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 »
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 »
With river cruising abroad resuming, many of us have plans to travel to Europe in the coming months. One vexing issue, particularly for those of us from North America, is how to obtain the European Union Covid Certificate, which effectively provides freedom of mobility while in Europe. While, yes, anecdotally, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control vaccination card can suffice in some cases, assuming that you’re fully vaccinated (which in France includes the booster), the paper card is not guaranteed to work when stepping off an international flight in Paris, for example, and hoping to catch the train to the Strasbourg or Bordeaux. From our understanding, doing such will likely require the QR codes representing the Read the rest of this entry »
Before getting into the meat of this article, I would like to take a moment to praise CroisiEurope. Here’s five reasons why I think the Strasbourg-based company is an exceptional cruise operator.
1. CroisiEurope has been in business for a long time, and it’s a family-owned and operated business, founded in 1976. The company has a heart and it’s here to stay in our opinion. Have a read about the company’s origins in my post, River Cruising’s Unlikeliest Pioneer: In Strasbourg, Where River Cruising Changed Course
2. CroisiEurope gets high praise from our readers. In the comments section of my story, The Only Two Americans On Board: CroisiEurope New Year’s Cruise In Provence, one reader wrote: The food is five star, which keeps us coming back. There is unlimited wine served at dinner with bottles of red, white and rose on the table. The bar is open after breakfast and included with no charges except for some Champagne and brandies. We have never gotten a liquor bill at the end of our trip. The prices are reasonable for what you get for your money spent. I highly recommend Croisi. 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 »
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 »