone who has watched television or been exposed to any kind of media in the last, I don't know, ten years probably knows about Viking. Viking is. Has done a tremendous job promoting river cruising. They had some beautiful ads running during Downton Abbey back in the day, and I think that got a lot of people's attention. For all the people that loved watching Downton Abbey on PBS, and Viking had these great, great commercial spots on there promoting their river cruise, and they are probably the biggest river cruise company on every river. With so many ships, they actually have I have some notes here. They have over 90 ships. Viking does, which is really crazy. But their ships are all. Most of them are virtually identical. So they all have different names, but all the ships are virtually identical. There's just so much you can do creatively with a river cruise ship. So Viking has very, you know, the ships are very standard. And most cruise lines within their line, their ships are standard, but Viking is very popular. Another one that is popular is Amawaterways, which I know the two of you sailed on as part of their partnership with adventures by Disney. There is Avalon, which is a river cruise company that's part of the Globus family. So many people know Globus because they provide land tours, really around the world. And they. Their river cruise line is Avalon. Talc is one that I'm very excited about. I spent a great deal of time with Talc back in March out of Amsterdam. They are also a guided vacation company that it's about to celebrate 100 years. And they have some extensive offerings about river cruising on river cruise lines. Let's see, who else do we have? One of the up and comers that I'm excited about is Riverside. There was a cruise line called Crystal, and some of you out there might have heard about Crystal. They had ocean and river ships and they sadly went bankrupt during COVID So Riverside actually bought crystal cruise lines, river ships and are now operating them as a luxury cruise line. And then I think one of the other ones that folks talk about here in the US is uniworld, which is kind of an ultra luxe river cruise line as well. So there's so many more, but those are the main ones to touch on. Nice. [00:08:37] Speaker B: You just mentioned Uniworld as ultra luxe. How do you think about these other cruise lines and where they stack? Viking doesn't strike me as, like, budget. It feels like a pretty good cruise line. So, like, are they all sort of skewing toward that luxury end or is there more economy focused river cruises that you've seen? [00:08:56] Speaker A: So I think it's very interesting because Viking is among travel professionals, is considered more mass market, especially in their river cruise product. They also have an ocean product that is, I think, a bit higher. I know is a bit higher end. Viking has. They definitely promote themselves as luxurious and their price point is pretty steep. But their offering may be not quite as luxurious as a true luxury passenger might expect. And one of the reasons for that is that they have 190 passengers on their river ships. And as opposed to, let's say, a talc that has a max of 130 and more often an average of 110. And you can think about that. That is a significant difference on a ship that size, because the dining room spaces and the public spaces really are not that much different. So. And, like, Riverside, for example, has about 110 passengers compared to vikings 190. So Avalon, I would say, is a nice option. Budget. Point wise, they may have less included than some of the other lines, but really, it pays to take some time to compare several options to see what's the right fit for you. What do they include? Because that varies. What's the vibe on board? Because that varies, and then make a determination based on budget, etcetera. [00:10:48] Speaker C: Yeah. What's the demographic for river cruising? Obviously, we did an adventures by Disney, which I think demographic ranges very broadly from, you know, grandparents to, you know, it's a very multi generational cruise, I would say, on adventures by Disney on Amma. But in what are sort of the other, do the other cruise lines that are obviously less family oriented, do they skew older, and what are the exceptions to the rule there? [00:11:20] Speaker A: Great question. So, you know, river cruising has traditionally been considered a vacation for retirees late into their, well, well into their retirement, you know, not these folks that are like, you know, early retirees. And I think that adventures by Disney has helped change some of that dialogue. I remember when they were rolling out the adventures by Disney river cruise. I kind of thought they were crazy because I was like, it's not an ABD and it's not for families and it's not for young people, but because of their partnership with AMA, where they have connecting rooms and they have rooms that can hold three or four people, it has helped get the word out that river cruising is for younger people. So it really depends on the cruise line and the itinerary. So, like, Viking has now gone adult only. You cannot bring a child under 18 on Viking at all. Riverside is very interesting because they are a luxury cruise line and they allow children as young as six months on board. Wow. Not everybody loves that. Right. But when you think about a luxury hotel brand or seasons and Ritz Carlton, you know, they allow children, and Riverside is trying to be more of that floating luxury hotel experience. So it's very interesting. So again, you have to kind of really dive in, because I remember chatting with Mikael a little bit, who's been on your show, and it was sailed on Riverside that, you know, I think she was taken aback, but there was a family with very young children on board with her. And so you really have to, like, know that that can happen when you're on Riverside, and if you don't want that, then maybe choose a different line. So it really will vary. [00:13:28] Speaker C: I was just going to ask, I know you've mentioned to us talk bridges, right. And as I understand, that's kind of their, I want to say, like competitor adventures by Disney, and they're sort of more family focused. I'm curious, am I right about that? Am I remembering that correctly? [00:13:47] Speaker A: Yeah. So talc, as I mentioned, a company around for 100 years, next 2025 will be their 100th anniversary. And they about, I think it's been about 20 years ago, started talc Bridges, which is their family oriented product for both land and river cruising. So they have a subset of their river cruises that are really geared towards families. And I would say, you know, in the family space, only adventures by Disney and Talc really focus and have a well developed program. Uniworld also has a generations program, but I think it's just, it's very limited. They just have very few, like, they have fewer offerings. And so, you know, that is a consideration. But Talc has a great family product for river cruising, and they also currently sell a few more places and adventures by Disney. So for folks that either have sailed on ABd and have already done the Seine, the rhyme and the Danube, or are wanting something different, Talc does those, but they also do the Rhone, so down into southern France, and they have a Portugal itinerary for families on the Doro, which is extremely popular and exciting. And, I mean, they do a really, really nice job. And I think there's some, there's some things about Talc's ships that are better for families than Ama, and then there might be some things on Ama that are better than talc. So it's just kind of, again, evaluating what's important to your family. [00:15:32] Speaker B: What are, what are some of those things? And then the other, the other question I'm curious about is, so Abd with Ama, you mentioned earlier, had some rooms that would sleep three and four, and that can be a barrier for families. Right. If I've got to get two river cruise rooms, it's not an inexpensive proposition. I don't know if you can book those same rooms outside of an ABD on an AmA or if there are other ships out there that are sleeping, you know, three and four and kind of a more standard cabin configuration. Like, Ama is so curious about that. And, and what are some of those, like, you know, back and forth between, we loved Ama. You've been talking to us about Tocs. So, like, yeah, what are those? Some of the family friendly things on, on those two lines. [00:16:11] Speaker A: Sure. So one of the things