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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  • 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:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • The Best Second Marriage Honeymoon

    Honeymoon Champagne

    Looking for second marriage honeymoon ideas? If you’ve both traveled a bit, you are probably interested in a more sophisticated, authentic experience than a Caribbean beach resort. For a memorable trip of discovery, we recommend a river cruise. Here’s why:

      Romantic Destinations. Fairytale castles, charming hamlets and villages, and world-class cities can all be included on one river cruise itinerary.
      Uniworld Germany Rhine Valley

      Uniworld

      Adult Ambiance Onboard activities and shore excursions on most departures are geared to adult passengers.

      Explore Special Interests Photography, art, beer tasting, golf, culinary, Jewish heritage, music, history, wellness, and wine appreciation river cruises let couples deep-dive into activities with onboard presentations and hands-on experiences in port while on specially designated theme cruises.
    AMA Waterways In Celebration of Wine
    AMA Waterways In Celebration of Wine Theme Cruises

    AmaWaterways

      No Packing Up, No Driving, No Stress Unpack once on day one, and there are very few other responsibilities except to relax and enjoy each other. Luggage
      Scenic Cruises Chef
      Fine Dining Regional specialties and complimentary wine and beer with dinner.
      Great Views Even from your cabin. Unlike an ocean cruise, there is always something to see. Avalon-Panorama-Suite

      Avalon Waterways

      Need another reason?

        Great Value and Inclusive Pricing Plan and budget the honeymoon and know upfront your costs. Start your new life together with confidence and peace of mind.

        If you are considering a river cruise honeymoon, 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:

      1. Click Here To Email Us

      2. or by phone – 800-372-1963

    River Cruise Recipes

    At this festive time of year, many river cruise lines share the best-loved holiday recipes of their passengers. Here are a few of our favorites.

    From Viking River Cruises:

    VIENNESE HOT CHOCOLATE
    This recipe comes to us from Reiner Marks, who prepared this drink aboard Viking River Cruises ships in Europe many times. Reiner has fond memories of how much our guests enjoyed the drink, which he says “tastes delicious.” Enjoy! Viennese Hot Chocolate

    Ingredients
    3 C of low-fat milk
    7 oz premium dark chocolate, grated
    1 T granulated sugar
    1 C heavy cream, chilled
    1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    1 T confectioner’s sugar

    Garnish
    Cocoa powder or chocolate shavings

    Directions
    In a sauce pan, gently heat 1 C of milk with grated chocolate. Simmer over low heat until all chocolate has dissolved. Combine remaining milk and granulated sugar in another saucepan and gently heat, whisking until all sugar has dissolved. Add chocolate mix to sugared milk and continue simmering over low. In a bowl, whisk heavy cream and vanilla together on high slowly adding confectioner’s sugar until peaks form. Remove hot chocolate from heat and divide into cups. Place a generous dollop of whipped cream on top of each. Garnish with a pinch of cocoa powder or sprinkle with chocolate shavings and serve.

    Makes 4-6 servings, depending on mug size.

    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.

    Gluhwein - Hot Mulled Wine Cook time: 1 hour

    Makes 12-15 servings.
    Continue reading River Cruise Recipes

    And The Winner Is. . .

    Each year Cruise Critic’s international team of editors announce Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards based on the lines and ships they feel best represent excellence in each of the designated categories. This is the first year Cruise Critic’s editors have selected a full list of winners exclusively for river cruise lines. Here is a list of “Best” voted in key categories.

    Best River Cruise Line
    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
    What does Cruise Critic love most about Uniworld? “With the launch of S.S. Maria Theresa, following 2014’s S.S. Catherine, Uniworld has proven its new-builds are the most beautiful and lavish in river cruising. Each of the line’s ships is unique — not just in decor and style but in features and layout. Uniworld also forges new itineraries, adding Bordeaux last year and India’s Ganges in 2016, and its shore adventures are always innovative.”
    Uniworld River Cruise Specialist

    Best New River Cruise Ship
    S.S. Maria Theresa, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
    ss Maria Theresa Lobby

    Why? “Named for royalty, Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa is regal in its opulent 18th-century decor, a floating homage to the former Austrian empress. ss Maria Theresa Concierge Desk The onboard experience incorporates Champagne with breakfast, a tiled pool with floral mosaic backsplash and the floating notes of a Viennese waltz with afternoon tea service. Besides indulgent dining and an elegant atmosphere, this is one of the prettiest ships out there.”

