Rhine River Must-See Sites

Viking River Cruises’ captivating Rhine Getaway itinerary is a popular choice for first-time river cruisers. Between Amsterdam’s colorful canals and Basel’s majestic Swiss Alps, this 7-night/8-day journey uncovers the heart of the celebrated Rhine River. It’s one of Europe’s legendary rivers, from imposing cathedrals and ancient hilltop castles to noteworthy cities and medieval villages to the Black Forest.

Take a look at the highlights:

Karine Hagen, Senior Vice President, Viking Cruises, comments, “Every time I visit Cologne, Germany, the striking profile of the city’s enormous Cologne Cathedral takes my breath away. This towering structure is one of the Rhine’s greatest treasures, and I was recently invited to its rooftop to go behind the scenes—or perhaps I should say “into the rafters”—to witness the constant attention given to its continual restoration. There, high above the city, Assistant Architect Jörg Sperner and I explored a world invisible from the ground: a forest of magnificently carved spires, hidden sculptures, fantastic gargoyles and imposing flying buttresses. Inside, doorways normally off-limits led to a narrow passage with breathtaking views of the cavernous nave below and stunning stained glass windows. I’m happy to let you know that Jörg and his team of architects have invited Viking guests to experience this very same vantage point of the Cologne Cathedral, an exclusive experience. Should your clients join one of our most enlightening itineraries, the 8-day Rhine Getaway, I hope they do as I did and enjoy a safe, bird’s eye view of one of Germany’s most beloved religious structures, the venerable Cologne Cathedral.”

Explore the history of this ornate architectural masterpiece. Towering over the Rhine, the majestic Cologne Cathedral has been a beacon for pilgrims from around the world for centuries.

Another stop along the Rhine Getaway itinerary is the iconic Marksburg Castle. Meticulously chiseled into the slate bedrock of a mountain peak, Marksburg has long stood as one of Germany’s most imposing castles. Step back into the Middle Ages with Karine as she explores the core of this prominent stronghold.

Appealing? Want to plan a Rhine River cruise for 2017 or 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.

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  • River Cruises For Vegans

    Vegan Entree

    When it comes to preparing meals for guests who have eschewed all animal products in support of a vegan lifestyle, ocean cruise lines are well equipped to handle the task. But, river cruise vessels have very small kitchens and until recently have not focused on accommodating special diet requests unless they are required for medical reasons. There are no industry standards when it comes to specialized meal offerings.

    With any special request, including dietary, it is important to alert the cruise line of the need at the time of booking. And, once onboard, follow-up with the head waiter and restaurant staff to make sure your preference is noted.

    Here are the best river cruise lines in Europe for vegans.

    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
    Uniworld Chef

    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s chefs on company-owned ships are educated in vegetarian and vegan cuisine workshops including at the Hiltl in Zurich, the oldest vegetarian restaurant in the world. Included are choices such as vegan margarine, cookies, cakes, bread, and tofu (smoked or silk), tempeh, eggless pasta, quinoa and products made without yeast. Buckwheat, amaranth, bulgur and couscous are used to craft selections from bread to pancakes. Each dinner has a distinct four-course vegetarian menu while six or seven vegetarian courses are offered for formal dinners.

    AmaWaterways AmaPrima Cooking Class
    AmaWaterways has built a complete menu for vegan passengers. Known for its culinary offerings, AmaWaterways vegan selections range from lentil salad, marinated salad, vegetable soups, stir-fry with glass noodles, eggless pasta, and grilled tofu to fresh fruits and sorbets.

    Avalon Waterways Avalon Fresh
    This year, Avalon introduced Avalon Fresh which they’ve dubbed, ” A New Menu of Guiltless Indulgence.” The menus were designed by Chefs Karl and Leo Wrenkh, two brothers raised in the first high-quality vegetarian restaurant in Austria. “Avalon Fresh allows our guests to guiltlessly indulge in creative dishes that combine surprising flavors with a dash of innovation. With the philosophy of procuring the freshest ingredients to create inspired vegetarian and vegan dishes, Avalon Fresh brings the passing landscape to your plate for a fulfilling and healthful dining experience.” There are Avalon Fresh healthy cuisine options and vegetarian options at every meal, as well as vegan and allergy-free selections. Avalon Fresh

    Don’t hesitate to ask questions. The menus in the dining rooms are usually clearly labeled as dairy, nuts, gluten, meat, etc., but the description cards in the breakfast and lunch buffet often are not. You can assume that vegetables are prepared with butter, but find a restaurant crew member to request a plain serving made-to-order just for you.

