River Cruises – Journeys of Exploration

Have you already taken a cruise and are looking for something different? Consider a river cruise.

With roughly 70% of the earth being water, there are many places to visit by boat or ship. Let your mind wander and imagine for a moment the cruise of your dreams.  My dream takes place in the Netherlands and visits the country of my ancestors and also will tour the Keukenhof Gardens during tulip time in spring. 

When most people think of cruising, however, they think of a larger ship traveling to several tropical islands in the Caribbean, or visiting Alaska or perhaps Europe while visiting major cities and ports. If you have already sailed aboard a cruise ship or want a different type of cruise experience, consider taking a river cruise. Picture the perfect ship leisurely cruising rivers in Europe, Russia, Asia or even South America.  Envision visiting captivating places while having personalized service surrounded in luxury in an elegant atmosphere.

River cruise ships have a smaller passenger capacity than larger ships, 130-230 passengers versus 2,500-6,000. The staterooms are larger, afford a glorious view of the landscape and offer impeccable style and comfort to every passenger.  With fewer passengers on board, the staff and crew can provide more personalized service; remember your name and even your favorite beverage.  The waters are calm (no rough seas) and the pace is relaxing.  River cruises offer more added perks like wine, beer and soda at meals, hosted shore excursions, transfers on arrival and departure days, and even more. While perks may vary from specific river cruise lines, these are generally added inclusions.

Since the ports of call are right along the river, you are literally steps away from fascinating places!  No tendering and waiting for 3000+ passengers to disembark.  Each person has the flexibility to choose an excursion that fits their pace and style or to explore on their own, maybe on bikes or just walking at their own pace.  River cruises are the perfect opportunity to delve into a region’s music, cuisine, landscapes, folk culture and history.  There are a variety of itineraries to please a vast number of interests from history buffs, gardeners, food and wine aficionados, to art and music lovers.  There are also theme cruises available.  Additionally, river cruises are a wonderful place to meet new people from all over the world. 

Many of the major river cruise companies are just rolling out their 2014 itineraries and running terrific deals for people who book their 2014 river cruise between February and April 2013. You may be thinking,” 2014 already?”!  I recently attended a seminar and was told that over 70-80% of their ships are already filled for 2013!  If there is a special destination on your travel bucket list, now is the time to start planning for that journey of a lifetime! 

 “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the tradewinds in your sails.  Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain

Enjoy the journey! 

I am open to suggestions for future blogs on travel related topics!  Please send your ideas to journeysbykaren@yahoo.com


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