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Three reasons why I love river cruising in Europe

Three reasons why I love river cruising in Europe | River cruises | Scoop.it

I’m an addict. There’s no question about that. I am addicted to river cruising. I am also fortunate. I’ve been able to do more than 30 river cruises in the past decade, and I have loved them all.


I’ve been on the Douro, the Loire, the Rhone and the Saone. I’ve cruised the Seine, the Rhine and the Danube (upper and lower). I’ve been on the Main (pronounced mine) and the Main-Danube Canal. I’ve yet to do the Elbe or the Po, but I have barged a few canals, in Burgundy and in the south of France (and I am going to do so again in September).


People often ask me what’s so great about river cruising. They are the uninitiated, of course, not veteran river cruisers like us. To answer skeptics, I’ve distilled my love of river cruising in Europe down to three basic attributes.

 

Accessibility
Pack and unpack only once – while traveling
The beauty of Europe

Walter Christen's insight:

Some very valid reason to enjoy river cruising in Europe.  I like the idea of river cruising where I am brought to the fantastic destinations in Europe. Unpacking once and then not having to think about driving for a week or more is nice.

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Uniworld launches river cruises for millennials

Uniworld launches river cruises for millennials | River cruises | Scoop.it

In an industry first, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has launched U by Uniworld, a new brand aimed at river cruisers ages 18 to 40, which will feature vessels with a more contemporary look and feel, fewer inclusions and longer stays in each destination.

Uniworld will renovate two of its existing vessels, the River Baroness and River Ambassador, which launched in 1997 and 1999, respectively, after which they will be entirely dedicated to the U by Uniworld brand. Sales of U by Uniworld will start in March 2017 and the first sailings will begin in early 2018.

The 116-passenger sister ships, River Baroness and River Ambassador, are being transformed to have a more contemporary look and feel, featuring communal tables for dining, a new culinary program, cocktail mixologists and international DJs onboard.

Walter Christen's insight:

I believe Uniworld is on to something here.  Traditional river cruising has the undeserved reputation as only for the older crowd..Updating ship to have more modern amenities and programs is a great way to attract more people to river cruising.  In addition, longer stays at different destinations is also a plus.  

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How to fall in love with river cruising

How to fall in love with river cruising | River cruises | Scoop.it

River cruising is one of the breakout stars in travel for 2016 and there are more ways than ever to experience rivers around the world onboard any number of ships. However, there are a few tried and true tricks to making your river cruise experience a success and to fall in love with this mode of travel that can take you around the world. Here are five ways to enjoy the journey.

Walter Christen's insight:

Taking a river cruise in Europe is on my bucket list.  Now for the hard part.  Picking a theme and/or region to cruise.  I like the sounds of a Christmas themed cruise and then again a wine themed cruise sounds great.  Maybe I will have to plan out both cruises.

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Five things to bring with you on your next river cruise

Five things to bring with you on your next river cruise | River cruises | Scoop.it

Let’s face it: everyone forgets something when they travel – even experienced cruisers like us. However, there are some things that you should bring with you to get maximum enjoyment out of your river cruise – things that go beyond the usual toothbrush and passport.  These are things we’ve found to be immensely useful on our own travels, and we’re presenting them here for you to take with you on your next adventure.

A Travel Guide

Power Adapters

A Backpack and Reusable Water Bottle

Medications from Home

Business Cards

Walter Christen's insight:

These are some very useful things to bring with you on a river cruise. This could also be a basis for any cruise, river or ocean.

I really like the suggestion of business cards.  Quite a few times I have met new friends on cruises and having some personal business cards would come in handy so we could stay in touch after the cruise or also make it easier to get their email address so I could send them a photo later.

As far as medications are concerned, remember to always pack them in your carry on. Nothing could ruin a cruise quicker if you lost the medications you need to take on a daily basis.

