Since time began, man has taken to the cruising the rivers of the world to transport goods, to transport themselves or to just relax and enjoy. As the river takes you in its grasp, you can watch the landscape and villages drift by. It is an unhurried mode of sight-seeing that has gained popularity over the past decade. Today, there are many different cruise companies that navigate the rivers, but they are differentiating themselves with the style of ship, the cuisine and the activities that are offered.
The most well known rivers to cruise are the Danube and the Rhine. The Danube empties into the Black Sea and the Rhine into the North Sea. A series of locks and canals now make it navigable to start on the Danube, sail the Main River then enter the Rhine and continue north to Amsterdam. While the itinerary stops on many cruise ships are the same, the activities do differ from one line to the other.
In France, there are six rivers from which to choose your itinerary. The Seine, the Garonne, the Dordogne, Saone, Moselle and the Rhone. The Garonne and the Dordogne are in the Bordeaux region, but the others each offer a different region of France with different cultures, history and wine. Portugal has the Douro River from the city of Porto. Asia has the Mekong and the Ganges and Africa the Chobe.
With so many options, as well as, barge cruising on the canals of Europe, you may have a hard time deciding which to explore first.
You might dismiss river cruising as for the elderly, but this is far from the truth. While the aging population may enjoy cruising, they are a vibrant, educated and active group. AmaWaterways is advertising that the average age for their passengers has drop significantly. They welcome more passengers who travel with multi-generational family groups and families with older children. Most ships offer the ability to take bicycles off the ship and ride the flat river valleys of Europe.
New programs offer discovery excursions in culinary arts, music and dance. Popular itineraries include wine-themes and beer themes. Active programs offer hiking with a guide along historical trails of WWII as well as to lovely scenic vistas. These programs split into different activity levels as well, so the gentle walkers are not lumped in with hardy adventures that wish to climb to the top of that hill.
The staff ratio on ships allows the crew to cater to everyone’s individual needs. The dining options are being expanded to include more seating options and a variety of locally source food. Ships differ in how they handle the serving of alcohol. Some are all-inclusive, while others only offer beer and wine during meals with a bar available for cocktails for those who wish to partake. Ama has just introduced their happy hour, where cocktails are included an hour before dinner, but the rest are on you. These payment options as a detail to look for when choosing a cruise for yourself.
Whether you are a first time river cruiser or a veteran, having a travel professional help you to navigate the different cruise lines is a helpful tool. It will save you time and usually money, as travel professionals are engaging in continuing education opportunities to stay on top of the latest sales and trends. Contact us today, to help you plan your river cruise. Cabins and pricing are available for 2019 and 2020, so don’t delay.