River Cruising is one of the hottest and fastest growing trends in the travel industry. After having cruised Europe’s coastal ports many ocean cruisers are looking inland; smaller ports, less traveled authentic experiences and boutique comfort are drawing people to Europe’s great rivers. While European river cruises (the Rhine and Danube in particular) remain the most popular, exceptional cruises are available throughout Asia, Africa and even the Mighty Mississippi.
“It’s a slower, more relaxed and intimate experience,” says Susan Bluhm, Co-President at Stellar Travel. With less than 200 passengers, river ships provide a heightened dose of both culture and comfort. You’ll never encounter “open sea” views; expect small towns, villages and vistas of beautiful countryside. River cruising tends to be port intensive, with one and up to two ports almost every day. Complimentary shore excursions are typically included in your cruise price; join the group, set out on a walk through the local village or borrow one of the ship’s bicycles usually available to passengers while in port.
All the river cruise lines are expanding quickly with most launching new ships every year, yet supply hasn’t met with demand. We’re finding the most popular cruises are sold out, sometimes a year in advance. Your cruise experts at Stellar Travel recommend booking your cruise early to ensure availability and your preferred stateroom
The advisors at Stellar Travel have chosen three of their favorite and most popular river cruise lines.
||Viking River Cruises
||French Country Waterways
|Leading the way in specialty cruises, AmaWaterways offers classic Jewish heritage, Christmas markets and their ever popular wine cruises. Ranked high in service, AmaWaterways includes more than one choice of quality excursions in most of its ports.||With the world’s largest river cruise fleet, Viking River Cruises has the experience to make each journey exceptional. Modeled after ancient Viking long ships, the newest ships sport private balconies and 270 degree views from the well-appointed Explorer Suites.||Smallest of the river cruise vessels is French Country Waterways, these “Barge Cruises” only sail with eight to twelve passengers. Perfect for a group or family gathering, barge cruises sail the countryside though the smaller rivers of France.|