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River cruising grows in the US

River cruising grows in the US | River cruises | Scoop.it

River cruising is exploding in popularity and with good reason. Nonstop scenery, close contact with local cultures, and the ability to dock in the heart of cities and at scenic or historic spots are among its many appeals.

While European cruises are particularly popular, Americans don't need to fly across the ocean to experience the pleasures of rollin' on the river. A small but growing number of boats right here in the US offer cruises in the American Heartland and the Pacific Northwest.

U.S. river cruising has undergone a revival in the last five years as new entrepreneurs have entered the business and invested in building new boats and refurbishing idle ones. The American Queen Steamboat Company, for example, has recently restored two palatial paddlewheelers. One, the American Queen, is the largest steamboat ever built: Six decks high, with a Grand Saloon modeled after Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., and filled with antiques, it carries 432 passengers in Victorian-era splendor.

Walter Christen's insight:

Traditionally, when most people think of river cruising, they think of the rivers of Eroupe, Asia and possibly South America. The truth is that there are options for people who want to do a river cruise right here in the US.

Recently, my wife and I have been looking at doing a river cruise of the Mississippi River, on The American Queen Steamboat Company, although the Pacific Northwest is enticing also.

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Cruising the Rhine river with your mom is better with wine

Cruising the Rhine river with your mom is better with wine | River cruises | Scoop.it

Before I boarded my 7-night luxury river cruise in Europe, I was a bit nervous. I was traveling with my mom.

While I of course love my mom, this was her first trip overseas and the most consecutive time we’d spent together in at least a decade. I worried Mom would be stressed, I’d have to do the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively), and maybe we’d drive each other crazy before the week was up.

As it turns out, a river cruise was the perfect way to explore the region and introduce my mom to international travel.

River cruises are growing in popularity, with more than a half-dozen companies offering trips throughout Europe and beyond. Mom and I were cruising with AmaWaterways on a wine-themed Rhine river voyage from the city of Basel in northwest Switzerland, up to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The Enchanting Rhine cruise focused on the enjoyment of wine and exploring destinations through local drinks.

Walter Christen's insight:

River cruising in Europe is the perfect way to explore the regions where some of the best wines are produced.  AMA Waterways has been providing wine theme cruises since 2010 and they have been very popular.

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An Avalon Waterways cruise on the Irrawaddy River in Burma offers an amazing adventure

An Avalon Waterways cruise on the Irrawaddy River in Burma offers an amazing adventure | River cruises | Scoop.it

Burma is an enchanting land in the middle of a transformation. After decades of harsh rule under a military junta, the Burmese people are riding a wave of optimism as the country, also known as Myanmar, transitions toward a more open relationship with the Western world, and a new government promises more political and economic freedoms.  
I was lucky to visit Burma during an adventurous Irrawaddy River cruise with Avalon Waterways on its new ship Avalon Myanmar. It was an amazing experience, seeing a land with such a unique history and people unfailingly friendly and welcoming. Most Burmese people are as interested in new visitors to their little-seen farming and crafts trade villages as we are in seeing how they live and their proud traditions.

Walter Christen's insight:

An Avalon Waterways river cruise aboard the Avalon Myanmar is great way to see and experience the culture and people of Burma/Myanmar. Fascinating sites and history make this a must see region for the adventurous cruise traveler.

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Rolling on the Rhone river with Viking Cruises

Rolling on the Rhone river with Viking Cruises | River cruises | Scoop.it

A Viking River Cruise along the Rhone River from Provence to Lyon is a historical, cultural and gastronomic experience not to be missed.