to remember about river cruising is that, in general, the price is going to be the same. Even if you have a third and fourth person in the room, there might be a minimal amount of savings. Usually that savings is based on it being a child under twelve, rather than it being the third person. So on an ocean cruise, we're used to the third, fourth, and possibly fifth passenger, uh, having a reduced fare. On most of these river cruise lines, that is not going to be the case. The price is going to be the same if you have three or four, or therefore, if you have two rooms. So Ama has a limited number of connecting rooms, and, you know, there's just a few that actually connect. And they're not the least expensive, they're not the suites, but they are kind of a little bit on the higher, higher range. So if having a true connecting room is important to you at this time, Ama waterways is the only river cruise line that you can sail on. Talc does not have a true connecting option right now. Possibly in the future, we will see that with them, and I'll be really excited if they announce that. But one of the things I want to point out. Go ahead. [00:17:32] Speaker C: No, no. I was going to ask if you think, though. You know, I think river cruising, at least from our, the one x one experience that we have to me, is not the time to bring an infant on board. I'm just going to be honest and say that I actually don't think that that would be the right kind of vacation. Um, to me, it feels like older elementary might work, but middle school, high school are probably the better times to do river cruising as a family. And I was just curious. [00:18:03] Speaker B: You're skipping to the. You're skipping to the end of the book here, Sam, because the last question here is, is, who's it for? So. But let's go ahead. You've already beat it up. So. Yeah, Karen, before we get into the particulars of what it's like, who's it for? [00:18:14] Speaker C: Well, because that way, then. Then the adjoining room is less. A little less important. Right. If you have older kids, that's. That's where. [00:18:22] Speaker A: And that's true. And that is true. And, you know, listen, my very first river cruise was also on adventures by Disney on amawaterways. And I think initially when Abd came out, their minimum age was maybe even six the first year, or right when they were trying to promote it. Then they reduced it down to four. But I think their recommendation is still five or six and older. But on our river cruise, we did see a four year old, a family. It was, but it was a multi gen family. There was several children together and they had a lovely time. I mean, I just have the sweetest photo of the four year old, you know, holding hands with her cousin, who she was saying was her sister and, you know, holding the ABD sign. And they all sat together as a family and they had a lovely time. So I think it's just a matter of expectations and itinerary in general. I do think river cruising is, tends to be a bit active because you're not going to have a sea day. You're going to have every day in port, typically for at least some of the day. But on the other hand, you also overnight in some ports. So the pace can kind of be a little set up to you. In general. On Talc and ABD, we do tend to see older elementary to teenage to even high school graduation and college age kids traveling with their families because that tends to be the time when people are ready to take their families to Europe. [00:20:03] Speaker C: Yeah. Yeah. It's just a long flight. [00:20:08] Speaker B: It is. [00:20:09] Speaker A: It sure is. [00:20:09] Speaker B: The flight's almost more expensive than the cruise to get. To get to Europe, so especially for RPC. Yeah. You mentioned talking about costs here. I lost costs really at the end. But I wanted to ask about inclusions. So, you know, when people go on ocean cruising, you know, different lines, different kinds of inclusions. But what, what can folks expect on a river cruise would generally be included. [00:20:34] Speaker A: So again, this is going to vary based on the cruise line. At minimum, every cruise line gives you a room and gives you food at minimum. Right. So you have, you know, you have whatever room you're in and then you have your. Your food in the, in the main dining room and usually some kind of like some alternative place to grab something or other. But that, the extent of that is going to vary. [00:21:07] Speaker B: Yeah. [00:21:08] Speaker A: More then from there. River cruise lines vary. So some include excursions, but then you have to look at that closely. Viking, for example, includes an excursion in every port, but they're the very basic kind of bus or walking tour that's like an hour and a half super like surface overview where you're probably not going to go inside anything but just kind of see it all as you wave. And if you want anything more interesting or more in depth, you will pay for that. AMa waterways tends to have a choice of excursions included in every port. Talc has a choice of excursions included in every port. And for Ama and talc, you might see an afternoon and morning, even excursion, both offered. So an avalon depends on the itinerary. There's some that have none and some that have some and some that have some, but they might sell out and then you have to pay for others. So it really kind of starts getting confusing between all the lines. Riverside that I talked about, they have this, you know, very. A bit frustrating offering in that they want you to book what is their all inclusive, which is all of the excursions and the beverages, which we'll talk about. But you can book it. Just the beverages and not the excursions? Just the excursions and not the beverages or with none of it. So. So every cruise line has different price points and then beverages also varies. You can have, like on Ama waterways, they offer wine and beer and like, a sparkling wine with lunch and dinner and an hour long cocktail hour every, every day of the cruise. Talc is fully inclusive, basically open bar the whole time. You don't ever have to sign a slip or write, you know, charge anything to your room at all, unless it's like a spa or laundry. Viking has a beverage package you can buy. So again, it really, really varies based on, you know, the cruise line. [00:23:33] Speaker C: It seems like in general, they include more than your average large ship cruising. But obviously, there's a lot of variation, as you mentioned. I think the biggest thing, I think is excursions. Right? Like, generally large ship cruising, no excursions are included, whereas with river cruising, it's. The general rule is at least some walking tours are probably included and sometimes more than that. [00:23:59] Speaker B: Well, Ama seems to offer, because when we were. Almost seemed to offer, like, when I was looking at this, like, yeah, like you said, karen, like kind of three choices, like, and generally it seemed to be like low activity, moderate activity, high activity. They had bike bikes. Like, some of their ships had bikes that you could just, you know, either go on a biking excursion, which would be a high activity excursion for the day, or you just check them out when they're not in use and go tour around the town. So, yeah, the excursions are. [00:24:26] Speaker A: And that gives you a good clue. Yeah, and that gives you a good clue about the demographic on board, too. Is like, first of all, do they have bikes on board? Biking has no bikes on board. And then Riverside has e bikes. So. Which I would have loved when I was on my Amicruz and was kind of struggling a little bit on my bike. On my bike for. I blame the bike, but it could have been the rider. But looking at those excursions. Right. So, you know, how active are they, and like, Avalon, for example, has some river cruises that are marketed specifically as active adventure. And so those are going to be more appealing to a younger audience. So there's so many variations to really check out. It's a lot more than just, oh, I want to go on this cruise line, on this river, on this state, you kind of have to dive in a little deeper to understand really what you're getting. [00:25:26] Speaker B: Well, in my sense of river cruising, just to put it out there based, we've been on one, so I can't, I can't over generalize. [00:25:33] Speaker C: Karen's. [00:25:34] Speaker B: Yeah, you've been on more of them, but I don't see, like, ocean cruising. You, you can do go, go, go on the board of the ship and go from