Important information - A word to all
We are delighted that you are interested in our river cruises and you are now starting your holiday planning. We would like to offer some suggestions for this process, to help you on your way. Every means of travel has its own peculiarities - things that are worth knowing. We have tried here to select some of the most important items, to help avoid any stress when travelling.
Although our ships offer a high degree of comfort there are of course stairs and narrow passageways. Joining or leaving the ship often means using a narrow gangway or a series of steps. If you do not feel able to cope with these features, then perhaps a ship’s cruise is not for you. Although our crew do their best to help, they are not trained carers and are thus not allowed to offer such assistance. None of our vessels is completely step-free.
For each cruise we offer a pre-bookable Excursion Package including interesting excursions, which we specially recommend. In the case of some cruises you will see in the travel itinerary that the excursions are already included in the basic price. Further optional excursions can be booked on board, often subject to a minimum number of participants. Theatre performances depend on local schedules, which are sometimes subject to last minute alterations. Should you not take part in a pre-booked excursion (either as part of a package or booked individually on board), we are not able to issue a refund. Also please note that abnormal water levels or extended waiting times at locks may lead to delays and alterations to the planned excursion schedule or to a change of disembarkation or embarkation point.
Travel by train to the embarkation point
With your booking there is the opportunity to book rail travel plus a return bus transfer between the station and the embarkation point. Please note that this bus transfer is included in the fare only for passengers who have booked their rail travel with nicko cruises. The outward portion of the rail ticket is valid on the day of travel itself or on the previous day, and the return portion can be used on the day the cruise ends or on the following day. Tickets booked with nicko cruises for TGV / ICE trains used to join MS BIJOU DU RHÔNE or MS SEINE COMTESSE are valid only on the dates and trains shown on the ticket. Should you have booked the tickets privately then you have no claim to refunds in the case of timetable changes or delays to the ship or to the return flight. Every passenger is responsible for a punctual arrival at the embarkation point or departure airport. We ask you to understand that the nicko cruises ships cannot wait for you if you are delayed and that any additional costs cannot be re-imbursed. Should a train cancellation or delay mean a late arrival then you need to take it up with the German Railways (Deutsche Bahn AG).
Joining and leaving the vessel
Your travel documents contain embarkation details with the exact location of the ship’s berth. However, since there are occasional changes to the ships’ berth, we ask all passengers travelling individually to the port to check the information boards on the quayside, to find the exact location of the vessel. If you are using our coach, rail or flight transfers you will be taken directly to the ship. Please take special note of the embarkation times. Even though the vessel may already be at its berth, the crew need the available time to prepare the ship for its next cruise. Please understand that it is not possible to embark before the time specified. Also we cannot accept your luggage until one hour before embarkation commences.
For reasons of safety, electric irons and similar appliances are not allowed in the cabins. As there is no hair dryer in the cabin on board MS FEDIN, you are at liberty to bring your own. The electrical supply in your cabin is at 220 V. Please note that, since all electrical sockets on the vessels are German standard, you might need to bring a suitable adaptor. Further details are contained in your travel documents.
Medical treatment and health issues
For urgent medical needs there is a doctor on board our ships in Russia and China, as well as on board MS MAXIMA and MS VIKTORIA (for 15-day cruises). Otherwise it is normally easy to reach a doctor on shore. Medical treatment on board is charged for and medicines are also to be paid for locally. Please be aware that our on-board staff (eg at the Reception) are not allowed to dispense medicines. If you are taking prescription drugs, please ensure that you have a sufficient supply in your hand luggage. It is also advisable to have a sufficient supply of everyday remedies (such as headache pills). We recommend international health insurance; for cruises in Russia this is obligatory. All our ships are subject to stringent hygiene regulations, which are constantly checked by the ship’s authorities. For your own safety we have a series of hand disinfection sprays on board, which should be used regularly by all passengers, to prevent the spread of bacteria on board. Oxygen apparatus is allowed on board many of our ships, when requested, but it is not possible to take oxygen cylinders onto our coaches.
