Author Archives: Ralph Grizzle

There are 409 articles by Ralph Grizzle published on this site.


With summer underway and France officially re-opening to North American travelers in early June, CroisiEurope is marking the 2021 summer season with the resumption of the company’s diverse itineraries throughout France. CroisiEurope’s first river itinerary set sail at the end of June, with the canal and river itineraries to follow this month.

We’re big fans of CroisiEurope’s canal cruises. Here are a couple more itineraries offered by the French river cruise company: Read the rest of this entry »

AmaWaterways announced a partnership with Metropolitan Touring to introduce a new river cruise experience in Colombia.

Starting in December 2023, guests will be immersed in experiences on shore as well as on board a new custom-built, all-suite, eco-friendly river cruise ship. The new ship and cruise program will incorporate design experience from AmaWaterways’ President and Co-Founder Rudi Schreiner, plus Metropolitan Touring’s expertise in expedition cruising in the Galápagos Islands. Read the rest of this entry »

When I first started river cruising, I found it difficult to choose which river, which river cruise company and which ship. Hopefully, these tips will make it easier for you to navigate the wonderful world of river cruising. Read the rest of this entry »

From Barges To Luxurious River Boats

In previous posts, we learned how river cruising evolved from an experimental steamboat on the Saône to paddle-wheelers plying rivers in the United States and Europe to something resembling river cruising today: the first hotel barge in France. Since that first barge made its debut in 1966, forward-thinking entrepreneurs continued to develop and build riverboats that were the blueprints for the industry today. Next, we’ll head to a city on the Rhine to what may well be considered the birthplace of modern-day river cruising. Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday, the European Union announced that it would welcome fully vaccinated travelers as well as unvaccinated travelers from Covid-safe countries (the list of countries is expected to be released on Friday). While details are pending, the new measures could go into effect as early as next week. Read the rest of this entry »

We love it when we’re right (and wish it were more often). In last week’s post, we suggested that additional cruise restarts would be announced before the end of the month. And no sooner than those words were released into the digital sphere that we got word that Royal Caribbean would be sailing from Bermuda. This is a first for Royal Caribbean. By home-porting outside the United States, big ship cruise companies are finding ways to circumvent—or outright avoid—CDC requirements that are attempting to stall cruising’s restart. Crystal, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean had already announced cruises from home ports in the Bahamas and St. Maarten. Bermuda is the newest twist, and we think it’s a good one. Read the rest of this entry »

Want to cruise this weekend on an eight-day Historic South and Golden Isles sailing between Amelia Island and Charleston? Yes, we consumed our morning coffee before writing this, and no, you’re not reading an old post from March of 2019. Cruising in the United States is back, after a year’s hiatus. You can now cruise again, this coming Saturday if you wish or any other Saturday thereafter.

This past weekend, American Cruise Lines’ 100-passenger Independence sailed from Jacksonville, Florida (Amelia Island) and is currently en route to Charleston, South Carolina. In Charleston, passengers will disembark Read the rest of this entry »

In our last post, we learned how in 1966 the first barge with cabins debuted in France. Known as Palinurus, the then-40-year-old barge had been converted from a cargo-carrying barge towed by mules to a hotel barge propelled by an engine. Heavily reconfigured since 1966, it still operates today as Luciole. Another canal cruiser with cabins made its debut nearly a century earlier. It too still operates today. What follows is the story of a voyage across Sweden on Göta Canal Company’s Juno.

For the past few weeks, we’ve been on a quest to learn the history of river cruising. We started our inqury in the 1700s, when a young Frenchman successfully steamed up the Saône in Lyon Read the rest of this entry »

The 47-Day River Cruise Through Europe

Is this river cruising’s world cruise equivalent? In June 2023, AmaWaterways will offer a 46-night exploration of Europe that sails through 14 countries on seven rivers. While full details will be released on March 15, what we know now is that the “Seven River Journey” will employ four ships (with seamless ship swaps for guests) to explore the Seine, Rhône, Saône, Rhine, Moselle, Main & Danube rivers. Read the rest of this entry »

In 1783, in the city of Lyon, a 32-year-old engineer and inventor did something remarkable: He unwittingly gave birth to river cruising as we know it today.

On what was presumably a warm day in mid-July, thousands of Lyonnaise gathered along the banks of the Saône to watch the Frenchman chug upstream in a boat measuring 150 feet long and 16 feet wide. They were witnessing a spectacle never before seen: the world’s first successful voyage by steamboat. Read the rest of this entry »

While travelers continue to prioritize health and safety, they are increasingly looking to plan longer, immersive travel experiences to better appreciate nature, live in the moment and reconnect with friends and family, according to AmaWaterways’ Co-owners Rudi Schreiner, Kristin Karst and Gary Murphy.

