Normally, promotions at a river cruise company wouldn’t be something we’d publish. But in this case, we’re pleased to see that Pam Hoffee has taken the helm of Avalon Waterways. We’re pleased because Pam’s passionate about river cruising. Under her leadership we expect even better things to happen for one of the world’s most popular river cruise companies.
Pam tells us that she will be 100 percent focused on Avalon, instead of dividing her time between Avalon and other duties. “I am so thrilled about it as the brand is growing so much and deserves this attention,” she says. “I am very excited for the future with Avalon.”
Yep, we agree. Avalon is doing some wonderful things. We’ll be reporting on what is setting Avalon apart in future posts here on River Cruise Advisor.
Here’s the official press release … Read the rest of this entry »
For those who enjoy the marvels of the natural world, few locales compare with Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands. Happily, for those who wish to have this experience on an ultra-luxury, truly all-inclusive ship, Silversea’s newest expedition ship, the destination-specific Silver Origin is just the ticket.
I was on board the Silver Origin in late February when it was officially christened by Bishop Patricio Bonillo, and esteemed conservationist and Galápagos Islands permanent resident Johanna Carrión named as the ship’s Godmother. (The Silver Origin first started welcoming guests in June 2021, but the Omicron variant had postponed the naming festivities. Since its first voyage last June there have been 36 weekly voyages with eastern or western itineraries and not a single case of COVID.)
Built in 2020, the 5,800 ton Read the rest of this entry »
In last week’s survey asking What, If Anything, Is Holding You Back From River Cruising In Europe, more than half of respondents (52 percent) said that it was war in the Ukraine that made them hesitant to river cruise this year. We did not ask readers to elaborate, something we may do in a future post.
War in the Ukraine was followed closely by the Covid surge in Europe. Nearly 30 percent of you expressed concerns about the variant tearing its way through Europe. I am on barges traveling in France now with a group of 20+. On the last morning of our first barge trip, two people tested positive. Both were mild cases. When I Read the rest of this entry »
My sailing onboard Viking Radgrid was beyond my wildest dreams. From wonderful meals and service to comfortable and stylish accommodations, Viking continued to surpass my expectations throughout the week I spent with them on the Seine.
Viking is the most well-known river cruise company in the world – so much so that its name has become almost synonymous with river cruising. Sometimes, because of this, the company isn’t taken as seriously as some of its competitors. Read the rest of this entry »
SeaDream Yacht Club recently announced a more than $10 million dramatic upgrade and renovation project for twin yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II. The project is now complete on board SeaDream II, and on March 26 SeaDream I goes into drydock for 54 days in Lisbon, Portugal to undergo identical renovations as SeaDream II.
A recent onboard photo shoot has resulted in a glorious new collection of images showcasing the beauty of SeaDream II and serves as a precursor to SeaDream I’s upgrade. Quotes from recent SeaDream II guests such as “Love all the updates,” “New spaces are outstanding,” “Simply Read the rest of this entry »
Last week I said a brief hello from the Seine. It’s hard to believe that last weekend I was bicycling in Giverny looking at paintings by Claude Monet. My entire Saturday was spent wandering through the streets of Paris with friends, both old and new.
Was that the most obnoxious paragraph I’ve ever written? …probably. But thanks to Viking River Cruises I was able to live my best life in France last week. I want to talk about Viking and its wonderful new ships and the beautiful event that I attended, but I want to do that later when I can speak properly to the entire Viking experience on the Seine. For now, I want to address your questions about what it is like to travel right now Read the rest of this entry »
Saying goodbye is the hardest part of any good trip—especially when faced with the reality of having to go back home and make your own bed. On a good river cruise there are wonderful accommodations and great ports, but the thing that makes the entire experience is the people that are there. Without fun guests the cruise is boring; without a good crew the cruise is awful. Fortunately, the people that I sailed the Rhône with on Avalon were one of the most glorious groups of people I’ve ever met. Read the rest of this entry »
It wasn’t long after we published last week’s post, Seven Workarounds To France’s Pass Sanitaire, that we learned of the French government’s plans to drop requirements for the health pass. This comes as welcome news to travelers heading to France this spring and beyond. In fact, Britton is headed to France on Monday. See I’m Going To Paris On Monday.