Flights, which form part of the nicko cruises package, are carefully chosen by us, using established airlines. We have to keep to the flight plans and availability of the airlines and also allow adequate time for intermediate connections, so that you and your luggage can change planes without too much stress. We cannot absolutely guarantee the accuracy of the flight times given to you in your travel documents, as the airline may choose to alter its schedules. So-called direct flights may include stop-overs but here there is no need to change planes (unlike connections where a change of aircraft is involved). The arrival day does not provide a restful holiday, and sometimes the flight schedules involve a late evening arrival on board (occasionally after midnight), whilst the return flight may also involve a very early morning start.
Luggage Service for rail passengers
If you are joining or leaving the ship in Germany, Basel, Amsterdam, Lyon or Prague you can have your luggage sent directly from your house to the ship and back by using the TEfra Luggage Service. We will send details of this service (plus charges) with your booking confirmation. Should any loss or damage occur to your luggage in transit then we ask you to take the matter up with our partners TEfra Travel Logistics.
Internet on board
On many of our ships internet connections are available through WLAN, when booked and paid for at the Reception Desk (please refer to the description of the individual ships). Unfortunately we are not able to provide an uninterrupted connection, as some parts of our routes have no reception. We ask you to understand that we are not able to make refunds on account of a temporary lack of reception. Further information is displayed in the “On Board ABC” booklet in your cabin. Our receptionists are happy to answer any questions.
You will normally be given your cabin number with your booking confirmation. We will try our best to allocate you the cabin you have specified with your booking, but this is not a contractual requirement on our part. A certain amount of noise from the ship’s engines, air-conditioning plant or ventilation systems is noticeable in most parts of the vessel. Those cabins marked “aft” are in the rear section of the vessel and it is here that the noise is most noticeable when the vessel is underway. In the cabins in the forward part of the vessel there is occasional noise from the bow propellers when manoeuvring or moving through locks. All cabins on board are outside cabins with either a window or porthole. Please note that your view may be partially interrupted by stairs or supports.
On our Russian ships the bathroom is rather more basic. The shower is drained through a drain in the bathroom floor and the shower head is extendable from the wash basin.
Children under 12 receive a 30 % reduction on the cruise price, when they share a cabin with their parents. Where available, accommodation for a child accompanied by two adults is provided in 3-berth cabins, most of which have two lower and one upper folding beds. Despite this provision many of our cruises are not really suitable for children. There is no separate provision for them – with regard to the programme of entertainments, supervision arrangements, toys, child seats or beds. Children under 3 are not permitted on board.
During the day on board and on the excursions you may dress how you please, with the emphasis on comfort and practicality. We recommend you wear non-slip shoes on the outside decks and that you have a pullover for cooler evenings and sound, comfortable footwear for trips ashore. Although there is no formal dress code, we ask you to dress smartly for Dinner. For the Captain’s and / or Gala Dinner we ask for a greater degree of formality. Please remember to pack a hat, sun glasses and rainwear and please bear in mind that the countries to be visited may have dress codes different to ours, often based on religious precepts. Churches, monasteries, temples and mosques are primarily places of contemplation and reverence. We therefore ask you to dress accordingly – shorts, short skirts and sleeveless tops are not welcomed.
Excursions / Going ashore
Excursions ashore organised by nicko cruises offer a general view of the most important sights in the various ports of call. You may also wish to explore the area on your own.
We ask you to wait for an announcement of official clearance of the vessel, before going ashore. Return times on board are published in the daily journal. Since our berths and our passage through locks have to be arranged in advance, we are not able to wait for passengers who arrive back late.
Some twin-berth cabins can be arranged to accommodate three occupants. Please do not then assume that these cabins are in any way larger. The third bed in these cabins is either a fold away bed or one that can be folded away against the wall.
Items not included in the cruise price
Please note that the following items are not included in our cruise price:
- individual travel to and from the point of embarkation
- excursions not mentioned in the cruise price
- gratuities (we recommend between 5 € and 7 € per person and day)
- personal spending.
For cruises in Croatia and Asia we need certain personal details from you before the cruise begins, in order to produce a Passenger Manifest. This document speeds the clearance of the ship in the various ports of call and thus reduces waiting times. These personal details are subject to data protection measures. You will receive further information with your booking confirmation. For all other cruises the Passenger Manifest is produced by the ship’s crew, as set down in EU regulations. It is for this reason that passports or identity cards are collected on embarkation. In these cases there is no need to provide passport details prior to joining the ship.
