river cruise

River cruising, visa problem, Cunard 2012, be wary booking online

This week has been really busy despite the cold, wet weather and school holidays. (Those who don’t live in Sydney may not know that school holidays change the traffic (less), the shoppers in Mosman (fewer – they go away or care for their grandchildren!) and the vibe (not as frantic)). Among our tasks this week…

  • We booked a 5-star river cruise for a couple who want to travel from Budapest to Amsterdam in late August. Our customers chose a luxury vessel which was built in the 1990s to combine the charm and leisurely luxury of the 1930s with the best in modern service and cuisine. Many cruises are not advertised and this couple just fancied such a holiday – so it was great that we were able to find what they wanted – and book it.
  • A young Indonesian friend wanted to travel to Argentina, but on an Indonesian passport. Not as easy as travelling on an Australian passport so we had to contact one of our visa processing specialists and expidite the necessary interview as he wanted to leave soon. Visas can be a problem and it is only when you are in a situation such as this that you appreciate the specialist knowledge about processing and likely turnaround.
  • Another couple were keen to cruise the Mediterranean and wanted to know what was available at a certain time. The Mediterranean is a busy and popular cruising arena and it can be daunting when the brief is so wide, but, after checking with our wholesalers we found them a cruise they never would have discovered on the internet.
  • Cunard announced their 2012 program – which as always will be hugely popular with regular and new cruisers who want to experience travelling on one of the great Queens.
  • In Britain, the consumer authorities have issued a warning to those booking travel on the internet that they are at risk of being ripped off by online bargains that are a figment of the website’s imagination! When booking and paying online some folk get so excited they hand over their hard-earned cash before actually checking that the website is an authentic travel agent. Occasionally we have a customer who had been misled by what they have found on the internet – we will always help where we can, but of course we would prefer customers to book their travel with us – we can get just about all the deals you see on the internet and much, much more – and we are licenced travel agents! here’s a photo of us (Biba and Martin) on board a cruise ship visit recently.

Your cruise ship is your hotel…

We cruise-lovers love our ships – and we have to love being aboard because that’s where you spend the major portion of your cruising time. But there comes a time when the cruise ends and you have to get off, and then – if it is somewhere you want to stay a while – you discover again how the costs mount up. But wait a bit! Some cruise lines are on your side in this – they arrange their itineraries to give you an overnight stay in port. And then the ship is your hotel.
I can think of several cruise lines who plan their sailings this way – and they are mostly the 4 1/2 to 5 star ships. Now I can add another: the 4-star river cruise company CroisiEurope who, today, have offered a 4-night stay in Venice, in October 2009, aboard a river boat: it’s a cruise that doesn’t leave. The boat stays moored – you stay and dine aboard for 4 nights and each day you are free to explore Venice on your own or with optional guided excursions, all at a quite remarkably low price. There is only one of these “cruises” that I am aware of. But we love to discover the unusual so we’ll keep a watch out for – and would love to hear about – any others.

Why now is the time to river cruise

Meandering through the European countryside where fairytale castles appear around a bend, historic villages perch amidst lush scenery and you retreat to your very own comfortable cabin is the perfect holiday for those who want to enjoy Europe at a snail’s pace.
Thanks to the brains behind the Rhine-Main-Danube canal which was completed in 1992 it is possible to cruise along 3,000 miles of river and canal network enjoying Europe at leisure. Today there is a huge range of river cruises to choose from including this selection which are big on service – Peter Deilmann, Amadeus Waterways, Avalon, Uniworld, Viking and Vantage.
Ships that cruise the rivers of Europe must meet certain specifications – maximum width is 11.5 metres, maximum length is 127 metres and three decks are all that is allowed – they carry between 164 and 176 passengers. Apart from these criteria you will find that every line has something different to offer – most appeal to the over-50s but there are also cruises that court families. Some focus on themes such as cuisine, wine, tulip time in Holland.
Currently many of the river cruise lines are offering some amazing specials – too many to list here. So if river cruising is something you’ve thought about but never investigated – now is the time to get in touch with us, tell us what you would like to do and where you would like to go and we’ll present you with some amazing options for you to explore European waterways.
And if cruising is something you have avoided because you get sea sick – river cruising is for you.