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The ever increasing popularity of river cruising


notamermaid
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There is a new review of a Mississippi cruise on AQSC

where the reviewer was surprised that river cruises aren't really set up for people in wheelchairs or on scooters.  There have been many posts here about that in Europe, but it seems to be similar in the US despite ADA.  Once you get off the ship and onto the cruise bus, things here should be pretty manageable – but the ramps and jetties are apparently not that easy, at least at low tide.

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The cruise programme of CroisiEurope for 2022 is out. 55 ships sail 16 major rivers, there will be more than 180 itineraries across rivers and oceans - and more. Here is the article: https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/tourism/croisieurope-expands-cruise-programme-for-2022

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 1 month later...

Emerald Cruises launches new themed itineraries. Wine on the Moselle, arts and culture on the Danube and on the Rhine: https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/cruise/emerald-cruises-launches-wine-and-arts-themed-river-itineraries

 

They sound nice. Nothing sticks out as being very different from other river cruises apart from one port: Rastatt. Rastatt has had a river cruise port since 2017 but it is actually a small landing stage in the district that borders on the Rhine called Plittersdorf. Rastatt town itself is not on the Rhine. Emerald on this itinerary takes the passengers to Baden-Baden, the elegant spa town. There, one of the offers is a visit to the casino, another is a hike up to the Old Castle: https://www.altes-schlosshohenbaden.de/en/home/

Now that is very different.

 

notamermaid

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Good news also from a German river cruise company. The MS Antonia sailing for Phoenix Reisen is now on her first itinerary, which also marks the start of this year's river cruises for the Phoenix fleet. She has been christened and is sailing up the Rhine. Here is a short report:

https://www.cruiseindustrynews.com/cruise-news/25240-phoenix-reisen-launches-2021-river-season-with-new-vessel.html

 

notamermaid

 

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Another town in Germany sees potential for river cruising - Bremerhaven.

 

This July, the Excellence Pearl has been in the town, right in town. The river cruise dock is in the harbour area that is interesting for tourists and is right at the "Deutsches Auswandererhaus", a museum/center on emigration. The Excellence Pearl came through the Dortmund Ems Canal. The audio says that the tourist association in Bremerhaven is working together with other towns in the area that could be attractive for river cruise ships as stops. In German: https://www.butenunbinnen.de/nachrichten/gesellschaft/flusskreuzfahrt-bremerhaven-100.html

 

Lots of info in German, if you do not feel like google translating there are a couple of photos to give you an impression of the ship and its destination: https://www.weser-maritime-news.de/post/erstanlauf-der-excellence-pearl-in-bremerhaven

The Excellence Pearl is only 82m long and sails for a Swiss operator. Among her itineraries with a difference is one of my favourites: Saarbrücken to Nancy.

 

notamermaid

 

 

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Wow what a learning curve, you mention Bremerhaven and I remembered my dad talking about the stack of animals. This got me thinking as my dad passed away in 1966 (yes the same week). I couldn’t understand why a Navy man would have been there, through the wonders of the internet I now know, the brothers Grim and it’s a sea port, easy really. I have a beer stein that depicts the fairy tale.

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4 hours ago, Canal archive said:

Wow what a learning curve, you mention Bremerhaven and I remembered my dad talking about the stack of animals. This got me thinking as my dad passed away in 1966 (yes the same week). I couldn’t understand why a Navy man would have been there, through the wonders of the internet I now know, the brothers Grim and it’s a sea port, easy really. I have a beer stein that depicts the fairy tale.

You are obviously not a Sound of Music fan, as all of us know that Captain von Trapp was instructed to take up his place in the German navy in Bremerhaven.

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  • 2 weeks later...

From the Weser to the Rhine. While the Weser river is a rather unknown entity the Rhine is the second favourite river for cruising, just behind the Danube in popularity.

 

And now the ships are back. In Breisach as elsewhere they are basically happy about it - with the memory of what overcrowding is or could potentially be if not careful. In Breisach apparently the embankment can be full and ships are sent to the (I reckon less attractive) harbour area for docking. In 2019, 1117 ships docked in Breisach (German article): https://www.badische-zeitung.de/die-kreuzfahrtschiffe-sind-zurueck--203885768.html

 

Meant here is 1117 individual dockings and that is over a period of maximum 300 days, depending on when the last ship stops after New Year and the first ship stops in March.

