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 »
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 »
I LOVE Backroads. What’s to love? The company layers its active adventures, primarily cycling, on top of cruises, both ocean and river. That layering provides the perfect adventure: You spend your days being active, exploring Europe the way many Europeans do, straddling a saddle. Your floating hotel is your oasis for rest and replenishment.
In 2016, I had what turned out to be one of the best trips I’ve had on the rivers, cycling with my son while cruising on AmaWaterways. Check out Backroads Bike Trips & River Boating: A Winning Combination For Active Travelers. Rinse and repeat. In 2019, we cruised Ponant and pedaled Croatia, a wonderful trip that I summed up 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 »
Seems that every time I host a cruise, I end up committing to hosting more. In 2022, I am now hosting a total of five trips. Three of those are sold-out barge trips that got pushed forward from 2019. Two, however, are brand new, and I am excited about both of these trips because they sail a couple of my favorite itineraries. 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 »
“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 »
I now know what it’s like to be a ping pong ball. Trips booked, then postponed, on again, off again, vaccine freedom, then Delta dread, governments imposing mandatory quarantines, then …
We were all set for our October 4, 2021 Crystal Debussy cruise on the Rhine. Flights booked, hotels booked. Ready. Set. Go. Not so fast. A month before our departure, in early September, the government of the Netherlands imposed new rules that required both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans to quarantine for 10 days. Crystal and other river cruise operators were left scratching their heads, along with those of us who had booked cruises departing from Amsterdam.
What to do? A 12-hour transit loophole provided a solution, a not-so-great one. The idea was that we would cancel our hotel rooms, reschedule our flights to arrive the day we were to step on Debussy and get the herring out of the Netherlands as quickly as possible – well, at least within 12 hours so as not to violate the quarantine requirement. Read the rest of this entry »
When AmaWaterways invited me to the Christening of AmaSiena, I said yes immediately. The prospect of going on a river cruise for the first time since the summer of 2019 excited me so much that I agreed to come on the trip without giving any of the details a second thought. But, as my cruise approached, I found myself questioning my decision to cruise during Covid: What happens if I test positive for Covid on board the ship? Do I need to pack anything extra? What do I need to do to be cleared to fly to the Netherlands and, on the way back, to the United States? And, most importantly, how will my cruise experience differ to the cruises I’ve taken in the past?
I realize that many of you are considering river cruises as well but traveling during the pandemic leaves you with similar questions, which I want to share with you how I prepared for my return to Europe. Read the rest of this entry »
Now that Viking Cruises has all of 8 ships plying the oceans of the world and an ever-expanding fleet of Expedition vessels, it’s worth remembering that the highly-rated cruise line started out on the Rivers of Europe all the way back in 1997. After what Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen describes in television commercials as a period like “a long, long Norwegian Winter” the line is back doing what it does so superbly: introducing its life-long learners to its “thinking man’s cruises” on Europe’s most fascinating rivers.
Who can forget Viking’s presence during American Public Television’s Masterpiece Theater? In the midst of watching the incredibly popular “Downton Abbey”, a longship would appear along with incomparable scenery and sights along the way. This writer confesses that this advertising that introduced Americans to river cruising in record numbers didn’t do justice to the experience to be had on Read the rest of this entry »
Bordeaux River Cruise Prices 2022 is part of a continuing series of comparison charts and articles featuring European River Cruises offered by world class river cruise lines. Our goal is to provide a True Per Diem for each cruise, or the daily cost breakdown of the trip once all extra fees are added to the cruise fare. Read the rest of this entry »
Douro River Cruise Prices 2022 is part of a continuing series of comparison charts and articles featuring European River Cruises offered by world class river cruise lines. Our goal is to provide a True Per Diem for each cruise, or the daily cost breakdown of the trip once all extra fees are added to the cruise fare. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »