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Top 5 River Cruise Questions

Viking Prestige

I’ve been assisting travelers with river cruises for nearly 10 years now. Here are the most popular questions I get asked:

First up – “How do I get the best deal on a river cruise?”

Early booking usually offers the best discounts and promotions. By early, I mean at least 9 months to nearly 1.5 years out. Some cruise lines run what I call a ‘deceptive marketing strategy’, so beware. If you see, “2 for 1” pricing and such…just know that’s really not true. You really have to compare the ending price for everything you need with each cruise offer. Mark my words, if they offer “FREE AIR” or “FREE” anything…it’s not really free, it’s just worked into the pricing. This is where our shopping skills come into play and many times we can offer things not available to the public. Did you figure that into your value?

2. Why should I go through you instead of booking online myself?

Chances are, you have researched a little about river cruising already. Does that mean you are an expert? No, just better informed. We are CERTIFIED by the cruise lines themselves in their brands. We know the cruise lines, the ships, the differences, the itineraries, the rivers, the inclusions, the ports, the tours and much more. We’ve been on the different rivers and cruise lines ourselves. We are not ‘middlemen.’ We do not charge you for our services, the cruise lines pay us. You win! You get our experience, training, and assistance at no extra cost. In fact, we will very likely SAVE YOU MONEY! (and a lot of headaches) A river cruise is a big investment, don’t throw your money up for chance and hope things work out in your favor.

3. What is the best time of year to river cruise?

That depends on your interests and a few other things. Do you like cooler weather or do you like it hot? Popular options for warm weather will surely be summer months in both Europe and the USA. Do you like better value? Do you like cooler weather? Maybe a Spring or Autumn cruise is best for you. Pricing is down in the ‘shoulder’ seasons and the weather is a bit cooler as well. Crowds start to thin out as well. And, of course you can visit the world-famous Christmas Markets in the winter. (think Germany/Austria and the like) So, depending on your likes…seasonal changes can make a big difference on what you see and how warm the weather will be.

4. Do I need a passport or visa to river cruise?

It depends on where you were born and what country you are visiting. For most US citizens, you will simply need a valid passport in countries like Germany, France, Hungary, Austria, The Netherlands. If you cruise in Vietnam, China or Russia you will likely need visas as well. No worries, we assist you with these things to assure things go smoothly and you have the proper documentation to travel. Remember, you can river cruise in the USA without a passport or visa if you are a citizen of the USA!

5. What are the most popular places to river cruise?

The Danube River through Germany, Austria and Hungary is about the most popular. Usually between Nuremberg, Germany and Budapest, Hungary for equal parts beautiful vineyards, ancient cities and multiple countries. You can also do the Eastern Europe run from Budapest to Bucharest on the same river.

The Rhine River is also very popular, between Amsterdam and down into Basel, Switzerland. These cruises will start in either of those cities and cruise through The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. Many castles in the Rhine Gorge to see and the river cruises into the Black Forest.

France has a few popular options, with Paris/Normandy itineraries on The Seine River, as well as both South of France rivers and even in the Western Bordeaux region. Military buffs will love the northern route to Normandy to see the beaches and cemeteries while wine aficionados will love the other regions. Foodies, head to the South of France for the best in cuisine.

U.S.A has some great options on The Mississippi River with many options on rivers to the East. In the Western USA, you can cruise the beautiful Columbia River on the Washington/Oregon border through the fantastic Columbia River Gorge. You can cruise on new-build, modern ships or cruise replicas of the days gone by on a paddlewheeler or steamboat! I’ve done them both and they are very unique. Some theme cruises are wine-focused, where they visit the many vineyards in the area or history-focused showcasing the days gone by.

River Cruise Guru
Contact me today! pete@rivercruiseguru.com

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

Certified River Cruise Specialist

RiverCruiseGuru.com

Contact: pete@rivercruiseguru.com

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AmaWaterways building Europe's largest river cruise ship

The AmaMagna, will be the same length, height and draft as the line’s other vessels, but at 22 meters it will be twice as wide, allowing for larger cabins — most about 300 square feet — with a capacity for 194 passengers (40 more than Crystal Mozart).

Its width also means it will be the only ship docked in ports that allow two-deep berthing.