    Vegan Entree

    Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2017 or 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.

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  • U BY UNIWORLD

    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is the first river cruise line to dedicate sailings to millennial travelers, specifically to those aged 18 to 40, with its new U BY UNIWORLD (all capitals) program. Beginning with sailings in early 2018, U BY UNIWORLD will offer immersive, genuine and plucky experiences for the upcoming generation of river cruisers. The focus is on those who share a youthful inquisitiveness and a robust measure of good judgment.

    Uniworld River Cruise Specialist

    Two ships currently in the Uniworld fleet, the River Baroness and the River Ambassador, will be revamped with sleek, neutral colors to add a contemporary look and feel to the ship’s public areas.

    “U BY UNIWORLD will deliver the same superb quality of authenticity and personalization that the Uniworld brand is celebrated for while offering a new way for exploratory, younger travelers to experience the pulse of Europe,” said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “We are targeting an active traveler between the ages of 18 and 40, with everything from the décor, dining and cocktail service to the land activities thoughtfully curated to appeal to, and meet the needs of, this audience.”

    Young Woman Traveler

    The itineraries will feature longer stays in the destinations giving travelers the chance to meet locals, try restaurants and bars in port, and experience both independent exploration and active excursions.

    Uniworld announced a social media campaign, hashtag #AllAboutU, in order to pull together suggestions and requests for all facets of the U BY UNIWORLD vacation. Use the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    This expansion of the Uniworld brand targeting a new demographic for river cruising taps into the worldwide expertise of their leading youth brands Contiki® and Busabout®, original adventure travel companies for the young, wide-eyed and curious. Reservations for 2018 sailings will be available soon.

    Young Man Traveler

    Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise vacation? I would love to make this happen for you.

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  • What’s New At Avalon Waterways?

    Greater Kalamazoo Women’s Lifestyle Expo will feature river cruise presentations by our Business Development Manager for the Globus Family of Brands, Julie Petschler. Take a sneak peek at the agenda.

    What makes Avalon Waterways stand out from other lines? Click for Video

    New onboard Avalon Fresh: “Think healthy food should also taste good? We do, too. And while Avalon cruises have always provided a selection of nutritious, delicious recipes, this year, we’re really raising the bar with Avalon Fresh! We’ve teamed up with two of Europe’s rising culinary stars, the Wrenkh brothers, to design an exciting collection of wholesome menu items so mouthwatering, you won’t believe they’re healthy. Our focus on fresh, local ingredients from small farms and producers comes together with a splash of innovation that will have you feeling great as you’re eating and throughout your day. We even offer gluten-free options.”

    Did you know Avalon Waterways itineraries include. . .

    The Nile
    “Sail along the lifeline of Egyptian civilization, sightseeing ancient temples, tombs, local villages, and farms on a Nile river cruise. The Nile is the longest river in the world!, measuring 4,160 miles (6,955 km). The river flows north from Lake Victoria through Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt, passing rainforests, mountains, swamps, and desert landscapes before ending in the fertile Nile Delta and draining into the Mediterranean Sea. Sail past 5,000 years of history on an incredible Nile river cruise vacation through Egypt.”

    Myanmar
    “A journey with Avalon Waterways along the majestic Irrawaddy River, known as the “Road to Mandalay,” serves as a gateway to untouched villages, ancient cities, and remarkable culture. And because bigger isn’t always better, we focus on intimate experiences with exceptional personalized service on the new all-suite Avalon MyanmarSM, one of our incredible Suite Ships®. Carrying a maximum of 36 guests we bring you closer to the must-see sights and mesmerizing scenes of everyday life along the river.”

    The Galápagos Islands
    “The Galápagos Islands are waiting, explore the islands with Avalon Waterways. View video to learn more about this pristine paradise!”

    Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2017 or 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.

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  • Six Terrific Reasons To Sail Solo On A River Cruise

    Until recently, the single traveler has been essentially ignored by mainstream tour operators or forced to pay an unfairly high single supplement. That’s changing and many river cruise lines are welcoming the solo traveler with favorable pricing and accommodations. Now, there are great reasons to sail solo.

