River Cruising is a much more relaxing and calm atmosphere as opposed to the activity, fun-filled ocean liners. Both are great vacations and can be enjoyed by everyone. River ships provide an intimate atmosphere with a huge amount of culture. Most river cruise passengers have and still do sail on ocean liners. River cruising provides them the opportunity to cruise on a smaller ship, usually carrying less than 200 passengers, as well as pulling right up into the port of small European towns.
One bonus of river cruising is that shore excursions are most often included in the price, including an experienced tour guide.
River ships are limited in their height due to the locks and low bridges they encounter along their journey. But, every cabin has a view and in fact, most new ships are offering larger cabins with balconies and suites.
In comparison to the large ocean liners, which host rock-walls, several swimming pools and whirlpools, etc., river ships have limited public space, but still provide some areas to hang out indoors and out on the sun deck.
The most popular river cruising is in Europe, especially the Danube and the Rhine. Other popular destinations include Russia's Volga, China's Yangtzee, and Egypt's Nile. The Mekong, between Vietnam and Cambodia, is increasing in interest and the Mississippi River Cruises will begin again this year.
The new river ships for 2012 are:
Viking River Cruises: This cruise line is debuting four innovative, energy-efficient "Longships" beginning in March. These ships offer suites with separate bedrooms and living rooms; 3/4 of the cabins have full balconies or French balconies, or both.
Uniworld: The new 60-passenger River Saigon began operating on the Mekong in January. This ship features 30 cabins, all with French doors that open onto a spacious promenade, with a pillow menu and massage room.
AmaWaterways: AmaWaterways will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year with the debut of the 164-passenger AmaCerto in April. Most cabins will have Twin balconies, which is a combination of a French balcony and a step-out balcony. This ship also features a pool with "swim-up" bar.
Avalon: In March, we will see the new 166-passenger Avalon Vista and the 128-passenger Avalon Visionary. Both are "Suite Ships". These ships will sail the Danube, Rhine and Main Rivers.
American Cruise Lines: The new 140-passenger Queen of the Mississippi is currently under construction and will debut in August. This ship will be a sternwheeler and will take us back to the Victorian splendor of past Mississippi riverboats. The ship will sail up the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, with fabulous stops in ports such as Memphis, St. Louis, and New Orleans.
If you are interested in more information regarding River Cruising or any other travel related options, please email me at mjackson@cruiseholidays or call me at 210-858-6399.