The new ship will feature ocean-style cabins, multiple dining venues (including outdoor dining), an elevator that goes all the way to the top of the ship, a heated top-deck pool and hot tub with bar, expanded entertainment and spa offerings and a water sports platform with zodiacs, canoes and other recreational equipment.

A model of the AmaMagna, a ship that will be twice as wide a current ships. Photo Credit: Jeri Clausing

The ship will be green, using propulsion that’s a hybrid of diesel and electric engines. In total, there will be 10 small engines, with just four used for propulsion. If more power is needed, electric ones will be used.

Construction began on March 6 at Vahali’s headquarters in Belgrade, Serbia. When the hull is completed, the vessel will be finished at the company’s facility in Holland. Because its size will prohibit it from being towed directly to Holland by tugboat, it will instead be taken by freighter via the Black Sea.

Pete Larson, CTC, LS, DS

Certified River Cruise Specialist

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

218.779.3050

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Emerald Waterways New River Ships

The fifth in the Emerald Waterways’ Star Ship fleet, the 186-guest Emerald Destiny includes the line’s indoor balcony in most cabins, complete with decked area and an open-air system as well as a swimming pool and cinema on the ship’s aft. It is one of three Emerald Star Ships to be launched this year, bringing the total fleet to seven. Emerald Liberté, which will sail the Saône and Rhône rivers in France, will launch in April. The Liberté can host 138 guests and offers all the same amenities as the Destiny, including the swimming pool and cinema. Emerald Radiance, which carries only 112 passengers, will traverse Portugal’s Douro River and will launch in May.

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Here is Pete “River Cruise Guru” onboard Emerald Star on the Danube River

Contact Pete today for free assistance with your river cruise!

  • Pete Larson, CTC, LS, DS
  • Certified River Cruise Specialist
  • www.RiverCruiseGuru.com
  • Email:  pete@rivercruiseguru.com
  • Call:  1-218-779-3050

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Meet Crystal River Cruises

Highlights of the newest river cruising brand, Crystal River Cruises

crystalmozart

Overview

From the regal cities of Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest, Frankfurt, Paris, Bordeaux and Basel, explore the Danube, Rhine, Main, Moselle, Seine, Garonne and Dordogne rivers on Crystal River Cruises with gorgeous, ever-changing panoramas of enchanting villages and lush landscapes. In-depth explorations and overnight stays in the heart of Europe’s cities and towns provide a vibrant and memorable experience.

The hallmarks of the Crystal brand – service, space, quality and choices – usher in a new era in European river exploration with Crystal River Yachts. With its signature All-Inclusive philosophy, Crystal offers an encompassing luxury experience: butler service for every suite; six-star service and truly exceptional food; unique Crystal Adventures that deliver memorable destination experiences – all working in synch to transpose the World’s Best Ocean Cruising to the World’s Best River Cruising. Crystal will redefine luxury river cruising.

All-Inclusive Crystal River Cruises

Complimentary All-Inclusive Luxuries aboard Crystal River Cruises

  • Gratuities included for all shipboard staff throughout the River Yacht including housekeeping, bar, dining staff and butlers.
  • All meals included, featuring Crystal’s innovative and acclaimed six-star cuisine, highlighted by regional specialties
  • Unlimited soft drinks and premium beverages including champagne, fine wine and spirits throughout the River Yacht
  • All soft drinks, beer and bottled water in-suite
  • 24-hour self-service pantry featuring specialty coffees, teas, wines and nonalcoholic beverages
  • 24-hour room service
  • 24-hour Wi-Fi access (via satellite) including free Wi-Fi/Internet usage of 60 minutes per person, per day.
  • State-of-the-art interactive TV system including in-suite movies on demand, extensive music library
  • Complimentary airport transfers to/from river yacht to airport. All transfers will be group transfers by motor coach on embarkation and debark days only:

– Airport/River Yacht – Transfers will operate between 8am and 6pm on embarkation day. Actual service times may  vary depending on local traffic conditions and guests’ arrival schedules.
– River Yacht /Airport – Transfers will operate until at least 12 noon on the day of disembarkation. Actual service times may vary depending on local traffic conditions and guests’ departure schedules.

