Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Whilst you may not have heard of this much awarded company , you should certainly add it to yourroster of the best river cruise vessels in the world.
When you step on one of their vessels, you immediately start toappreciate the Uniworld difference. The concept is all aboutrecreating the feel of a small boutique hotel on board anall-inclusive river vessel, and every ship is different, personallydesigned by members of the Tollman family who own Uniworld’sparent, TravCorp.
If you’ve seen pictures of Uniworld’s ships then you’ll probablyhave been struck by the slightly garish interiors depicted in theofficial photography but in reality, the decor is a lot moresubtle than it appears in the oversaturated promo shots. Quirky,yes, but elegant and tasteful with it.
River Cruise Prices Are More Inclusive Than Ocean Cruise Prices
In 2011, Tauck became one of the first river lines to go all-inclusive, including beverages and tips. Others have followed suit, though “inclusive” doesn’t always mean that all extras are included. Some lines include port charges, gratuities and alcohol in their base fares others do not. Still, ocean cruisers will likely be surprised at what river cruise fares do include.
“The biggest difference between ocean and river cruising is that daily shore excursions are included,” says Richard Marnell, senior vice president of marketing for Viking. “You do not get nickeled and dimed once you are onboard. The vast majority of what you are going to do is paid for, so you can budget well in advance.”
Wine and beer included with dinner? Imagine that. Complimentary airport transfers? Free Wi-Fi? On river cruises, these are staples.
Just As With The Ocean Cruise Lines There Is A Strata Among Brands
In the popular European market, according to industry observers, Uniworld is the “luxury line,” followed closely in that top tier by Tauck, Scenic and AmaWaterways. Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises are considered contemporary mass-market, and Grand Circle, known for its high-quality program directors and older ships, has a reputation for being the most affordable.
Recommended Reading: Mobile Alabama Port Cruises
How To Choose The Right Boat For You
A river cruise is a great way to enjoy the beauty and history of Europe, but before you book your next trip be sure that there are enough activities on board for everyone.
Choosing the correct ship on your European River Cruise can be challenging.
You don’t want to get stuck with an unhappy group or without enough space for all of them, so it’s essential that before booking anything, there are specific questions answered about how many people will travel in each vessel and what their requirements might be.
In addition to the basics-like whether or not you have children and how important being able to step off a boat for a quick exploration of a town is you should also know what physical limitations might exist among your party.
Many cruise lines offer tours on their ships that require some strength, so if there are guests with disabilities who would like to travel on board, they’ll need to be made aware before booking. Once that’s done, it’s then time to find your perfect fit!
Don’t get stuck on a boat where there are too many people for you to enjoy the sights or activities. There are plenty of river cruises out there, so why not pick one that you’ll love?
Some ships only offer standard cabins, while others have more luxurious suites at higher prices. Your European River Cruise’s amenities will differ depending on which ship you choose, but most offer free Wi-Fi, pools, gourmet restaurants and bars, spas, and wellness and fitness centers.
Price Comparisons For River Cruises In Europe
Riverside Chat Video
|Click Between Amsterdam & Budapest Typically 14 days or longer and Includes the Rhine, Main, Main-Danube Canal & the Danube.|
|Click Bordeaux, Garonne & Dordogne rivers Ranges from four days to 12 days typically roundtrip Bordeaux.|
|Click Danube Christmas Markets Typically a weeklong between late November and end of December.|
|Click Danube River Typically weeklong cruises between Germany and Hungary, although cruises also run from Romania to Hungary or Austria.|
|Click Douro River Typically weeklong cruises roundtrip Porto with excursions to Salamanca, Spain.|
|Click Rhine River Typically weeklong cruises between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam.|
|Click Rhone & Saone rivers Typically weeklong cruises between Lyon and Arles.|
|Click Seine River Typically weeklong cruises from Paris, roundtrip, with visits to the Normandy landing beaches.|
I truly appreciate your unbiased advice. It’s difficult to find these days.
Don’t Miss: Cruise Ships With Solo Cabins
Europe River Cruise Highlights
Visit any number of beautiful and culturally rich cities on a European River Cruise: Amsterdam, Paris, Venice, Lyon, Berlin, Kiev, or Budapest. Art lovers must visit the Louvre and Musee d’Orsay in Paris, the Tate Modern in London, and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. History and architecture buffs will appreciate the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and the Prague National Theater. For those looking to stay active abroad, there are plenty of bike paths, kayaking opportunities and hikes like those in the foothills on the Swiss Alps to try.
How Are Tips Given On A River Cruise
Individual tour guides which are contracted on a day by day basis by your Cruise Director and coach drivers are generally given a small amount of cash on a daily basis if you would like to. As suggested a euro for the driver and 2-3 euros for the tour guide.
If you are a customer on a ship where the staff and cruise director are offered discretionary gratuities, then here is what happens. You will find an envelope in your cabin towards the end of the cruise. This will allow you to place cash into the unmarked envelope. The cash needs to be Euros. You can then place it in a box near reception. However, you will be given instructions at your disembarkation meeting as to how exactly the crew would like this done. Some river cruise lines have separate envelopes for the cruise director and then for the other staff. Sometimes this is because the Cruise Director is self employed.
