Longing to see Europe in a new way? Well, river cruising might be the answer. You pay with the dollar before you go and there are few out-of-pocket expenses when you are there. There are cruises for most budgets and there are a myriad of destinations including some wonderfully new, popular destinations in Eastern Europe and Russia. A river cruise experience is quite different from that of ocean cruising.
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- In the first place, there are generally no more than from 120 to 200 passengers on a river cruise as compared to thousands on an ocean cruise, on a barge cruise, you could have only 8 other passengers. You can forget about swarms of people leaving and boarding the ship.
- Second, river cruises dock in the heart of the city, not miles away. When you get off the boat, you are right there in the center of the town or city you are visiting… how refreshing!
- The scenery along the river is lovely and interesting, unlike the miles of blue outside your ocean portal.
- Although rivers have a current, there is no comparison to the ocean’s choppiness and swells. You won’t need dramamine on a river cruise.
- And unlike ocean cruises, most river cruises don’t nickel and dime you to death. Most river cruises include wine with dinner and shore excursions, some even include bikes so you can bike alongside your boat for a little exercise!
- River cruises are intimate and relaxing. There are usually no Broadway-type shows, no casinos, no over-the-top glitz. Just an opportunity to really see Europe at its best
Here is a run-down on some of the more popular river cruise lines. Remember that you can book directly with the cruise line, but you will pay no more to book with a travel agent. Your agent will offer his or her experience and be there for you throughout the planning process. Your travel agent can help you decide which cruise is the best for your interests and budget.
The AMA Cruise is all inclusive; shore trips and all on-board services and activities. Wine is served with lunch and dinner. Special highlights include folklore performances, lectures, theme dinners, and local activities. The cruise line is known for its excellent cuisine and wine offerings. While most staff and crew are multi-lingual, English is the only language for announcements and general communication. AMAWaterways has itineraries throughout Eastern and Western Europe.
Viking River Cruises
Viking is the world’s largest river cruise company. Viking offers more ships and destinations than any other river cruise line. This cruise company provides all meals, and wine with dinner. All Viking crew speak English and a non-smoking environment is provided inside the ship.
Avalon Waterways is part of the Globus family of travel brands and is a newer entry in the Europe river cruise business. Wine is included with all onboard dinners and there is a non-alcoholic alternative available. Smoking is only permitted on the Sky Deck and much of the sightseeing is included in the booking fee. Their new Panorama ships have floor to ceiling windows with French balconies. Avalon offers larger cabins than most other cruise lines
Uniworld offers an exclusive, uniquely designed river cruise experience. The ship is decorated by the designers of the Red Carnation hotels in England. All Uniworld cruises provide complimentary wine with dinner, shore excursions at no additional charge, English speaking staff, and transfers on arrival day and departure day.
Striving for perfection, Tauck is one of the finest tour companies in the world. All riverboats used by Tauck are limited to a maximum of 118 guests, making for an intimate voyage. All shore excursions are included, with a choice of sightseeing opportunities in many cities. On-board meals include wine with dinner, and all gratuities to ship staff are included in the booking fee..
Now is the time to book your Europe river cruise! For more information, take a look at CruiseDirect for the best Europe Cruise Deals.
Written by Terri Fogarty for EuropeUpClose.com