Notably, AmaWaterways was the only U.S.-based river cruise line to sail in Europe during 2020, successfully implementing enhanced protocols and procedures as part of a unique charter program.

The company says it recently has seen a surge in bookings. We’re not surprised. In our recent survey, 66 percent of readers responding to our poll said they believe North Americans will be able to river cruise in Europe again by or during the fall of 2021. Read the rest of this entry »

When Can You River Cruise Again In Europe?

 

With Covid-19 vaccinations under way and river cruises scheduled to resume operations in the spring, one question stands above all others for us: When will North Americans be able to ply the rivers of Europe again?

Our best guess: summer of 2021.

Come summer, we believe North Americans will be able to fly to Europe, go on a river cruise and return home with little worry of contracting Covid-19. Of course, summer spans several months, from late June through late September. If things go well with vaccinations, early summer is a reasonable assumption.

By June, if all goes as planned, Europeans will have already been safely river cruising during the spring and into the summer. Read the rest of this entry »

CroisiEurope’s Summer & Fall Success

We’re impressed that a few river cruise companies were able to operate during the summer and fall with few or no Covid cases. Last week AmaWaterways’ Kristin Karst told us that her company cruised without incident when it ended its season last month. Listen to our complete interview with Kristin in this podcast.

CroisiEurope, based in Strasbourg, France, operated from mid-July through October, and told us that they were the first to resume cruising on many of the rivers and seas where the company operates.

Astoundingly, at least from our perspective, CroisiEurope carried more than 11,000 guests on 152 cruises Read the rest of this entry »

Wow! We were impressed and encouraged while listening to Michael DaCosta, CroisiEurope’s General Manager, North America. Mike spent an hour with us talking about CroisiEurope’s return to cruising. River cruisers and barges are back in business, with no incidents (knock on wood). Capacity is limited to 75 percent, and dining is done in two shifts, unlike the single seating on CroisiEurope’s ships during normal times. In this informative webinar, Mike outlined several itineraries currently operating and discussed protocols. If you want to feel good about the future of cruising, check out our replay of Wednesday’s webinar. Read the rest of this entry »

Replay of a chat with four of Scenic Group’s top cruise chefs. Learn what it takes to create the top-quality dining options enjoyed by guests on Scenic and Emerald Waterways river cruises as well as on the world’s first Discovery Yacht, the ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse. Whether it is dealing with the variety of special diets, operating eight restaurants on one ship for 228 guests, producing five-star meals in a kitchen just a little bigger than a postage stamp Read the rest of this entry »

Replay: On Wednesday, July 15, at 2PM, we will be joined by a panel from American Cruise Lines. During the webinar, we will hear about what American Cruise Lines offers travelers looking to cruise within the United States. Read the rest of this entry »

Replay: On Wednesday, July 8, we will be joined by a panel from Crystal River Cruises. During the webinar we will be joined by the Vice President of Crystal River Cruises, Walter Littlejohn, along with the company’s Director Of Shore Excursions and Vice President of Entertainment. Read more about my voyage on Crystal Bach this past October. Read the rest of this entry »

When will AmaWaterways resume cruising? Late August hopefully. Check out our Happy Hour with AmaWaterways’ Executive Vice President and Co-Founder Kristin Karst, along with Leo Starico and Wade Korzan, who head AmaWaterways’ Basel office, and Madalina Caldaruse, a cruise manager who has sailed on many Ama voyages. Hear how Ama is preparing to return to cruising, as well as what we can look forward to for 2021 and 2022. Read the rest of this entry »

This informative session will appeal to all walks of travelers, including solo travelers. Riviera offers 20 itineraries on 10 rivers and waterways, including exclusive departures for solo travelers with no single supplement. Moreover, Riviera hangs its hat on exceptional value, promising never to add hidden surcharges or fees. Riviera also doesn’t automatically include gratuities or drinks, so the choice is up to guests. Read the rest of this entry »

Silversea Cruises prepares to take delivery of new ship Silver Origin, following a great display of resilience, determination and fine European craftsmanship from Dutch shipyard De Hoop. Despite the global lockdown, De Hoop implemented rigid safety procedures, reduced its workforce, and devised ingenious ways to overcome posed challenges, including a world-first during the ship’s sea trial. Read the rest of this entry »

 

On May 6, our panelists included representatives from the French Atlantic Ports. We can’t promise champagne delivered to your doorstep, but we can promise an informative discussion with official reps from river cruise and ocean cruise destinations, including Rouen, Le Havre, Nantes-St Nazaire, La Rochelle and Bordeaux. Let’s get ready to visit France virtually. Read the rest of this entry »