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River Cruise Vacations vs River Barge Vacations
IT'S NO CONTEST... River Cruising Wins Hands Down!


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River barge vacations are available in most European countries and offer travelers a delightful up-close view of a very small region one selects to enjoy. For the most part barge trips operate on rivers found in France, England, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and at times, Russia.

River barges are extremely limited as to where they can travel. Most are very shallow draft vessels that are incapable of sailing on fast flowing rivers such as the Rhine and Danube, or rivers in Eastern Europe which make up the majority of the more important and traveled European waterways. Occasionally, one will see river barges on the Seine and Rhone, but for the most part travel small rivers that are off the beaten track, thus providing limited access to some of the major sights in Europe. What you do get are delightful trips to the more remote regions of Europe at a very slow and leisurely pace. And, because they are so small and slow, the area experienced is significantly smaller than one would enjoy on a more traditional river cruise trip.

One aspect that both river barges and river cruise ships are well known for is their sensational fresh cuisine, wines, great desserts, and warm and friendly crews. Both offer complimentary wines and beers with evening meals, as well as complementary espressos and coffees.

But, after that, the experiential differences between river cruise ships and barges begin to widen…

River barge trips can be enjoyed by almost anyone depending on one’s pocketbook. An ultra-luxurious “private charter” barge accommodating no more than 4-10 guests can be booked for those who are willing to pay $12,000 each, per week. There are also very comfortable barges accommodating 6-16 guests where the weekly fare is around $7,000 per guest. In this article, the wide price variance is hard to quantify, but suffice it to say that on either of these products you’ll be treated very well and afforded all the limited onboard amenities these small ships and minimal crew can provide.

Barge accommodations range from delightful, well-appointed suites with ensuite facilities to small cabins without private facilities. Generally, there is one main lounge where guests enjoy all of their meals and congregate before and after each meal. In some of the luxury barges, there may also be a second lounge, but they are rare. The cuisine on board, as mentioned above, is exceptional, though the menus are very limited due to the small storage facilities on these intimate vessels.

A few additional, potential issues for barge travel should be considered: Most barges only carry up to 20 guests, so if you don’t travel with a group of your friends, you’re at risk of being booked with a small homogenous group which would probably leave you on the “outside.” On a river ship, that’s not going to happen. Also, most river barges have small cabins that, while well-furnished may not offer all the amenities you desire. Unlike a barge, most river cruise ships have very spacious, well-appointed staterooms and suites with private facilities, in-suite entertainment, amenities like Egyptian 400 thread count linens, and many of the other luxuries you would find in fine four- or five-star hotels, including: gym, sauna, outdoor BBQ’s, and even Internet.

Consider one more important point as you begin your search for the next perfect vacation… on river cruise ships, all of your exciting and educational shore excursions are included in a very affordable price. On many barge trips they are not.

In this article, we’ve highlighted just a few of the many reasons we feel that a luxurious and affordable river cruise vacation is the best choice for most people… those who want the intimacy of a small ship and a hundred or so friendly co-passengers, but with 5-star luxuries and amenities at one’s beck and call! Why not consider a French river cruise, a Danube river cruise, a Rhine River Cruise, an Eastern Europe river cruise or even a Vietnam river cruise on the Mekong River for your next vacation. Take a look through our website and discover the many wonderful and affordable river cruise vacations we have to offer.


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