    Phnom Penh Cyclo
    1. THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS.
    Even if you leave home solo, you’re never totally on your own. You can explore the ports-of-call independently exactly as you choose or take part in included experiences with other like-minded travelers from all walks of life.
    Uniworld Cocoon

    2. YOU’RE IN GOOD HANDS.
    Attentive Cruise Directors will ensure you have everything you need and make the effort to get to know you, making you feel at ease and included.
    AmaWaterways Hotel Staff

    3. YOU’LL LOVE THE OTHER PASSENGERS.
    River cruises attract a mix of couples, friends and singles who travel, sightsee and take meals together. They share a passion for exploring new cultures, tasting new foods and learning about the places they visit.
    Budapest Hungary Market

    4. TAILORED SERVICE.
    You can explore ports-of-call by yourself but will never miss out on personalized service. Cruise Directors can provide helpful advice and ensure you don’t feel like an outsider. And, many included excursions are geared to special interests or physical abilities.

    Uniworld Massage

    5. AGE IS NO LIMIT.
    Age is no limit when it comes to going solo on a river cruise. Most passengers are anywhere from mid-40’s to mid-80’s.
    Uniworld Maria Theresa

    6. WORLDWIDE POSSIBILITIES.
    Check off your bucket list destinations while traveling by river. . .Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, North America, Australia ~ there’s an opportunity for solo travel.
    ChngQng Panda

    Appealing? Want to plan a river cruise for 2017 or 2018? I would love to make this happen for you.

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  • Sailing Along The Danube River

    First-time river cruisers often choose to sail the fabled Danube River which has inspired poets, artists, and musicians for centuries. Take a peek at some of the iconic sites to see along the way.

    Nuremberg: Nuremberg Castle
    Nuremberg Castle with 900-year old ramparts surrounding the city.

    Regensburg: Regensburg Dom One of Germany’s best preserved medieval cities. Regensburg Old Chapel









    Passau: Take a guided bike tour along the Danube. Passau's Old Town

    Melk: Melk Abbey Tour Melk’s Benedictine Abbey, a fabulous UNESCO World Heritage.




    Vienna: Savor the Baroque elegance of romantic Vienna. Vienna

    Budapest: Budapest Hungary Fisherman's Bastion Known as Europe’s most beautiful city.










    If you are considering a Danube River cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

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  • How To Take Your Wine Tasting Club To The Next Level

    You and your friends have organized a successful wine tasting club. You’ve done everything right for each monthly meeting:

    Red Wine

  • Decided on a formal or informal format
  • Created a theme such as “Wines of Chile,” “The Best of the California Cabernets,” or “Favorite Holiday Wines”
  • Secured appropriate wine tasting supplies and accessories such as glasses, rinse pitchers, dump buckets, drinking water, bland bread or crackers, and a tasting evaluation form for each member
  • Allocated time for enrichment from research shared by members or an outside presenter such as a wine merchant or local winery vintner
  • Focused on food and wine pairing with the meeting theme
  • Mailed a newsletter or sent an enewsletter with the next meeting’s location, agenda, theme, and other details as well as a review of the last meeting’s tastings, upcoming community wine-related events, etc.

    You’ve done well. Membership has grown and your group of like-minded individuals are now the best of friends. Where can you go from here? Plan a tour for your group to a wine region! Start with a short trip, perhaps a three or four-day cruise in Napa Valley. After one or two successful wine holidays, plan more extensive travel to wine regions of France, Germany, South Africa or even Australia and New Zealand.

    Wine appreciation themed river cruises add an exceptional epicurean dimension to European river cruises. A distinguished wine authority leads interesting discussions onboard and expert chefs pair fine regional wines with superb cuisine. You’ll visit wine villages where vintners and growers will walk you through the winemaking process and taste some of their special varieties. AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection offer themed cruises on select itineraries and dates. AmaWaterways Wine Tasting


    Is your wine club ready to step up to a European river cruise? If you are considering an wine-theme river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

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  • or by phone – 269-372-1963 | 800-372-1963

  • What’s New With AmaWaterways?

    AmaWaterways, designated Best River Cruise Line of 2016 by Cruise Critic, continues to set the standards for ingenuity and flair in the river cruise industry year after year. New additions for 2017 feature multi-generational travel, more alternative ways to explore and more included choices. AmaWaterways has effectively attracted new passengers to river cruising, and they continue to fine-tune the onboard experience with alternative restaurants and new cabin designs. Take a look at the latest features below.

    ► NEW! River Cruise Ship, AmaKristina
    AmaWaterways Lobby Set to debut on April 1, 2017, the AmaKristina is the 21st member of AmaWaterways fleet, named after Godmother, Kristin Karst. The 158-passenger vessel features connecting staterooms and triple accommodations, designed specifically to target the multi-generational group and family travel markets.

