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.

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

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  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • 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.

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

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • 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:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 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

  • 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:

  • Click Here To Email Us

  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

  • Uniworld River Cruises 2017 Preview

    New itineraries. New ship. New inclusions for the most all-inclusive river cruise line Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.

    New Itineraries

    Paris & Impressions of the Seine

    Discover the inspiration for innumerable works of art. From the historic Montmartre district of Paris to the panoramic landscapes of the Alabaster Coast and endless cherished jewels in between, this itinerary is a delightful combination of charming scenery and invigorating shore excursions. Cultural enrichment includes a Signature Lecture: “The Seine River in Impressionist Paintings.”

    Rhine-Main Discovery & Munich

    Experience the enormity of Bavaria along the Main and Rhine rivers and in its capital, Munich. Experience exclusive insight with Uniworld‘s Jewish Heritage program. Select departures in July are designated Generations Family sailings with special savings for children ages 4 to 18 and specially designed family-friendly shore excursions. Cultural enrichment includes a Signature Lecture: “AD 1517: Martin Luther’s Revolution and the Quest to Build a Modern World.”

    New Ship

    Uniworlds SS Joie de Vivre

    S.S. Joie de Vivre: Uniworld’s Super Ship , new in 2017—S.S. Joie de Vivre—is designed to echo the “joy of living” as it cruises the Seine River in northern France. This sumptuous 128-passenger vessel is a showcase for handcrafted furniture, opulent fabrics, charming antiques, gilded accents and every contemporary convenience. This vessel is intimately scaled so it can dock in the heart of Paris and sail all the way to Caudebec-en-Caux. Cultural enrichment includes a Signature Lecture: “Changing History: Operation Overlord.” Exclusive Connoisseur Collection and Generations Family Program are available on select summer departures.

    New Inclusions

    Uniworld Room Service

    Uniworld augments all-inclusive river cruising in Europe to a wholly new echelon. New in 2017:

      Port Charges Included
      24-Hour Room Service
      Concierge Services

      If you are considering a Uniworld 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

    Avalon Waterways 2017 Preview

    In response to increased demand, Avalon Waterways has added new features, more active excursions, and expanded special interest theme cruises.

    Fresh Vegetables
    Avalon Fresh®

    Avalon Fresh® In 2017, Avalon raises the gastronomic bar by teaming up with two of Europe’s rising culinary stars, the Wrenkh brothers. They have collaborated to create an inspiring collection of nourishing menu items so delectable you won’t believe they’re healthy. The emphasis is on fresh, local ingredients sourced from small farms and producers combined with a dash of novelty. You’ll feel fantastic all day long. There are even gluten-free options.

    Maintaining you healthy lifestyle while on vacation is easy with a state-of-the-art Fitness Center, free bicycles available for use in select ports, and complimentary Nordic walking sticks to put an extra spring in your step. To relax at the end of an active day, try a little salus per aquam (health from water) soak in the Sky Deck’s rejuvenating whirlpool.

    Active Discovery On The Danube. Avalon Waterways® has introduced a new itinerary focused on active-themed excursions. Bike, hike, or canoe along the Danube. Learn how to milk cows and mow grass with a scythe. Explore an ice cave, take an archery lesson, descend into an underground salt mine.

    Archery
    Take an Archery lesson

    Ascend a mountain during a guided climb. Play nine holes of golf, learn some of the local language, prepare regional delicacies at a hands-on cooking class.
    Golf
    Play nine holes of golf.
    Connect with the locals in every port. You choose the interactive activities that appeal to you most.


    Your Passions. Food. Wine. History. Art. An active lifestyle. Whatever you’re enthusiastic about, Avalon Special Interest Cruises help you experience your destination from the point of view that interests you most~along with others who share your passion. Profit from onboard presentations by topic experts and exceptional activities on shore, all at no extra cost!

    Beer Flights
    Beer Tasting Theme Cruise

    Sheet Music
    Music Theme Cruise
    2017 Special Interest Cruises include: Wine Appreciation, Culinary, Beer Tasting, Jazz, Music, Art and Impressionist, WWII History, Jewish Heritage and Festive time.

    If you are considering an Avalon Waterways® 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

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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

    French Wine Experiences

    White Wine Tasting

    If you’ve got a passion for outstanding travel experiences and unforgettable wines, why not make 2016 the year you visit some of Europe’s most famous wine regions? On Châteaux, Rivers & Wine cruise explore incomparable Bordeaux, arguably the most famous wine region in the world.

    Viking River Cruises

    Viking River Cruises

    The Châteaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary explores the region’s opulent culture including its 18th-century merchant mansions, Gothic churches, celebrated Quarter Saint-Pierre and, of course, France’s largest controlled wine region with its Médoc, Saint-Ėmilion and Graves collections.

    The Wine Regions of Bordeaux
    Bordeaux, France is home to the world’s most prized wines. Learn about its many different regions and appellations with Karine Hagen of Viking.

    Bordeaux’s Sublime Red and White Wines from Viking River Cruises
    Delve into the essence of the region’s most popular wines with a local expert.

    Bordeaux’s Clairet & Rosé Wines from Viking River Cruises
    Introduce yourself to some of the hidden gems of Bordeaux. You’ll learn the subtle differences and why the French treasure these wines each summer.

    Truffle Hunting
    Ever wonder how rare and delicious truffles are found? Join Karine Hagen of Viking River Cruises in Bordeaux, France as she learns how dogs are trained to unearth one of the world’s great delicacies. On Viking’s Châteaux, Rivers & Wine river cruise, a visit to a working truffle farm is one of the many optional excursions you can enjoy.

    Sauternes – The Sweet Alternative from Viking River Cruises
    Enjoy a glimpse into this intriguing sweet wine. Karine Hagen takes a closer look with one of Sauternes’ local experts.

    If you are considering an wine themed river cruise in France, 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