River Cruising Continues To Make Big Waves

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Tauck is launching two new itineraries on the Rhone River. The art-themed Artistic Impressions: Monte Carlo to Paris itinerary begins with guided sightseeing during a 2-night stay in Monaco before guests board the 116-passenger MS Swiss Emerald in Arles. Special art-oriented activities during the subsequent 9-night cruise include guided tours of the Chagall and Matisse museums in Nice, as well as the Jean Cocteau museum in Menton. Passengers will also trace Van Gogh’s footsteps in Arles, explore the works of Cezanne in Aix-en-Provence, visit the Beaux-Arts Museum in both Dijon and Lyon, and enjoy an artists studio visit and tours of the Louvre or the Musee de Rodin during a 2-night stay in Paris. Priced from $7,190 pp dbl, cruise-tour departures are May 17 and Sept. 18.

The 10-day Bon Voyage: France Family River Cruise (part of the Tauck Bridges collection of family-specific trips), is the second new Rhone River program, starting with two nights in Paris with sightseeing and a special dinner at Fouquet’s. Guests then board the TGV train to Lyon to board the MS Swiss Emerald for a 7-night cruise. A number of special activities will add to the cruise fun: scavenger hunt in the Louvre, playing petanque in Viviers, a hayride in the Camargue, kayaking in the shadow of the Pont du Gard, sampling local chocolates and preparing simple French dishes in Touron.

Tauck’s corporate communication manager, Tom Armstrong, happily reminds us that Tauck was voted “2012 World’s Best River Cruise Line for Families” by Travel + Leisure readers, and that “the success of our themed cruises has contributed to the incredible growth of the company’s entire collection of river cruises—a growth that shows no signs of slowing.”

For the future, “we are committed to growing our presence in river cruising,” he adds, pointing out another new feature for 2013: Tauck is dropping the “single supplement” for Category 1 cabins on each of its European river cruises, savings that apply to every departure of all 14 itineraries on the Danube, Rhine, Rhone, Main, Maas and Saone rivers.

uniworld boutique river cruise collection

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is broadening its offers in Europe and Asia, showcasing a new destination, new ships and new itineraries for 2013 and 2014. In 2013, Uniworld will be the only North American river cruise line to offer river cruising in Italy, along the Po River and the Venice Lagoon.

“Italy has long been a favorite destination of travelers, and our clients always state that this is the destination they would like us to offer. Now we are doing just that,” says Guy Young, president of Uniworld. Sailing aboard the 134-passegner River Countess, remodeled this year, clients have a choice of an 8-day Venice & the Po River itinerary (from $2,899 pp dbl) traveling Venice to Venice and visiting Padua, Ravenna, Bologna and Verona. A longer program, the 13-day Splendors of Italy, travels between Venice and Rome and adds two nights in Florence at the Grand Hotel Baglioni and three nights in Rome at the Parco dei Principi to the 7-night cruise (priced from $5,499 pp dbl).

Also in 2013, Uniworld will launch its latest luxury build, the 118-guest Queen Isabel, set to cruise on the River Douro in Portugal. The 11-day Portugal, Spain & the River Douro program (priced from $3,099 pp dbl) combines a 7-night cruise visiting Coimbra, Porto, Guimaraes, as well as Salamanca in Spain, plus three nights in Lisbon.

Across the globe in Southeast Asia this year, the line introduced cruising along the Mekong River aboard the 30-stateroom River Saigon, which will be joined next year by the River Orchid. Itineraries include the Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia and the Mekong, a 15-day sailing between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, and the Grand Asia & the Mekong, a 24-day journey from Beijing to Hanoi. And Young lifts the curtain on the 2014 season when Uniworld “will continue to elevate the standard in luxury river cruising” with the debut of its S.S. Alexandra, sister ship to the S.S. Antoinette, and the S.S. Catherine, fashioned after Uniworld’s River Royale.

viking river cruises

Everything’s up to date at Viking River Cruises, which this year introduced six custom-built, 190-guest Viking Longships, fitted out with 95 outside staterooms—two Explorer suites, seven Veranda suites, 39 Veranda staterooms, 22 French Balcony staterooms and 25 Standard staterooms. Accommodating 190 passengers, the Longships will sail on four of the company’s European itineraries, including the 10-day Tulips & Windmills, the 8-day Romantic Danube, the 8-day Rhine Getaway, and the 15-day Grand European Tour.

“Our new Viking Longships have been amazingly popular this year,” says Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking River Cruises, “[making us pleased to announce that] for the upcoming cruise season we will launch an additional eight vessels for a total of 14 Longships in our fleet. [Actually], we have the most deluxe ships in every region we sail (Europe, China, Russia and the Ukraine). Our Russian fleet, for instance, has been completely refurbished to feature Veranda staterooms, and in China, our beautiful Viking Emerald is the most deluxe ship on the Yangtze.”

Viking is also introducing a new 10-day itinerary, Portugal’s River of Gold, starting with a 2-night stay in Lisbon, and cruising roundtrip to Porto on the Viking Douro, built in 2011 and accommodating 116 guests in 62 staterooms and offering such amenities as a pool and jacuzzi on the sun deck. Passengers will enjoy quaint and historic ports of call when cruising the Douro River Valley, as well as visits to UNESCO World Heritage Sites and an excursion to Salamanca in Spain (priced from $2,956 pp dbl).

Stateroom on Uniworld’s River Saigon

Backwaters Flowing
to the Fore in River Cruising

Just as cruises along the Mekong River, linking South
Vietnam and Cambodia, have entered the mainstream of

Southeast Asia cruising, other corners of the globe are

not only upping their river cruise offerings but upscaling

the river vessels themselves.

■ The Peruvian Amazon River is the cruise waterway for Aqua Expeditions with two super-luxurious

vessels—the 12-suite MV Aqua and the 16-suite

MV Aria—transporting guests to the “heart of

darkness” along the backwaters of the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve upriver from Iquitos.

In January 2014, the cruise line will debut in a different

corner of the globe, Southeast Asia, with the deluxe 20-suite MV Aqua Mekong river vessel, offering

3-, 4- and 7-day cruises between Ho Chi Minh City

and Siem Reap. aquaexpeditions.com

■ The 14-suite Delfin II is another luxury vessel that plies

the waters of the Upper Amazon, exploring the

Pacaya-Samiria Reserve on 10-day cruises. As of 2013, Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, Delfin II’s

exclusive U.S. tour operator, will offer 38 departures,

with rates starting at $5,590 pp dbl.


Archived related articles (available on recommend.com):

The Danube With AmaWaterways (August 2012)

contact information

AmaWaterways: (800) 626-0126; amawaterways.com or amawaterways.com/agent/Login.aspx

Avalon Waterways: (877) 797-8791; avalonwaterways.com or agents.globusfamily.com/login.aspx

Tauck: (800) 468-2825; tauck.com or agent.tauck.com/Pages/default.aspx

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection: (800) 733-7820; uniworld.com or uniworld.com/Agency/User

Viking River Cruises: (800) 706-1483; vikingrivercruises.com or vikingrivercruises.com/agents/index.aspx