River Cruise in the Spotlight

River Cruise in the Spotlight
By admin

Does the sight of the open sea for days on end not really do it for you? Are you keen to explore historic cities while travelling in comfort and being fed like a king? If the answer is yes to these questions, then river cruising might be for you. A standard river cruise tends to run from one to three weeks, with guests staying in comfortable cabins as they scenically meander down some of the world's most beautiful waterways. High quality meals are included in the itinerary and there are numerous stops at cities and towns, offering a historical and cultural glimpse into the countries you pass through. To make it all intelligible, guides accompany cruises, while an experienced and attentive crew are on hand to see to your needs and whims.

The big numbers
River cruise is a fast growing sector with operators offering consumers itineraries in waterways all over the globe. The most recent figures from the International Cruise Council of Australasia indicate that 34,913 people took a river cruise in 2011, a 22% increase on the previous year. In fact, since 2007, when 11,761 people took a river cruise, numbers have tripled. The sector now accounts for 5.6% of the Australian cruising market, with industry experts predicting that this number will only continue to rise.

Big players 
Large operators in this space include Avalon Waterways, Uniworld, Viking River Cruises, Scenic Tours, Tauck, APT, Evergreen Tours and Travelmarvel. 
Major waterways covered
Among Europe's most popular waterways for cruising are the Rhine, Seine, Danube and Volga. In north Africa, the Nile River is a perpetual favourite and one serviced by several operators. While in Asia, mighty rivers such as the Yangtze and Mekong draw large numbers of cruise enthusiasts each year.

Sample package
Avalon Waterways has a 15-day Magnificent Europe itinerary priced from $4531 per person. Cruising aboard an Avalon Suite Ship, the voyage transports guests from Amsterdam to Budapest, along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.

The trip also passes through Cologne and Vienna and takes in some of Europe's best-preserved medieval towns and villages. Highlights include the towering peaks and castles of the Rhine Gorge, the vine-covered slopes of Austria's scenic Wachau Valley and the breathtaking alpine scenery around Salzburg. Experienced guides also host guests at UNESCO World Heritage listed towns like Bamberg. The current rate is available when booked before March 31 for 12 departures in 2013. For more information, visit www.avalonwaterways.com.au

Email the Travel Weekly team at traveldesk@travelweekly.com.au

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