By Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert
We have been on 11 river cruises in Europe and will return in December to take our 12th cruise. There are many reasons why we like to river cruise so much, but one key reason is there is so much value in the trip that it makes it a great vacation for most folks. So here are 3 great reasons you should consider taking a river cruise in Europe:
- You will see so much in so little time. River cruising is all about the destinations. Even though I have been traveling to Europe for almost 45 years and led several group tours, I could not do what the river cruise companies do in one week—these folks are experts in showing you the best sights in the least amount of time. It is truly a unique way to see the interior of a country. It is different from a land based tour and different from an ocean cruise. One of the best advantages is that most often your riverboat will dock near or in the center of the city, town or village you are about to explore. In five minutes all guest are off the boat and seeing the sights. Most lines also offer different groups during the tours—regular, active walkers or gentle walkers, so your desired way to see the destination is matched with your tour. Even while on board there is always something to see on the banks, as you cruise along to the next destination.
- Almost all is included in your trip. On river cruise lines, your food, meals with wine or beer at lunch and dinner, your cabin and even occasional entertainment is included in the fare. The clear, upfront pricing helps make it easier to budget for your vacation. River boats are small (only 100 to 190 passengers) friendly and comfortable. Food is generally good but some lines are better than others. Some cruise lines (Scenic, Uniworld, Tauck and newcomer Crystal) are completely inclusive (all liquor, gratuities and even optional tours) but cost more than other companies. Viking, Emerald and Avalon offer more optional choices, but usually have lower starting prices. Our favorite river cruise company, AmaWaterways does not include gratuities, liquor outside of meals, and there may be an extra charge for some optional tours although there is at least one tour included at every port at no charge (many times there are 2 or more at no charge). There are a lot of differences between lines (I have written a blog about this and we have a great comparison PowerPoint on our website) but the bottom line is clear: RIVER CRUISING IS A GREAT VALUE! Learn More
- There are so many great routes and even repeating the same itinerary again is fun. We have seen a lot of Europe (11 countries) while on river cruises. Your floating luxury hotel is an awesome way to see some of the great sights of Europe. There are many themed cruises that could add to your trip and make the cruise even better for you. Most lines offer 2 tours at each port stop, so even taking the same route twice or more is not boring—it is fun and each trip is different. We have been 5 times on the Danube and 3 times on the Rhine and 3 times on the Rhone and would not hesitate to go on any of these routes again. There is so much to see in Europe on or near the rivers that repeat trips are not a waste of time or money.
These are just a few of the reasons we like river cruising so much—they are constantly improving their product. We hope this will inspire you to give me a call at 713-397-0188 or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) so I can help you visit Europe on a river cruise and help you:
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