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  • Krista Tovell

River Cruises and the Difference between them



In recent years there has been a rapid rise in the popularity of river cruises with an increased number of companies offering them. The most pressing priority is the complexities of matching your expectations with the most appropriate cruise brand and itinerary.


Before booking, most people always want to know:

  • the differences between cruise companies

  • the differences between the Danube and the Rhine

  • the quality of various ships' staterooms

  • the price variations

  • the type of onboard lecturers

  • and the cultural components of every trip


Unlike in the past when there were only a few selected river cruise companies, today there are many options to choose from and there is increased potential for matching your expectations with specific products and packages. The challenge is to find out your purpose or reason for taking a trip, and what the goal of the experience is. Today, travelers who book river cruises expect to be involved in immersive experiential trips. That is why the similarity of your interests and the cruise lines is important when considering which cruise line and itinerary best suit what you are looking for.


River Cruise companies have rich distinctions in ship designs, public spaces, culinary offers, entertainment, wellness experiences, and accommodations. One thing cruises share in common though is the application of psychographics to determine what kind of authentic experiences might appeal to active travelers.


Below are different river cruises and what sets them apart from one another. Largely, they all belong to the all-inclusive categories.


(information above is from Tauck and is based on 2016-2017 sailing)


Avalon Waterways runs cruises on the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Rhone, Seine, and Saone in Europe, the Amazon River, the Mekong in South East Asia, the Ganges in India, and the Yangtze in China. Lunches and dinners onboard are accompanied by wine and beer. Its Panorama Bistro provides small group reservations for up to 30 people. During fair weather, the guests can enjoy grilled lunches on the sky deck. Sliding wall-length glass doors allow for spectacular views while you are on your bed. Tea, coffee, and other non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary 24/7.


AmaWaterways is known to feature a lot of active time in each port of call. A giant in Luxury river cruising, the company offers amazing adventures along the Rhine, Seine, and Danube. It is a good option for exploring some of the most magnificent destinations in Europe. Happy Hour comes with complimentary cocktails while lunches and dinners are served with soft drinks, beer, and wine. All meals are a show of culinary excellence. In every port, complimentary short excursions are provided. Many staterooms feature twin balconies. And apart from offering pre-paid gratuities, airport transfers are provided if you purchase air through the company.


Viking River Cruises includes complimentary shore excursions in every port with additional optional excursions on every itinerary. Meals are served with drinks, but there are Silver Spirit beverage packages at an extra fee, making drinks all-inclusive. Explorer suites have laundry, stocked mini-bars, and room service. Airport transfers are included while other promotions offer shipboard credits or prepaid gratuities.


Other distinct cruises are the Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Crystal River Cruises, and Tauck River Cruises. Generally, cruises offer wellness programs, and some ships provide bikes, gyms, infinity pools plus many other serious fitness facilities. Healthy eating choices are plenty and varied.



For more information about this article, River Cruising, Ocean Cruising or Luxury Travel, please contact Kritsa Tovell at Tovell Travel.

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