River Cruise Lesson Part 2: Where Can You Go and Who Can You Go With?
If you read Part 1 of our River Cruise Lesson last week, you’ll remember we talked about how taking a River Cruise is extremely popular these days and what distinguishes them from a traditional “Ocean Cruise.”
Well, as promised, today we’re going to go over….
What destinations you can enjoy a River Cruise to and who are the most popular River Cruise Lines
So, where in the World does a River Cruise sail? Let’s take a look!
– Europe By far, more people take a River Cruise in Europe then in any other part of the World. It makes sense when you consider the amount of rivers in that one area and the fact that it’s where the commercial River Cruise industry originated.
Now there are too many rivers in Europe to cover them all right here but the most popular ones in that region are the Rhine & Danube… which touch over a dozen countries between them and can take you from Amsterdam to the Black Sea… with a stay in Istanbul at the end of course! 🙂
If romance, experiencing a piece of history and seeing castles along the waterline are your thing, a River Cruise here provides that… and Christmas Cruises are popular on these Rivers too where you can experience, 1st hand, how many Europeans celebrate the festive season. A River Cruise on the Danube &/or Rhine can go from 7 Nights to 4 weeks long and more.
In France the Seine & Rhone Rivers are extremely popular! Unlike the Danube & Rhine, which feature a lot of German/Gothic design, these rivers feature more of a Mediterranean architecture. (**Update** Since we wrote this a new itinerary in the Bordeaux region has become another option in France!)
The Rhone, which runs through Southern France/The Provence Region and right into the Mediterranean Sea, visits charming places like Lyon, Viviers, Tournon, Tain l’Hermitage, Avignon & Arles and has wineries abound.
The Seine, which runs right through Paris, can take you to places like Giverny, Rouen & the infamous Beaches of Normandy. Of course, extra time in Paris is a must when visiting this area! Many people combine these 2 Cruises, the Seine & Rhone, and turn it into a 2 week plus immersion of France… “ooh la, la!” 🙂 (And now with Bordeaux you can do France as a 3 week cruise)
**Update** Since writing this blog we’ve now sailed all 3 Rivers in France which you can see here in Cruise #s 42, 41 & 40)
Also quite popular in Europe is the Douro River which runs through Portugal. Many people who experience this River Cruise start off with some time in Lisbon.
And finally, a new itinerary we were excited to hear about recently is in Italy… a round trip Venice & “Po River” Cruise that offers an extension of visits to Florence & Rome… nice!! (**Update** Since we wrote this blog we did this 7 night sailing from Venice… check out our review here!)
So as you can see, Europe has a ton of options when it comes to taking a River Cruise. Between it’s history, famous architecture, art & culture… it’s mix of ancient & modern… it’s timeless beauty & grace of old world… there’s something for everyone on a Europe River Cruise!
– Egypt (The Nile) Just to say you sailed on the world’s Longest river is almost enough reason to head to this region and enjoy a River Cruise. But of course, seeing Egypt’s Epic attractions along the way makes it that much better!! Between visiting Mosques, Bazaars, the Sphinx, Pyramids, Luxor and the famous Abu Simbel temples… it’s a River Cruise you’re sure to NEVER forget!!
– The Amazon A River Cruise to here can take place from a couple of countries… Brazil or Peru. Either way, the 2nd longest River in the World, and largest by volume, offers sites like exotic animals (think Macaws & Monkeys) and tribes along the banks where you will see local people and their villages. A visit to this mysterious tropical green forest should be on every serious travelers “bucket list”!
– China (The Yangtze) What can we say about our River Cruise we experienced on the “Yangtze River” in China… well, it was simply Amazing!! Out of our 80+ trips & vacations together it’s been one of the best by far! We saw the Forbidden City among other epic things in Beijing, visited the Great Wall, experienced first-hand the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, spent some time in Shanghai and sailed the “Mystic” Yangtze which included passing through the Three Gorges Dam… the largest in the World. Our advice for you regarding this River Cruise… “Just Do It!!” 🙂 Here are some of the highlights from our time there.
– Russia (The Volga) Sailing on a River Cruise from St.Petersburg to Moscow and visiting historic Russian cities & towns along the way… doesn’t that sound Exotic! You’ll see Red Square, St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Kremlin, the famous Hermitage and more… we visited St. Petersburg for 3 days once, got a taste of this famous Country, loved it, and a trip down the Volga sounds awesome to us!
– Vietnam & Cambodia (The Mekong) Now this is definitely one we want to do soon and the people we’ve talked to who’ve done it say it’s amazing!! Like China, we’re sure the people, history and culture are wonderful to experience in this part of South East Asia. Highlighted by an overnight stay on a traditional wooden junket in Ha Long Bay and visits to Hanoi, Saigon & famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia, no wonder it’s one of the Hottest River Cruise destinations out there right now! Oh ya, and you can add on an extension of some time in Bangkok, Thailand… why not! 🙂 (**Update** Since we wrote this blog we did this amazing itinerary… check out our review here!)
– Myanmar… AKA: Burma (The Irrawaddy) Starting in 2014 two major River Cruise Companies will begin offering a sailing in this once isolated country. It features a 10 or 14 night sailing on the “Irrawaddy” River as well as a couple of nights in Myanmar’s major city, Yangon, where your River Cruise Tour begins & ends. Like the “Yangtze” in China & the “Mekong” in Vietnam & Cambodia, we’re sure this will be another amazing River Cruise in Asia!! (**Update** Since we wrote this blog we did this amazing itinerary… check out our review here!)
– Africa (The Chobe) This is something new to the mainstream River Cruise Lines and only one of them is offering it so far. But as this vacation boasts a Luxurious 24 guest River Cruise ship and it includes an African Safari and visits to some of South Africa’s most popular cities… it sounds pretty awesome to us!
So there you go, some of the most popular (and very cool) places you can visit while enjoying a River Cruise…
…where in the World do you want to go!! 🙂
Oh ya, we also mentioned we’d tell you about who the major River Cruise Lines are.
Well, there’s 5 main ones that best fit our North American clientelle… Uniworld, AMA Waterways, Tauck, Avalon Waterways & Viking.
Who’s the best?
Impossible to answer!!
We say that as it really depends where you’re going.
In Europe for instance, they all have some pretty amazing products and many times who to go with may come down to who has the best promotion running.
Other places though, some River Cruise Lines are definitely stronger then others.
That’s why virtually everyone booking a River Cruise uses the services of an experienced Cruise Consultant like Shawn. He can help you choose the best line & itinerary in each area using his years of experience… at a cost to you of…
It never costs you more to book with a Cruise Consultant compared to going to the cruise line directly, and many times you get a better deal, so don’t miss getting his experience & a ton of knowledge on your side! (We explain all the benefits of booking with a Cruise Consultant in this informative article)
One last resource for you before we end off today’s post… here’s the itineraries for the 5 main River Cruise Lines:
Uniworld’s River Cruise Itineraries
AMA Waterways River Cruise Itineraries
Tauck’s River Cruise Itineraries
Avalon Waterways River Cruise Itineraries
Viking’s River Cruise Itineraries
Have a peek at their itineraries, see what interests you and then contact Shawn to help start making your River Cruise “Dream Vacation” a reality! 🙂
We Appreciate You!
Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!