Worldwide River and Ocean Cruise Insights

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The Joys of River Cruising

River cruising has become one of the most popular travel experiences on the waterways from Europe to Asia. The slower pace and smaller luxury vessels allow you glide through palaces and castles, lush forests and vineyards, temples, historic towns and breathtaking views. Here are some of the best river cruise itineraries on earth:

EUROPE

Insider tip #1: Whether you’re into art, history, cuisine or craft beverages, or simply want to savor natural beauty and warm hospitality, I highly recommend Ireland, my birthplace.”

Jenny O'Neill
Protravel Advisor
Corona del Mar, CA
Ireland Cliffs of Moher at sunset
The Rhone River

Originating in the breathtaking Swiss Alps, the Rhone River flows through some of the most scenic regions of Switzerland and France, such as Lake Geneva, Lyon and Provence. If you’re an art lover, you’ll enjoy numerous highlights along this 504-mile voyage, such as Auvers-sur-Oise, northwest of Paris, where master painters such as van Gogh, Cézanne, Corot and Pissarro lived and worked, or stroll through the Museé des Beaux Arts in Lyon, a beautiful 17th century building housing a collection of outstanding art from antiquity to modern.

The Rhine River

Beginning in the legendary canals of Amsterdam and winding through Germany’s fairytale villages and historic castles, the Rhine River is one of the most picturesque. Book a springtime cruise to view thousands of bright tulips decorating the banks or enjoy winter excursions to the Austrian Christmas markets. Be sure to stop in Rudesheim! It’s not only the gateway to the Rhine Valley, but its wine traditions have put it on the map as one of the premier producers of some of the best Riesling and Pinot Noir.

Insider tip #2: Many people think they can do better booking a cruise on their own. To the contrary; through our longstanding industry relationships and preferred partner status, we have access to special offers and value-added amenities that can save you real money.
Bonnie Sherman,
Protravel Protravel Advisor 
San Diego, CA
The Danube River

Europe’s second-largest river offers stops at some of Europe’s most famous ports, including Budapest, Munich, Prague and Vienna.

AmaCello River Cruise Ship, AmaWaterways AmaCello © AmaWaterways

RUSSIA

Volga and Svir Rivers

Often called the Venice of the North, a voyage through Russia’s famed waterways will uncover two of its most enchanting cities: St. Petersburg and Moscow. You’ll be welcomed with views of the city’s famous landmarks, such as the Kremlin, the Hermitage Museum and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. Plus, unique shore excursions are an opportunity to learn about the rich cultural and political history of this vast country.

Insider tip #3: stop at Mandrogi, where you can learn Russian traditions like how to paint the famous Matroyska nesting dolls.
Protravel International

CHINA

Yangtze River

Arguably the most important river in the history of the world, China’s Yangtze encompasses 3,900 miles. With incredible sites—like the glaciers of Tibet, the radiant city of Shanghai, the Great Wall of China and hundreds of quaint villages and beautiful forests, mountains and islands—every moment is picture perfect and the regional dishes are phenomenal.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

The Mekong River

Slightly smaller than the Yangtze, but just as historically important, the Mekong River runs through some of Southeast Asia’s most famous countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar and Vietnam. Watch daily life unfold as you cruise by with immersive excursions to local markets, fishing villages and silk factories. A river cruise will provide you with a stronger understanding about this powerful river, along with the cultures and people near its shores.

Insider tip #4: There are cruises out there to suit every style, but finding the right one can be a challenge—as can avoiding the hidden charges that are sometimes associated with cruise-sponsored activities. This is one of the many reasons to book with a cruise expert travel advisor.
Mari Marks
Protravel Advisor 
Beverly Hills, CA
River Palm Forest, Thailand

In addition to above, more cruise lines are offering journeys through South America, Africa and other compelling destinations. Get ready to immerse yourself as you embark on an exciting adventure along the world’s waterways.

The Benefits of Luxury Ocean Cruises

Sophisticated travelers want it all, and cruise lines are delivering: opulent balcony suites filled with organic bath products and Frette linens; gourmet dining designed by celebrated chefs; first-class service that rivals a 5-star resort; and fabulous all-inclusive options.

PERFECT FAMILY VACATIONS

Are you a person who needs to unplug and relax on a quiet deck with a good book, enjoying peaceful days at sea, sunset cocktails and star-gazing? Or are you seeking non-stop multi-generational family activities and onboard entertainment? Either way, ocean cruising is the perfect vacation for you! Exciting global itineraries, fabulous cuisine and dining options, spa treatments, fitness classes, a well-appointed stateroom with private balcony and stellar service await aboard the world's top ships. We can even arrange a wedding at sea or honeymoon suite.

Insider tip #5: Many people come to me with a specific request based on what they’ve seen on television, a brochure they received in the mail, or what a friend said. These can be very misleading and different from reality. Often, another line will meet your expectations and dreams far better than what you first requested. Sorting through all the options can be a daunting task. We can cut through the sales pitches and help you achieve the experience you want.
Stephen Scott
Protravel Advisor
Chicago, IL
Royal Caribbean cruise ship pool

DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT: ALASKA

Protravel cruise expert Shani La Plume notes: “Ocean cruises are great for families. The larger ships offer kids programs and lots of ways to keep children and teens engaged. And they can take you to places that would be hard to explore overland. Alaska is a prime example. Cruising up the Inside Passage takes you into protected territory where you can sail close enough to a glacier to hear it “calving” as a big chunk falls away. The whale-watching is also spectacular, and there are lots of adventures on shore, from kayaking to heli-hiking. Most of all, you’ll have chances to see amazing wildlife. You might see a bear catch a salmon, or seals sunning on a beach.”

Polar bear on ice glacier, crystal cruise, northwest passage Polar bear on ice glacier along the Northwest Passage © Crystal Cruise

DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT: ROMANTIC FRENCH POLYNESIA

Insider tip #6: Captivate your imagination with the beautiful scenery as you relax and enjoy an uplifting Tahiti & Society Islands seven-day cruise. In addition to all the beautiful places you’ll visit, imagine the feeling of luxury aboard a cruise ship with a relatively small passenger capacity.
June Kleier
Protravel Advisor
Scottsdale, AZ

PRIVATE SHORE EXCURSIONS

Protravel has contacts in virtually every port of call and can arrange for private, customized experiences offering that elevated ‘wow’ factor.

Insider tip #7: Most of my clients choose to book private shore excursions instead of group bus tours. Often, they travel with another couple which lowers the cost. The advantage of private tours is you can see more in a shorter time without feeling rushed or herded and you can do things not offered on group tours. Plus, group excursions usually hit the main attractions, which my clients often have already seen. 
Debra Rubio
Protravel Advisor
Sierra Madre, CA

GOURMET DINING

Intimate specialty dining venues with locally-sourced ingredients are now the norm thanks to Thomas Keller, Nobu Matsuhisa, Jaques Pepin and other world-renowned chefs who have partnered with cruise lines. Each night brings you more choices, as you feast on 5-star dishes and you’ll also notice more attentive service while you dine, with professionally trained waiters who ensure a flawless meal.

Insider tip #8: Before you leave home, explore the restaurants on the ship and book reservations in advance through your travel agent, when possible, or immediately when boarding.
Protravel International

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