September of this year saw me fulfilling a long-standing dream of taking a European River Cruise. From Provence in the south to Lyon in the northern Rhone region of France, I spent seven days on board the Viking longship Buri.
During the week long cruise, we stopped at six ports along the Rhone River. Each port was a mini history and culture lesson. Often the food and wine of a particular area was a special treat at dinner, as when we arrived in Tournon Sur Rhone, where just across the river are the famous Hermitage AOC Vineyards. That evening, we drank a local Syrah. Food, wine, art, and architecture – all the things I love about Europe – were part of the cruise experience, which Viking does so well.
This was my first time in France, and I was not disappointed. Many of my readers know that I’m a big Italophile, but this year I went to France instead of Italy. Who knew that France has almost as many Roman ruins as Italy? Everywhere we went, we saw magnificent monuments and remains of what was once the mighty Roman Empire.

 

Walter Christen's insight:

I find river cruising very appealing and what could be better than a cruise through some of the most beautiful places in France. And what better way to experience this than on a Viking River Cruise. I can just imagine the photographic possibilities.

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Disney hops on the river cruising trend with holiday tours down the Danube

Disney hops on the river cruising trend with holiday tours down the Danube | River cruises | Scoop.it

This summer, Adventures by Disney-- the guided tour arm of the Disney Company-- dipped its toe in the growing river cruising market, offering a Danube River cruise itinerary in partnership with AmaWaterways.
River cruising has traditionally catered to a more mature consumer but the new 170 passenger AmaViola sold-out for the limited Adventures by Disney summer sailings.
Now, Adventures by Disney returns to the Danube for two holiday cruises this December. There are plenty of family friendly things on board-– from twinkling lights and dangling baubles, to spiced gingerbread cookies and spiked eggnog, to carols and music.
You'll also get to visit historic and renowned old-world European Christmas markets during the trip. Here are some of the top features of a different type of Disney cruise.

Walter Christen's insight:

What could be better than a Disney run Christmas river cruise on the Danube river. I believe this would be the perfect multigenerational trip and enhanced by the Christmas sights and sounds.. 

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Magical cruises to Europe's best Christmas markets

Magical cruises to Europe's best Christmas markets | River cruises | Scoop.it

Whether you go to buy gifts, replenish your Yuletide larder or simply to soak up the atmosphere, Europe’s Christmas markets weave a captivating spell.
While snowfall cannot be guaranteed, it is more likely. At the very least you can expect a Christmas-card setting with traditional handmade decorations, along with daytime and evening markets packed with festive flavors and, if you’re lucky, local choirs providing the requisite soundtrack.
It is possible to cruise by river or sea to enjoy Europe’s markets. The advantage with river cruising is the opportunity to visit not just one but several Christmas markets and, as you sail, to see towns and villages decorated for the festive season. The biggest concentration of Christmas markets lies along the banks of the Rhine and the Danube; there are also some on the Main and the Seine – many in Paris itself.
There are still some cruises to choose from, but you’ll have to be quick.

Walter Christen's insight:

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the holidays than taking a river cruise to Europe's Christmas markets. Looks like a great way to really get into the Christmas spirit. 

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Disney to expand move into river cruising

Disney to expand move into river cruising | River cruises | Scoop.it

Family vacation giant Disney plans an even bigger move into river cruising than initially announced.

The company on Tuesday revealed its Adventures by Disney division will offer 14 river cruises in 2017. That's twice the number it'll offer this year as it gets into river cruising for the first time.

The voyages will include new seven-night Rhine River sailings as well as seven-night Danube sailings. The company this year only is offering voyages on the Danube.

Walter Christen's insight:

Ppartnering with AmaWaterways, Disney will be bringing European cruising to families.  The new AmaWaterways risver ships are designed for families being able to hold 3-4 people in many of the cabins.  Disney will also be custon designing the shore excursions. What a great way to expand your childrens world view.

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5 reasons Viking River Cruises are an amazing value

5 reasons Viking River Cruises are an amazing value | River cruises | Scoop.it

Ok, let’s get this out of the way. Viking river cruises aren’t cheap. In fact, for most of us, saving for a luxury river cruise is a multi-year process.

Of course, this is not necessarily a bad thing, as anticipation can be part of the fun of any trip. But, the question still remains. Do Viking river cruises offer an excellent value for money? Or, are you better off going with one of the lesser-known ships on the river?

