Cruising through historical cities onboard your luxury floating hotel
River cruising is a wonderful way to travel. Since rivers were the highways of old, many ancient cities grew up along rivers. These days, river cruising is a great way to explore these historic cities as well as remote areas that can be hard to reach overland.
They’re also the most convenient way to combine many destinations into a single trip. You don’t pack or unpack as your floating boutique hotel brings you from place to place. Usually, you can walk right off the ship and be in the center of town. Most lines provide small group guided tours but independent travelers easily can take off on their own or hire a private guide.
One of my favorite rivers to cruise is the Danube. Although I was born in Germany and lived in Switzerland, I had never been further east than Vienna when I took my first Danube cruise. It is fascinating to see the differences in architecture and art as you cruise eastward, especially in the ancient churches.
Cruising is also a great option for those who want to see India in luxury. I often suggest Uniworld’s Ganges Voyager II. Its 12- and 13-day itineraries cruise the Ganges River between New Delhi and Kolkata, taking you deep into rural India.
Uniworld provides guided excursions at each stop and interesting speakers as well as daily yoga classes onboard. Even more important, you can walk off the ship into remote local villages which you would never get to on a normal tour, and you will be visiting without hordes of tourists because the ship only carries 56 passengers.
A big plus is the ship itself, which truly immerses you in India. Its decor features the wood paneling and murals which you see in its sister hotels, the Oberoi properties, and the whole feeling is India. Each cabin has a verandah where you can sit and watch the world go by. The line also offers organized overland extensions based at Oberoi Hotels in Calcutta, Agra (where you can see Taj Mahal from the right rooms), and Delhi.
With its combination of luxury and intimate immersion into local life, it’s no wonder that river cruising has become one of the biggest trends in travel. Of course, each river cruise line and itinerary has its pros and cons. For me, part of the art of being a travel agent is getting to know my clients’ tastes and matching them with the best ship and excursions for their interests and travel style.
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