On the heels of AmaWaterways’ beautiful AmaDahlia celebrating the close of her first season on Egypt’s legendary Nile River last week, the company announced it will launch a second ship in Egypt. The second ship, named AmaLilia, after the sacred blue water lily flower of ancient Egypt, will set sail in 2024 to meet the growing demand for this exotic offering.
Like AmaDahlia, AmaLilia will sail the immersive Secrets of Egypt & Nile itinerary, offering an unparalleled 11-night cruise and land experience including a seven-night roundtrip river cruise from Luxor, paired with three nights pre- and one-night post-cruise stays in historic Cairo. Similar to her sister ship, AmaLilia will be thoughtfully designed with regionally inspired décor, spacious staterooms and suites, and a specialty restaurant included in the river cruise fare.
Check out the AmaDahlia photo gallery below. Photos courtesy of AmaWaterways. Read the rest of this entry »
Britton and her grandmother are cruising the Rhone on Emerald Liberte. They are guests of Emerald Cruisers for the purposes of this review. Britton has been sending updates of her trip as they cruise along. She’ll have a more detailed report when she returns home.
Saturday, June 4, 2022
Day one of the journey. How exciting! I have to admit, the airport was not easy. This is a busy time of year, and it is normal to expect delays and cancelations. In fact, some of our fellow passengers didn’t make it to the boat until late in the evening, and some even arrived the following day. Read the rest of this entry »
It has been a dream of mine to take my grandmother, GG, on a river cruise for quite some time. My dreams were put on hold as an array of scheduling issues and a little thing called COVID plagued the travel industry. After months of planning, I was able to deliver the most exciting news to my grandmother in March: “GG! We’re going to Germany.”
The plan was simple. GG and I would fly to Frankfurt to experience one of Emerald Cruises’ Moselle river cruises. I was excited to cruise the Moselle, as it has been dubbed Europe’s most beautiful river by my father. Unfortunately, the trip wasn’t as easy to execute as I had initially thought…
Not minutes after I hung up the phone inviting GG to join me in Germany, she started packing her bags. My grandmother is a very prepared woman. Some joke that I was born with a clipboard in my hand. If that’s the case, then GG was born with a daily planner, calendar, checklists (yes, more than one), a rolodex, an Excel Spreadsheet, and a filing cabinet in hers Read the rest of this entry »
Riviera River Cruises is offering a $1,000 per person discount on the majority of its departures in Europe through October 2022.
“We launched our marketing in North America just five years ago and gained a lot of momentum with our travel advisor partners before COVID-19 arrived, with their clients returning from cruises very satisfied,” said Marilyn Conroy, RivieraRiver Cruises’ Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing North America. “Now that cruising has resumed and we look to build on that momentum, we’ve decided to offer a discount that’s more generous than any we’ve offered before – about 30 percent off, on average – so as many travelers as possible can try us this year. We firmly believe they’ll return again and again, and spread the word among family and friends Read the rest of this entry »
AmaWaterways extended its Portugal river cruise sailings through the Winter Holiday Season this week, for the first time, adding 14 new round-trip sailings in Portugal on the AmaDouro.
It’s a sign of how strong the interest in Europe river cruises is running this year, says chief marketing officer Janet Bava.
“We saw a huge influx in demand for Europe with the loosening of travel guidelines, and very quickly got a lot of demand for the western side of Europe. We were completely sold out for Portugal,” she told TRO at Seatrade Cruise Global last week. “But our travel partners were still calling us—so we said why not extend the season, especially since Portugal tends to have warmer weather, and go ahead and help travel advisors generate some extra commission for 2022.”
While Ama is the first river cruise line to extend Douro sailings through December 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 checked in with the two this morning to ask how they were feeling, they replied, ”Generally okay, symptoms similar to a cold, some coughing, sinus draining, slight elevated body temps.” Read the rest of this entry »
The best evidence that the cruise market is in flux and subject to wild changes is that Douglas Ward’s Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships hasn’t been updated since 2020. The Berlitz Guide used to sit on most travel agents’ desks. For 35 years, it could be counted on to give clients a two-page summary of every vessel promoted to clients by American travel advisors. It was more than a mere directory. The 754-pages of the 2020 edition rated the accommodations, cuisine, and service on each ship. It was the final word on ship statistics, so that passenger space ratios, passenger crew ratios, and tonnage could be reliably compared.
In my 2019 Amazon book, How to Plan Your Next & BEST Cruise: Secrets of Selecting Cruises, Ships & Destinations, I used Douglas Ward’s data in every chapter to show readers how to move beyond the ads and hype, and to make viable comparisons among cruise ships they were considering. Read the rest of this entry »
Exceptional Demand Leads Luxury River Cruise Line to Add Additional Opportunities for Guests to Experience the Beauty of Portugal
Luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways today announced that it has extended its 2022 and 2023 Portugal river cruising season with 14 additional sailings round trip from Porto onboard AmaDouro. With cruises available through the end of December, guests now have the opportunity to experience the joys of this popular destination in the early winter season with temperate weather, fewer crowds, and charming Christmas markets, complemented by stunning landscape and delectable food and wine tasting experiences.
“Full of rich culture, inspiring architecture, and enticing cuisine, our Portugal sailings have always been extremely popular. This demand inspired us to extend both our 2022 and 2023 season until the end of December, giving guests another reason to travel and experience all that Portugal has to offer during this special time of year,” said Kristin Karst, co-founder and executive vice president of AmaWaterways. “The extended season opens up a new opportunity for our travel partners to reserve groups to visit Portugal’s festive Christmas markets, delightful vineyards, and historic sites during this quieter period!”
