North Sea to Black Sea by River and Canal - May to Jun 2016

The map is clickable for the places we went to.

We travelled from The North Sea (Amsterdam) to the Black Sea (Constanta) with an American company called Tauck, who appeared from my research to offer the best "hotel " boat trips. In the event I probably did make the right choice: they were well organised, but the main drawback was that virtually all the other passengers were American (only us and 2 Australians apart from the Americans). The result of this is that everything from meal times to lectures was aimed at the USA citizen. I found this annoying, and unnecessary, but eventually reached a compromise with the ship on how the situation needed to be handled

The floating hotel, MS Treasures, for it was indeed that, was well run. We had 90 fellow guests on a ship that could take 120. The cabins were on the small side, but the public spaces were ample and well appointed. All drinks and excursions were included. Shore excursions were well thought out, but from time to time, as you might expect, we were guided by someone who should not have been guiding. Tauck did skimp a little on the quality of meals ashore, though this may have been the fault of the venues and not of Tauck

Every day, except 2 (1day round Frankfurt, and the other day through the Iron Gate on the Danube) we had a stop and a guided excursion ashore. There were a number of "spectacular" dinners, in a Palace in Vienna, in another palace in Budapest and in Ceaușescu's bizarre edifice in Bucharest. There were more informal lunches in the odd wine cellar and restaurant ashore. And we made our own pilgrimages to some of the most scenic cafes in Europe.

The food was excellent (even though they served sting ray tails and not proper scallops). The wine with dinner was "pretentious", with florid descriptions given daily on the red and white allocated for that day - these wine were invariably, cheap supermarket wines with little in the way of redeeming features. I am grateful to the hotel director for his personal mission ashore to secure a few bottles of desert wine, a wine that his been lacking from the Treasures reserves. Mind you Tauck can take consolation that their wines were no worse than the daily selection on Silversea ships. And you could get a decent glass of Moet at any time if you preferred.

Tauck personnel were a Cruise Director, Steve, who was not really my cup of tea. He ignored us, and we ignored him. He was only interested in the US passengers, and he only understood the US passengers. He had not idea what my problem was, and chose to ignore it. And Tauck also had 3 Tour Directors, who guided ashore, and gave talks and commentaries on board. Dina, who was with us all the way from Amsterdam to Bucharest, was outstanding, and I think Chris and I would have found the trip less pleasurable/more difficult without Dina

All in all, I enjoyed the trip, and am glad I did it. Whether I would take a similar trip again is doubtful, mainly because the number of other rivers to explore in this sort of size ship is small. I will however look at small "gourmet" barges on the French waterways as an option. I have now 2.5 kilos of surplus weight to remove from by body before we hit the road again.

Fri May 27 Victoria Parking booked      
  Fly from Alicante @ 10.40 Vueling IB5842    
  Arrive Amsterdam @ 13.25 Met by Tauck    
  InterContinental Amstel City      
Sat May 28 Embark Amsterdam Cabin 214 Ruby Deck    
Sun May 29 Amsterdam      
Mon May 30 Koln      
Tues May 31 Lorelei & Rudesheim      
Wed Jun 1 River Main      
Thurs Jun 2 Wurzburg      
Fri Jun 3 Bamburg      
Sat Jun 4 Nurnberg & Main-Danube Canal      
Sun Jun 5 Regensberg      
Mon Jun 6 Passau & Danube      
Tues Jun 7 Melk      
Wed Jun 8 Vienna      
Thurs Jun 9 Bratislava      
Fri Jun 10 Budapest      
Sat Jun 11 Budapest & Danube      
Sun Jun 12 Mohacs & Pec      
Mon Jun 13 Vukovar & Novi Sad      
Tues Jun 14 Belgrade      
Wed Jun 15 Iron Gate of Danube      
Thurs Jun 16 Russe, Bulgaria      
Fri Jun 17 Constanta      
Sat Jun 18 Bucharest, JW Marriott Hotel      
Sun Jun 19 Bucharest, JW Marriott Hotel      
Mon Jun 20 to Stansted @ 12.10 Bucharest Otopeni - Stansted Ryanair FR 1006    
  Arrive STN @ 13.30      
  depart STN @ 17.50 FR 8976    
  arrive Alicante @ 21.30      

All our Holidays