Passports and Visas
Please check in good time that all necessary papers and documents needed for the cruise are valid and correct.
May we draw your attention to the fact that you yourself are responsible for all travel documents and (where needed) visas and for organizing any necessary inoculations. We ask all German citizens to read carefully the section headed „Wichtige Reisehinweise“ on the travel pages in this catalogue. In the case of citizens from Austria, Switzerland and other countries we recommend you check with the appropriate consulate or with your travel agent. Failure to follow these regulations may result in a refusal to allow you to undertake all or part of your journey and thus involve you and your party in considerable extra expense. Should the lack of appropriate documentation lead to you being refused permission to travel, there can be no refund of payments already made.
German citizens require entry visas for cruises in Russia, Egypt or Asia. It is not part of our service to obtain these visas. This remains the responsibility of individual clients. Visas for Russia and Asia can be obtained either from the Service Department of the respective embassy or consulate or through a visa provider service. Should you wish to use a visa provider service we are happy to recommend one. You will receive the necessary application forms with your booking confirmation or by early 2016 at the latest. Entry visas for Egypt and Cambodia will be delivered on entry to the country. Please investigate before departure the customs regulations of countries to be visited.
You may hand in cards and letters for posting at Reception. Normally the mailbox is cleared at the next port of call. Postcards and stamps are available from the Reception Desk. Please be aware, though, that on-board prices are generally higher than those ashore.
Alterations to prices and services offered between the publication of the catalogue and your booking.
1. The details of contractual service provision in this catalogue date from the publication in August 2015. We ask you to understand that there may be enforced changes to this provision in the period between publication and your booking request. We reserve the right to introduce these changes, and we will inform you of any change before booking contracts are finalized.
2. The prices listed in the catalogue also date from publication and are binding on us as travel organiser. However, we do reserve the right to amend prices under the conditions listed below. We will also inform you of any price changes before your booking is made.
- an increase in transport costs (especially fuel prices)
- changes to items such as harbour-, airport- or entry fees
- airline security fees
- airline taxes or VAT rates
- so-called bed taxes
- alterations in financial exchange rates after publication of the catalogue.
• An alteration in price is also permitted when the passengers’ desired cruise package (as offered in the catalogue) is available only through the purchase of additional tourist services (allocations) after publication of the catalogue. For alterations to prices after the booking contract has been completed we refer you to the regulations governing price changes in our Conditions of Service.
Smoking is permitted only on the open decks and often there only in designated areas. Smoking is not permitted in any enclosed area of the vessel, such as restaurants, lounges, cabins, corridors etc.
You will receive your travel documents online approximately 14 days before departure, as soon as full payment has been made. In the case of late bookings - less than 14 days before departure - the documents will be sent by e-mail. These documents include vouchers for the pre-booked services and further information on embarkation procedures and details of excursions. In a few cases however the documents may not arrive until a few days before the start of the tour.
Changes to routes or services
Cruise itineraries are weather-dependent – for example a long period of rain or drought could have a short-term, detrimental effect on water levels. It may on occasions be necessary to change the itinerary, as a result of abnormal water levels or delays at locks or bridges. Strikes may also lead to changes to our route or programme. On the rare occasion that a section of the river is closed, we will transfer passengers to alternative means of transport, which may result in cancellation of, or changes to, planned visits. We also reserve the right to alter the order in which we visit the planned destinations.
EU Safety Certificate
The cost of your tour is protected in line with EU regulations. This certificate will be sent with your letter of confirmation.
Every vessel is officially assigned a designated anchorage by the respective port authority. It is often necessary to moor alongside another vessel. This means that the view from your cabin window may be restricted by the neighbouring vessel and that there may be a certain amount of additional noise and smell. When going ashore it might be necessary to pass through or across another vessel. Please note that, whilst at anchor, the view from your cabin or from the deck may be restricted by pontoons or walls.
