Top 10 Reasons to Take a River Cruise
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River cruises for all seasons and all reasons.


Whether it is a love of history, food, wine, art or nature, there is a Europe river cruise that will re-kindle long-lost passions, nurture existing interests or ignite new ones. River cruising in Western Europe lets you step ashore and into medieval villages and sophisticated cities renowned for their culture and history. More importantly, river cruises allow you to explore new realms within yourself.

Are you a wine lover? Then a river cruise and you is the perfect pairing.
Choose a river cruise as you would a wine — consider your tastes, your preferences. Maybe a river cruise that will take you through the scenic countryside stretching from Paris and Normandy to the Mediterranean and the beautiful Côte d’Azur is the right selection. Along the way, you’ll sample the incredible wines and cheeses of Burgundy and Beaujolais. Or you may visit the cellars in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, home of the world-famous Côtes du Rhône wines and once the Papal Residency.

A brief glimpse into a few of our favorite rivers...
On a Moselle River cruise, you’ll witness mile after mile of steeply sloping vineyards that unfold like a patchwork quilt around storybook towns with cobblestoned streets. You will have plenty of time to sample exceptional regional wines, either onboard your ship or during an included shore excursion.

One of our favorite places along this route is the charming winemaking town of Rudesheim am Rhein, Germany, located smack-dab in the middle of Germany’s famous Rheingau wine-producing region. Rudesheim is not to be missed, whether you're a wine lover or not. This is about as romantic and picturesque as it gets — you, strolling along the Drosselgasse in the heart of the old town, a narrow 15th-century pedestrian-only lane, lined for its entire 475-foot cobblestoned length with beautiful restaurants and wine taverns where you can enjoy both a delicious meal and one or more of the region’s sparking Rieslings.

Europe boasts yet another incredible, but lesser known wine-lover’s region, the spectacular Douro River Valley, located in Northern Portugal. A cruise to this multiple UNESCO World Heritage region will take you from Porto — the center of the Port wine trade — to the Spanish border, through one of the most pristine river valleys in Europe. While the Douro is a wine and port lover’s paradise, it is best enjoyed by those who have previously explored the exciting France or Germany river cruises that focus on Europe's more well-known wine regions.

There are several distinct cruise seasons from which to choose.
Late March through April is the best time for seeing the glorious tulips of Holland and Belgium. For those who are into horticulture, a visit the miles upon miles of tulip fields is not to be missed — it’s also a “shutter-bugs” once in a lifetime opportunity for that incredible full-horizon shot of the variegated and vibrant fields of tulips.

The months of May, plus September and October, offers the best combination of good weather and smaller crowds for those of us traveling from the States. It is a bit pricier as it is the most demanded travel time, but if you’re looking for the best of the best and the slight surcharge you pay for these months is okay, this is the time to go. For wine lovers, its harvest time — you won’t believe it!

June, July and August, while hotter, are the months when most North American travelers vacation. Yep, it’s a bit hotter, but let’s get real — it’s not Phoenix or Miami, it’s just when Europeans tend to leave and head to a “coast” somewhere to lie on a beach. Few, if any stores and restaurants are closed and yes, the crowds are actually a bit larger than in the late spring and early fall. That said, we have a secret we want to tell you about. All river cruise ships are fully air-conditioned and of equal or greater importance, where you go on a European river cruise is not a desert! Daytime temperatures should not be more than the low 80’s and you’ll get the benefit of wonderful, mild shirt-sleeve evenings to stroll through a village or dine outside — life is good!

Holiday Markets and Christmas Time river cruises.
November and December bring the lowest rates, cooler weather, and the delights of the Christmas Holiday Markets, where it seems that every town, village and city on the waterways is dressed up in their holiday best. So, you may be asking or thinking why someone would want to travel to Europe during this time — isn’t it cold, dank and dark? It can be, but after enjoying a neat holiday markets cruise last year I came home with the realization that my perceptions of the weather were for the most part, wrong!

Sure it’s cool, but it’s more like New York than the Arctic Circle or North Pole. Daytime temperatures hover around the low 50’s with the evening’s dropping into the mid-forties. Very little rain, but always (early December dates) a chance of what we from the west coast love — snow flurries in the night sky. The reality of it is that assuming you have layerable clothing, nice gloves and a warm floppy hat, you’re set to enjoy one of the most enjoyable holiday experiences you can imagine.

Holiday Markets cruising is not for everyone, but it is most definitely an extraordinary fall/winter vacation idea for those wanting to experience the quintessential magic of the Holiday Season while shopping for one-of-a-kind gifts and collectibles while getting up close and personal with what’s behind some of our most popular holiday traditions. If you enjoy cool weather, the aroma of freshly roasted chestnuts or warm hot-buttered rum — a Holiday Markets cruise will be a perfect fit.

All the major lines including: AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Emerald WaterwaysScenic, Tauck, Uniworld, and Viking offer exceptional early booking values on all Holiday Markets and Christmas Time itineraries ranging from 8 to 14 days on the fabulous Rhine and Danube rivers. Holiday Market cruises begin in late November and sail through December. And, for the first time you can now enjoy a wonderful river cruise over New Years as a few lines offer cruises that overlap with New Year’s Eve.

Christmas and/or New Year’s Day in Paris is magical — wouldn’t the "City of Lights" be a wonderful place to extend your pre/post holiday shopping! For more information, read our article on Holiday Markets cruises.

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