Many have discovered what the Europeans have known for years, a river cruise is a hassle free, non-regimented way to travel. The travelers only job is to stow their suitcases and show up for meals. What could be easier?
There are numerous choices. Short cruises are available from 3 - 6 nights on the Rhine, Rhone, Seine and Danube. Longer cruises range from 7 to 28 nights and will take you from Amsterdam to the Black Sea and almost everywhere in between.
Unlike large ocean liners, where the ship is almost always docked in some awkward or sketchy part of town, a river cruise ship is more like a nice hotel that moves from one central location to another. With very few exceptions, Europe's main cities grew up around the river and the old town is never more than a short stroll away from the river pier.
Another of the attractive features of the river cruise is that the voyage is as important as the destination. Scenery along the way ranges from pastoral to breathtaking. Dine or have a drink while you float past castles, monasteries, towering cliffs and small villages.
There is always an opportunity to go on specialized optional sightseeing excursions, city walking tours or just to take a stroll around quaint villages and historic towns after dinner. Every day, we dock in a different location that is nearly always within a few minutes walking distance of interesting sightseeing, shopping or the local pub, where you can sample the regional spirits.
The largest river cruise ship holds 200 passengers; the average ship has 70 cabins that accommodate 140 guests. Barges are more intimate with 3 - 10 cabins. If you take a barge cruise, it's a good idea to bring your fellow passengers with you. They are ideal for small groups of family and friends.
Nothing compares to the experience of a small ship cruise. When you arrive in port on a small ship, you get to experience the destination the way it was meant to be enjoyed. You’ll be able to enjoy the sights, shops and restaurants without the crush of other passengers. When mega cruise liners arrive in port, thousands of passengers descend and overwhelm even the largest of cities.
Small ships can also call on ports that are too small for the sea going behemoth. Ports like Seville Spain and Port Vendres France are out of question for a large cruise ship.
Service is also more intimate and personal on our small ships. Passenger satisfaction is higher and your vacation experience is surely one to remember.