Some vessels do allow you to add your discretionary amount by card to your account, but a definitive list is impossible.
Dont forget to download our river cruise comparison sheet, by clicking the image below, to see what each operator includes and help work out the relative costs for your chosen holiday.
If you need a little more personal advice on tipping on a river cruise, just give us a call!
Recommended Reading: Panama Canal Cruise Small Ships
What To Expect On A Christmas River Cruise
Whether you want to immerse yourself in the festive culture of Europe with visits to Christmas markets and traditional Christmas fayre, or escape Christmas altogether with a faraway winter escape, youll find just the Christmas river cruise for you with River Voyages.
Choose from seven-night river cruises, to voyages lasting two weeks or more. If youd like to get away for both Christmas and New Year, thats possible too. And what better way to bring in the New Year than by viewing a midnight firework display from the top deck of your river boat.
How Much Do Viking Cruises Cost
Originally a cruise line that focused solely on river cruises, Viking Cruises has now also conquered the ocean cruising market. In fact, it dominates both categories, overshadowing many of its competitors because of its sheer quality. We dont want to raise to trumpet of praise to much here, but its hard to ignore how well Viking does what it does. Now, we also know that you might be interested in going on a Viking Cruise, but you might be wondering how much a Viking Cruise costs.
Read Also: Laguardia Pizza Bayonne
Consider Opting For A French Balcony For More Space
I have been on river cruises where I had a regular balcony and on cruises where we had a French balcony. When you consider the square footage of a cabin, that number includes the space on the outdoor balcony, a space that is generally not available to you as living space. Whereas, with a French balcony, the sliding glass panel opens to give you fresh air and a great view without reducing living space. I now prefer the French balconies!
Active & Discovery Cruises
Everyone travels to see new things, but many travel to do new things as well. Avalon offers activities for travelers with varying interests and for all energy and fitness levels. From action-packed experiences and interactive discoveries, to traditional sightseeing, you can tailor a vacation to suit your interests and pace.
Also Check: Is Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Legit
Which River Cruise Companies Dont Include Any Tipping At All
The main river cruise companies which dont include gratuities are: Saga, Riviera, Amadeus, CroisiEurope and AmaWaterways. The operators recommended daily amount varies from around 5-15 a day per guest, to include the Cruise Manager and other staff. This does not include the local guides or coach drivers. Of course, gratuities are discretionary, dependent on service.
So, as an example, a 7 night holiday including seven tours on board an AmaWaterways vessel would cost, if guidelines were followed, 119 per passenger i.e. 15 a day for staff and cruise manager and then 2 a day between the coach driver and local guide. For Riviera Travel the recommended guidelines are slightly lower at 5-10 per guest per day, so 35 70 per guest for a 7 night cruise.
All operators will stress that gratuities are absolutely discretionary. They are generally collected in an envelope at the end of the cruise. You are therefore entirely free to make your own decisions, which may be above, or below the operators guidelines, depending on your experience.
How Many People Are In Your Group
Consider the size of your group when making a reservation. Groups of 10 or more can take advantage of discounted rates. When booked early enough, many cruise companies offer two-for-one pricing.
For larger groups, consider electing a leader to handle the planning. For adjacent rooms, its exceedingly important to book as early as possible. Share key dates and flight numbers with the remaining group members so everyone can plan additional accommodation accordingly.
Read Also: Is Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line Legit
What To Do On Your Cruise
There’s no shortage of things to see with unique destinations like Vienna, Budapest, and Bordeaux!
Your journey may begin onboard, where sommeliers welcome you before setting sail. Days unfold with city sightseeing, concerts, or hiking/cycling activities.
Dinner shows entertain those who want good old-fashioned entertainment after days spent exploring nature.
On a European River Cruise, guests can enjoy an array of fun and exciting activities.
The first morning starts with local fare from bakeries, where you’ll find exclusive pastries as well other delicious treats sure to please your cravings!
Then head up top for photographs against beautiful backgrounds like castles and museums. Then start your sightseeing. The afternoon is free to explore at leisure before settling down and returning to the ship. Dinner is served by experience servers and cooked by Michelin chefs, all while experiencing the delectable food the locals eat.
You can spend your evenings at local concert venues such as the city’s opera house or just a stroll along the outskirts of town.
Amazon River Cruise Prices
The Amazon, winding through Peru and Brazil, is the most expensive river in the world to cruise, in large measure due to the cost of getting there. The big takeaway for this river? When pricing the , it’s essential to do an apples-to-apples comparison. Lindblad and Avalon both charter small vessels that were built to navigate remote areas of the Amazon in Peru. These tours, especially in Lindblad’s case, will spend days on the river itself.
Some oceangoing passenger lines, including Regent Seven Seas and Oceania, offer itineraries in Brazil that are two weeks or longer and take in far more destinations than an Amazon-centric tour offered by lines like Aqua Expeditions or Avalon, but the latter offers a more immersive, “on-the-ground” style of travel.