activity, or you can just sit by the pool all day. Like, the aim of ocean cruising seems to be let's all just relax, right? I mean, outside of, you know, Europe, like going to Norway and stuff like that, where people, Alaska, where people expect a little bit more activity. But in general, like that, that cruising, ocean cruising in the Caribbean is kind of relaxing. River cruising was like, up at seven, get breakfast, you're headed out on an excursion. You might come back for lunch. There might be another excursion in the afternoon. You had moments of relaxation and opportunities relaxing, but it was a lot more like, yeah, well, the ship isn't the destination, right? The desk, the cities, it's stopping. Enter the destination. Is that fair, Karen, do you think, for river cruising or is there? [00:26:18] Speaker A: I absolutely think it's. Yeah, I absolutely think it's fair. I mean, the river cruise is more of a floating hotel concept, right? It's taking you where you want to go without having to pack and unpack. And for most places in Europe, you, you know, you dock and you're right in the town. Now, for other places, you might need to drive a little bit, a short ways or further ways, but in general, you're way closer to the destination that you're there to see than on an ocean cruise. Right, where you, you know, might dock into the Vecchia and have to, you know, drive into Rome. That's, you know, nowhere near. But so you have more time to really immerse many of these river cruises. Even if you're doing an excursion, let's say, in the morning, then you have time to just wander, you know, which is really what you want to do. I think in some of these european towns, you know, just really soak it in, shop a little, have some local, you know, local cuisine or a drink or just sit and people watch, you know, in the, in the square or whatnot. And, you know, and that may be why for some people, doing a river cruise that doesn't include any excursions is fine because they really just want to use it as that floating hotel and just choose what they want to experience in each destination. But most of the time you're going to get off, right? There's not a Nassau where you're like, oh, I'm never just going to stay on and enjoy the ship, although there's some great amenities on board some of these ships, for sure, but it's, you know, and there's times where, you know, when you're floating down the river, the river itself is the destination. There's portions of the, of the Rhine, for example, that is a UNESCO World heritage site. And you're learning, you know, you're seeing castles floating by and whatever it's. And beautiful scenery. And you may have a cruise director narrating some of what you're experiencing as you're, as you're sailing down the river or going through locks. Did you guys enjoy the locks when you were on your river cruise? I mean, I think that's one of. [00:28:27] Speaker C: The most fascinating experiences. We had one afternoon where we were sailing, and because most of the time we were only sailing at night. [00:28:36] Speaker A: Right. [00:28:36] Speaker C: So we couldn't see anything. Even if you were in a lock, you couldn't see it. It was pitch black. Right. But there was one afternoon where we went through, actually, a couple of locks, and that was really cool on the Danube to see them, you know? [00:28:48] Speaker A: Yes. [00:28:49] Speaker B: I wanted to pull up this comment because I think it speaks directly to what we're talking about right now. And I will just say, I will set some expectations here. There's no Broadway theater on board these ships. They put on entertainment. There are performers. They brought on local performers for ABD. It was very lovely in the evening. Maybe before we answer the activities question, we should describe a little bit better the spaces on the ship, because I think that also drives kind of what they're capable of doing. And so my experience on Amma, they had, as you said, karen, they had a main dining room. They actually had one sort of specialty chef's table restaurant off the back of the ship we were on. And then there was a lounge that was, like, right above the main dining room that had a bar in it. And that lounge tended to be. [00:29:29] Speaker C: It's all purpose, basically. [00:29:30] Speaker B: It was all purpose. Yeah. That was where the entertainment was. That was where people hung out before dinner. That's where you got to drink before dinner. You could get. You mentioned earlier the eating, you know, small bites. They had tapas there, that it was right above the kitchen. You could order some plates of food throughout the day if he wanted it, although we didn't discover that until too late. But anyway, um, but, but, like, is that kind of a similar setup on the other ships? Karen? So you get big main dining room, big lounge area, and then most the rest of the ship is just devoted to rooms. [00:29:56] Speaker A: They're all extremely similar. And it became so apparent when we were, you know, walking through 13 different ships that were all docked side by side. There's just so much you can do. Um, now on the Danube, as you know, there's now a couple of ships that are double wides. For example, the alma magna, that has more space, but on the Rhine, for example, all the ships can only be as wide as those locks. Just like, you know, how we used to have the Panama canal restrictions for, you know, the size ship that could go through. So every cruise, river cruise ship has essentially three decks that passengers would be on. One is kind of at water level, and it's like those cabins sometimes are called Swan view, where your window is a little bit, kind of like my window behind me. Right. Imagine a little underwater. You know, it's very much like that. And then you're seeing, like, the waterline there. Although talc has some double height rooms on the first floor, so you actually have a full height window. It's a very unique. [00:31:07] Speaker B: Oh, wow. [00:31:09] Speaker A: And most often, the dining room is on that level. It might not always be, but most often somewhere on that level. On deck two, you're going to have a lounge. And as Brian said, as both of you said, multipurpose. More staterooms. On deck three, there's more staterooms, and then there'll be some other kind of space. On AMA, on the back of the ship was the chef's table. On talc, in that same general area. On the rear of the ship is a restaurant called Arthur's, which I think is brilliant because it is basically all day casual dining. Just pop in in the morning for your coffee and continental breakfast, and then starting, like, lunch through late evening, you can get a burger, sandwich, salads, charcuterie, hot pretzel, whatever, anytime. And I think for families traveling with kids, that's a brilliant. Or for just adults that just don't want to eat a three course meal in the dining room anymore, you know, that's just a great option. Yeah, I want to use more sweets. [00:32:22] Speaker B: So, yeah, I want to throw up this sort of the top deck that you sent us, Karen, because I also think it's puts in perspective, like, the size of these ships. This is like, this is the width. This is the width. And you can imagine rooms on either side and a hallway down the middle. The top deck's also got some activities on board, but some of them have pools. I can see here's this whole golf course and shuffleboard. And in the back there, you can see kind of the lounging sort of space where they have, at least on the amish ships, they have the ability to pull out or pull in a shade, a sunshade. So you could sit there on the top deck if you wanted. [00:32:57] Speaker A: Exactly. [00:33:00] Speaker B: One of the people get a sense of the scale and size here, a little bit of these ships. So, uh, you can. [00:33:05] Speaker A: This is really, really helpful. And. And the top deck. So that's, you know, the other thing again. Every ship has a top deck has a sun deck, right? Some have, like, kind of a designated walking track around it. You know, you probably have to walk 20 times or more to get a mile. I don't know. This one has a. Has a putt putt course. Some have a hot tub or a pool. Some. A couple of the ships have pools that are enclosed more on their second, like, third deck, you know, below the sun deck. There's oftentimes there's a grill up there or a big green egg where they can do. In nice weather, they can do a cookout. There can be a bar, there's shade, there's giant chests. It just all varies based on the ship. But you can