Monarch Empress suite cabin
Monarch Empress suite cabin / Hans Heiligers
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Monarch Empress dining room
Monarch Empress dining room / Hans Heiligers
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Monarch Empress front lounge
Monarch Empress front lounge / Hans Heiligers
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Monarch Empress front lounge
Monarch Empress front lounge / Hans Heiligers
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Monarch Empress

Our Ship Review
Gate 1 Travel
Cruise Line
Deal Expert / Travel Blogger

Gate 1 Travel is best known for its endless array of guided land tours, from Chile to China. They’ve offered Europe river cruises for years, too, but this is the first ship it has wholly owned and operated. Here’s a look…

What We Love
Attractive Design: Decor on The Monarch Empress feels like a nicely appointed, modern city apartment — never over-the-top, and equally suitable for relaxing with a cup of tea, listening to a lecture, or even partaking in a (small-ish) nighttime dance party.
Great Value: This new ship, which joined the Gate 1 Travel fleet in 2016, offers a cruising experience that feels high-end without an extravagant price. 
Best Known For
Guided Tours: Gate 1 Travel has a long history of offering every kind of land tour throughout the world, but especially in Europe. This is a real strength for the line, and the options — from simple included walking tours to farther-flug optional excursions — are plentiful, and will suit many interests and budgets. 
Owned and Operated: The Monarch Empress is wholly owned by Gate 1 Travel, not chartered. This means consistency of service between Gate 1 Travel’s land and river cruise offerings, and the ability to seamlessly weave your cruise into a larger guided Europe getaway. 
Friendly Staff: The affable onboard crew on this ship is delightful accompaniment to the sights and sounds of the Danube. They are eager to help, quick with a joke, and attentive without ever being overbearing or fussy. 
Who It's Best For
Couples: Older and retired couples are the core crowd here, with a few multi-generational groups and groups of friends. 
Those Who Like Traveling With Other Americans: Gate 1 Travel’s legacy of catering to American travelers is evident here. Most of your cruising companions will likely come from the U.S. 
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
There are No Spa Services: While other lines have spa treatment rooms or offer in-room services, it’s not available on this ship.