Onboard entertainment and enrichment programs

  • Destination-focused entertainment and enrichment program, including onboard lecture series
  • Destination expert on each voyage
  • Regional affairs experts on many voyages
  • Daily yoga and fitness classes
  • Daily choice of electronic international newspapers
  • Self-service guest laundry
  • Choice of complimentary curated Crystal Adventures shore excursions in every port
  • Complimentary culinary experience at highly renowned local establishments on many sailings
  • Complimentary Nordic walking poles
  • Complimentary audio headphones on all organized Crystal Adventures

Dining

  • A la carte, buffet and early risers breakfast offerings
  • Multiple dining venues
  • Open seating dining
  • Crystal Casual dress code
  • European sourced and trained chefs and hotel staff

Shipboard Public Spaces

  • Hydraulic Sun-Deck Bar
  • Fitness Center with state-of-the-art TechnoGym equipment and dedicated yoga area
  • Massage services
  • Library
  • Non-smoking environment in all indoor spaces (Except Connoisseur Club on Crystal Mozart)
  • Onboard currency exchange – shipboard currency Euros

Suites

  • Twice daily housekeeping services including evening turndown service
  • In-suite hors d’oeuvres
  • Individual climate control
  • Flat-screen TV in each suite
  • English-speaking and international TV stations
  • Butler service for each suite

Contact River Cruise Guru today for more information and COMPLIMENTARY ASSISTANCE! No booking fees, lowest price possible. We are with you every step of the way.

River Cruises are my Specialty!

CERTIFIED RIVER CRUISE SPECIALIST!

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

Pete Larson, CTC, DS, LS

218-779-3050

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

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Brought to you by RIVER CRUISE GURU www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

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River Cruising Europe

Why should I go on a river cruise?

European river cruising is the fastest growing segment of the travel industry, and here’s why. The itineraries pack as many as four countries into a 7 night cruise, with a chance to wake up somewhere new each day. How cool is that?

Scenic Crystal 2012

Over the past three years, more than fifty new river vessels have taken to the water, with around twenty more due this year. The season runs from March to December– with special Christmas Market and New Year’s departures. You can find many theme cruises as well, from wine and art to history and beer. Holiday market cruises are spectacular, as you can visit the famous markets, sip Gluhwein and shop in the brisk but festive atmosphere.

With spectacular scenery, charming villages and cities such as Amsterdam, Cologne, Nuremberg, Vienna and Budapest, it’s easy to see why the Rhine, Main and Danube attract the highest number of cruisers. Other popular rivers include the Seine, where ships are based in Paris and cruise to Normandy, and the Rhône, for trips through Provence between Lyon and Arles. Or you can cruise the Elbe from Berlin to Prague, the Moselle through Germany’s wine-growing heartland, Italy’s Po or Portugal’s Douro. There are many options to fit the discerning traveler. One of my favorites is the Moselle (or Mosel) as pictured below. I stood in a castle when I took this picture!

Cochem, Germany - Copyright River Cruise Guru
Cochem, Germany – Copyright River Cruise Guru

The size of European river cruise vessels is limited by low bridges and narrow locks, so compared with ocean-going ships they’re small and friendly, carrying less than 200 passengers. The on-board atmosphere tends to be relaxed, with no strict dress codes and usually open seating at mealtimes. All meals come as standard and the majority of lines also offer free daily excursions. All-inclusive river cruise lines are available, with drinks and tips included in the fare.

As vessels tend to moor right in the heart of towns and cities, it’s easy for passengers to explore on their own if they feel like opting out of organised excursions.

Many lines carry bicycles you can take and explore the river, the towns or cities at no extra cost. The top lines, such as Scenic Cruises, offers a GPS guided device you can take along while you explore on your own. It gives you directions and acts as your mini tour guide telling you about the sites you are seeing.

Many river cruise lines cater to English speakers, so there is no worries about language barriers. Its a great way to explore Europe and unpack only once.

We are certified River Cruise Specialists. We do not charge you any fees and will help you every step of the way. Your package can include your arrangements from the time you leave your doorstep to the time your return there.

Call us today. Don’t miss out on one of the greatest ways to travel Europe at a great value.

Pete Larson, CTA, DS, LS

www.RiverCruiseGuru.com

pete@rivercruiseguru.com

218-779-3050

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