River cruising. Undeniably, the fastest growing form of cruising is the river cruise. And this type of water and land experience continues to evolve to feature more and more inclusions.
With so many choices in cruise lines, many travelers choose to select a particular river/region before deciding on the provider. And what are the options in tributaries?
One could choose to explore a Central Europe favorite, the Danube (flowing through 10 countries) or the ever-popular Rhine that cuts through Switzerland, Germany and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Or the Rhône and Seine in France offer explorations into the wine region and the rich culinary offerings the country is famous for.
Another option is the Duoro in Portugal. Once a well-kept secret among river cruise veterans, the Duoro is the hot destination for 2019. And the cruises featuring this region sell out well in advance!
Our resident river cruise expert, Linda Marlek, was recently asked about her experience in Europe.
Linda stated, “From the moment I first stepped aboard a beautiful river cruise ship on a chilly morning in Budapest on the first day of an amazing Christmas Market cruise on the Danube I knew I had found the vacation experience I’d always dreamed of! What could be better than a luxurious room that I could settle in to and travel the river to the magical cities and towns that we would visit? No checking in and out of hotels, no dragging suitcases onto trains and buses, just unpack once and enjoy!
The meals on board – wonderful choices of local and international cuisine and delicious! The crew – friendly, attentive, knowledgeable! The variety of excursions (included!) offered something for everyone – even for late risers who needed extra time in the mornings. Wonderful local guides to accompany you and assure that you don’t miss the highlights of an area. Free time to explore on your own and mingle with the locals. On board each night the cruise director kept us informed of where we would be the next morning, every day was perfectly planned!
There are so many itineraries of different lengths, themed cruises, solo traveler specials and so many rivers to choose from and a wide selection of river cruise lines that offer a variety of amenities and services that can work within many budgets. A river cruise is the perfect way to see Europe up close and stress-free!”
An intriguing alternative to Europe, Asia, is home to exotic itineraries ranging from stops on the Yangtze River (with options in Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Lhasa Tibet and more) to the Mekong River through Vietnam and Cambodia. Asia river cruises offer a blend of history and culture that is unparalleled!
And let’s not forget the mysterious and enchanting land of Egypt and cruising along the Nile River. Visit the temples and ruins that have transfixed many for thousands of years.
Select lines and dates offer an immersion into India’s Golden Triangle along the Ganges River as yet another unique destination.
Once you’ve chosen a destination, what cruise line should you book? Let’s take a look at the options.
Viking Cruise Lines
Viking is the most well-known name in river cruising. With a mass media campaign, Viking has become a household name and features the most ships afloat. Viking is great for first-time river cruisers and they pretty much cover all of the main destinations for river cruising. The line features an onboard cultural enrichment program to bring to life the local areas that you experience. Excursions unique to Viking are another plus. Viking ships are for adults-only over the age of 18.
(Zambezi Queen Specialty Ship- African Safari and Wildlife Cruise)
In many ways, one could compare AMA to Viking since both lines operate in many of the same regions and feature a large number of ships. However, AMA is family-owned and operated. With a total of 22 ships in operation, AMA is THE choice for solo travelers. The AmaDolce, AmaDante, AmaLyra and AmaCello all feature single occupancy staterooms! And special sailings on other AmaWaterways’ ships waive any single supplement charges. It’s a great way to travel solo and save.
A bonus destination is available with Ama. African Safaris and Wildlife Cruise combos are available on the Zambezi Queen, a specially-designed ship for safari encounters.
The undisputed leader in all-inclusive river cruising. All meals, gratuities, unlimited beverages, a variety of personalized shore excursions, in-suite butler service, accommodations and more is included!
With options in Europe, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain, Asia, India, and Egypt, Uniworld has a wide offering and most itineraries come with the uniquely inclusive cruise package. U by Uniworld cruises do not feature the all inclusive concept.
Riviera River Cruises
A new entrant into the USA market, Riviera is a UK-based operator with 33 years of experience. Considered more of a boutique-line, their most popular cruise is of the Duoro River. The onboard experience is a family ambience and the clientele are primarily from the UK, but this is a hidden gem for US travelers.
Avalon has everything in Europe, along with more exotic locales. And their claim to fame is innovative cabin designs. Their unique Panorama Suites feature the “widest opening windows in river cruising” with wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows! Another feature of Avalon Waterways is the way they handle excursions. You can pick your activity level from three options that vary from Classic, Discovery and Active. Bonus destination: Galapagos Islands!
These are just a few of the many lines that cruise the world’s best rivers! If you want to learn more from an expert, visit our river cruise page to submit a request for a quote or information:
or call us at 877-415-8987