    Best River Cruise Line Shore Excursions
    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
    Uniworld Guided Excursion Rationale? “Uniworld takes this category for the breadth of its shore excursions. Besides offering complimentary tours at a variety of activity levels, the line also gives passengers the opportunity for special behind-the-scenes tours and experiences, such as truffle hunting in France or an after-hours illumination of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice.”

    Best River Cruise Line for Dining
    AmaWaterways
    AmaWaterways River Cruise SpecialistReason voted best? “A member of the prestigious La Chaine des Rotisseurs, AmaWaterways is distinct in that — no matter what the meal, from casual breakfasts and sun deck grill parties to elaborate, multicourse dinners — quality is consistent. AmaWaterways Cooking Class Culinary styles reflect modern trends, and there’s an emphasis on fresh ingredients and menus that reflect the region where you’re cruising.

    Best River Cruise Line for Active Cruisers
    AmaWaterways
    AmaWaterways Bicycle Excursion Explanation: “AmaWaterways has always been at the forefront of offering higher-energy excursions; they were among the first to have bicycles onboard for passengers to use in port. The line, which partnered with travel company Backroads in March 2015, has since added more immersive, active itinerary experiences, such as expert-curated road biking, as well as hiking and walking tours for every pace.”

    Best River Cruise Line Cabins
    Avalon Waterways
    With unique Open-Air Balcony® you’ll be able to open the giant wall-to-wall windows and invite the outside in, any time of the day or night, come rain or come shine. Watch:

    Best River Cruise Line Itineraries
    Viking River Cruises
    Viking River Cruises Asia Cruise Critic says, “With its Longships, Viking River Cruises has long been a force on major rivers like the Danube and Rhine, but the line also offers an array of itineraries in Asia, Egypt and lesser-known parts of Europe. Standout destinations include Myanmar, Portugal and Bordeaux. We especially love the unique, complimentary tours, such as chocolate fondue-making and Tai Chi lessons.”

    Best River Cruise Line for Value
    Emerald Waterways

    Emerald Sky
    Emerald Waterways®
    Explanation: “Available in Europe, Emerald Waterways packs a lot of inclusions, such as complimentary shore excursions and transfers, prepaid gratuities and free beverages (including wine and beer at lunch and dinner) at a lower price. Other innovations include an indoor pool, which transforms into a movie theater at night and, in some cabins, a floor-to-ceiling window that drops down halfway.”

    Which river cruise line should you book? Give us a call and we’ll match you to the line that best suits your preferences. If you are considering a 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:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • Top 10 Reasons To Take A Christmas Markets River Cruise

    In late fall and early winter, river cruise lines end their annual season by delivering the magical yuletide traditions and pageantry of the famous Christmas markets of Europe. A totally different experience than the same itineraries in the peak summer season, the villages and hamlets along the rivers take on a festive atmosphere as cruisers meander through time-honored marketplaces originally developed hundreds of years ago to celebrate the beginning of Advent.

    AmaWaterways Christmas Markets
    AmaWaterways Christmas Markets

    Even though the weather is cooler, there are compelling reasons to take a holiday markets river cruise:

    1. Commemorate All Things Christmas
    Embrace the holiday spirit in Europe with the smells of freshly baked gingerbread, trees radiant with twinkling lights, and a warm mug of mulled glühwein in hand as you wander quaint booths filled with distinctive gifts.

    Gingerbread Houses are a cornerstone of Christmas festivities. Watch the creation of a perfect Gingerbread house for your holiday with Viking‘s pastry chef, Joanna Hajn.

    2. Reminiscing Memories
    Experience the sparkle and spectacle of timeless traditions. Recapture all the joy of your most cherished childhood memories in towns where many holiday traditions originated. AmaWaterways Christmas Markets

    Continue reading Top 10 Reasons To Take A Christmas Markets River Cruise

    All In The Family

    Adventures by Disney® created quite a buzz amongst our clients when it was announced that they were entering the popular river cruise market through a partnership with AmaWaterways in 2016. A river cruise vacation has, for the most part, been geared toward culturally curious adults who enjoy the ease of travel, inclusive pricing, and uncrowded authentic experiences. Yet, for the last few years both Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection® and Tauck Bridges® have offered designated family-friendly departures complete with kid-oriented onboard and on shore activities. Can a river cruise be the right venue for a family vacation? Let’s consider the pluses and minuses.