see, as Brian pointed out, the width. And one of the things we did when we were touring all these ships was kind of like, stand outside of one room, and my husband, who has a longer, you know, arm length than me, would see, like, okay, can I touch, like, how wide is this hallway? And, you know, and, you know, thinking about the perspective of, you know, the. The layout of the. Of the rooms, are they wider? Are they deeper? And there's definitely difference, even the hallways being. Being quite narrow. So. [00:34:22] Speaker B: Yeah, well, let's. Let's pull up. You sent us. You also sent us a photo of a couple of the rooms, and I think this is a good one, because they do advertise these rooms with french balconies. And Amma had an interesting setup where it was like a half french balcony and a half. I don't know what they called it, an actual balcony, but the french balcony was actually fully enclosed. Yeah. Yeah. [00:34:44] Speaker A: So usually when they call it a french balcony. It's really a sliding glass door that just opens, but you're still sitting in your cabin. So it's not even, you know, on some ships, there might be, like six inches to actually step out onto. But usually a french balcony is considered like a slider versus a true step out balcony. Again, you have to pick the right stateroom. Amma has staterooms that have both. That have a step out and the fringe. I stayed in a room just with a French. But one of the other things, if you think about, Brian, if you go over the other pictures showing the ships side by side, you might have that french balcony, and instead of the view of the water when you're in port, you. You're looking into the next ship. Yep. Because if you see this, this is how ships tend to, you know, pour throughout Europe. [00:35:46] Speaker C: And this is accurate. It's three. It could even be four. But generally, two or three is the very. The most common is probably two or three. There are. There might be days you might be the only ship in a port, and then you won't have to raft. But this is super, super common. And especially in the major cities, there'll be like, you know, 30 ships and they're all rafted. [00:36:07] Speaker A: Exactly. And if you think about it. So, you know, where we were in Amsterdam, there were 13 ships, so there were like three. And then in front of these, like, you know, you can't see it in the picture, but there were another three, and then another three. And, um. And important to note that if you're in that back row, absolutely nothing wrong with that. You actually, if you're on the right side of the ship, you get to have a little view while you're still in port. No big deal. But to get off the ship, you have to climb up to the sun deck. Typically, you will. Then they have, um, kind of like a gangway that connects across those sun decks that we were seeing, and you're going to frost over the ships, and then you're going to go down. So in this case, you would go down inside the amiss arena and then exit. And this is very common that you're going to be walking through, across, in, over, up and down stairs, through other cruise lines that might not even be the same company as yours. And that is just how it goes. Well, it's a very different. [00:37:16] Speaker C: I think it's really cool because you actually get to see, like, what does the lobby of a different look like? [00:37:23] Speaker B: Yeah. But to Karen's point, it struck me as we. Because our rafting. We would. We would basically tie up different cruise lines, and we would walk through the atriums of each, like, just down the middle of the atrium, probably because it was winter to be perfect. But. But what struck me is, well, geez, the reason all these cruise ships have to look exactly alike is because they'll have to line up kind of perfectly when they're rafted so that you can get through. Right. So they all have the atrium in the same space. The lounges all looked about the same size. Right. And so it was a. It was interesting. It was kind of a forcing function, this rafting, to put the spaces on the ship. I think so, yeah. So, Karen, you mentioned. So we talked a little about rooms, talked a little bit about the spaces. I do want to go back to Alan's question about activities on board. Again, I would frame this as, like, most of the action is not on the ship. It's like they're getting you off the ship. Even on the ABD, they had a couple of nights where they took us out to do things. So, like in Salzburg, I think they had an activity take. Uh, some of the guests could choose to go see an opera. Uh, not Salzburg. In Vienna could go see an opera. And the rest of us got taken to, like, a wine bar, basically. Although it was an orchestra concert, but. [00:38:35] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:38:35] Speaker B: Orchestra concert, yes. And the rest of us got taken to a wine bar, but not like a wine bar here in the US. It was like drinking carafes of wine as much as you could and eating bread. [00:38:43] Speaker C: It felt more like a beer hall, but it was with wine. [00:38:46] Speaker B: But wine. Yeah, but wine. [00:38:47] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:38:47] Speaker B: So my sense is, like, they want you, like, they bring you to a destination. They want you to go experience the destination. Not like the nightlife isn't on board the ship, it's off the ship kind of thing. Is that. Is that your experience, Karen? [00:38:59] Speaker A: Absolutely. I mean, there's sometimes where you are sailing at night, and I think every cruise line has some degree of entertainment. Right. So it may just be as simple as a piano player, you know, that might have kind of a multi instrument, you know, synth set up and, you know, might be doing some djing. And depending on the ship, that same setup could turn into a dance party. It could turn into, like, a white night party or, you know, a seventies party, talc. Put on some really fun parties. It's just, you know, just really varies. There could be karaoke. We did karaoke on our abdomen. Or they could bring on local entertainers. And I know that amma does that. I think most of the cruise lines tend to do that. Again, not every night. It really depends. We had some great entertainment on talc most recently. Really, really talented. Like, singers, like trios, kinds of things. Singing a mixture of all different kinds of, like. I think they were the. Is it usually the three tenors? So they were the four. They weren't the tenor. What's the other? [00:40:17] Speaker B: Altos? [00:40:18] Speaker A: Four altos or whatever. [00:40:23] Speaker C: Baritones. Yeah. Or basses. Yeah. [00:40:26] Speaker A: Right. They were the four baritones and they, I mean, they were really fun. It was an interactive, they kind of moved around the lounge. They sang everything from classical opera to ABBA. Abba. And. And I was actually really surprised at how. How fun it was. You know, we've seen dancing on board and, you know, so the. The vibe is very different. It's like, I like to compare it for those folks that have sailed in concierge on Disney, I like to compare it to, like, the concierge lounge experience. It's like everybody on board is a concierge cruiser and everybody's hanging out in the lounge together or hanging up. Hanging out, up on the sun deck. It's like that. It's like you make friends. Hopefully. Hopefully your hangout with who you're traveling with, it's a more intimate, laid back experience. But, you know, people tend to go to bed earlier because they're going to have a full day the next day. [00:41:26] Speaker B: And you're exhausted from the day you just had. Like, that's the other thing. Like, it was. You'd get back exhausted. Yeah. [00:41:33] Speaker C: And. And there are things. [00:41:35] Speaker A: There's not going to be a movie theater. There's not going to be a casino. You know, it's just a different experience. It's not a. It's not a Royal Caribbean adventure cruise. Even on adventures by Disney, Mickey does not come on board, you know, and. [00:41:51] Speaker C: There'S not, like, trivia going on in the middle of the day or telefolding classes like, that just doesn't even. On Disney, on Amma, that kind of stuff doesn't exist. [00:42:02] Speaker B: But, yeah. You had fun. [00:42:05] Speaker C: Yeah, we did. We did. Ginger, you know, we. [00:42:07] Speaker B: On a Christmas, while we were sailing, while we were sailing, while we were. [00:42:10] Speaker C: Sailing, there were a couple of different days where you could sign up for cookie decorating