On board our ships you will find a comfortable Lounge offering excellent views of the passing scenery. Live music is played during the evening for dancing, whilst during the day the Lounge is used for lectures or entertainment (this varies from ship to ship). Some ships have, in addition, smaller lounges for reading or board games or for small group meetings. On most of our ships there are limited fitness facilities, which you may use free of charge, plus a sauna, for which a charge may be made. These facilities are to be used at your own risk. . On the Sun Deck you will find sunshades, chairs, tables and, in many cases, deck-chairs and awnings. Please be aware that the number of seats is limited by the size of the deck, and that we have made optimum use of the available space. Our ships are not step-free.
It is normally possible to call from cabin to cabin. On many ships you can phone ashore using a satellite link. However, the charges for this service are high and we recommend you use your own mobile phone to ring home. Your service provider can advise on the appropriate charges.
Pets and bicycles
As space on board is limited we regret that we cannot take pets or bicycles on our cruises.
If you have booked with us to travel to the embarkation point by train the transfer between the station and the ship included. You will find details of the exact meeting-point at the stations and the definitive transfer times are given in the chapter headed “Travel to the Port” on page 207 or in the travel information sent with your booking confirmation / bill. In those cases where you have booked a cruise with a flight, a transfer coach will meet you at the airport and one of our staff will be waiting at the exit from the baggage reclaim. Since we sometimes need to meet several different flights, there may be a wait before the coach departs. Our staff will keep you informed.
It is internationally recognised that a satisfied passenger wishes to reward the efforts on their behalf made by service staff. The amount is, of course, at the passenger’s discretion and reflects the level of service rendered. Our recommendation is € 5-7 per passenger per night on board. One exception is MS CENTURY PARAGON: since European passengers often have difficulties with local scales of gratuities in China, we offer a service whereby the recommended gratuities are collected at the start of the cruise by the Tour Leader, who then distributes appropriate amounts to the ship’s crew, local guides and coach drivers. The giving of gratuities is explained in your travel documents. In the case of cruises on board MS MEKONG PRESTIGE II and MS THURGAU EXOTIC II the gratuities are included in the tour price.
Because the fresh water supply comes from an on-board tank, we recommend you drink bottled water obtainable from the ship’s bar or restaurant. The water from the ship’s taps is perfectly safe for cleaning teeth etc.
Those ships that offer on-board TV rely on satellite reception, which is operative over large parts of the itinerary. However, there can be unforeseen interruptions of transmission when passing under bridges or lock chambers as well as on certain stretches of the river. We try our best to provide at least one German channel the whole time, although this is not possible in some areas.
All our cruises include full board – details are given in the catalogue. We try to source the meals with local produce. On all ships we serve a buffet Breakfast. Lunch is usually served at table and Dinner is always table service, the only exception being MS STEIGENBERGER MINERVA. Meals on board are served at a single seating. Please refer to the ship’s description for further information. If you have special dietary requirements, we ask you to inform us when making your booking, although this may present difficulties in Russia, Asia or on flights.
Items of Value
On board some of our ships there is either a small safe in the cabins, in which you can place items of value. Other ships have a communal safe at the Reception Desk. However, we do recommend that you leave items of value (eg expensive jewellery) at home, if possible. Some of our tours take you to places where minor items for us are considered as wealth and where wearing seemingly expensive items can lead to covetousness.
Payment on board
The on-board currency depends on our route. Drinks taken on board and excursions booked on board can be paid for at the end of the cruise, either with a German EC card (sometimes only Maestro as V-Pay cannot always be guaranteed, plus EC cards are not accepted in Asia) or with a credit card (see the ship’s description for details) or in cash. Cash payments must be made in the local on-board currency, as in some countries payments are either not permitted or possible in Euros. Please note that credit card payments for excursions booked on board are subject to a service charge of 1%. Please note also that money cannot be exchanged on board, except on board the MS CENTURY PARAGON. The Cruise Director will advise you on opportunities for currency exchange during our first excursion ashore. It may well be that your bank or credit card company imposes fees on international card payments, as not all our ships are sailing under the German flag.
Should you have further questions, please contact us on
Info-Telephone: +49 (0) 711 24 89 80 10