How We Navigate the Maze of River Cruise Companies to Get the Best Trip for You!

by Hank Schrader, USMA ’71, Europe Destination & Europe River Cruise Expert

I often wonder why folks are determined to book travel and river cruises on their own.  Maybe it is a control issue, maybe they like going to a website alone, but the truth is I’m not sure.  What I do know is that they just do not know what we know.  So, here goes—do you know more about Europe River Cruises than we do?

OK, Test Your Knowledge

Here is quick quiz!  1) What are the major river cruise companies that sell to the US (hint if you can’t name 8, you may not get this one right)? 

2) What is one new feature on these major lines? 

3) What are the rivers that river cruise boats sail on in Europe (hint looking for 8 or 9)?


1) AmaWaterways, Avalon, Crystal, Emerald, Scenic, Tauck, Uniworld & Viking. 

2) AmaWaterways—has reinvented its Chef’s Table Menu—more a tasting menu paired with excellent regional wines; Avalon added a healthy, locally sourced vegetarian food items to their menus; Crystal debuted its 154 guest Crystal Mozart—suites range from 204 sq feet to 750 square feet & feature apple iPads & 40 inch HDTVs; Emerald has added guided bike tours and hikes on 6 itineraries; Scenic added Scenic Culinaire on 3 ships—it is an onboard cooking school; Tauck christened 2 new ships with twenty-two 300 sq feet cabins, with floor to ceiling twin French balconies, a walk in closet and spacious marble bathroom; Uniworld will launch the Joie de Vivre (Joy of Living) in March 2017 to sail on the Seine River and continue its boutique signature decorating style in the cabins; Viking has decided to enter the US river cruise market and has started to cruise on ocean going ships—has it decided to stop adding to its huge river cruise fleet in Europe? 


Emerald Sun 2015

3) The 9 rivers are: Douro, Dordogne, Danube, Elbe, Po, Rhone, Rhine, Seine, & Volga.


Scenes from the Iron Gates on the lower Danube 2014

How did you do?  This is just the tip of the iceberg—there is so much to know and learn.  We help folks find the right river cruise every day.  Maybe we could help you!

5 Factors to Consider before you Navigate the River Cruise Maze on your own

We do not provide “price quotes”

If the only thing you want to do is to press a couple of buttons to find your trip– go for it.  We hope you selected the right buttons, the right cruise and the right cruise line.  We, on the other hand, do professional research to match you to the right cruise.

We do not provide instant results

Our first step is to match you with the available options.  We first learn who you are, ask a lot of questions and then find the best options.  We have developed a great Europe River cruise questionnaire that will help us learn what you really want on your river cruise.  We spend our time doing the research for you, so you can spend your time dreaming about the memories you are going to make.

If there is a great deal, we will find it

Everyone wants the best value for their money.  Note I did not say the least expensive price.  Our goal is to find you the best vacation that will exceed your expectations.  Now, that’s money well spent!

We can help you with benefits you might not be able to get on your own

After 20 + years in the travel business, we have made some great industry contacts.  We can often solve problems, get an upgrade, or enhance your experience through our contacts.  We are with you every step of the way.

We are travel professionals with outstanding credentials and experience

First, we have sailed on 12 European River cruises since 2009 and are going on our 13th this December.  We have sailed on Europe’s river in all 4 seasons.  We try to visit Europe 3-4 times a year.  Along with our personal experience, we have sent clients on almost all the river itineraries you might want to try.  We have personally escorted 4 groups on European river Cruises.

Second, both of us are certified Western Europe Destination Specialists and Accredited Cruise Counselors.  Between the both of us, we have earned river cruise specialist designations from AmaWaterways, Emerald, Scenic, Uniworld and Viking (Crystal and Tauck presently do not have specialist programs).  We have written 49 guides on European Cities.  We have visited 35 European Countries.  We were recently selected as the 2016 Living Magazine Reader’s Choice for the Best Travel Agency (Pearland and Friendswood edition).

Maybe it’s time to stop trying to navigate the river cruise maze on your own.  We certainly think so!  We hope this will inspire you to consider a Europe River cruise for your next vacation and let our expertise help you find the right one for you.  Please give Hank a call at 713-397-0188 or email me at so we can help you:

Savor life . . . make memories . . . Visit Dream Destinations!  Your journey begins here!


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