    ► NEW! Africa Safari & Wildlife Cruise Itinerary
    Experience the thrill of daily game drives and exceptional amenities, service and cuisine aboard the Zambezi Queen on the new Wildlife and the Falls itinerary. 1 night Johannesburg, a 4-night African river safari, 2 nights in Victoria Falls, 2 nights in Johannesburg & 3 nights at a luxury safari lodge in greater Kruger National Park
    Game Viewing On The Chobe12 Nights – Travel to Johannesburg and return from Johannesburg



    ► More Wine Cruises in 2017
    AmaWaterways‘ award-winning wine theme cruises have grown significantly to nearly 50 departures in 2017. These are exclusive wine cruises that showcase the acclaimed wine regions along Europe’s Danube, Douro, Mosel, Rhine, Rhone and Seine Rivers. These exceptional sailings are hosted by leading wine experts and feature complimentary lectures, wine tastings, superb cuisine with paired wines, and excursions to historic vineyards and wine cellars. Durnstein Wine Tasting Guests learn about centuries-old wine traditions, sample one-of-a-kind vintages and enjoy private wine-themed excursions. Other highlights include: music and newly pressed wine at a rustic Austrian tavern; Alsatian wines in Colmar, the French “Capital of Alsatian Wine”; and a German “Oktoberfest” in the village of Vilshofen, held year-round exclusively for our guests. Love wine? These are the perfect cruises for you!

    ► More Ways to Discover
    Recently awarded Cruise Critic’s 2016 Best River Cruise Line for Active Cruisers, AmaWaterways offers travelers a new degree of adventure including a selection of biking, hiking, and multiple-paced walking tours. Castelo Rodrigo Portugal



    ► Backroads Partnership
    Biking On The Danube AmaWaterways and Backroads have amplified their partnership, doubling active river cruise options for 2017, with over 100 departures to choose from.

    ► Adventures By Disney Partnership
    Following the successful inauguration of the partnership, Adventures by Disney has expanded its lineup of family-oriented river cruises with AmaWaterways in 2017, now featuring itineraries on both the Danube and Rhine rivers. Family Vacation



    If you are considering an AmaWaterways river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

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  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • Jewish Heritage-themed River Cruises

    As the new Jewish year, 5777, launches, families and friends will gather to celebrate the beginning of the New Year. Jewish Rosh Hashanah Those interested in delving deeply into Central Europe’ s rich Jewish history will be pleased to know that two river cruise lines will offer Jewish Heritage specialty themed departures. (NOTE: Kosher foods are not included.)

    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection will offer “Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich,” a 10-day cruise-tour between Munich and Cologne. The sailing will feature onboard Signature Lectures highlighting an in-depth exploration of the fascinating history of Jewish people in Europe.

    Dachau Konzentrationslager
    Dachau Konzentrationslager
    Tailored shoreside excursions will range from visits to the Dachau concentration camp and Courtroom 600, where the Nuremberg trials took place to the archaeological traces of the Frankfurt ghetto and the Rothschild family. Two sailings in July 2017, are designated award-winning Generations Family Programs providing wonderful opportunities for families to discover their cultural heritage.

    Avalon Waterways theme cruise is on the “Blue Danube Discovery and Jewish Heritage” itinerary in August 2017. Distinguished experts will present enlightening lectures about the sites and events that played roles in Central Europe’s Jewish heritage. Budapest Holocaust ShoesIn Budapest, visit the world’s second-largest synagogue. Visit the Stadttempel in Vienna, whose extraordinary location saved it from devastation during the Kristallnacht in 1938.

    Vienna Jewish Cemetary
    Vienna Jewish Cemetary
    Delve into the Document Neupfarrplatz museum in Regensburg with its vestiges of a medieval Jewish ghetto and ancient synagogue. In Prague, explore the city’s Jewish Museum and cemetery, then travel to Terezin, one of Czechoslovakia’s largest concentration camps. Hear chilling stories about the daily lives of the Jews imprisoned there, and visit the poignant memorial.
    Prague Synagogue
    Prague Synagogue

    We help culturally curious travelers to plan an amazing vacation that offers enrichment and a chance to explore a special interest such as ancestral or religious heritage, photography, wellness, gardening, literature. It’s our goal to create personalized vacation experiences and lasting memories for travelers who not only want to see the world but to appreciate it with all their senses.

