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 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 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:

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  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • Emerald Waterways Specialist

    Emerald Sky
    Emerald Waterways®

    I have just completed the Emerald Waterways Specialist certification program and am eager to share the latest information. This comprehensive program provides agents with essential river cruise product knowledge and sales skills. Agents become a valuable resource for their clients and are able to recommend the very best vacation that matches all their needs.

    Launched in 2014, Emerald Waterways caters to the four-star-plus market by using state-of-the-art ships, top quality service and a nearly all-inclusive pricing plan. The company’s approach is designed to minimize guests’ concerns about daily budgets or mounting costs.

    It’s amazing what’s included!
    Emerald Waterways has set a new standard in European river cruising:

  • All airport transfers to and from your ship on the day of embarkation and disembarkation
  • Spacious accommodation onboard Europe’s newest river cruise fleet
  • Spectacular ship innovations like an onboard pool and cinema, and an innovative open-air system in all cabins on the Vista and Horizon decks
  • All onboard meals and a collection of excellent highlight dinners at Reflections Restaurant
  • The option to enjoy a light breakfast and lunch alfresco on The Terrace
  • Onboard bicycles which can be reserved in port for individual excursions or join organized bike tours in selected ports
  • Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks to accompany lunch and dinner
  • Tea and coffee available at all times throughout your cruise
  • Bottled water restocked daily in your cabin
  • An included shore excursion in every port
  • Extra special included excursions with EmeraldPLUS
  • Visits to many UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • The option to have continental breakfast served in the Owner’s One-bedroom and Grand Balcony Suites
  • Pre-dinner canapes and after-dinner sweet treats served in the Owner’s One-bedroom and Grand Balcony Suites
  • First-class service from an English speaking crew
  • Knowledgeable local guides at each destination with included headsets for easy listening
  • Complimentary WiFi onboard the ship
  • All port charges
  • PLUS we take care of all tips, saving you up to $675 per couple on 15 day cruises
  • On an Emerald Waterways river cruise, guests can expect great dining experiences from start to finish.

    Emerald’s deluxe ships boast a uniquely engineered heated swimming pool complete with retractable roof – creating a brilliant onboard oasis for guests to relax, whatever the weather. And on select evenings, the pool area inventively transforms into a cinema showing a collection of films.

    Take a tour of the cabins onboard.

    Emerald Waterways river cruises use an innovative open-air system

    Superior Service, Exceptional People

    It’s easy to see why Emerald Waterways® was awarded the “Best New River Ships” designation in Cruise Critic’s 2014 Editors’ Picks Awards for the Emerald Star and Emerald Sky “Star-Ships.” Sailing immersive itineraries in France, Europe and Southeast Asia Emerald Waterways combines affordability with great dining and exceptional service. They take pride in ensuring every journey is perfectly planned, and each guest enjoys a relaxing, exciting and insightful river cruise experience, whether they are sailing aboard our award-winning fleet or exploring a nearby town for the day.

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

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • River Cruising ~ What’s included?

    Sticker-shock is often the reaction to a European river cruise price quote. That is, until it’s made clear all that is included in the price. But, while most river cruise lines tout their inclusiveness, there are differences that should be considered to determine the best value for you.

    Here is a breakdown of inclusions for the most popular river cruise lines:


    AmaCello in Melk Austria
    AmaCello in Melk Austria

    According to Ama, “Your inclusive vacation provides incredible, value from the champagne breakfast and free-flowing hand-selected European wines with lunch and dinner to a fleet of bicycles, free Internet access, included sightseeing excursions and live cultural entertainment onboard.”
    The port charges, gratuities, and bar tab are extra. A variety of shore excursions are included in the price and a selection of excursions are offered at an additional cost.

    A-Rosa Cruises
    A-Rosa Cruises bills itself as “Truly All-Inclusive” with complimentary beverages including wine, beer, and spirits all day long, pre-paid onboard gratuities, complimentary shore tours, complimentary use of bicycles, complimentary transfers, prepaid port taxes and fees, and free WiFi. Note that gratuities for the guides and drivers on shore excursions are not included. In 2015, transfers will not be included and there will be a shore excursion allowance included in the cost. Once the allowance is reached, there will be an additional charge.

    Avalon Waterways
    Avalon Vista
    Avalon’s slogan is “INCLUDED…is the name of the game.” Expect “Special touches, like regional wines and beer at every onboard dinner selected by a professional sommelier-included. Each à la carte meal includes a variety of options for each course. Plus, enjoy complimentary sparkling wine and juices with breakfast, soft drinks with lunch. Complimentary Wi-Fi access-included. The most shore excursions, led by Certified Local Guides-included. VIP entrance into the must-see sites-included. Unique Local Favoritessm designed to bring your destination to life-included. We even provide Nordic walking sticks for active guests looking for an extra spring in their step. Port charges and gratuities are not included in the price.
    Continue reading River Cruising ~ What’s included?