    Pro:
    • Education. Today’s parents and grandparents view travel as a supplement to the children’s schooling and a way to help them learn about the world in an empirical way.
    • Unpack once. The less moving from place to place, the less stress.
    • Intimate, safe confined space.
    • Heritage. Parents and grandparents can explore their own family’s significant religious and cultural sites with the children.
    • Convenience. Travel arrangements, accommodations, meals, excursions and activities can be handled in one transaction saving planning time and hassle.

    On the other hand, a river cruise ~ even a designated multigenerational cruise ~ may not be right for every family.
    Con:
    • Accommodations. While the newest river vessels are being designed to accommodate three, even four people, most ship cabins are small, intended for just two and do not have connecting inner doors. This means most families will need to book at least two cabins adding to the cost.
    • Amenities. Families accustomed to sailing on large ocean ships have come to expect large pools and sophisticated play areas along with babysitting services. River cruise lines are just beginning to respond with family features such as children’s theme nights, karaoke, youth counselors and children’s menu options. Still, a river cruise may not be suitable for children under age eight.
    • Touring Tolerance. Parents and grandparents must know their child’s patience for sightseeing and ability to entertain themselves. They should include the kids in the itinerary discussions using books and maps it the children are old enough to understand them. But, some children need effervescent stimuli or they get restless and a river cruise would not be a good fit.

    A multigenerational family vacation on a river cruise is a magnificent way for grandparents and parents to share the gift of enriching travel with the special young people in their lives. It offers the opportunity for families to explore extraordinary countries, gain worthwhile insights, and learn firsthand about different cultures personally as a family. Because the history, culture, art, architecture of Europe comes alive, families create lasting memories and share astonishing experiences together.

    Uniworld Family River Cruise

    Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

    If you are considering a family 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:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • FREE Travel Presentations In Kalamazoo, MI

    Is your club or organization looking for a presentation that can inform and inspire? The Cruise Center, Inc. offers a program for those interested in learning about the fastest growing segment of vacation travel ~ river cruising. We’ll offer attendees insights on what river cruising is all about, how to select the right river cruise line to meet expectations, and the questions to ask before booking.

    AmaCello in Melk Austria
    AmaCello in Melk Austria

    With so many options and variables, even those who work in the industry sometimes feel overwhelmed. So, we’ll answer the following:

      Who takes a river cruise and who should not take a river cruise.
      Why is river cruising so popular, the reasons travelers of all ages choose a river cruise vacation.
      What can you expect onboard and in port.
      Where do first time river cruisers typically go.
      When is the best time to take a river cruise and when is the best time to book.

    Avalon-Specialist

    The program will offer helpful insider tips to get the most from the vacation. Typical clubs and organizations that may enjoy the presentation include:

  • Gourmet and Beer/Wine Tasting clubs
  • Garden clubs
  • Heritage and Ethnic organizations
  • Condominium Associations
  • Golf leagues
  • Retired Military groups
  • Religious groups
  • As well as civic, fraternal, and association organizations.
  • cert-mcc

    With river cruises increasing in popularity, The Cruise Center, Inc. of Kalamazoo, Michigan, has inaugurated a division specializing in this vacation genre. On staff are fully trained cruise travel professionals available to provide expert advice on itineraries, ports of call, river cruise lines, ships, accommodations and other important cruise planning details. Completed the specialist training programs from five of the leading river cruise lines include: Avalon Waterways, AmaWaterways, Scenic Cruises, Viking River Cruises and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, as well as, the Sell River Cruises specialist certification from Travel Agent Academy.

    specialist diploma

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

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  • or by phone – 269-372-1963

  • River Cruises 2015 Berth Announcements

    2015 brings with it new ships, new destinations, and new opportunities for those hooked on river cruising. Here’s what’s new.

    Avalon Waterways
    March 24, 2015, in France marks the christening of the Avalon Tapestry II She’ll be the first “Suite Ship” to sail the popular Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches itinerary. In April, the Avalon Tranquility II will debut sailing on the Rhine and Rhone Rivers. In Asia, the Avalon Myanmar with just 36 passengers will sail the Irrawaddy River.

    Avalon Waterways Panorama Suite

    AmaWaterways
    Spring 2015 brings two new vessels, the AmaSerena and AmaVista to AmaWaterways fleet. Each will offer family and group-friendly connecting staterooms and will feature the line’s signature Twin Balconies, one French-style, the other step-out as well as salon and massage services, fitness rooms, and heated swimming pools with swim-up bars.

    Continue reading River Cruises 2015 Berth Announcements