WHAT IS RIVER CRUISING ALL ABOUT?
You’re about to discover the most convenient way to see the world. This is cruising on an intimate scale, with a personal touch. You’ll meander along at the easy pace of the river: Sloping vineyards, storybook villages and hilltop castles mark your progress through Europe’s great waterways . . . China’s towering Three Gorges usher you along the mighty Yangtze . . . riverside temples and pagodas guide you through the ancient civilizations and verdant countryside of the Mekong and Irrawaddy Rivers of Southeast Asia. All this, and you’ll unpack your bags just once. Be our guest aboard one of our deluxe ships – on an unforgettable journey enriched by knowledgeable local guides, activities and excursions that immerse you in the culture, and fine regional wines and cuisine. River cruising is a relaxing alternative to other types of travel. Each river is unique – offering an ever-changing mural of scenery from your ship. It’s convenient & comfortable – with no packing and unpacking, switching hotels or lugging baggage around. Think of river cruising as life on a fine, floating hotel; light, airy, with no motion sickness. Travel by river allows you to dock right in the heart of both historic cities and quaint villages. You’ll gain a unique perspective of a land and its people.
RIVER CRUISING: A BETTER WAY TO EXPLORE
Nothing compares to a river. How else but on a river can you journey into the very heart of the world’s greatest cities and most charming towns, discovering the true nature of the land and its people? Where else but on a river could you be gently carried along on an elegant, intimate ship, docking right in the heart of town, strolling off to begin your exploration? How else but on a river would you travel with such ease, unpacking just once and enjoying the ever-changing scenery along the banks? Comfortable and convenient, river cruising offers a greater variety of destinations than you can find any other way. Spend less time getting there, and more time being there. Small wonder so many people have fallen in love with this relaxing, immersive and thoroughly enjoyable form of travel. Just 20 years ago, the modern river cruise industry didn’t exist. Of course, there were privately owned river ships available to sail down a few rivers in Germany, and a few paddle wheelers along the Mississippi, but generally trips were prohibitively expensive or operated by barges with only a handful of intrepid passengers and few amenities. But in the last decade, river cruising’s popularity has grown dramatically, and more than 500,000 people now take a river cruise each year. Destinations range from the United States to Europe, Russia, Egypt and even China and Southeast Asia; and many ships are recently built and designed for comfortable travel, with amenities like hotel-style beds, spacious public areas, verandas and even suites. Also, as ocean ships have grown larger and larger, many travelers are discovering river cruising provides an intimate, comfortable alternative.
EVERY RIVER IS DIFFERENT
In nature, rivers are dynamic and evolving. They were provided as highways for Vikings and the Romans to travel regularly to worlds they have established or for exploration. Also, they enabled medieval traders to traverse great distances; Indeed, the great rivers of the world have been a conduit for commerce and exploration for thousands of years. Historic civilizations and cities were built on their banks, and their very shape has been honed both by nature and man. Each river was accommodating to man for needs. From diverting water for agriculture to damming their flow to generate power, to building flood controls and creating impressive feats of engineering such as the Main-Danube Canal of Europe or the mighty Three Gorges Dam of the Yangtze, man has bent the river to serve him. Part of any river journey is this history, from the wild, turbulent river to its harnessed power tamed by locks and interlinked by canals. On every river journey, you’ll marvel at the ability of a river ship to gently slip under bridges and into the tight-fitting locks and discover the clever solutions of engineers over the ages: different types of locks and methods for raising and lowering the ships along the way. It’s truly a unique experience, no matter which river you choose.
TRAVEL WITH EASE AND CONVENIENCE
River cruising is a unique, comfortable way to explore new destinations. Unlike a bus tour or driving on your own, you unpack just once and settle into a comfortable home away from home. Settle in your own room, indulge in great meals and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow passengers on an intimately scaled ship. Also, unlike an ocean cruise, there’s an ever-changing mural of breathtaking scenery from your ship, so the journey itself becomes part of your discovery. A river has no waves, sea sickness is never a concern, in addition each river cruise ship’s scale is limited so it will fit into the locks and canals along the river, ships are always small in scale, with typically just under 200 guests. River cruising will always be comfortable and convenient.
EXPLORE THE WORLD’S GREAT CITIES
Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam, Budapest, St. Petersburg…. As diverse as they are, these and other unforgettable cities have were all constructed on a river. Whether you choose the Rhine, Danube, Seine, Yangtze, Portugal’s Douro, Russia’s Volga or one of the many other rivers of the world, the pace of river cruising allows you to both enjoy the ever-changing scenery and discover the unique customs, cultures and cuisines of the many countries. A large number of Europe’s rivers traverse the borders of many countries, enabling you to discover a variety of countries and cultures. Otherwise, you can discover a single country in depth, focusing on a section of the river that stays within just one country such as Germany, visiting not only the cosmopolitan cities with all their vibrant museums, bustle and sophistication, but also smaller towns like Rüdesheim in the heart of German wine country, or the university town of Heidelberg, complete with its red sandstone castle, a romantic ruin of Gothic and renaissance architecture. Only a river allows you to easily get to such a wide variety of places to explore. From Amsterdam to Cairo, Shanghai to Luxembourg, so many great cities await your arrival – with one very special way to experience them: on a river cruise.
DISCOVER WHAT OTHERS SAY ABOUT IT
Hundreds of thousands of travelers take river cruises each year. Here’s what just a few of them had to say about the experience: Absolutely fabulous. We are not big boat cruise people. We really like the smaller atmosphere, we like the smaller boat. -Kaye Meyers I didn’t have to worry about anything. I could enjoy my vacation; I could enjoy the scenery. I could enjoy my time. -Annette Boatright A continuous series of marvels left us astounded at the beauty of central Europe. Each day saw new destinations and well-planned excursions. -Curtis & Danielle Anderson We had never experienced anything like this before. We had the time of our lives! -William Herzog & Alice Rice The Eiffel Tower, the Charles Bridge, all the castles. It was hard to believe we were really seeing Prague, Paris, the Rhine and the Moselle, but it was all captured on my camera. This was our first river cruise and we have already booked another one. -Toby & Rich Hoffman We cannot say enough about our wonderful experience. We learned about the food, culture, history and people of each place we visited without the logistical challenge of creating the trip on our own. Without that challenge, we could enjoy an incredible family vacation like no other we have ever had. -The Kessler Bertram Family The river cruise allowed us to visit 15 interesting and varied locales with the comfort of no daily bag wrestling, no wasted time and stress on buses, taxis and the like. -Sandy & Steve This was our first river cruise and we had a great time. We did not have to worry about anything and focused on simply enjoying ourselves. -Loretta & James Woerner The scenes and sights along the river were absolutely stunning. The intimate number of guests allowed us to get better acquainted with many of them. At the end of our trip, we would have loved to stay on board and experience it all over again. -Paul & Kathy Easley