This winter, I had the opportunity to join Viking on their Rhine Getaway cruise, so, I now have a good understanding of what they offer. Now, I can’t imagine taking a river cruise with anyone else!

Here are 5 reasons Viking river cruises are worth every single penny.

Everyone Should Be Treated Like Royalty Once in Their Life

Unparalleled Culinary Experiences Are Included

Cultural and Historical Events Aren’t a Side Show

Generous Amounts of Alcohol Are Included

A Viking Longship is Actually a Luxury Floating Hotel

Walter Christen's insight:

I have always felt that any type of cruising is a great value. If you add up all the costs involved (food, transportation, sightseeing, general travel related aggravation) a river cruise aboard Viking River Cruises is actually very cost competitive.  And this does not even take into account the pampering you will receive.

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River cruising popularity soars

River cruising popularity soars | River cruises | Scoop.it

Imagine being on a boat, floating through the Netherlands with windmills dotting the landscape just beyond your shipboard cabin window. Or enjoying an informal dinner outside on the top deck while drifting past a panoramic and continually changing view of the German countryside. A castle dating to the 1400s slowly comes into view, nestled into the hillside high above a medieval village surrounded by a stone wall. Soon the scene gives way to a parade of steep hillsides blanketed in vineyards.

The experience of floating on rivers through countries in Europe, Asia, Russia and even on the Nile River in Egypt or the Amazon River in South America, is being discovered by a rapidly increasing number of tourists.

Oliver Freytag is the cruise director on the Vili, a 200-passenger, 300-foot longboat of the Viking Cruise Line sailing on a two-week Grand European Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers. “Viking began in 1997 with four ships navigating Russian waterways. Today we have 64 boats on rivers around the world,” he says. “In response to the increasing demand we launched 10 boats in 2013, 14 more in 2014 and 8 additional in 2015.”

There are many reasons for the exponential growth. Foremost is a segment of the American and Canadian baby boomer generation made up of 60-plus year-olds that have already traveled extensively.

Walter Christen's insight:

I can understand the belief that river cruising appeals to the baby boomer crowd looking for something different in their cruising, but I believe that River cruising appeals to a much large audience including foodies, adventure seekers, and history buffs.

There are many cruise lines that have  river cruising itineraries. Here are some to check out:

Viking River Cruise line

AMA Waterways

Avalon Waterways

Scenic Cruises

 Tauck River Cruises

Uniworld River Cruises

American River Cruises

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A Viking River Cruise along the historic Danube

A Viking River Cruise along the historic Danube | River cruises | Scoop.it

The Danube, which flows through 10 European countries, has been termed the “route of emperors and kings.” During the Middle Ages travel by water was the easiest – and most luxurious – way for a monarch to visit his or her dominions. Then, as now, cities of any importance were situated near the river.

Today, Viking offers a river cruise called “Romantic Danube,” which takes passengers one way from Budapest, Hungary, to Erlangen, Germany – or alternatively from Erlangen to Budapest. The “Romance” of the title, by the way, refers to the “Romantic Movement” of the early 1800s. In this case, European authors, artists and others reacted against the perceived coldness of England’s Industrial Revolution with creations of emotion and warmth.

The scenery along the Danube is among the most beautiful in all of Europe. Hills and mountains rise along either side until port cities come into view, and every now and then an ancient castle can be seen on a projecting crag.

From March through the end of December, Viking cruise ships dock at selected ports and guests can go ashore for a day of touring these historic European cities.  Ironically, cold December is one of the most popular travel months, as passengers come specifically to visit the famous Christmas markets.


Walter Christen's insight:

A Viking River cruise of the Danube sounds like a wonderful way to see the beautiful scenery along the way and also tour these fascinating historic cities.  In addition, a luxurious Viking River Cruise is a great way to go. Cities along the way include

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