Spotlight on River Cruising

The River Cruise Advantage

Are you looking for a vacation that takes you to intriguing and historic places in luxury and comfort – and gives you time to relax and enjoy the scenery? If so, a river cruise could be for you.

Advantages of this leisurely mode of travel

• Unpack once and the river boat is your floating hotel.
• There are plenty of picture windows and open deck space for you to enjoy the passing scenery.
• In most ports, river boats can dock conveniently downtown allowing passengers to step ashore in the heart of the city at their leisure.
• Local guides lead sightseeing tours in each town which are included in the fare. Additional organized excursions are also available for purchase.
• Tour guides and staff speak English on the cruises offered by Ensemble’s preferred suppliers, Uniworld River Cruises, Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises.
• There’s no problem with motion as you aren’t on the open sea.
• Packages offer great value as they include pre and post cruise stays in great cities, transfers, port excursions, and complimentary wine.

So many travellers are discovering the joys of river cruising, it has become one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. Companies are expanding their fleets and renovating existing vessels to meet the demands of today’s savy passengers. Wesley Bosnic of Uniworld River Cruises, the second largest U.S. based river cruise company in number of berths, remarks:

“Consumers are finding that river cruising on small intimate ships is a great alternative. River cruising is a fantastic way to see Europe …. All of our company owned ships (8) have either been completely refurbished or newly built in the last two years. We are not obsessed with growth, we are however, obsessed with delivering an outstanding experience to our customers.”

Life On Board

Today’s river boats offer levels of luxury rivalling that of cruise ships. Here are some important features of these beautiful vessels:

• With only 100 to 300 passengers, there is great camaraderie on board. These are very friendly cruises.
• You’ll find a variety of public rooms: a restaurant, lounge for scenic viewing, bar, open deck space with deck chairs and a canopy for shade, gift shop, hair dresser and sometimes a whirlpool, fitness centre, spa and swimming pool.
• Cabins are well appointed and designed for your comfort. They are usually outside, often with a picture window, and many of the new boats feature cabins with a balcony.
• Meals are served in the restaurant. In Europe, breakfast and lunch tend to be buffet-style, while dinner is a-la-carte, served in one seating at about 7 p.m. There’s lots of choice and food is well prepared. Complimentary wine is usually served with dinner.
• Evening entertainment consists of a piano bar, or small ensemble in the lounge. Local entertainers may be brought on board to display the regional culture.
• Service on board has a reputation of being prompt, attentive and friendly while the overall cruise experience is well organized by the cruise/tour director.
You’ll travel in comfort and style as you sail down the river. No rush, no hurry. Just relax and let the river boat take you to the next place of interest.