Spotlight on River Cruising
Did you know that over 500,000 people took a river cruise in 2012? How about the fact that 85% of river cruisers have taken a traditional blue-water cruise? So what’s that all about? I think it’s a natural “next step” for the experienced cruiser that’s destination-oriented and is looking for ports they can never see via ocean liners. But I also think a river cruise is an astonishingly good option for touring Europe and Asia instead of doing a land-based trip.
What we love most about River cruising is that it combines the best of what a blue-water cruise offers (unpack once, fine dining, transport between cities while you’re sleeping) with the hands-on experience of European land-based tours:
• You’re instantly immersed in the history and culture of Europe’s famous cities . . . most river cruises dock in the very heart of the historic cities they visit
• “Up-close-and-personal” shore excursions that are included
• Small group travel so you really get to know your fellow cruisers and crew
The most misunderstood aspects of river cruises can be summed up in two statements:
1. It’s only for old people. . . not true! While you won’t find the young family or Vegas crowd, you’ll see the same kind of travelers as on other experiential destinations (Europe, Alaska, Panama Canal, and Canada/New England are good examples).
2. It’s very expensive. . . also not true! River cruises come in all price points, from modest to extravagant. . .just like blue-water cruises. But river cruises generally include tours in the various cities, soft drinks, regional wines and beers with meals, and complimentary wireless Internet access.
It’s not too early to start planning for 2014 river cruises! Because ships are smaller and demand is high, river cruises really start to fill up as far as a year or more in advance. In fact, 2014 voyages are already booking—by July, we expect 50% of 2014 availability to be gone, with roughly 20% remaining by October of this year . If you’re thinking of taking a river cruise vacation next year, believe it or not now is the time to start planning!
On the other hand, there are some remaining opportunities for 2013, but here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. If you are looking for something more peak season, you will find that prices will be full retail
2. Most remaining staterooms are in the upper categories
3. If you are cruising on a budget, be thinking about October and November. While the weather will be cooler, you’ll typically be rewarded with less crowded cities, cheaper airfare, and lower prices in shops and restaurants. Besides, no one takes a river cruise to work on their tan so don’t let the cooler temps scare you away.
Handpicked 2013 Avalon River Cruise Deals
Below, we’ve selected our top picks for 2013 River Cruises aboard one of our favorite cruise lines, Avalon River Cruises. All of these picks feature $1,000 savings per cabin![box]Want to learn more about Avalon River Cruises? Read a first-hand Avalon River cruise review here.[/box]