Springtime is a beautiful time to take a river cruise in Europe. I just took a river cruise in Asia and really enjoyed the service, luxury and balance of activities and leisure time. Just like an ocean cruise, a luxury river cruise allows me to unpack once and enjoy a beautiful hotel, that travels with me.
In addition to seeing the countryside in luxurious surroundings, the smaller size of most river cruises allow for more personal experiences with real locals, rather than just the standard tourist destinations. Here are three great Springtime European river cruises offered by AmaWaterways:
Tulip Time Cruise
For travelers seeking the rainbow of Springtime color offered by Holland’s fields of flowers, a Tulip Time cruise is the ultimate celebration of the end of Winter. The cruise includes a number of cheese tastings, including eating edam in the city of Edam, as well as art tours in the the various stops. This eight-day cruise starts and ends in Amsterdam, after circulating throughout the Netherlands and its intricate canal system. The cruise visits some of my favorite medieval cities in Europe: Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp. Prices start at $2,499 per person, double occupancy.
For a different experience, I would recommend a cruise behind the former Iron Curtain exploring Moscow and St. Petersburg with stops in between. The Russian Waterways cruise starts in Moscow and heads north to the Golden Ring cities, continuing on the Volga-Baltic canals, even crossing Europe’s largest lakes. Four full days in St. Petersburg and the surrounding area allow guests to really explore the region. Prices start at $3,299 per person, double occupancy.
Vineyards of the Rhine and Mosel
Instead of taking a wine cruise in France, why not explore the wine producing regions of the Rhine and Mosel rivers in Germany. Starting with a few days in Paris, travelers then take the TGV high-speed train to Luxembourg, to begin an 11-day river cruise journey into villages and vineyards. Visits and wine-tastings in Bernkastel, Cochem, Koblenz, Mainz and Cologne, with a final destination of Amsterdam. The cruise includes lectures and other wine educational experiences. Complimentary bicycles and bicycle tours are available in each destination. Prices start at $3,299 per person, double occupancy.
Cruising with AmaWaterways
Although I haven’t cruised in Europe with them, I have cruised in Asia with AmaWaterways and found the experience wonderful, from the moment we set sail. First thing I noticed was the quality of the ship, much nicer than the mass-produced cabins I see on regular cruise ships. The decks and cabins featured real wood construction, solid brass fixtures and just had a real upscale feel. The cruises are all-inclusive, with excursions included, as well as three meals per day, including beverages. Beer and wine are included with lunch and dinner. I found the food exceptional, with a mix of local and “American” selections always available. The crew was very attentive, with a high staff-to-guest ratio, and the tour manager and tour guides were all very knowledgeable and spoke good English.
Freddy Sherman is a world traveler and editor of the travel blog travel4people.com. In the past six months, he has visited Turkey, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia and Canada and just returned from Peru. You can follow him on Twitter @thefredsherman
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