An immersive, enriching and inclusive experience aboard intimate boutique ships
Imagine a vacation where you get to explore the treasures of Europe or Asia’s most fascinating cities, all in the lap of luxury while only unpacking once. You dock in the heart of each city, and English-speaking tour guides help you navigate through captivating town squares, and introduce you to local chefs, winemakers or chocolatiers. Each night you escape to the comfort of your stateroom while anticipating the day’s next port. Welcome to the world of river cruising. The popularity of river cruises has grown rapidly over the past few years as the word spreads about this wonderful way to explore the world aboard comfortable, modern ships. The Cruise Lounge is an industry leader in helping travellers craft the river cruise itinerary of their dreams, whether it’s through Spain and Portugal, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, or a number of other destinations in Europe, Russia or Southeast Asia.
Guest on river cruises are explorers, more than they are cruisers. Getting into the history, culture and really becoming immersed in the destination is what these travellers are all about. They also know that a river cruise is one of the best ways to cover a lot of destinations without the wasted time of packing, unpacking and travelling over the road.
From the waterways of Europe, to Asia, Russia, and beyond
For first time river cruise guests looking to Europe, the most popular itineraries are the Danube (from Southern Germany through Austria to Hungary), or the Rhine (from Switzerland or Southern Germany sailing to the Netherlands).
Most river cruise lines offer a 14-night itinerary from Budapest to Amsterdam that combines both of these rivers, and this is one of the most popular itineraries, combining larger cultural centres like Budapest, Vienna, Cologne and Amsterdam with charming villages in Germany and Austria. Along the way, you’ll see stunning scenery including castles, rolling vineyards, and steep gorges – and of course – many locks!
Other popular European destinations include Provence and the South of France, or Paris and Normandy. One of our favourite river cruise destinations is the Douro Valley in Portugal, the whole region a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Closer to home, river cruises can take you deep into Vietnam and Cambodia on the Mekong, through the great Yangtze river in China, or along the Irrawady in Mynamar.
Finally, there’s even unique itineraries aboard very intimate ships with just 20-30 guests sailing on the Zambezi river in Africa, or the Amazon in Peru.
Our experienced team have travelled the waterways of the world so contact us for expert planning advice!
SOME FAVOURITE RIVER CRUISE PARTNERS
From value-priced river cruises, to 6-star luxury all-inclusive, we can find the style of river cruising that’s right for you.
APT’s Aria River Ships are among the finest river ships you’ll find not just in Europe, but anywhere in the world. The ships’ all-weather Panoramic Balcony Suites have proved overwhelmingly popular with our travellers. Their boutique size, low number of guests, and high number of staff ensures our Aria River Ships boast a genuinely warm onboard atmosphere. Each with their own unique charm, all ships enthral guests with their combination of luxurious amenities and innovative design.
Leading the way in luxury and comfort, our Concerto River Ships represent a revolution in ship design. They are the grandest ships on Europe’s rivers and present a wealth of exclusive facilities and suites. Concerto River Ships are the only ships in Europe that present Twin Balcony Suites, featuring a large Outside Balcony and a Panoramic Balcony. The high staff-to-guest ratio onboard means you will experience incredible standards of service from APT.
The luxurious MS AmaVida has been custom-designed and built with Portugal’s beautiful Douro River in mind. Thread your way through this picturesque slice of Europe aboard your floating hotel with APT.
Newly refurbished for 2016, the RV AmLotus is one of the most luxurious river ships cruising on the Mekong River. Experience Vietnam & Cambodia River Cruising in luxury on an all-inclusive cruise with APT.
The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer is the smallest, most exclusive and most luxurious ship cruising the Yangtze River. It offers the level of intimacy, facilities, comfort and service expected on an APT river cruise.
Cruise aboard the most luxurious river ship on the Lower Ganges, the RV Ganges Voyager. Launched in 2015, this vessel was built specifically to explore this unique waterway and rivals the finest hotels of India.
APT’s brand-new boutique river ship, the RV Samatha, takes luxury river cruising to a new level. Take the Road to Mandalay aboard the finest vessel to grace the picturesque waters of the Irrawaddy River.
Cruising between New Orleans and Memphis, The Queen of the Mississippi and America are authentic paddlewheelers that offer an entirely fresh perspective on America’s beautiful Deep South.
Experience the Amazon waterways in luxury aboard the Delfin II with APT.There is nothing grander than waking to stunning scenery at your door and meeting friendly communities who call the riverbanks home.
Aboard the Zambezi Queen, you’ll enjoy a relaxing and peaceful river cruise while experiencing Africa’s epic landscapes. Spot the wildlife of Chobe National Park during a captivating Africa river safari with APT.
