Up a lazy river
by July 18, 2013
When people think of taking a cruise, they usually imagine the high seas. But ocean cruises aren't the only option. River cruising along inland waterways combines all the best aspects of shipboard travel and distills it to its essence. You have luxury accommodations and the round-the-clock service that makes you feel like a king or queen coupled with the experience of traveling on a vessel that carries only a few hundred passengers as opposed to thousands. The intimacy and sumptuousness make you feel like you’re a member of an exclusive club. River cruise boats are also excellent romantic getaways for couples.
My husband, John, and I recently saw castles, cathedrals, picturesque villages and farms, the canals of Amsterdam and other wonders of Europe during an eight-day cruise on the Rhine River. We boarded our boat, Avalon Waterways’ Felicity, at Basel, Switzerland, then spent the next week leisurely floating the Rhine with daily shore excursions that allowed us to shop and explore the sights at our own pace. We ended our trip with a two-day stay in Amsterdam, touring the canals, windmills and, yes, the notorious red-light district.
If you want to see several places in Europe but don’t relish the hassle of packing and unpacking, changing hotels, arranging transportation and spending hours on tour buses, river cruises are the way to go. The choices are endless. Viking Cruises and Avalon Waterways, for example, offers cruises on the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Seine, Rhone and Elbe rivers. France, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Austria are just a few countries you can visit while cruising.
There are special event and holiday cruises. Love wine and beer? Take a beer-tasting or wine-tasting cruise. Love art? All aboard for the Art and Impressionist River Cruise. There are jazz, wellness, golf, culinary, history and Christmas cruises. When it comes to cruise choices, the river runs deep.
Let's start planning.