River Cruise Possibilities

River cruising has become wildly popular in recent years. For good reasons. Here are just a few.

• Intimate ship size. Typically under 200 passengers on board.
• Unpack just once. Even though you may visit a different town or village each day, you needn’t pack again until the end of the trip.
• Very little motion. Rivers are intrinsically calm with a nearly level surface, eliminating any anxiety about seasickness.
• Port Proximity. Ocean cruise ports may be hours away from points of interest, most river ports are immediately in the heart of the city.
• Included excursions. Typically, these are basic overview walking tours. Others may be offered, some for additional fees.

Because of the popularity, the river cruise lines seek to distinguish themselves from each other by offering special interest themes, off-the-beaten-path itineraries, and deluxe onboard amenities. Take a look.

From Avalon Waterways
Hike, bike and explore your way through the picturesque and historic marvels of the world. On these interactive and dynamic cruises, Avalon gives you opportunities to spend time with locals to learn about local customs and the traditions with hands-on activities.

From Crystal River Cruises
Crystal Cruises has inaugurated the second Rhine-class riverboat to its Crystal River Cruises brand. The Crystal Mahler was christened by American volleyball star and godmother Lauren Barfield in Germany.
The christening took place during a handover ceremony at the MV WERFTEN shipyard also attended by cruise line executives, local dignitaries, and Crystal parent company Genting Hong Kong guests. Barfield—who is currently playing for Genting-sponsored SSC Palmberg Schwerin—blessed the ship and broke a bottle of champagne over its bow.
The Crystal Mahler will embark on seven-, eleven- and 16-day sailings on the Rhine and Danube Rivers. It will visit ports in the European countries of Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Netherlands, and Hungary.
The Rhine-class ships will carry 106 guests in all-suite, all-balcony accommodations featuring an unrivaled crew-to-guest ratio.
Amenities include suites with walk-in closets and dual vanity bathrooms, butler service for every guest, ETRO robes and slippers, iPad use, 42-inch HD TVs with streaming films, free Wi-Fi and Nespresso machines. Other features are a spa and fitness center, the signature Palm Court and Michelin-inspired dining in the Waterside Restaurant, Bistro Café, and Vintage Room.

From Viking River Cruises
This 8-day cruise from Avignon to Lyon (or the reverse) highlights the most celebrated regions of France, exploring the Roman ruins of Arles, the fabled Beaujolais vineyards, the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Lyon and more.

New and popular themes from AmaWaterways

Wellness

Wine

From Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Journey through the “cradle of civilization.” Uniworld’s boutique river cruise and tour in India showcases astonishing sights along the country’s most acclaimed river, as well as must-see destinations in Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur—the “Golden Triangle”—one of the most culturally-rich areas of the subcontinent. From New Delhi to Kolkota, this 13-day itinerary is a stage for unforgettable cultural experiences. Meet the proud, generous and good-natured Indian people. Taste their amazingly complex and delicious cuisine. Discover India’s Islamic and colonial heritage in Delhi, and pay tribute to the legacies of Gandhi and Mother Teresa. Experience the spectacle of Jaipur’s color-saturated bazaars, and gaze in awe at the resplendent Taj Mahal. Quintessential India, delivered in Uniworld’s incomparable style. Take a look at Uniworld’s newest destination video—a alluring peep at the adventures that await in India!

From CroisiEurope
A unique river cruise itinerary. South of Spain : the Guadalquivir and Guadiana rivers with Altantic Ocean connection

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’s The Food?

    That’s one of the first questions our clients ask when we discuss a new-to-them river cruise line. Some clients are worried that there will only be “foreign” foods with too many sauces. Others are concerned that the selections will not be authentic regional dishes. Happily, the menus satisfy most guests. There will be a variety of choices but if they won’t suit, passengers can opt for one of the “always available” entrees which may include a fish, poultry or beef dinner.

    To give you an idea of the food served, here are recipes from popular river cruise lines.

    From Uniworld Boutique River Cruises:

    Manhattan Transfer
    From summer through fall, Bucharest’s markets present a parade of seasonal fruits. None is more Romanian than the sour cherry. The tasty berry garnishes this classic Manhattan made with rye whiskey and vermouth. You might try it in an Old Fashioned, too. Find this cocktail onboard the River Duchess on the Highlights of Eastern Europe itinerary or make it at home!

    Manhattan

    INGREDIENTS:
    • 6cl (2.03 fl oz) straight rye whiskey
    • 3cl (1.01 fl oz) sweet vermouth
    • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    • 1 sour cherry
    PREPARATION:
    Build over ice in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a sour cherry.