The actual Amazon sailing experience itself is scant, with the region explored instead by way of shore excursions. Per-person, per-night fares are competitive, with Amazon River cruise fares starting as low as $416 — but don’t expect a European-style river cruise with days spend lazily drifting down the river.
Amazon cruises take place all year long, and there isn’t a lot of play in pricing when it comes to departures. The best way to snag savings: Look for Wave promotions at the start of a new year for both international airfares and cruise fares.
Don’t Miss: Best Time To Take An Alaska Cruise
Book Far In Advance Or Watch For Last
River cruises sell out much faster than ocean cruises, with some itineraries fully booked more than a year out. Sign up for email alerts and watch for promotions offering discounted fares for early bookings as much as 18 to 24 months in advance of a sailing there are some great deals.
Conversely, if you can be spontaneous and travel with just a few weeks notice, become a fare stalker since most companies are eager to fill ships by offering last-minute deals. A quick check in mid-May, for example, showed a special $1,587 per person fare for a five-night CroisiEurope cruise in Bordeaux, France in late May . Also available last-minute: CroisiEuropes five-night itineraries on the Rhine from Strasbourg in early June and four nights on the Seine from Normandy to Paris in July and August .
Is A European River Cruise Worth The Money
In a nutshell: yes, river cruises in Europe are worth their cost if your main concern is not the price tag itself but instead the value of what youre getting in return. Clearly this is not the cheapest possible way to travel around Europe you get good value, yes, but lets not beat around the bush here.
Also Check: What Cruise Lines Port In New Orleans
Some Popular Cruise Lines
5-Star all-Inclusive: Scenic
This line, which is out of Australia, has been around for a long while but is now marketing to the American Market. Scenic accepts 128 to 169 passengers aboard their Europe-based ships.
Scenic includes your own butler, gratuities, transfers, and all on-board beverages in the cruise rate. It also offers several dining options, complimentary Wi-Fi, personal GPS and electric bikes. There are always sales, but booking early is recommended.
4- Star: AMA Waterways
This line is American, based in California, but owned by pioneers in the River Cruise industry. AMA Waterways accepts 158-162 passengers aboard their Europe-based ships.
I have taken two AMA Waterways cruises and can highly recommend this line. The food is excellent, and the service is fabulous. Wine and beer are included at lunch and dinner. Look out for their sales they make their cruises very affordable.
4-star: Avalon Waterways
Part of the Globus family, Avalon has designed a new concept called panorama suites. Avalon accepts up to 168 passengers aboard. There are no outside balconies there is a wall of windows that open for a unique balcony experience.
Wine and beer are included at dinner. Avalon has great pricing and offers lots of sales and promotions.
4- star: Viking
Viking serves their own wines at meals, so I missed tasting wines from the regions we were visiting.
Budget River Cruise Tours In Europe Reviews
“We had some trouble because the level of the river was low, and so a lot of our tour…”
Festive Season on the Legendary Danube with 2 nights in Prague
“We read the Nicko cruise reviews regarding the German language predominance and made…”
8 days Cologne-Belgien-Holland-Cologne
“The boat and meals were excellent, the land tour to Arles should be in the day time…”
The Magic of the Provençal Rhône and the Camargue
“I was warned that Croisi was a budget cruise company, but I was pleasantly…”
The exceptional region of Bordeaux
Don’t Miss: Virginia Cruise Lines
The Lines Generally Recommend That Shoppers Check Out Their Websites And Then Consult Travel Agents
In many cases, the website will have a link to preferred travel agents within the shopper’s zip code. . “River cruising is still a relatively new concept,” notes Wesley Bosnic, senior vice president of Uniworld. “Consumers have a lot of questions.” A travel agent can point you toward the best river cruise fit for you and help you get the best price with the most value.
If you’ve got a specific destination in mind, here are some pricing tips for the most popular river cruise itineraries.
Choose A Cruise Company
Choosing a cruise line can be just as important as the river cruise route itself. When making a decision, consider the importance of extra features onboard, reviews, and overall price.
River cruises where the average age of passengers is over 50 include APT, Avalon Waterways, Scenic, Tauck, Travelmarvel, Uniworld, Viking River Cruises.
The most prominent names in the European river cruising industry present the best-of commodities in their class. Some include:
- Crystal River Cruises: The premier luxury option with Michelin-inspired cuisine, lavish staterooms, and an impressive crew-to-passenger ratio.
- Uniworld River Cruises: One of the longest standing cruise lines, youll find Europes old-world style aboard these extravagant cruise ships.
- Tauck River Cruises: Leveraging private relationships, expect best-of excursions with the Tauk brand.
- AmaWaterways: The guest experience takes precedence on this fleet of 23 ships. Expect fine food and a complimentary cocktail hour.
- Viking River Cruises: Vikings key feature is its reasonable prices. The ship avoids excessive amenities to offer accessible river cruise travel for every budget.
Recommended Reading: Cruises Out Of Norfolk Va