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Why its a good idea to make a River Cruise your 2013 holiday.


1. So much is included Many cruise lines include so much in the cost of the cruise you really can leave your wallet at home. All include accommodation and food; many also include daily excursions, wine, beer or soft drinks with dinner or with lunch and dinner, and gratuities. Several also now throw free wi-fi into the price.

2. Small and Friendly The size of river cruise vessels is governed by the length and width of the locks they have to get through. Mostly they hold between 100 and 200 passengers; some hold fewer, a very few hold more but generally no more than 250. Combined with open dining in the restaurant, allowing passengers to sit with different people each night – or new friends you’ve made on the cruise – and the included wine so many river cruise companies now include in the price, it make for a very friendly atmosphere.

3. It’s so easy Just get on-board, unpack and enjoy the scenery as your floating hotel takes you on a fascinating journey visiting numerous iconic towns, cities and villages. On a seven-night cruise on the Danube, you could be visiting Budapest, Bratislava, Vienna, Salzburg, Melk and Durnstein. On a two-week journey through the centre of Europe, add in places such as Amsterdam, Koblenz, Cologne, Nuremburg, Rothenburg and much more. Mostly you’ll moor in the heart of the cities you are visiting so you can walk ashore and see the sights – and often shore excursions are included. Remember, most other times it will just be a short bus ride to the main attraction.

4. Watch the world go by River cruise itineraries often have half a day ashore and a half day sailing, but unlike sea days on an ocean cruise, on a river cruise you’ll always have a view of towns, villages, cities and the countryside. The time is also used for talks by guest speakers, wine or beer tasting sessions, or cookery demonstrations, and as you cruise through places of interest, such as the Rhine Gorge or Iron Gate Gorge, your tour manager will narrate highlights along the way.

5. A room with a view All cabins are river cruise vessels are outside and most are on decks two and three and have large picture windows or French balconies (with a French door that opens to a rail rather than a veranda so you can let in the fresh air but not sit outside), but a lot of new tonnage is being built with walk-out private balconies. Entry level cabins are on deck three with a high window.

6. Listen very carefully The best river cruise companies provide guides with microphones and passengers with Quietvox receivers and earphones so you can hear what they are saying without having to crowd around. It means you never have to miss the guides’ narration, even when they have to speak quietly in churches and cathedrals. Several cruise lines also now offer a choice of free excursions at selected stops – all at no extra charge. It might be a city tour, a bike ride or a few hours at a spa.

7. No need to fly European river cruise holidays are perfect for people who don’t want to fly as it’s so easy to take the Eurostar train from London through the Channel Tunnel, connect to a local high speed rail network and join your cruise. If time is no object, there is no reason why you can’t take the train all the way to Budapest or Vienna, but cruises from Amsterdam, Paris or Lyon are generally more popular with rail cruisers as they are easily do-able in a few hours.

8. The world is your oyster. River cruising doesn’t have to mean staying close to home. As well as river cruises in Europe, sailing through France, Germany and Austria, the former Eastern Europe and Portugal, here are also more exotic journeys on the Nile in Egypt, the Mekong in Cambodia, Vietnam in Laos, the Yangtze in China, and the Ayeyarwady in Myanmar.

9. Its smooth sailing Wannabee cruisers worried about seasickness can join a river cruise without fear of mal de mer. The only thing rivers cruisers need to be aware of is that itineraries can be affected by low or high water. Not enough water and the boats can’t cruise, too much and they can’t get under the bridges. In these cases, coaches will be used to bus passengers to and from the key attractions.

10.  Modern living The newer river cruise vessels are a million miles away from the older tonnage that has dominated the market until very recently. Book one of the new builds and you can have a balcony, or a balcony alternative, large suites and your vessel will likely have a dining alternative to the standard restaurant. Most offer wi-fi throughout the vessel (sometimes at no charge), to appeal to customers who want to keep in touch with work or family, and large flat-screen TVs that double as entertainment systems. Modern minimalist décor is the norm, instead of the living-room-look of old, although Uniworld has gone for more lavish furnishings for its newer vessels and is also renovating its older tonnage in the same way.

So we hope this has enticed you to consider a River Cruise for your holiday in the New Year, for more ideas on River Cruise destinations call the Ponders team today on  01954 232802.




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