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river cruise sept 19 2010 144 1

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River Cruising is hot and continues to grow in popularity and the choices just keep expanding. The reason is simple: they offer an experience like no other. With the best of aspects of local land-based tours combined with exquisite service, it’s no wonder the satisfaction ratings are so high. Another reason is that the natural limitations of rivers and bridges keep the ship sizes small, eliminating crowds and lines while enhancing personal service.

New Vessels for River cruising being added

Jacuzzi on river vesselJust a few years ago, there were only a handful of options.  Today, river cruise lines are building new vessels as fast as they can, to meet the growing demand. While the destinations may be similar, you now have more options than ever for how you can experience them.  Each line and ship offers its own individual style, stateroom designs, ambiance, food and dining and more.

Viking River Cruises are the pioneers and the largest river cruise line.  They have nearly doubled their fleet in the past few years.  During this year alone, they launched 12 new vessels. Their competitors have smaller fleets and are growing at a more modest pace by adding up to three ships per year.

cabin panoramic view Avalon River CruisesSimilar to ocean cruising, a significant benefit is the advantage of visiting multiple destinations while only having to pack and unpack once.  There are other advantages you’ll only find with a river cruise.  For example, you have the freedom to simply relax, enjoy the ride and take in the nearby sites from the comfort of your own private balcony.  Compared to spending your vacation riding in motor coaches, it’s a big plus.

There is also a size advantage with river cruising.  Most vessels have a maximum capacity of around 180 passengers.  This can give you the opportunity to meet others and build camaraderie in a way not possible with the thousands of people found on an ocean cruise ship.

European Rivers Top Choice for Travelers today!

Avalon River Cruise along Danube RiverPerhaps the most attractive aspects of river cruising are the destinations themselves. Navigating the Rhine and Danube rivers in central Europe would take you to beautiful ports like Amsterdam, Cologne, Budapest and Vienna. The rivers of France are also getting a lot of attention due to the history and culture to be found.  And of course, don’t forget all the delicious French wine to sample along the way.

Avalon Waterways is the second largest river cruise line offering tremendous value and an unparalleled 50 years of experience cruising Europe through their parent company Globus Tours. They have a highly trained staff that is always eager to help, offering to educate their guests each port of call.

With all the choices available today, there is a cruise line or ship for nearly every taste and desire.  For those who prefer a more upscale experience, company’s like AMA Waterways specialize in gourmet food and wine, and even provides bicycles to use in port.

For family travel, Adventures by Disney has partnered with AMA and has chartered several sailings in 2016.  They have programs for both adults and children.  This is a definite first for river cruising.

For those who want ultra Luxury?

Gourmet diningFor a truly luxurious experience, Tauck and Uniworld both offer simply amazing gourmet food, oversize staterooms and exclusive private tours not available to the general public.

If you are still on the fence about whether or not to try a river cruise, my advice is this:  don’t wait!  While there are more ships today than in the past, many are already sold out well into 2016.  Luckily, there are still plenty of very attractive offers with minimal deposit requirements.

Just remember to work with a travel consultant who is well trained in this highly specialized area.  No two river cruises are exactly alike.  A good consultant understands this and can help you find the best fit for your needs and desires.

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Dean Barreca

Luxury Travel Experience Specialist based in Woodstock, Ontario. Dean Barreca’s career and purpose are guided by one simple truth: Life can be a magical experience when lived to the fullest. With that in mind, Dean tends to take a different approach to the business of luxury travel.