While we won’t know the full details until next week, this site, www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus, (translated from French), suggests that the Pass Sanitaire will not be required for most activities: From March 14, the application of the “vaccination pass” will be suspended in Read the rest of this entry »
Ama means love, and AmaWaterways is celebrating the start of its 2022 sailing season through Europe with the launch of an all-new More to Love sale, available on select 2022 European river cruises.
AmaWaterways is now offering a comprehensive package with a 7-night river cruise in a French balcony stateroom, round-trip airfare, transfers, a pre- or post-cruise land package, port charges and Travel Waiver Plus all included with a starting price of US$5,499 per person. To ensure maximum flexibility, two alternative specially priced packages are also available for clients that may have their own air or land arrangements. The sale is available for new reservations on over 60 cruises departing between March and the end of December 2022. Read the rest of this entry »
Two weeks ago I wrote an article titled Avalon Is FUN, where I shared my first impressions of Avalon Poetry II. I emphasize how much fun I had on that journey so many times during the article that I should have certainly gotten my point across by now, but that didn’t stop me from typing ”The Most Fun I’ve Ever Had On A River Cruise” as soon as I began to think of ideas for my second story covering my trip. Then I had to think, what was the root of all the fun? In part, a great crew and a fun group of guests, but a great journey needs Read the rest of this entry »
In last week’s newsletter, we asked you when is the earliest you’d be ready to river cruise again in Europe. Nearly 85 percent of you are ready to river cruise in 2022, with spring 2022 getting the largest slice of the pie.
We asked, What gives you confidence about your answer as to when you would cruise? Or what’s holding you back? One reader commented: Time to move on; two years is enough and life is short. Indeed.
Another wrote: Because we went on a river cruise in 2021 and a small boat cruise two weeks ago. Steve and Lorraine are actually friends of ours here in Asheville. We had dinner with them last Sunday and learned that despite traveling in Europe from last August until late November, including a river cruise on AmaWaterways in September, they remained Covid free. In fact, they said they generally felt safer abroad Read the rest of this entry »
Though it feels like forever since I have sailed the rivers of Europe, I was lucky enough to do so twice in the fall of 2021. My first trip back to Europe was onboard AmaWaterways’ AmaSiena. After traveling to Europe once during the pandemic I felt like an old pro, so when Avalon Waterways reached out and asked me to sail the Rhône, I jumped at the opportunity. There was fear that came with my first trip back to Europe, but on this second trip in early October, I was vaccinated, boosted, fearless and ready to go.
Avalon Waterways required all passengers and crew to be vaccinated, and I had to take a Read the rest of this entry »
Crystal is suspending operations for its ocean and expedition ships through April 29, 2022, with river cruises suspended through the end of May 2022.
The company announced in a letter to guests today that “Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Crystal’s parent, Genting Hong Kong says that it will run out of cash by the end of this month, putting the fate of Crystal in question. That’s not to say that Crystal is dead in the water. Read the rest of this entry »
In last week’s post, Our New Year’s Eve Wish For You, we told you about Dolf Dunn’s Christmas Markets cruise. Dolf and his wife Lannie shared photos of Christmas trees at various ports of call (as well as Christmas trees on AmaSiena). The Dunns praised AmaWaterways for not missing a single Christmas Market. “If a city closed a market, AmaWaterways found an alternative one to take us to,” Dolf wrote.
AmaWaterways’ Kristin Karst saw our story and reached out to us. If you don’t know who she is, let me tell you about Kristin. Originally from the region of Dresden, Germany, Kristin is the high-spirited, always smiling Read the rest of this entry »
The headlines surrounding cruises of late have been anything but cheery. The latest gut punch: This week, the CDC advised that we should all avoid cruises, no matter if we’re vaccinated, boosted or masked up.