that was in the room where the chef's table was done. So, like, there are some activities, but there's not a lot of, like, filled activities because you honestly don't have time for them. And as Karen mentioned, you're, you know, it does tend to be a little earlier to go to bed, not early. I mean, there are people that are still staying up till eleven or midnight, but they're not like partying the night away, generally speaking, because you're getting up at like 07:00 a.m. To get breakfast and then you're off the ship. Well, like 830 or nine to go touring. [00:42:46] Speaker B: Well, and they don't have the crew compliment on these ships to do the kinds of stuff that Disney does. It ships all the time. Yeah, we had, we took the count. It was like, there were like four to five dining room servers total, and I think that included two assistant servers. So, like, there's not a lot of, like, added space for more crew to come on. So that's why, you know, the entertainment tended to be, we've brought two people on in the port were in, they're going to do a little entertainment and then they're getting off because we don't have any room for them to stay. [00:43:11] Speaker A: Right. [00:43:12] Speaker B: So, yeah. [00:43:13] Speaker A: And what's really interesting about the crew that we've noticed is that the crew might have multifunction. Right. So they might be serving in the dining room, but then they might be your cabin attendant, your stateroom attendant, or somebody that's a stateroom attendant might also be the masseuse on board, or the bartender in the lounge will definitely also be like, helping with the bar service downstairs in the dining room. So, you know, they're, they're working hard in multiple roles. Um, but, you know, they're not. There's not like a private islands that they're going to go work at. Yeah, you know, when you're off ship. [00:43:53] Speaker C: Speaking of that and the, the crew and how hard they work, I want to ask about tipping because I know on large ship cruising we, we talk about, you know, tipping, uh, usually, well, it's, it's not included, but you can prepay, obviously, so they sort of can tell you what to, what you're going to pay or they give you an idea of what you're going to pay. I know on, on our abd, it was included, right? We didn't like pay. There was no tipping at the end. Everything was all included in the price. Is that typical in the river cruising industry or is it more typical to actually, like hand cash to people or what is typical? [00:44:32] Speaker A: I guess it's. It's a, again, an important distinction because adventures by Disney and talc bridges, river cruising, both are fully inclusive, door to door, you know, transfers included and all of your gratuities for everyone. Most of the river cruises, they do have, like, an auto gratuity or a suggested gratuity, but it is not included. And you can sometimes prepay it and sometimes you cannot. Again, it depends on the river cruise line and their setup. And I think it has something to do with currency because it's just how they pay and they want you to pay, like, in euros, for example, when you're there. So you still might be able to charge it, but it's going to charge your card in euros versus, like, they can't pre, pre charge it. So it really depends. Avalon lets you prepay. We have an offer right now with Avalon for some. Some dates where we can include complimentary gratuities for our clients. So again, it's really. It's really very specific to each. To each ship, to each cruise line. [00:45:51] Speaker B: Well, we can't talk cruising. I say this all the time without talking about food. I'll say our experience on Ama, is. [00:45:58] Speaker C: Anybody watching for anything other than talking about food? [00:46:01] Speaker B: Like, to be honest, we got some other questions we'll get to here at the end with Karen, but I'm teasing. But, um. Yeah, so, I mean, our experience with Ama was, the food was fantastic. I thought it was really, really good. Better than. [00:46:12] Speaker C: Except the hamburgers. Nathan's hamburger was gross. [00:46:15] Speaker B: Yeah, well, hockey pucks, but, yeah, but, you know, I thought it was as good as probably better than main dining on Disney. Probably, you know, getting pretty. Some of the food we had was getting pretty close to, you know, palo level, especially the chef's table food that we had. Um, is that, does that translate across? Are there other lines that are known for their food and lines to avoid for food, or is the food generally good? Like, what's your impression of the food, Karen? [00:46:37] Speaker A: I mean, I think you really. There's a great deal of variability. Riverside, for example, was just named the best rivership in Europe for foodies by Forbes. And, you know, they. They are really striving to be like the foodie ship. When I ate on Riverside, I thought the food was very, very great and it blowed me away. Not necessarily, but there was some really good offerings. Talc was just like, they blew me away. [00:47:13] Speaker C: Your pictures of the talc. Oh, my God. [00:47:16] Speaker A: The talc meals were so incredible. They had so many options to choose from. And most of the cruise lines do have kind of a standard. Like, every day you could get a steak or grilled fish or caesar salad, and talc has that, too. But they're just general variety that you could get on any given day was incredible. And then there's. They do, like, a brunch at least once, a cruise that just was phenomenal, where you could still order some things off the menu, but they had a tremendous buffet, and they had a crepe station with, like, made to order preps. But then if you're gluten free, like my husband is now, they accommodated him with gluten free crap. So, I mean, it was just really great. In the lounge. They also had some great offerings, like, before dinner one day, they have fresh oysters and champagne with caviar. Just really fun things. And then, as I said, like, on south, they have the all day casual dining. Hot dogs, hamburgers, soft pretzels. [00:48:19] Speaker C: So you can have your hamburger, soft pretzel with your glass of love, right? [00:48:25] Speaker A: Absolutely. [00:48:27] Speaker C: Because that's my style. [00:48:28] Speaker A: Absolutely. You know how I'm all about the french fries? It's about the french fries and the champagne. That's perfect. That's perfect. You do have to. There is variability on the reports that we get from food. I mean, food is a very subjective thing, but in terms of the variety that's offered. And I also want to always point out about allergies, because especially for our Disney cruisers, allergies is a frequent concern. And that's one of the reasons that people travel with Disney. I think that Ama has done, you know, especially when you're traveling with adventures by Disney on board Ama, they do a great job. Nothing compared to talc. When we looked at all the dining rooms on 13 ships, talc had on every menu, at every meal, about ten different allergies labeled, like, I didn't even know there were that many things to be allergic to. And they had, across the bottom of every menu, like, all the things, and then every. And each one had a number, and then every menu item was like, this one is one and two, this one is three and four. And then you could talk to them and say, well, can you make it this way? And, you know. [00:49:47] Speaker C: Right, I have a great job. Allergy. Can I do this? Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. [00:49:54] Speaker B: Ct saying, uh, food is important. Yes, it is. It's always important. I I wanted to say one of the other benefits. I thought, well, I want to pick up on the allergy thing. I will say the one place that ABd seemed to struggle on our cruise was not on board. It was out in the wild. Uh, and I think that that's just, you know, different levels of understanding around food allergies in different places that you're going. So I, you know, I would just say that was a place where we saw them struggling. There was a poor woman who I think didn't get lunch one day, practically, because she did. She ended up getting it, but it was like. [00:50:22] Speaker C: But it just took a lot longer because they weren't. They. Yeah, there was some kind of miscommunication, and so they didn't know, and they didn't have anything ready for her, so they had to make. They ended up. They were great. They made her something. This was a. It was like a beer hall. They made her something, and it ended up being all fine, but it meant. [00:50:40] Speaker A: It was. [00:50:40] Speaker B: It was. We had. We had schnitzel, and they made her an unbreaded schnitzel. That's what she needed. But they, like, could not fathom, like, why you would want unbreaded schnitzel. [00:50:47] Speaker C: I can't fathom why anybody would want unbreaded schnitzel, either, but not. [00:50:52] Speaker A: And you have to be proactive. So we were going to do a food tour, and we were going to do it no matter. And we kind of knew it probably wasn't going to be celiac friendly. But we talked to them and they said, hey, if you want, we can actually, like, pack you, like, a picnic lunch, you know, to take. [00:51:10] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:51:10] Speaker A: And we. I mean, we ended up not doing that because it was a food tour between, like, breakfast and lunch anyway, so. And it turned out there were some food options, so it was fine. But I think if you're proactive, you can make it work. You just have to be aware, not assume that when you go out, like you said, brian, into the wild, that there's always going to be somebody that understands and translates and has an option for you. [00:51:37] Speaker B: Yeah, I did want to call it on the food side. Like, one, I think really nice thing about river cruising, which was the food. The food on board the ship was great. But because you're in these cities, there were times we got lunch at some fabulous places in these cities. Like, you could have gone back to the ship and had. Had a meal. Like you said, Karen, all the meals are covered. If you're on the ship, you can get food. But if you want to experience local cuisine, like, we would just get tips from the concierge or the ABd guides, and they'd send us some fabulous restaurants. We could get local food. That was. That was really, really, really good. So I think that that's on ocean cruising. I think some of these stops, you know, I mean, it's hit or miss. Well, you can find some good tacos in, you know, in Sonata. Right? For sure. But the food that, you know, experiencing the local food and the cuisine I felt like was much easier to do on a river cruise. So I got a couple of questions. [00:52:28] Speaker A: Part of the, you know, the excursions might include a lunch or a dinner or a food tour offship. So there's so many opportunities. [00:52:38] Speaker B: I've got one question for you, Karen, and then I want to get to some listener questions that kind of tie into some of the last few questions I have. But the one thing I wanted to ask about, I think we've heard a lot in the news about river levels of late. And like when we sailed in December, the river was actually too high, which I didn't know was a thing, but it was too high. And so some of the ships were stuck because they couldn't get under the bridges because the river levels were too high. I think more often what we're hearing is in the summertime, the river levels can get too low and then they're busing you between ports potentially, or moving you between ships. Like, did they, at this conference you were at, did they have anything to say about, about that or what's your experience with that? Should people be concerned about that? [00:53:17] Speaker A: I don't think it's a concern any. [00:53:19] Speaker B: More than hurricane season. [00:53:23] Speaker A: There's occasional. Exactly. Took the words out of my mouth, like occasionally there's weather. Right. So does it happen? Yes. Is it an inconvenience? Yes. We don't want your river cruise to turn into a bus tour. And so sailing on a cruise line that, you know, has a good backup plan is important. Knowing that sometimes things happen and they make the best of it. Any of the cruise lines that we work with as an agency we know will make things right, try to take care of their guests as best as possible. If they know, you know, ahead of time that there's going to be an issue and typically they allow for you to reschedule, alternate, whatever. Sometimes things just happen out of the blue, and then they do have to kind of, you know, take you off and move you by bus past the point and put you on. Sometimes they can move the ship without the passengers on. Sometimes they put you on a different ship. So it just really varies, I would say just like with anything, don't let that stop you. Climate change means that we can't predict, you know, it's not like I can say that it's going to happen, you know, more likely in August but not in May. We just don't know. But I think overall it's, it's still worth it to go and just hope for the best. [00:54:55] Speaker C: Yeah. And I'm joking about pirates, folks. [00:54:57] Speaker B: Yeah. I got to pull this up because the CT is giving you. Yeah, we had to fend off pirates on the river. No, that did not. [00:55:05] Speaker C: There's no pirates in european river cruise. You don't need to worry about that. Yeah. [00:55:10] Speaker B: So let me. Let me pull up a few of the listener questions that I think we can answer and probably weave in some of our own questions. Before I do that, there's a couple comments. Yeah, yeah. I completely missed this comment, Karen, that I wanted to be sure to give you, which ct's paying you the compliment that you're one of his favorite guests. And great to see you back on the show. We love having Karen on. We love having Karen on. [00:55:29] Speaker A: Appreciate it. [00:55:30] Speaker B: All right, I want to roll through a few of these questions here. So a few folks have sort of asked, you know, what's your favorite river cruising itinerary? And so. Yeah. Do you. I was going to phrase this as, like, if you're a newbie to this, if you're looking for a river cruise, you know, what's your favorite river, what's your recommended? And maybe what's the hidden gem for those people who are like, you know, I want to go off the beaten path. [00:55:54] Speaker A: Sure. So, I mean, I definitely think that the Danube and the Rhine are like, kind of, you know, eastern slash, western caribbean itineraries. Right. [00:56:07] Speaker B: But I cannot say enough about that sail into Budapest. I mean, it was gorgeous. [00:56:14] Speaker A: You have to see it so beautiful at night. Seeing, seeing that at night is just amazing. And you know what my hidden tip, my tip in Budapest is you got to go do the thermal bath, especially if you start your cruise, there's land in Budapest. Go do the thermal bath. Like, get on the ship. But so, you know, Ryan and Danube, I think, are, you know, great. I think that Yosen is also popular. The. Again, some of it is, like, for example, on amma, we talked about the connecting rooms and rooms for, like, for triples. Amma does not have that on the sun, so it's only on the Rhine and Danube. So, you know, all these different considerations. Portugal is, I think, you know, needs is on my very high on my list to river cruise. Next, it is selling out into 25. There's some itineraries out for 26 already, depending on the cruise line. Portugal has a rule that all those ships seem to be built in Portugal. So there's a bunch of new ships that were purpose built for Portugal that are just gorgeous and then the thing that the itinerary that I keep hearing is, like, life changing is Southeast Asia to river cruise in southeast Asia. That, you know, again, that's a big trip, but. And then there's just so many little ones. We just had clients book kind of the lower Danube from Budapest to Bucharest, and so that's, you know, a more unique itinerary. And then there's just all these little different branches of the Rhine you can take. You can take the Rhone, which is a great one if you're into wine. There's just, you know, there's a lot to do. Just like. Just like, oceans or the rivers, you know, they continue to expand. River cruising and lots of great options, love. [00:58:15] Speaker B: Yeah, for sure. [00:58:16] Speaker C: Somebody is asking. We got a great question. [00:58:18] Speaker B: Oh, oh, I want to. Yeah, I'll roll through the questions, Sam. I got you covered. I got you covered. So Laurie's asking, what do people wear to dinner? I'll say, on the ABD, there wasn't, like, a strict dress code, but it was winter, so everyone was, like, in pants and shirts and sweaters, that kind of thing. Yeah. I don't know how it would be in the summer. Yeah. So I'm curious, like, what the dress. [00:58:37] Speaker A: Code in the summer. I mean, we sailed on ABd in the summer, and I think that people, many people changed for dinner, but it was because after a day of touring, you're kind of, like, sweaty