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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  • What’s New At Avalon Waterways?

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

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

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

    Did you know Avalon Waterways itineraries include. . .

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

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

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

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

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  • or by phone – 800-372-1963

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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

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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

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    Kalamazoo Seminar Invitation

    River cruising is the fastest growing segment of vacation travel. Curious to learn more? Join us on November 10, 2015 11 AM to 1 PM, at our office conference room at 5466 Holiday Terrace in Kalamazoo (our office is the first brick building off 11th Street on the Holiday Inn West driveway.)

    Nancy Paredes, Avalon Waterways Cruise Director, will present the river cruise experience with destination highlights, cultural traditions, insider tips and special offers. Nancy loves river cruising and cannot imagine a better way to explore Europe. The luxury of unpacking once, the intimacy of a small number of people on the ships, not to mention the history and culture on the rivers of Europe.

    Space is limited. Won’t you join us? Sign up now!

    River Cruise Seminar Sign Up

    Avalon Vista

    Click Here to Save Your Spot

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  • 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

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    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

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    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:

    AmaWaterways

    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?

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    River Cruise List

    As river cruising continues to make waves in the travel industry, the rising tide of this popular vacation choice is on a roll. There are a multitude of river cruise lines but only a few focus on the North American market with an English-speaking crew and shore excursion guides. The most popular of these sail on rivers throughout Europe and have expanded to other parts of the globe.

    specialist diploma

    AMAWATERWAYS
    Sailing in Vietnam and Cambodia, Russia and in Europe with unique offerings in Africa, AmaWaterways has introduced two new vessels this year: the AmaPrima and the
    AmaVida. Two more are slated for 2014: the AmaSonata and AmaReina.

    Avalon Waterways Specialist

    AVALON WATERWAYS
    Sailing in Europe, Asia, Egypt, the Galapagos, and the Mississippi River, this Globus Family of Brands member has introduce two new ships, the Avalon Expression and the Avalon Artistry II in 2013. 2014 brings the Avalon Poetry II, the Avalon Illumination and the Avalon Impression to European rivers.

    Uniworld's China River Cruises

    UNIWORLD BOUTIQUE RIVER CRUISES
    Uniworld offers itineraries on rivers in Europe, Russia, Egypt, China and Southeast Asia with three new vessels introduced in 2013. 2014 marks all-inclusive packaging of gratuities onboard and onshore, unlimited beverages onboard including wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee, tea and bottled water, all onboard meals, airport transfers, use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks, along with the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry.

    CatherinePalaceRussia

    VIKING RIVER CRUISES
    The largest river cruise line marketed in North America, Viking sails in Europe, Russia and the Ukraine, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. The trademark Viking Longships, which debuted in 2012 with six vessels, eight in 2013, will expand to twelve more to be christened in 2014.

    Time to get onboard? If you are considering a river cruise anywhere in the world, 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

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  • Avalon Waterways Ramps Up Traveler Options

    Avalon Waterways is a leading player in European river cruising with ships showcasing features and amenities that were thoughtfully designed with the traveler in mind. Everything from the introduction of floor-to-ceiling windows to hotel-style amenities in every stateroom has raised the bar in river cruising. And Avalon continues to lead the way with sailing three new “Suite Ships” in 2012, the Avalon Panorama, Avalon Vista and Avalon Visionary. Features like “Open Air Balconies”, wall-to-wall panoramic windows, and spacious staterooms and suites give travelers the freedom to experience their destination like never before.

    In 2013, Avalon Waterways is introducing Avalon Choice– an entirely new concept in river cruising. Avalon Choice gives river cruisers the freedom to personalize their cruise, from beginning to end. River cruisers will now enjoy the luxury of choice, from deciding what and where to eat, to selecting room configuration and cruising style; from choosing on-land discoveries and onboard enrichment programs to making online, pre-sail customizations via MyAvalon, beginning in 2013.

    Continue reading Avalon Waterways Ramps Up Traveler Options

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