What’s the best river cruise line for my vacation?
The river cruise ship lines are continually evolving and improving. Different than ocean liners, river ships are limited in size because of the length and width of the locks and heights of the bridges along the rivers. For example, on a European river cruise the maximum ship length is 443 feet long. The top river cruise lines have managed to merge luxury and modern conveniences with a cultural experience that appeals to all.
CruiseExperts.com knows interest in river cruises is growing by leaps and bounds, therefore, we are keeping up with the latest information to pass on to you. Our four top selling cruise lines are Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and AmaWaterways.
1. Avalon Waterways is planning to launch 10 new ships in 2014, bringing their fleet to a total of 21 ships. On their newest suite ships, they have designed their rooms (172, 200 and 300 sq ft) with the Comfort Collection bed facing a floor-to-ceiling wall of windows that has a 7-ft sliding glass door which opens to create a French balcony. They’ve jumped onboard the themed cruise experience and offer different theme cruises on their European river cruise itineraries. Some of them are:
- Beer Tasting
- Jewish Heritage
- Jazz or Music
- Wine Appreciation
- WWI History
Cruise the Amazon
One of the latest itineraries added by Avalon is a cruisetour along the Amazon river. It’s a total of 11 days–8 days of land tours and 3 days cruising the Amazon. Your trip starts in Lima, Peru and then you’ll fly to Cusco, where you’ll go by train to Machu Picchu. Your land tour includes spending nights in Lima, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Cusco. After six days of land tours, you’ll fly up to Iquitos to start the Peruvian Amazon river cruise onboard the Avalon Aria.
2. Viking River Cruises is the fastest growing fleet in the industry. In 2013, they held a mass Christening to name 10 new ships. Impressive!
Redesigned Viking Longships
A typical river cruise ship has a corridor on each deck running down the middle of the ship. Viking has redesigned their layout by shifting that corridor one meter off center. Now instead of two rooms with French balconies on each side of the corridor, they replaced two rooms on one side with a two-room suite with a French and a traditional outside balcony. On the other side, the rooms are the standard size with an added traditional balcony as well. Pretty innovative!
Viking is also “going green” which means the new ships were built with solar panels, hybrid engines and organic herb gardens.
NEW from Viking: Cruise through Burma
Viking is one of only a few river cruise line to sail the Irrawaddy river in Burma. New for 2014, your 16-day “Memories of Mandalay” journey begins in Bangkok, Thailand.
3. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise ships are unique in style. Each ship tells a story and includes hand selected fine art and private collections of the founder—and all with the modern luxuries you expect. They’ve received seven awards including LA Times Reader’s Choice Best Cruise Line, Cruise Critic Editor’s Picks Best River Cruise Line, Travel and Leisure World’s Best Service, Cruise International Best Shore Excursions and three more from Conde Nast Traveler for World’s Best Cruise Line, Best Cruise Ship in the World (River Queen), and Reader’s Choice Best River Cruise Line. Wow!
They are also the leader of the Sustainable River Cruising pack which has a goal to reduce the impact of river cruise ships on the environment. High five!
Cruise the Po River in Italy
Uniworld has a beautiful scenic cruise along the Po River in Italy. You can choose from a 13-day or 8-day itinerary on the River Countess. Both begin in Venice with visits to Padua, Ravenna, Verona and Bologna, but the 13-day itinerary adds an extended land tour through Florence and Rome.
4. AmaWaterways, will launched four new ships this year, bringing their fleet to a total of 17 ships. They were inducted into the Chairne Des Rotisseurs Culinary Guild because of their outstanding menus which incorporate local specialties.
Popular destination for 2014: Cruise Vietnam and Cambodia
The three major river cruise lines also has more than just European river cruises. You can cruise up and down the rivers in Southeast Asia, through Vietnam and Cambodia. Your journey begins in Hanoi, where you’ll spend two nights exploring the Vietnam capital before heading over to Ha Long Bay where you’ll take an overnight cruise on a traditional wooden junk. You might want to Google that. It’s not as “junky” as it sounds. Fly to Siem Reap to begin your 7-night river cruise along the Mekong River. You’ll cruise through the Tonle Sap Lake and stop in ports at Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Tralach, Phnom Penh, Tan Chau, Sa Dec, Cai Be, My Tho and end with a land excursion in Ho Chi Minh City.
If you would like more information on taking a European river cruise or one of the new river cruise destinations, please contact us at CruiseExperts.com. We’re here to answer any questions you may have and can be reached by visiting our website, www.CruiseExperts.com or by phone at 1-888-804-CRUIse (2784).
Linda Brandt joined the team at CruiseExperts.com in November 2011. She has been working with the marketing team in many capacities. Her new role is to pass on the expertise of the agency to help travelers understand the world of cruising through blogging. She studied journalism and writing in college and was a writer for The Campus newspaper for two years at the College of the Sequoias. She is also currently working on her Bachelor’s degree.