Congratulations to Mike Vogler, of www.PastMyCurfew.com, winner of the new Berlitz book, River Cruising in Europe.
New Berlitz book on river cruising provides a great overview of the fastest growing segment of the cruise industry.
As one more testament to the growing popularity of river cruising, last month Berlitz Travel published the first edition of River Cruising in Europe (July 2014) by cruise guru Douglas Ward. According to Ward, there has been a 10 percent rise in river cruise bookings per year every year since 2008. While recently researching an article on this topic, I learned that between 2013-2014 alone, AMA Waterways, American Cruise Line, American Queen Steamboat Company, Avalon Waterways, Paul Gauguin Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, and Viking Cruise River Cruises all added new river ships to their fleets.
Attractions of river cruising
For a number of reasons, it makes sense that river cruises would be popular with the over-50 traveler:
- They are a convenient and easy way to travel, allowing passengers to visit multiple cities (and often multiple countries) without packing or unpacking or worrying about hotels or ground transportation.
- They allow travelers to visit cities and small towns close up, often docking near or at the town center.
- Many companies are moving towards more inclusive pricing models so the costs are far more predictable and less of a hassle than a similar land vacation might be if someone was traveling across borders on their own.
What’s in the Berlitz book
The new guide reviews more than 280 river ships and makes a great read for anyone planning a cruise or wondering if they would like to take one. It offers an overview of what to expect in terms of different companies, different ships, and different itineraries and then rates many of the ships using the same system Ward has used before to rate ocean-going vessels. There is also a section in the book that explains barge cruising.
5 Things you may not have known about river cruising
Although a great reference guide, the book is succinct and interesting enough to read from cover-to-cover. Some of the tidbits I found especially interesting:
- Rivers are gender-specific. Some are feminine and others are masculine, depending on their characteristics.
- Although companies are constantly raising the ante in terms of improved food and wine offerings, you aren’t likely to find “room service” on river ships.
- Ward clears up terminology that might be confusing. He uses the term “river ships” to describe the vessels that cruise rivers; reminds the reader that cruise ships are ocean-going and can carry boats but a boat can’t carry a ship; and explains that the term “boat” describes vessels that are typically privately owned or rented for pleasure. (I’ll probably continue to call them “riverboats.”)
- For worrywarts, although river ships can run into foul weather, none has ever capsized in Western Europe. In July 2011, an overloaded river ship did capsize in Russia, resulting in multiple deaths.
- River cruising isn’t always disabled-friendly. Aside from visiting many towns with cobblestone streets, only a few river ships have wheelchair accessible cabins and river ships sometimes berth side-by-side at the dock making it difficult to disembark for someone with limited mobility.
In addition to providing me with a copy of the 256-page River Cruising in Europe for review, Berlitz is offering a free copy for one randomly selected reader of More Time To Travel (Retail value – $19.99).
The most popular European waterways include the Danube, Rhein, Elbe, Rhone, Seine, Po and Douro Rivers.
To enter the contest, leave a comment below telling which river you would most like to travel on by riverboat river ship. The contest winner will be announced here on September 6, 2014. (Sorry, this offer is limited to U.S. addresses only.)