and, you know, maybe wanted to just freshen up, but people were not wearing, you know, fancy clothes. It was definitely, like, golf shirts and khaki pants or shorts, you know, like, you know, it's pretty, like, you know what? You would go out to dinner, maybe not at Disney parks, but what you would, you know, if you were going out to dinner and you're in your hometown, you know, for a decent dinner, but, you know, not coat and tie or anything like that. [00:59:21] Speaker C: And you. [00:59:21] Speaker A: And there was a range. And with kids, I mean, you know. [00:59:25] Speaker C: I'm sure the kids are wearing their t shirts and their shorts and, like, a lot, I would guess. A lot. [00:59:29] Speaker A: And there was no dress code. [00:59:30] Speaker C: Dress. But you don't have to. [00:59:32] Speaker A: Right, right, exactly. Exactly. [00:59:35] Speaker C: Yeah. [00:59:35] Speaker B: Yeah. I mean, these ships are. I just want to say these ships are elegant, right? I mean, they will support. If you really want to put on a coat and tie, you can do it. I thought. I felt most people were at sort of the business casual level throughout the day, at least on our cruise, so. But, yeah, you wouldn't have been out. [00:59:51] Speaker A: Of place if you were now talc, for example. Talc does these things called sparkling evenings, and they, they're mostly on, like, their regular itineraries, not necessarily on the bridges ones, but those are like, we had a private, like the, the museum where the girl in the, the girl with a pearl earring is displayed. We had a private event at that museum, and the museum was shut down except for us, and they had this gorgeous dinner there. And that, you know, people tend to get a little dressier when you're having dinner in a, you know, private event like that. A palace or whatever. But, you know, if you're going to dinner in Vienna, if, you know, if you're going to Vienna to the, or the, the orchestra performance, whatever it was that was dressed for the occasion. [01:00:42] Speaker B: Yeah. They actually noted in the excursion that they wanted people to dress nicely for that, so. Yeah. Yeah, they did. Yeah. [01:00:49] Speaker C: But, but I mean, to your point, Karen, people are running around in the summertime, especially running around as tourists all day. You're going to be hot and sweaty. You're probably, you might want to shower and change for dinner, but you don't have to be dressed up. Come as you are, is totally, totally fine. Very similar. [01:01:06] Speaker A: And I think what I should also, I should point out is that they adjust the time for dinner. There is one seating for dinner, and usually depending on the ship, I've noticed a difference. Some ships prefer everybody to really come when they say it's dinner. They prefer everybody to come around that same time. And the time will adjust each day based on the itinerary of the day. Other ships prefer not for everybody to show up at once as to not put as much strain on the kitchen. And another thing to note, it's open seating. You can see at different places every night. It's another big difference versus different. [01:01:44] Speaker C: You can sit with different people. [01:01:45] Speaker A: Cruise. [01:01:45] Speaker C: Yeah, you can sit. [01:01:47] Speaker B: Although, no, no one wants to eat with us. On our abd trip, we couldn't get anyone to sit with. People pick these big tables and there would just be three of us. I'm like, what is going on here? [01:01:55] Speaker C: To be fair, there were a lot of. A lot of larger. Well, one, there's a lot of larger families. So. Yeah, I'm joking, but everyone's very social in the lounge. Yeah. [01:02:07] Speaker B: Oh, yeah, for sure. I want to pull up this comment. How does pricing compare? I'm just going to preempt this by saying it probably varies wildly depending on cruise, cruise line, stateroom type, all of that stuff. And that's why you should reach out to Karen and the folks at mypath unwinding travel because they can help you navigate that. So they're helping us navigate that, actually, right now. So just reach out to Karen. You can head to my path unwinding so she knows we sent you our email. I think it's [email protected]. And they will hook you up. So, yeah, the prices vary wildly because I've been pricing some river cruises ourselves. So the other one I wanted to pull up here. There's two kind of related comments here. It's like, we're really curious about river cruising. Hard to compare to the Disney magic. And then another one was wondering if Karen would recommend a river cruise over a large ship for the first time, european cruisers. So just put it on the table, Karen, if you're headed to Europe or if you were really wedded to large ship cruising, I think we've talked about some of the differences. But, you know, what's your recommendation here in terms of how you think about steering someone to the direction of a river cruise versus, you know, a big ocean cruise? [01:03:21] Speaker A: I think a lot of it depends on the personality of the people that you're traveling with. When we had our first european experience with our family, that was actually our first Disney cruise of any kind, and we chose it because, we didn't chose it because it was Disney. We chose it because it was a this. It was the magic, and it wasn't a mega ship. And we liked the size of it for going through Europe, but we also liked the idea of, you know, when we spent a day walking through Rome or Barcelona or whatever it was, that when we came back on the ship, we knew our kids would be happy because we weren't sure if they'd be happy in Europe. Right, in Europe. But we knew that they'd come back on the ship and have fun. Right, right. And so we thought it would be a good. [01:04:10] Speaker C: And burgers and hot. [01:04:12] Speaker A: Exactly. [01:04:13] Speaker C: Yeah. [01:04:14] Speaker A: Right. So. And then as they got older, then we took the more immersive, like we did the central Europe adventures by Disneyland cruise, which, you know, there was no, you know, shows or kids club to come back to, but the hotels at pools and the kids had fun swimming in the evenings together, and the adventure guides did fun things together with them. So there was still some fun on a river cruise. I think, again, it's knowing the personalities and the interests of your, who's in your group. You know, if your kids need those bells and whistles, then the river cruise is probably not going to be for them yet, because there's not, you know, there's not a water slide. There's a pool, but it's, you know, kind of like on amma. I would say the pool is maybe twice the size of a hot tub. [01:05:04] Speaker B: I was going to say it's like an oversized, oversized hot tub on Disney. [01:05:07] Speaker A: Yeah, right, right. And they do fun things for the kids, especially on adventures by Disney or Talc bridges. You know, they make it really relatable for the kids, but there's not going to be, you know, all the bells and whistles. So you have to think about, how do you want to introduce your kids to Europe? There's some great, great excursions and activities that are age appropriate that you all saw on your river cruise. And absolutely, Abd has them and talc has them that really make it age appropriate, relatable, fun for all ages. But, you know, the kids need to. It's more of the example that I just heard recently that I love is this is a vacation. It's a vacation with your kids versus a vacation for your kids. [01:06:01] Speaker C: Oh, that's a phrasing. Yes. [01:06:05] Speaker A: I love that it was used recently about. In a completely different context, but I think it fits here, too. [01:06:11] Speaker C: Yes, absolutely. [01:06:13] Speaker B: I actually want to ask for a second about that Abd point. So, like, uh, we. We did the ABd river cruise, and I'll be honest, now I've done one, and I know what it's about. Right. My adventurous side of my travel Personas is kicking in. I'm like, do I need Abd? I could probably just book with amma myself. How would you think about that, Karen, in terms of folks looking at, well, I want to do a river cruise. Should I go Abd, or should I just book with a river cruise line directly? Is it really about, do they have kids in tow, or is there something more there that you would point people to with abdominals? [01:06:50] Speaker A: So remember that Abd does have some adult only dates, so it's not just about traveling with your kids. Disney has a, you know, very strong sense of