Scenic Cruises offers a luxury river cruise experience that is ultra all-inclusive, including fine wines, spirits, beers, soft drinks, and all crew and tour guide gratuities. Unlike other river cruise ships, Scenic has a choice of several onboard dining options, including the River Cafe – open from early morning until dinner, offering all day light meals, patisserie and beverages, in addition to fine dining in the main dining room, Table Rive chef’s table, and Portobello’s fine dining Italian.
Scenic pioneered an innovative indoor/outdoor balcony concept, with their Scenic Sun Lounge. A full sit-out balcony converts at the touch of a button to a glass enclosed sun lounge – perfect for maximising your space and offering great views even on cooler nights or during inclement venue.
Expect some of the largest accommodations on the river, Butler service and enhanced in-suite services, and an attentive well-trained staff. With ships of a similar size to competing river cruise lines, but significantly less guests onboard, expect more spacious accommodations, less crowding, fewer lines, and more personalised service aboard the Scenic River Cruise fleet.
Touring programs are included in the fare, and several unique options include “Scenic Sundowners” – a chance to enjoy cocktails and appetisers at a landmark site at sunset, as well as “Scenic Choice” tours – giving flexibility to choose from more than one tour option in select destinations.
Scenic offers a wide range of European itineraries including France, Central Europe and new for 2015 – options in Asia including Vietnam and Myanmar.
Style of Cruising: Luxury ultra-all-inclusive
Ocean & River Cruises Star Rating: 5 stars+
From the world’s youngest river cruising fleet to the sleek, contemporary ship design and state-of-the-art technology, Avalon Waterways is a leader in modern river cruising and small-ship cruising, operating throughout the rivers of Europe. Travellers gave Avalon river cruise vacations a 98% “Excellent” or “Very Good” rating on post-river cruise surveys. With shore excursions and expert guided tours as well as select complimentary beverages included in the up-front price, the value proposition is excellent.
Avalon ships offer contemporary, sleek interior designs and spacious accommodations. Avalon’s Panorama Suites eschew typical sit out balconies (which can cut away from the interior space) and ingeniously create a floor to ceiling wall of windows that slides open – allowing you to enjoy the full space of your accommodations, but lean out and enjoy the breezes and views.
A base program of included tours offers an immersive look into local life. Some optional additional tours can be purchased for a small fee. Wine/beer/soft drink is included with dinner, and tea/coffee/bottled water are available anytime.
Style of Cruising: Premium
Ocean & River Cruises Star Rating: 4.5 stars
Uniworld is a leader in European river cruises. When you join Uniworld on a river cruise, expect to be exceptionally well cared for, from port to port, and enjoy an atmosphere flowing with a sense of welcoming warmth and intimacy.
Enjoy ultra-all-inclusive cruising – rates include all-inclusive amenities: beers, wines and spirits, all meals, a full program of enhanced shoreside events, tours and excursions with local experts, use of bicycles, upgraded staterooms, all crew gratuities and tour guide/tour director tips and gratuities. Pay one price and enjoy – it’s all included!
Luxury ships take their design inspiration from sister company Red Carnation Hotels, and offer bespoke luxury appointments akin to a country house hotel. “No request too large, no detail too small” is the credo of the Uniworld staff, who go above and beyond to create an extraordinary experience for our guests.
Uniworld’s one-of-a-kind, exquisitely appointed river cruise ships are each a work of art, designed to be as unique as our guests, and as inspiring as the destinations they visit.
When it comes to dining, Uniworld has crafted a culinary experience for the most discerning of palates to ensure every guest’s dining experience exceeds their expectations. With every meal onboard, guests are treated to a rich selection of complimentary craft and local beers, spirits, and distinctive wines chosen by our acclaimed sommeliers.
With 21 ships, Uniworld offers more distinct European itinerary variants than any other river cruise line, as well as more options for guests to personalise their Uniworld river cruise with innovative onshore programs, including “Choice Is Yours,” “Go Active,” and “Gentle Walking” options.
Style of Cruising: Luxury ultra-all-inclusive.
Ocean & River Cruises Star Rating: 6 stars
With the world’s largest fleet of river cruise ships, Viking delivers a good 4-star product with a strong emphasis on value.
New Viking Longships provide comfortable public rooms and a range of stateroom choices. Some of Viking’s French Balcony accommodations can be very compact in size, so guests should consult with our cruise experts to ensure they get the stateroom and price point they prefer. Larger Veranda staterooms with a sit-out balcony offer more space.
Viking offers pricing in both US and Canadian Dollars. Viking includes wine, beer and soda with lunch and dinner, but gratuities are additional.
A full program of tours is included, although some longer/full day tours require a small additional fee.
Viking provides a value priced river cruise vacation that combines a good onboard experience with affordable accommodations.
Viking is the leader in Yangtze River cruising in China, offering the highest standards of accommodation and overall experience in the region. Viking also operates some unique European itineraries not offered by competitors, including the Elbe River in Germany.
Style of Cruising: Contemporary/Value
Ocean & River Cruises Star Rating: 4 stars