Sailing onboard the spectacular AmaDouro, the extension of the 2022 and 2023 season in Portugal includes additional dates for AmaWaterways’ Enticing Douro itinerary – a seven-night roundtrip from Porto river cruise along the Douro River Valley. Throughout the itinerary, guests will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in authentic cultural experiences with a variety of included small-group shore excursions, such as:
- A visit to the tranquil village of Entre-os-Rios where they will enjoy a traditional Portuguese lunch at a local Quinta (a country estate)
- A step back in time as they stroll through the historical city of Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- A guided hike of Porto, followed by a tasting of Port, Portugal’s most renowned contribution to the world of wine
Portugal is known for its mild winters that make it a magical destination during the pre-Christmas period. Those wishing to extend their time in the destination can add three nights in Lisbon pre-cruise, including a tour of the city and a morning excursion to Serra de Sintra, one of the loveliest mountain villages in Portugal. Guests will enjoy the temperate climate as they stroll through Lisbon and Porto’s intimate Christmas markets, where they will find charming handmade gifts and festive treats.
Travelers interested in experiencing AmaWaterways’ extended Portugal season from November 12 to December 31 during the 2022 season can take advantage of the More to Love sale. Guests who book their Portugal sailings for this year by June 30, 2022 will enjoy a comprehensive package complete with a 7-night river cruise in a French balcony stateroom, round-trip airfare, transfers, a 3-night pre-cruise land package in Lisbon, port charges, and Travel Waiver Plus starting at $5,999 USD* per person. With this special sale, guests can enjoy extended time in Portugal with a comprehensive, peace-of-mind package.
For more information or to book an AmaWaterways river cruise for a client, visit AmaWaterways.com or call 1.800.626.0126. Follow AmaWaterways on Facebook at Facebook.com/AmaWaterways, Instagram @AmaWaterways, Twitter @AmaWaterways, and YouTube at YouTube.com/AmaWaterways.
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 »
Looking for extra income or just something to do while business was slow, travel advisors have expanded beyond their usual routines into new avenues—both inside the business and out.
At My Path Unwinding Travel in Waxhaw, NC, for example, Karen Shelton noticed that 11 of the 12 customers in her Disney Wonder group had booked suites—and decided to promote an all-suite group on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas for the first time, so customers can compare the two.
“I’m super excited about this,” says Shelton, whose specialty has traditionally been Disney concierge-level suites. “I booked the Royal Suite for myself and got the ball rolling.”
The numbers are still coming in, she says 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 »
As a veteran of more than 40 international cruises, I used to turn up my nose whenever someone suggested that I sail from domestic ports. The only exceptions I ever made were a cruise to Iceland from New York City; a repositioning cruise to Japan that left from Seattle; one to South America that departed from Los Angeles; and two from Miami that sailed to Europe.
I reasoned that, if I was going to kill a night flying from LAX to a departure port and have an after-dinner drink and a Zolpidem tablet after dessert, I could just as easily wake up in Europe, Asia, or Australia as on the east coast of the US. Honestly, you don’t notice the difference—especially if you fly Business or Premium Economy.
After having two international jaunts canceled last year, and considering the possibility of the military crises in Europe broadening before I could sail again, I rethought these views. I booked a Fall Foliage Cruise from NYC to New England, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Montreal for a client and us. It’s only 12 nights, but with overnight stays in NYC and Montreal, the trip will be nearly the Read the rest of this entry »
Onboard Viking Radgrid on the Seine — Monet’s Garden is not yet open and the cherry blossoms are just beginning to bloom. Even so, all of us in attendance were thrilled to kick off this year’s river cruise season in Europe, at the official Naming Ceremony of eight new Viking longships.
The actual ceremony was a joyful reunion of travel writers, travel advisors, Viking executives and Edelman PR folks, many of whom have not seen each other since 2020, when Viking decided not to launch these ships at all. Two years and five days later, we arrived on the very day France lifted most of its Covid restrictions, including pre-arrival testing for vaccinated travelers and masking at indoor venues.
Back then, Hagen noted, Viking had 10,000 employees, $3 billion in revenue and an annual 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 »
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 »
“Keep calm and visit Ukraine,” says one travel insurance supplier’s recent marketing campaign, in a tone-deaf call for travel advisors to become evangelists for travel to Ukraine (Visit Ukraine – INFORMATION PAGE FOR FOREIGN TOURISTS).
And indeed, travel advisors report that many clients are holding steady on their planned cruises and FITs in the region, if not to Ukraine itself. Still, though, as final payments come due, politics and the drumbeat of military operations are beginning to take a toll.
“I sell cruises only, and I’m a top producer for Virtuoso, so I have lots of people going to that region—and surprisingly few have canceled,” says Linda Speer of Cruises by Linda in Harrison, AR. “Still, I have a group of seven cabins booked on a Baltic cruise in September that’s looking instead for something to do domestically. Between omicron and this Ukraine business, it was just too much uncertainty.”
Of course, that’s something Speer has gotten used to of late Read the rest of this entry »
When the curtain comes down on the 2022-2023 cruise season, the two most influential cruises lines for the rest of the decade may be Azamara and American Cruise Lines. Azamara has been leading the charge towards port-intensive cruising, and American Cruise Lines is introducing a dozen new ships that may change cruising forever.
Azamara’s Port-Intensive Cruising Experiences
Even when owned by Royal Caribbean, what set Azamara apart from the other premium ship brands was its emphasis on what it called “port-intensive cruising.” This means scheduling one or more overnight stops in nearly all their cruises. By typically scheduling at least 36 hours ashore for these intensive port stops, guests can often schedule as many as five 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 »
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 »