security, safety, familiarity, and the service, you know, that just comes with traveling with Disney. The adventure guides are really the secret sauce to adventures by Disney. When they, you know, we did the central Europe ABD, it was land. And then they started talking about the Danube. And I've talked about before how I was part of this focus group where they were introducing the concept of a river cruise, and everybody in the focus group was like, no way. This is not going to work. But you know what? By the time they rolled all the details and shared all the details with us about how they were going to, you know, set it up. We all were like, sign us up. We want to go. And then I did get to go. And the adventure guides with adventures by Disney are really. Do they make a difference? Right. They are like the cruise director staff on board. They. They're your, you know, everything, and they go out. This is a difference. They go out on the excursions with you. [01:08:05] Speaker C: Yes. [01:08:06] Speaker A: Calc also has a tour team, like a, you know, a cruise team that go out with you. [01:08:14] Speaker B: Right. [01:08:15] Speaker A: When you sail on AMA without ABD and when you sail on the other cruise lines. Except Talc. Talc has this. But if we tell the others, people from the cruise line do not go out on the excursions with you. It's more like, you know, they just. They set you up and you meet the local guide and away you go. But nobody from Viking, for example, is going to be with you. [01:08:43] Speaker C: Yeah. There's less hand holding, I would say. Right. Like, so it's. It's the different and handholding, isn't it? Sounds like I'm talking about it in a negative way. I'm not. There are a lot of american. [01:08:52] Speaker B: Well, it's white glove service. It's white glove service. [01:08:56] Speaker C: Not who, like that handoff. That's a really. A really clear handoff. Now I'm with this tour person, and now I'm with this tour person, and this is the person I follow. And I don't have to plan anything. And I can just as long as I follow this flag or this sign or, you know, paddle of power. [01:09:12] Speaker A: Right. And they're still, like, Viking is still gonna have the flag or the sign or the representative or the little whisper box where you, you know, you have the, you know, the headphones in so you can listen to your guide and follow along. They're all gonna have that, but they're not gonna have somebody from, you know, the shit with you which offers that. That continuity and that shared experience, because then when you come back on board, then you. Then you talk about it and you talk about what's gonna happen tomorrow. And, you know, there's some. There's an extra level of just customer service and relationship building that happens on those higher end cruise lines because of that. I think there's a little. There's just a difference. [01:09:59] Speaker B: Well, it's. It's like an ocean going excursion, frankly. Like Disney gets you out the door and on the dock, and then they hand you off to the tour provider, and then you don't see anyone from Disney again until you get to. [01:10:08] Speaker A: That's exactly. Exactly right. And they're still in touch, but you're not there with them versus when you're on an Abd or a talc, I tend they are there with you and, you know, with talc, they might actually, they're so all inclusive that they might actually be handing you euros on the bus for lunch so that you don't have to spend any money there. [01:10:29] Speaker C: Well, and the other part, the other part that is, you know, good if you want this is like, if you have a question or you scrape your knee and you need a band aid, like they're Johnny on the spot right there to help you answer your question, to get you whatever you need. Right. So that's, that's, you know, it is that higher level of service, if that, if you're somebody who doesn't need that and who wants to venture off on your own, maybe the, you know, one of the other lines that is less inclusive is a better option. So it's, it's really, I think, right. What personality? [01:11:03] Speaker A: One of the examples that we've talked about, yeah. One of the examples that we've talked about with adventures by Disney, and it's true for talc, is the restrooms in Europe, you usually have to have a euro. And when you're with those brands, they're going to make sure that they have the euros for you. You don't have to worry about that. It's covered. You just say, adventures by Disney, or you just say, I'm here with toke, and they just tally it and you're good. And they, you know, take care of it. If you're with another river cruise line, you may have to dig in your pocket for the euro. So, you know, it's just these little things that, you know, everybody has to decide where do they find value in the experience? [01:11:45] Speaker B: See, I can already tell the wheels are spinning in Sam's head about whether we should do that AMA cruise or go with Talc. So you're doing your job here really, really well. Too well. Too well for me. Which, speaking of, so as we wrap up here, remind folks how they can get ahold of you and your team, because you guys are experts in this stuff in a way that I could only have imagined. So how can folks find you, Karen? If they want to, they want to explore an opportunity. River cruise or even book one. [01:12:14] Speaker A: Awesome. So like you said before, you can get to Forward slash, is it? Dclduo, just so that we know that you are a listener. [email protected]. We are on Facebook at my path unwinding travel, Instagram, mypath unwinding travel. We do have some great offers right now. We have a standing offer for a discount on adventures by Disney, which has river cruises through 2025. Talc has river cruises through 2025 as well. And we have an offer where we can include a complimentary pre or post night on Talc. If you are new to talc or if you're not new to talc, we can still offer that, but you have to book by, I think by the end of July for 2025. And we can do that also for any talc itinerary, not just river cruises, I mentioned Avalon, we have some itineraries, we have complimentary gratuities. Viking, we have two to $400 off per person. Amawaterways, we have a 5% discount on virtually anything. And if somebody really wants to sell badly on Alma waterways this summer, we can double that to 10% for July and August. So we have coming back from this conference afforded us a lot of options and incentives for our clients. So this is the time to book for 2025 and some itineraries already into 2026. [01:13:48] Speaker B: That's awesome, awesome, awesome. Well, as I said, we're exploring a river cruise, not for this year, but for next year. And we will definitely be leveraging Karen and her team and I wanted to put up a couple of final comments here. CT, you're more than welcome. We love talking river cruising because it opened our eyes to a whole new type of vacationing that we liked. It's very different than ocean cruising. I just want to be upfront about that. But we loved it. And Tracy here is saying we love our mypath unwinding travel agents. So some kudos to you and your team. Karen, over there, that's a kudos to Chelsea. [01:14:17] Speaker C: I believe Chelsea is her. [01:14:19] Speaker A: It is a kudos to Chelsea and we love our clients. We appreciate everybody listening and it's so easy talking to you guys. It's been. I can't believe it's been 75 minutes here, but thank you. It always goes by so quickly. And thanks, everybody for listening in for this whole time. [01:14:37] Speaker B: Yep. And just as a reminder, we will be back next week. We will have Jason Leppert from popular cruising, which if you have not heard Jason before, he was on one of our very early episodes. He is a huge Disney cruise line fan, has sailed on just tons of Disney cruises, but also just a big general cruising fan and so love having him on to talk about how Disney fits into the larger cruising space. And I think we'll probably get some speculation in with Jason about what's going to be on the destiny and some of these other ships. So stay tuned for that next week. 05:30 p.m. Pacific 08:30 p.m. Eastern we will be back, but for now, thank you everyone out there for watching. We we really, really appreciate it. Well, a big thank you to all of you out there for listening this week. We really, really appreciate it. Please be sure to subscribe to the podcast. You can keep getting great content from the DCL duo each week. 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