    From AmaWaterways:

    One of the most delicious aspects of traveling is to indulge in the incredible cuisine of the places you visit. Inspired by French velouté soups, this rich and flavorful cream of Chardonnay soup is made and paired with Chardonnay, of course. Leeks at the peak of their freshness and the bright sweetness of white grapes combine with butter and cream to create the perfect springtime comfort food. You can serve it as an appetizer or make it the star of the meal, served along with rustic French bread. Chardonnay Soup

    CREAM OF CHARDONNAY SOUP

    Try this recipe for Cream of Chardonnay Soup that’s often served onboard AmaWaterways ships. Chardonnay contributes the most richness of any dry white wine commonly used for cooking. For rich, creamy soups, wine can provide a welcome note of freshness and contrast – almost like a squeeze of lemon or an extra layer of flavor. The creamier a soup is, the more full-bodied a wine it can take.
    INGREDIENTS:
    3½ tablespoons of unsalted butter
    ½ cup onions, chopped
    ½ cup white leeks, chopped
    1 cup white flour (or wheat flour)
    2 cups Chardonnay
    10 ½ cups vegetable stock
    1 ½ cups of heavy cream
    1 ½ cups of white grapes
    ½ cup of fresh parsley, chopped
    Salt to taste
    Pepper to taste

    PREPARATION METHOD
    • Wash produce thoroughly
    • Chop onions and leeks into small cubes and set aside
    • Peel white grapes, remove seeds and slice
    • Wash parsley, chop and pat dry

    Use a large pot on medium heat to sautéed onions and leeks with butter until golden, then gradually add in the flour to thicken. Pour 1 cup of Chardonnay and all of the vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain soup through a mesh cloth and add in the rest of the Chardonnay. Add heavy cream to soup. Garnish with warm grapes and parsley before serving.

    Makes 10 servings.

    From Viking River Cruises:

    French Gougères Cheese Appetizers

    Gougères are among the most popular hors d’oeuvres in France. A traditional specialty of the Burgundy region, gougères are often made with Gruyère cheese. You can also use other cheeses (such as parmesan) to add an extra depth. Enjoy these with a glass (or two) of good French wine.
    Ingredients
    • 1½ C water
    • ½ C unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
    • 1 tsp (5 g) salt, divided
    • 1½ C flour
    • 6 lg eggs
    • 1 C (130 g) grated Gruyère cheese, packed
    • ½ C (90 g) good quality parmesan cheese, packed
    • ½ tsp (2 g) fresh ground pepper
    • ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt
    Directions
    Place one oven rack in top third and a second rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 400°F (204°C). Line two rimmed baking sheets with lightly greased parchment paper. In a 3- or 4-qt saucepan over medium heat, bring water, butter, and half the salt to a simmer, stirring until butter melts. Add flour all at once, stirring rapidly with a wooden spoon until mixture forms a smooth, thick paste with no lumps. Remove pan from heat; allow mixture to cool until it feels just warm. Using a hand-held mixer, beat in one egg at a time until all are incorporated. Stir in cheese, pepper and remaining salt. Drop spoonfuls of dough 3 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets. Bake until dough is puffed and golden brown, about 30 minutes, swapping the position of baking pans halfway through.
    • Prep time: 16 minutes.
    • Cook time: 30 minutes.
    • Makes 10 servings.

    Wiener Zwiebelrostbraten Wiener Zwiebelrostbraten

    Wiener Zwiebelrostbraten might not exactly roll off your tongue, but it will melt in your mouth. The name, pronounced VEE-ner TZVEE-bell-roast-brotten, literally means “Viennese roast beef with onions.” Very popular in Austria and Bavaria, this recipe enhances the beef flavor of the sirloin steaks through slow oven braising with that staple of Viennese cuisine, beef stock.

    Ingredients
    • 4 T butter
    • 2 med onions, peeled & thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp (2⅖ g) sweet Hungarian paprika
    • 6 8-oz boneless beef sirloin steaks, pounded ¼-inch thick
    • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
    • 3 T(44 ml) vegetable oil
    • 4 C (946 ml) beef stock or consommé, fresh or canned, boiled down to 2 C (473 g)
    • ½ C (60 g) sour cream
    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). In a large cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sauté onions until light brown, stirring often; add paprika; cook another minute. Remove onions from pan; set aside. Season steaks with salt and pepper. Add vegetable oil to same skillet and add steaks; brown on both sides. Turn off heat, add beef stock to skillet, arrange onions on top and cover. Bake until tender, about 2-2½ hours. To serve, place steaks on a pre-warmed serving platter with onions arranged on top. Cover loosely to keep warm. Return skillet with remaining liquid to high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in sour cream; immediately remove from heat and pour over steaks. Serve immediately.
    Serving Suggestion
    This dish is traditionally served with roast potatoes or buttered parsley potatoes; you can garnish with crispy fried onions if you like.
    • Cook time: 2-2 1/2 hours
    • Makes 6 servings.

    From Uniworld Boutique River Cruises: Uniworld Desserts

    Mrs. Tollman’s Signature Honeycomb Ice Cream

    1 cup corn syrup
    8 oz granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon white vinegar
    1 tablespoon baking soda
    1-quart premium vanilla ice cream

    Dissolve the syrup, sugar, and vinegar over a medium heat. Turn the heat up high and boil until the syrup turns to a light caramel.
    Take the pan off the heat and quickly stir in the baking soda, then pour the mix into a high-sided baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper and greased with butter. Leave to cool and harden: do not refrigerate!
    Once hardened, this brittle, crunchy slab becomes your honeycomb base.
    Slightly soften the vanilla ice cream in a chilled ceramic bowl. Carefully break the honeycomb slab into various sizes, none more than 2cm square, and quickly fold half into the ice cream.
    Pour the ice cream into a desired ice cream mold or back into the original ice cream container and freeze again.
    Keep the remaining honeycomb in an air tight container for topping when serving.

    Sound appealing? Want to plan a 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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  • 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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  • 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.

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