We’ll discuss the CDC’s advice in a post next week, including counter comments from one organization presenting a compelling argument that cruising is safer than almost any collective leisure activity you can do on land. We’ll also hear from two of our loyal subscribers who continue to cruise and suggest that we should no longer put our dreams on hold.
One is Dolf Dunn who, along with his wife Lannie, experienced something we had thought was not possible: the Christmas Markets on the Rhine. Read the rest of this entry »
Not long after pressing the “publish” button for Is This The End Of River Cruising As We Know It? – River Cruise Advisor, I received several comments from our readers. Some offered words of encouragement; others offered words of caution.
Let’s start with the words of caution from T.J. and Sherry. Their comments have been edited for brevity. Read the rest of this entry »
With December 2022 departures of Riviera River Cruises’ popular holiday season cruises now available, plan ahead to celebrate Europe’s Rhine and Danube Rivers in all their wintry splendor. Riviera’s holiday season cruises include Yuletide Markets itineraries that depart in the weeks before Christmas, departures over Christmas itself with the ship decked in lush garlands and a grandiose tree, and celebratory sailings to ring in the New Year. In all, six itineraries with 20 departures are available to book.
I’ll be hosting one of those cruises, departing Cologne on December 21, 2022 and cruising along the Read the rest of this entry »
At the end of August, I was invited to sail on AmaSiena on its christening cruise. This invitation was a big deal, not only because it was a christening cruise but also because this was my first cruise back since COVID.
Over the past few weeks I have shared how I prepared for cruising during COVID as well as my first impressions of the sailing and what it was like to be back on board. I also interviewed my cruise manager Martina, and held a webinar about my experience on board.
Though I feel like I have covered a lot about my sailing, I spent a lot more time covering COVID than I did the ship itself. So today, we will do just that. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve just returned from a series of cruises: AmaWaterways on the Rhine, Viking Ocean Cruises in Bermuda, Crystal River Cruises on the Rhine & Moselle, and Avalon Waterways on the Rhone. This webinar replay from October 20, 2021 covers a wide range of topics from testing before leaving home to life on board and more. Read the rest of this entry »
“I listen to my body, and my body says no to the vaccine.” I was standing at Amsterdam’s Rembrandt Square, dipping fries into a dab of mayonnaise (patat met) when a fellow standing next to me said, “Eet smakelijk,” which I understood to mean enjoy the fries. I thanked him and said that I hoped he enjoyed the apple that he was gnawing on. Thank you, he replied in English, before adding: “I’ve just finished a march and cannot find my car. Luckily, I know people here and someone is coming to help me.”
I learned that he was from Arnhem, about 90 minutes away, and that he had come to the Dutch capital to protest against the vaccines and the QR codes that restaurants and bars now require patrons to show before entering. The QR codes demonstrate proof of vaccination.
“It’s not fair,” he said. “I have grandchildren. I don’t want them to be vaccinated until we know the long-term effects of the vaccines.” He feels shackled by the QR codes, living in a stratified society where there are those who can now enjoy pre-pandemic life in the Netherlands, going to restaurants and bars, for example, and those who cannot. No QR code, no entry into the pre-Covid world.
For the American visitor, however, all of Amsterdam seems to exist in a carefree world with little regard for Covid transmission. Though I had only been in Amsterdam for the afternoon, having arrived from Atlanta, what I observed was an ocean of differences in our responses to Covid-19. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week, I told you that I was preparing for my first trip to Europe since October of 2019. I promised to answer your questions about how I was gearing up for this trip, which is on Crystal Debussy, cruising the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Many of you wanted to know about Covid protocols and the like, but the majority of you were most interested in two things:
- How I got business class air for $600 each way on Air France,
- How I snagged a deal at the Waldorf-Astoria Amsterdam (paying the equivalent of a stay at a Hampton Inn).
Britton and I will address all of your questions about Covid protocols and what it’s like to cruise these days in our upcoming webinar on October 20. Please be sure to register for Our Experiences On Four Different Ships.
For now, though, let’s get right to the burning questions on our readers’ minds. Read the rest of this entry »