 

2022 could see more dockings - as we know several ships are new on the river in 2021 and 2022. My combined count of new-builds says at least six. I have lost track of who has moved from 2020 to 2021, so expect the figure to be definitely higher than that.

 

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The ever increasing popularity of river cruising...

 

... with ze Germans!

 

Yes, the Germans just like other nations are discovering their home country ("what a lovely path at the end of my town that I never knew existed") and some shy away from ocean cruising ("far too many people on that ship") so they turn to river cruise ships. And they are entering North American river cruise ships! :classic_biggrin:

 

So this autumn Uniworld is offering webinars for German travel agents and three (!) AmaWaterways ships have temporarily changed operator and sail on German language-only itineraries with Phoenix Reisen.

 

What does such a cruise look like? I have chosen one as an example that sounds lovely. The Rhine and Moselle on a "Genussreise", meaning experiencing the pleasures of good food and drink, which includes several experts on board: https://www.phoenixreisen.com/indian-summer-auf-der-mosel-36-3077082-1.html?source=overview&searchIdCruiseDate=3077083

 

A Cologne return trip, it includes evening walk through Königswinter, music and wine in Rüdesheim, Trier, wine tasting in Traben-Trarbach's wine cellars and walking in the steps of Beethoven in Bonn.

 

Makes you want to empty the piggy bank or crowd-fund and tell your boss you urgently need a week's holiday (makes me, anyway).

 

Lovely to read that the AmaWaterways ships are not idle.

 

notamernaid

 

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Phoenix Reisen is really big in business this autumn and winter. Demand is so strong that they have now chartered two ships originally built by Scylla to sail for Riviera Travel (UK), hence the British names Geoffrey Chaucer and William Wordsworth. Note that this German article only mentions two Ama ships: https://www.cruise4news.at/170167/phoenix-reisen-neue-flussschiffe-neue-reisen-im-jahr-2021/

 

They will also have themed cruises in December with a famous German band.

 

Would like to see more music themed cruises, perhaps classical? Would be nice. Certainly works on the Rhine, and there a must-see would have to be a stop in Bonn to see the Beethovenhaus. And on the Danube? Strauss for sure!

 

notamermaid

 

 

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Here she is, Saga's Spirit of the Rhine is on her inaugural cruise: https://www.worldofcruising.co.uk/cruise-news/saga-cruises-spirit-of-the-rhine-ship-new-river-cruise-holidays

 

She had been delayed by several months but now can finally sail on the Rhine and its large tributaries. And what better time and place to start than grape harvest on the Moselle!

 

Safe travels always.

 

notamermaid

 

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News from another German company, Viva Cruises. Travelweekly in the UK have picked up on the articles published in German last week. Viva Cruises will be the (says the company) first river cruise line to sail every month of the year. This means they have itineraries in winter: https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/tourism/viva-cruises-adds-winter-river-sailings

 

An unusual move for sure. I am a bit sceptical, knowing German rivers and weather in winter. But with the situation as it is, at least for 2022 it could well pay off. The seven night crime themed cruise along the Northern German canals is intriguing, but would I fly in from another country (or take the Eurostar from the UK) to go there in winter? Not sure. Also, what about the language? Will the crime novel theme be bilingual? Seeing that the company has teamed up with a German crime novel publisher, probably not.

 

notamermaid

 

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The Amadeus Cara will join the Amadeus fleet next year in June. She had been delayed, I think the initial inaugural cruise date was to be in April 2021. Here is the article: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/shipbuilding-refurb-equipment/five-star-amadeus-cara-launching-june-2022

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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New article on AvalonWaterways, new itineraries for 2022: https://travelweekly.co.uk/news/cruise/avalon-waterways-releases-new-2022-departure-dates

 

Not a big deal and not that much exceptional new stuff at first glance, but the Moselle cruise aroused my interest. This is the one they mean: https://www.avalonwaterways.com/river-cruise/active-discovery-on-the-moselle/WRF/?season=2022

 

Starting from Remich, and the excursion to Luxembourg city is nice, with some new activities, I like that.  Looking at the stops, for me, this does not give the passengers a more in-depth experience of that many places along the Moselle, but that is from a German perspective and someone who knows the Rhine quite a bit. For me to book this, I would want a little bit more. No excursion into France - Metz or the citadel at Sierck-les-Bains as interesting places spring to mind. But back to the good things. The options at Remich and Trier are very interesting. What is a new place for AvalonWaterways I think is Traben-Trarbach. A nice move to include a new port. At Koblenz, a lovely new addition is the hike from the Lahn river to Koblenz (not sure about logistics and distances, but interesting to find more about). It already leaves the Moselle at this point and does the standard Rhine Gorge. Admittedly a major allure and especially for Americans a natural addition to the Moselle (logistics for airport). We find the standard stuff offered at Rüdesheim but also discover Hildegard of Bingen. A very thoughtful alternative to the touristy stuff. Then comes the new bit: overnight at Eltville! Will they be using the KD landing stage? https://www.riverdocking.com/de/anleger/eltville/

