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Latest River cruises articles

Five things to bring with you on your next river cruise

August 7, 2016

From via

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.


The 164-passenger AmaReina features sailings on the Rhine, visiting France, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Disney to expand move into river cruising

April 20, 2016

From via

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:

Partnering with AmaWaterwaysDisney Cruise Lines will be bringing European river cruising to families.  The new AmaWaterways river 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.


Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria.

Crystal offers free exclusive event at Vienna's Belvedere Palace

March 10, 2016

If you need an incentive to book Crystal River Cruises' Mozart — the LA-based luxury travel company's soon-to-debut super-extravagant river yacht (following Esprit, which launched in December) — here’s your moment of Zen. During sailings after the ship debuts in July, passengers on Crystal Mozart will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience an exclusive event at the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, one of Europe’s most stunning baroque landmarks and a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.

It will be an evening to remember with private access to the highlights of the palace’s astonishing collections of art, including the greatest collection of the works by Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele, with guidance from the palace’s representatives.

American Cruise Line's Queen of the Mississippi was inspired by traditional late 19th century Victorian riverboats yet is outfitted with modern amenities.

River cruising grows in the US

March 3, 2016

From via

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 an American Cruise Line cruise, although the Pacific Northwest is enticing also.


5 reasons Viking River Cruises are an amazing value

February 23, 2016

From via

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.


Enjoy a glass of wine and an exquisite cheese spread in AmaBella's wine bar during your European travels.

Cruising the Rhine river with your mom is better with wine

February 15, 2016

From via

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.


Guests will have the ultimate viewpoint from the AmaBella's decks during a cruise of Europe's waterways.

River cruising popularity soars

January 28, 2016

From via

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

AMA Waterways

Avalon Waterways

Scenic Cruises

Tauck River Cruises

Uniworld River Cruises

American River Cruises


Inside the Baroque style Melk Abbey in Austria.

A Viking River Cruise along the historic Danube

December 20, 2015

From via

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 Budapest Hungary, Vienna Austria, Melk Austria, Passau Germany, Regensburg Germany, and Erlangen Germany.

This is one river cruise that is on my bucket list.


Luxury line Crystal to make big move into river cruising

November 3, 2015

From via

Looks like Crystal Cruises is serious about being a player in the river cruise market.

The luxury line on Monday said it would have five river vessels in Europe by 2017 -- three more than originally announced just three months ago.

The line also said it would begin river cruise operations in Europe in 2016 -- a year ahead of schedule.

Citing strong interest from consumers and travel agents since the July announcement that it would get into river cruising, Crystal said it has ordered four newly built river ships instead of two for delivery in 2017 from the German shipyard Lloyd Werft.

Walter Christen's insight:

Crystal Cruises, the luxury cruise line, is moving full steam ahead with their river cruises.  Not only have they increased the number of ships they originally announced from three to five, they will start with one ship (Crystal Mozart) in 2016.  The remaining four ships will be delivered in 2017.

 Known for a true luxury experience, Crystal Cruises will do well in this market. These new cruise ships will be part of a new division called Crystal River Cruises.


A path along the Danube in Vienna, Austria.

Waltzing along the Danube in a luxury cruise ship

September 22, 2015

From via

More than 20 years ago, I spent several weeks in Budapest. It was part of a seven-month ad-hoc journey that I made around parts of Eastern Europe, which was then not long out of communism. Every day I spent in Budapest was defined by journeys either alongside or over the river Danube: to go anywhere in that sternly grand city was to encounter the river constantly.

In those weeks more than two decades ago in Budapest, I do not recall seeing one cruise boat on the river. Earlier this year, I returned to the city to join a week-long river cruise that started there, and was to end in Passau, in Germany.

The taxi driver got lost en route from the airport, and so we travelled pretty much the entire length of the Danube from the Pest side, searching for the right dock.

I spent the time staring out the window at a riverside I hardly recognized. It was studded with river cruise boats, docked all the way along. I don’t know why I was surprised. The Rhine was being cruised long before commercial river cruising came to Hungary.

Walter Christen's insight:

The popularity of river cruising in Europe has dramatically increased.  Reading this account aboard Uniworld's luxury river cruise boat Beatrice. I can understand why.


And now for something different on a river cruise: nighttime excursions

September 21, 2015

From via

The fun doesn't stop just because the sun has set. That's the idea behind Crystal Cruises' itineraries that will pass by some cities during the day and overnight in key ports, where passengers might take in local entertainment or dine in a top restaurant.

 "Crystal’s itineraries will also intentionally deviate from traditional river cruise routes to avoid congestion of other vessels in port," a company statement said about its itineraries, which will start in March 2017.

Crystal also plans to add more active excursions for passengers who want to explore cities by bicycle or Segway. Passengers also will have access to a tender to seek out more private destinations, an unusual feature for a river ship.

Walter Christen's insight:

Crystal  River Cruises has a great idea here.  I can see, especially on a river cruise, that some destinations would warrant a overnight stay.  Taking in the nightlife at these ports can be a important part of the total cruise experience.


Avalon Waterways is offering seven Christmastime cruises in 2016.

Avalon Waterways offers seven Christmas cruises for 2016

August 23, 2015

For travelers who've been thinking about a holiday on a river cruise ship, come 2016 Avalon Waterways will have seven Christmas cruises, including the 17-day Christmastime Zurich to Budapest cruise on the Avalon Tranquility II (priced from $4,589 and departing Dec. 3, 2016). It will sail not one, not two, but three rivers in Europe: Danube, Main and Rhine. Along the way, passengers will be taking in all the quintessential sights, scents and delights of Central Europe during the holidays. On view are traditional Black Forest houses with their long sloping roofs; Strasbourg’s Christmas market, which dates back to 1570; an ice rink set up at the foot of Heidelberg Castle; Bamberg’s nativity scenes built by local citizens and exhibited throughout the town; and Nuremberg’s Old Town, illuminated with festive lights and decorations.

For those travelers opting for shorter holiday trips, Avalon is offering itineraries that range from five to 13 days in 2016. A fan favorite for the holidays is the 8-day Christmas in the Heart of Germany on the Avalon Tranquility II (priced from $1,773). If Prague decked out for the holidays is on your bucket list, try the 12-day Christmastime Zurich to Prague (priced from $2,898).

For more information

As always, for more information contact your Cruiseable travel advocate