Experience from River Cruisers

A friend of a friend was reading Cruising Done Right one day recently when he discovered, as all of you have, that we are neophytes when it comes to river cruising.

So he offered to help.

His name is Brian Forst and he went to the trouble of passing along a few thoughts for those of you who, like us, have little or no experience on the ships that cruise the rivers.

Brian and his wife have been river cruising for a decade and they have no intention of stopping now — this year they’ll be on the Rhone River in France. Here’s some information we all might find useful…

“We chose to do one of their shorter trips at first, the Moselle River in Germany. It’s worth Googling the sites and sights on these tours. For instance, at the beginning (or end) of the Moselle cruise is the oldest city in Germany, built by the Romans and called Trier. Who’d have thought it.

“We enjoyed that trip so much, we decided the next should be longer, Amsterdam to Vienna. The stops along the way with the inclusive walking tours were unforgettable. Part of most tours include a couple days at the point of origination…and usually three days at the end. They include the best hotels and of course, tours in these cities.

“We recently did Viking’s Prague-to-Paris cruise, extending our stay in Paris, which eclipsed Vienna as the most impressive European city for me. And our last trip with Viking was 17 days on the Yangtze River, Shanghai to Beijing…with side trips to The Great Wall, Forbidden City and the Terracotta Warriors.

Uniworld is supposed to be very much like Viking, including the price. You can step up to Avalon and Scenic Tours if you’re willing to pay more but they have the same stops and tours…and you can’t beat Viking’s dining. Some offer bigger windows and out-door decks for more money.

“Normally, the lower deck is less costly than those above (usually three levels). The windows are a little smaller but most of the time, the room is only for sleeping anyway. The only little thing to watch when booking is…to stay away from the stern of the boat to avoid engine sound.”

DAILY DEAL:
Carnival Victory
7 nights
February 19, 2012
San Juan: (return): St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten
Inside $579
www.carnival.com

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