International: River Cruises

April 24, 2014

river cruises

Some brides- and grooms-to-be want a honeymoon option that is “off the beaten path”… and what could be more unique than a romantic river cruise through the heart of Europe, floating peacefully down the majestic Nile, or across the horizons of Asia? Many overlook the beauty and benefits of a river cruise while planning their honeymoon. 

A river cruise lets you explore far-off lands with all the comforts of home, as you discover many amazing destinations within one itinerary. Spacious staterooms with expansive riverscape views offer elegant accommodations, like a 5-star floating hotel. Don’t worry about getting seasick – the ships float along the rivers so smoothly, you will barely realize you are moving.

You can embrace intriguing cultures all over the world, led by expert tour guides. Enjoy a local musical group’s performance after dinner on the ship. Participate in a local wine tasting. Eat at some of the finest restaurants across the globe. Meet new friends as you explore the shoreline with other couples from all over the world. Expand your horizons… and you only have to unpack your suitcase once!

River cruise ships are small and intimate, sometimes with as few as 32 passengers onboard. They are small enough to dock in ports where larger cruise ships could never come close. Every stateroom cabin has a large unobstructed window or balcony view of the passing beautiful countryside and city skylines. You will not find the bright lights and loud bells of a casino or big theater productions onboard, but you can take in an enlightening lecture on your luxurious ship as you glide down the river. Many passengers revel in the most personal service and attention from the distinguished crew and staff; the ratio is usually about 1 staff member to every 2-3 guests.

Typically, the price you pay upfront for a river cruise is inclusive of almost everything involved in your trip – port charges, WiFi access, fine dining meals from award-winning chefs (on-board and some on-shore), engaging lectures, activities and shore excursions, as well as hotel accommodations on cruisetour itineraries. Some cruise lines, like Viking River Cruises, even include airfare from main airport hubs within the United States in their package pricing.

Wine and food enthusiasts can delight in the dining options offered onboard and at each of your ship’s destinations. You will never go hungry with every meal provided by the cruise line, as well as snacks and beverages. You can also venture off on your own when you leave the ship and visit the quaint cafés and local gems of the cities and villages along the river’s route. Viking’s Chateaux, Rivers & Wine cruise visits the centuries-old vineyards along the Atlantic coast of France. The city of Bordeaux invites you to savor its cozy cafes and excellent museums, while feasting on oysters, truffles and cognac (and of course, a few glasses of the area’s namesake wines!) If white wines are more your style, embark on Viking’s Cities of Lights cruise. Share a kiss at the top of the Eiffel Tower or under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Explore castles and fortresses in Luxembourg. Enjoy the fine Rieslings of the Rhine and Moselle River valleys of Germany. Take in the majestic beauty of Gothic churches throughout Bavaria and charming small villages along the way. Stroll through Prague, the historic and enchanting capital of the Czech Republic, and admire over 1000 years of architecture, from classical to rococo.

Has the ancient historian in you always wanted to walk the Pathway of the Pharaohs? Viking has an itinerary that leads you down the mighty Nile River in Egypt, with stops at the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Great Sphinx. You can visit the Egyptian capital city of Cairo, the most populous city in Africa, and wander through the museums and temples at Luxor.

For the ultimate in luxury river cruising, set sail with Avalon Waterways, where ”included” is the name of the game. VIP access into the must-see tourist sites. Your choice of enriching shore excursions, led by certified local guides. Sparkling wines with breakfast, regional beers and wines at every onboard dinner, even unlimited lattes and premium coffees.

Avalon is one of the few river cruise lines to offer trips in South America. Meander through the jungles along the mighty Amazon River, where it originates in Peru, with optional tour excursions to Machu Picchu and the Nazca Lines. Take note, nature lovers: they also sail through the Galapagos Islands, where you can encounter giant tortoises, penguins, sea lions, and many species of birds.

To make a honeymoon even more enchanting, consider a Danube Holiday Markets river cruise with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection during the Christmas season. The spirit of Christmas beautifully lights up the streets of Budapest, Bratislava, Salzburg, Passau, and Vienna. Pick up the perfect souvenir to remember your honeymoon as you and your true love walk hand-in-hand through the glimmering marketplaces.

For lovers of a more adventurous, expedition-style cruise, Uniworld gives travelers an authentic taste of the cultural contrast between bustling Vietnam and tranquil Cambodia. Get an up-close view of the great Mekong River that unites these two mystical countries. Receive a water blessing from local monks and ride a rickshaw through the wide boulevards of Phnom Pehn. Experience the ancient and modern, rural and urban, forested mountains and fertile plains. From floating villages and river markets and the UNESCO-designated Angkor Wat temples to the vibrant Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, discover the sights, sounds, and tastes of two countries joined by one river.

No matter where you want to go in the world, and how fast-paced or relaxed you want your travel schedule to be, there is always an option for you. Customize your trip to be exactly what you are dreaming of for your romantic honeymoon. You can best find – and finalize – all available options with the assistance of a travel agent, who can offer their first-hand knowledge and experience to help you craft a trip-of-a-lifetime, while working within your budget.

 

<em><a href=”http://www.hoppetravel.com” target=”_blank”>Lisa Hoppe Travel Consulting</a> has been providing travel services to thousands of satisfied clients since 1991. They are a regular contributor to Premier Bride on honeymoon and destination wedding topics.</em>

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