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Education on Cruise…Menu

Something that comes with going on cruises of any kind is education. It could be from meeting people of different races, it could be from experiencing geography never before seen, or it could just be a history lesson.

Take the Danube River.

You don’t have to take a river cruise on the Danube to find out that it passes through 10 countries, that you can hear a dozen languages on its banks and that it’s the second-longest river in Europe. You don’t have to be on an Avalon or Viking or Scenic Tours ship to know that it runs through more capital cities (four) than any river in the world, or that all four capitals are on the upper Danube because the lower Danube has always been known for flooding.

You don’t even have to take a river cruise to learn that the Avalon, Viking and Scenic Tours (or other) ships to realize that the Danube begins in the Black Forest and ends in the Black Sea…hmm, shouldn’t it be called the “Black” Danube, or is that where “Black and Blue” originated?

On the other hand, only by going on a Danube River cruise can you enjoy “apfelstrudel” in Durnstein or Polish sausage in Budapest. And surely when these cruises start there’s a little “Black Forest cake” on the menu.

Education, right?

DAILY DEAL:
Carnival Glory
7 nights
September 15, 2012
New York (return): Boston, Portland, Saint John, Halifax
Inside $499
www.carnival.com

River Cruising: Time Has Come

Here’s one of the New Year’s resolutions made in our house: By the end of 2012, we hope we will no longer be able to say we’ve never been on a river cruise.

Clearly, river cruising is becoming a significant part of the “cruise community” and it’s time for us — so that we can properly serve you — to get on board, so to speak.

Besides, there are more choices than ever.

On the Danube, Avalon River Cruises has two new ships arriving in May, the Vista and the Visionary, and calling them the latest “Suite Ships.” Avalon will then have 18 ships in its fleet.

On the Rhine, as well as the Danube, Viking plans to have six new ships on the water before the end of 2012. They call them “the longships.” By then, there will be 31 Viking river cruisers.

On the Mississippi, there are three river cruise companies and two new ships — one of them the Queen of the Mississippi — mark the return of paddle wheelers to the river for the first time in two decades. The message is that cruising the Mississippi is making a comeback.

Geographically, that would make the most sense for us. However, there is one caveat. It’s those tales of Mississippi gamblers…

DAILY DEAL:
Royal Caribbean Voyageur of the Seas
7 nights
February 11, 2012
New Orleans (return): Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside $469
www.royalcaribbean.com

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