European River  Cruise

 

  Slideshows
Countries Presented In Slideshow Netherlands,  Austria, Slovakia and Hungary Click for Slideshow
Germany Click for Slideshow
Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria. Romania and Turkey Click for Slideshow

 

 

We had wanted to plan a river cruise for some time.......it was a type of travel we had not experienced.    Certainly, we have been on ocean cruises numerous times, but as we were told they are quite different.   For example, we were told that if the captain of an ocean going ship sees a shore he gets nervous, while a river boat captain gets nervous if he does not see a shore.    

Not truly familiar with river boat experiences we resisted booking a cruise.   But then the time had come and we were ready to experiment.    We wanted to be away for awhile as we do not like to travel long distances for short periods of time.   And river boating is at the mercy of the geography.....the boat only goes where there is a river.   So how do we accomplish a longer trip on a river?

With the expert assistance of our travel agent we did find a thirty day trip that took us from Amsterdam to Istanbul, Turkey.   For us this was perfect....the trip was to start on the Rhine River, then sail onto the Main River, through the Main-Danube Canal into the Danube River.   And the transit would take us through at least seventy locks raising us over one thousand feet and then lowering us back to sea level in Turkey.

The next decision was....What cruise company would we use?    Our travel agent recommended Uniworld and she could not have been more right.   Our experience on the River Duchess was nothing less than perfect.    It is a company the serves in class from the food, to the preparation, to the dining experience, to the touring, attention to detail for everything was excellent.  They were always there to serve the best which they did for the wines, the drinks; the entertainment.....everything to meet the needs of the guest was accomplished with class.

Each day our ship would reach the town, city or village that we were to explore and getting off the boats and into buses worked without issue as they told us the evening before about the following day’s events.  We did visit great sights….towns that were quaint and picturesque, cities with amazing histories and we learned many interesting details from the tour guides as we walked among beautiful places of interest.

We have made some extremely insightful trips in the past, but this river boat experience easily met all of our expectations and then took us to a whole new level.   What did I like the best....the food was exceptional.....every meal.    Sitting on the sky deck and sailing through gorges with the most exquisite scenery on both sides gave us complete access to the many castles, cathedrals and convents that line the rivers.  

The vineyards planted on the hills along the river were everywhere as were the beer breweries found in every town.   The town squares were each prettier than the last one, the ice cream was almost as good as the apple strudel and of course the scenery everywhere was special.    In the big cities we ate in the restaurants, used local transportation and mixed with the locals whenever possible.    We visited as many monuments and historic statues as our legs gave us permission to do.  

In the end, we thoroughly recommend taking a river cruise, but to search for one that has the amenities that meet your travel needs.  Most cruise lines visit the same attractions; just some make it so much more pleasant.