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November 18, 2021

Cruising Through Countries In Comfort

3115_2Would you rather go TO a country or THROUGH a country?

Unless you have had your head buried in the sand for the past couple of years, you are probably aware that Ocean Cruising, with its numerous onboard activities from belly flop competitions to casinos and broadway shows, has more recently been getting some stiff competition from the ever-growing popularity of river cruising. Most commonly thought of in Europe, on the Rhine, Danube, Seine, Rhone, Douro and even Po rivers, river cruising is also extending itself to Russia, China, Vietnam & Cambodia (and yes! Even the United States - US River Cruising is a whole different animal). 

Many of the voyages are “themed,” for special interests such as “wine immersion,” “Tulip Time,” “Jewish Heritage,” “beer tasting," and the ever-popular “Christmas Markets” cruises. We love river cruising and if you have never experienced a river cruise here are are several reasons why so many travelers are switching to taking on the river...and very few of them will never go back to the oceans!

Top Reasons the River Rivals the Ocean

UW-BV-Exterior-Libourne-39Hassle Free Process
When it comes to travel, river cruising is as close to hassle-free as you can get! There are no lines to get on or off the boat because let's be honest how much do we like waiting in line? When you arrive at your next stop, you can usually walk right off and be immersed in your destination immediately. Europe grew up along its rivers, so there are some very charming and interesting small towns as well as big cities to explore. With very few ports requiring bus transfers it makes it easy to come and go at your leisure.
VIP Travel Tip: Personally, I LOVE the option of using bikes from the ship to bike around town.
All-Inclusive Options
Your river cruising trip can be totally all-inclusive, depending on the cruise line and ship you choose. I had the great pleasure of experiencing a 7-day cruise on the Rhone River with AmaWaterways River Cruises and my bill at check-out was $150, to cover a massage I splurged on! For those of you who know me, know I had at least a couple glasses of wine during my awesome week aboard all of which were included (Ahem - amazing is right!) When cruising with AmaWaterways they include first class shore excursions at every port, airport transfers, and Wi-Fi. Other cruise lines even have butlers which you are not allowed to tip. Imagine your coffee being delivered just the way you like it or breakfast served every morning while you are admiring the beauty of castles and vineyards from your stateroom balcony!
UW-MT-Suite-Lifestyle-15501Unpack Once 
I am a HUGE fan of independent travel and with river cruising it is definitely a great choice for convenience!! Imagine that you can see multiple villages, towns, countries and only having to UNPACK once!!! You can shower and dine while in route to your next destination without the worry of having to shuffle through your luggage. I never tired of seeing the variety & beauty as we cruise down the Rhone River.
Smaller and More Intimate Boats
River cruising boats are smaller and more intimate (think closer to 100-170 passengers). This give you the opportunity to actually get to know the fellow guests and not feel like you are being herded along like cattle. You may eat with whom you choose each evening and have a choice of a few onboard dining venues for variety.
VIP Travel Tip: We especially enjoy the experience at the Chef's Table Restaurant (3 tables). AmaWaterways is the only river cruise to be part of the Chaine Des Rotisseurs, a culinary society that is highly exclusive and a true luxury dining experience to enhance your river cruise taste buds.

UW-BV-Exterior-Libourne-02No Motion Sickness Being on the river, there are no waves, so seasickness is not an issue. Most cruises include transferring through a series of “locks” to accommodate the changes in elevation, which most people find super interesting to watch. (I was so geeked out with this pastime that I was usually late to dinner because I couldn't miss one of them). You can literally touch the walls of the locks from your balcony as you pass through! Since evening entertainment can be a little sparse, not the lively entertainment of an ocean cruise, but there is always live entertainment in the lounge (I can neither confirm, nor deny that someone hijacked the mic and jam box to really LIVEN the crowd), lots of movies and entertainment on your in-cabin TVs and most cruise lines bring on local entertainers in some ports, such as an OomPah band in Passau Germany or Gypsy dancers in Budapest. (Personally, I preferred this low key, authentic entertainment than compared to the hustle & bustle on a big cruise).  Plus, there are informative talks on the ports-of-call and cocktails with your newly-made friends from around the world.  We even had wine tastings and wine class on board.

The price tag of a River Cruise can cause a little bit of “sticker shock,” but when you figure out everything you are getting for the cost, it becomes much more affordable and clear for it's high value. Viking River Cruises is the most well-known of the River Cruise lines because they spend boatloads (literally) of money on television and print advertising, and they have done a lot to introduce travelers to the River Cruise concept. However, there are many other river cruise lines with higher customer satisfaction rates and more complimentary inclusions just waiting to show you the time of your lives. A luxury travel expert who specializes in European river cruising (like us!) and who has relationships with the cruise lines personally can be incredibly valuable in helping you sort through all of the options and find the perfect fit for you!River cruising is also a great option for small groups of friends, family or even work colleagues who would like to travel together. Whenever I book a river cruise, I always ask if there is anyone who might want to join you on the trip....most times at least 1 or 2 additional couples come forward and you won't regret it! Who would you like to sip champagne with as you cruise through the incredible Wachau Valley in Austria’s wine country?So, if you think you looking for a slower paced and luxury cruising experience, why not give the river a try? 96% of first time river cruisers say they would recommend the experience to a friend! VIP Travel Experience is authorized to sell all the cruise lines and we would love to help match you (and your friends) to the perfect experience! Get on board the “civilized” river cruise movement. I know I am already planning my next one!But don't take just my word for it, DISNEY even chose AmaWaterways to host their Adventures by Disney cruises. AND we all know the high standards Disney imposes!If you're ready to experience an incredible river cruise escape let us know. We'd love to help you try a whole new vacation style to create a true luxury trip. Receive the VIP Travel Experience touch providing you with even more tips and advice on must sees and dos!Plan Your DreamsEmail me at tammy@viptravelexperience.com to get in touch and get started.
It's a big world out there and we want you to experience it!

Posted In: concierge services, travel ideas, travel tips, Europe, river cruise, #bestvacation, #viptravelexperience, planning the perfect vacation, travel concierge, #RiverCruise, travel, Germany

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