Then comes Frankfurt on the Main. It is a pity that Mainz is left out but Frankfurt has some nice offers here and it is a perfect place to end a cruise, seeing that the airport is so close.

 

As the distances travelled are not as great as on an Amsterdam to Basel cruise, AvalonWaterways on this trip is able to do quite a bit of overnight docking. Very nice.

 

For a European and even more so for a North-American who is not focussing on seeing as many cities as possible, but on culture going that little bit beyond the standard tourist routes with a mix of cities and smaller towns and very attractive landscape, this is in my opinion is a great cruise.

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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A bit of industry news, Europe's river cruise sector looked towards 2022 with optimism during a meeting in December: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/ship-operations/europes-river-cruise-sector-optimistic-2022

 

and American Queen voyages is already taking bookings for 2024: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/ports-destinations/american-queen-voyages-early-open-2024-bookings

 

In other industry news, a big blow for tourism marketing, the ITB in Berlin is canceled as an in-person event for the third year running: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/itb-berlin-2022-person-event-canceled

 

notamermaid

 

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A quick look at Scenic's itineraries in 2022: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/ports-destinations/scenic-reveals-2022-river-cruise-programme

 

Some of those offers at towns along the way may well have been available in previous years. I do not know. But they could be unique to Scenic. Do compare. There are some really nice options, one that sticks out for me is Schloss Weikersheim (recommended to me for a visit by a local near Würzburg), which the article says is near Miltenberg, but the Scenic website says the tour is from Würzburg. This is the Palace: https://www.schloss-weikersheim.de/en/palace

 

notamermaid

 

 

 

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Uniworld have a new scheme by which you can choose an upgrade to your original booking: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/uniworld-invites-cruisers-bid-stateroom-upgrades

 

And CroisiEurope have opened bookings for 2023. 170 itineraries in 37 countries: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/ports-destinations/croisieurope-opens-2023-bookings

Specifically mentioned is a river cruise on the Petite-Seine and the Yonne. Both rivers are of course too small for the standard modern river cruise ships. The MS Deborah is a barge. This is the itinerary the article is referring to I think: https://www.croisieurope.travel/en/cruise/yonne-petite-seine-enchanting-cruise-landscapes-man-made-wonders-classic#cruise

Yes, you can sail the Seine that is upstream from Paris! A really nice idea by CroisiEurope I find.

 

notamermaid

 

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Thanks for all of the information. My husband and I will be on our first river cruise in June 2023, 23 days from Amsterdam to Bucharest. Whenever we endure the long flight to Europe, we want to stay at least 3 weeks!

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On 2/9/2022 at 10:46 PM, Greysandy said:

My husband and I will be on our first river cruise in June 2023, 23 days from Amsterdam to Bucharest.

A long journey on the rivers, especially for a first timer. Certainly makes sense to make the best of long flights and a have long holiday. Have you thought of joining a roll call?

 

I am sure it will be a fantastic experience.

 

Here is some more news, this time "Adventures by Disney", a tour operator that uses the AmaWaterways fleet: https://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/Adventure-by-Disney-Europe-river-cruises-2023

 

notamermaid

 

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Saga's "Spirit of the Rhine" started sailing in Autumn last year and soon it will be her sister ship's, the "Spirit of the Danube", inaugural cruise. Planned for March, it will take passengers along the - Dutch and Belgian waterways! Does not sound quite fitting but I am sure crew and passengers will have a great time. This is the itinerary: https://travel.saga.co.uk/cruises/river/where-we-go/dutch-and-belgian-river-cruises/the-inaugural-cruise.aspx

 

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CroisiEurope has new itineraries in France: https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/ports-destinations/croisieurope-offers-two-new-french-itineraries

 

Important to remember for the Seine is the fact that - as far as I know - still only some 110m ships sail into Honfleur. CroisiEurope has such ships and the license for the maritime Seine. Viking ships on the Seine and many others of same and longer length cannot sail that far.

 

notamermaid

 

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