    If you are considering a Jewish Heritage-themed river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

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  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • Viking’s Holiday Magic

    As we watch summer fade into fall, it’s time to plan to celebrate the holidays in old-world style. Viking River Cruises’s holiday sailings offer the most memorable gift you could imagine: in-depth cultural enrichment in Europe’s best loved river ports. Perfectly planned itineraries abound with Yuletide magic, the ideal way to experience Europe’s picturesque atmosphere and charm. This is the most festive time of year to cruise these waters as glittering lights and finery adorn Europe’s streets. On board your home away from home, the discovery continues with cultural enrichment activities designed to keep you fully immersed in the holiday riches of Europe—delicious regional cuisine, destination performances, festively decorated ships, and onboard lectures. Celebrate the season with Viking, and you’ll also enjoy Viking Inclusive Value. One price includes so much from meals and beverages to shore excursions and Wi-Fi.

    Europe’s Christmas Markets with Viking River Cruises
    Europe’s Christmas markets are where the romance and spirit of the holidays come alive. It’s not just the markets that have all the magic of the holidays, but Viking ships are adorned with extra shimmer and sparkle as well. Explore some of the fairy tale settings of Europe’s Christmas Markets.

    Interested in learning more about our European Christmas markets cruises? Visit us at: Viking River Cruises

    Viking for the Holidays: Danube Waltz

    Celebrate the holidays with the cultural traditions of Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary. Enjoy art, architecture, history and charming Christmas markets in European destinations including Passau, Vienna, Salzburg, Bratislava and Budapest.

    Viking for the Holidays: Romantic Danube

    This popular 8-day holiday cruise lets you discover Danube delights in Hungary, Austria, and Germany. From historic Budapest to beautiful Vienna to medieval Regensburg, experience the holiday season like never before.

    Gingerbread and glühwein are traditional treats that are enjoyed during the holiday season.

    Traditional Gingerbread with Chef Walter Simon Snr.

    Spiced and nutty in flavor, these traditional German Christmas cookies resemble soft gingerbread. Enjoy them at home or give as a gift—either way they fill your home with delightful aromas while baking. Taste these and many other holiday treats on one of our late fall or winter cruises along the Rhine or Danube.

    Ingredients:
    Cookies:
    One-half cup honey
    One-half cup molasses
    Three-quarters cup brown sugar (packed)
    One egg
    One tablespoon lemon juice
    One teaspoon lemon zest
    Two and three-quarters cup flour
    One-half teaspoon baking soda
    One teaspoon ground cinnamon
    One teaspoon ground cloves
    One teaspoon ground allspice
    One teaspoon ground nutmeg
    One-third cup candied citron (diced)
    One-third cup hazelnuts (chopped)

    Icing:
    One cup sugar
    One-half cup water or milk
    One-quarter teaspoon vanilla extract
    One-quarter cup powdered sugar

    Directions:

    Cookies:
    Combine honey and molasses in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in brown sugar, eggs, lemon juice and lemon zest. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and all spices. Add the molasses mixture and mix well. Stir in citron and hazelnuts. Cover and chill overnight.

    Preheat oven to 350°. On a floured surface, roll out a small amount of the chilled dough to one-quarter-inch thickness. If dough is sticky, use more flour when rolling. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut round cookies out and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Place baked cookies on a cooling rack and brush icing while still hot. You can decorate with slivers of nuts or candied citron or other dried fruit. Or if you prefer, you can drizzle with melted chocolate. Store in a sealed container with a wedge of apple or orange to retain moistness.

    Icing:
    Heat sugar and water or milk with vanilla in a small saucepan, but do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar. If icing becomes crystallized, reheat and add water or milk as needed.

    Makes 8–10 servings.

    GLÜHWEIN (HOT MULLED WINE) GLÜHWEIN (HOT MULLED WINE)
    Around the Christmas season, public houses in nearly every European town offer mulled wine as a delicious antidote to the season’s chill. To warm up on a stormy evening or put yourself in a celebratory mood, you can make your own glühwein at home
    Ingredients
    4 qts dry red wine (e.g., zinfandel, pinot, burgundy)
    1 C white sugar (more to taste)
    1 pt brandy
    12 whole cloves
    1/8 tsp allspice
    1/8 tsp mace
    1 qt dry white wine
    1 orange
    1 lemon

    Garnish
    6 cinnamon sticks
    1 orange, sliced

    Directions
    Pour red wine into a 3-gal pot (or larger) and begin gentle heating. Add sugar and spices. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Add brandy and white wine, slices of 1 orange and the lemon. Steep for 1 hour over low heat. Serve hot and garnish with orange slices or a cinnamon stick.

    Cook time: 1 hour

    Makes 12-15 servings.

    If you are considering a Festive Season river cruise, please feel free to send me an email or call me so we can discuss your vacation plans in detail.

    Need more information? We service many of our clients entirely through email:

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