Exploring the World from Its Rivers

Vising the Iconic Cities of Europe

By Ashley Les, Protravel International Luxury Travel Agent

I used to think river cruising was just for people over 85, but after a cruise along the Rhine with my mom, I am totally hooked. I discovered that people of all ages appreciate the advantages of exploring the world from its rivers. And like me, once my clients take their first river cruise, they are eager to plan the next one.

Life on Board and In Port

There were many nights we were in the lounge until after midnight and every day brought something new and exciting to see and do. Plus, river cruises combine visits to small towns and big cities and dock right in the heart of capitals such as Nuremberg, Vienna, Zurich and Budapest. And I love that you can see three or four countries, eat great food, have wonderful entertainment, be as active as you like, both onboard and in port, and only pack and unpack once.

The Benefits of Uniworld

The price tag may seem high, but you get an incredible amount in terms of value. Uniworld is the line I most recommend. It is fully all-inclusive; other lines may look cheaper but then you have to pay for the Mozart concert, the excursion to Salzburg, your evening drinks. All touring is included and its ships are truly luxurious floating boutique hotels.

I especially love that Uniworld tailors each ship to the destination it cruises. For example, the S.S. Maria Theresa reflects the Danube from start to finish. You walk aboard and are greeted by a two-story mural of the amazing Habsburg ruler Maria Theresa. The decor may feel overly regal at first, but it makes sense once you’ve visited the real palaces. It is amazing to tour Vienna and learn about her amazing life and then return to see her mural!

Uniworld also includes a choice of tours every day, with active, local and off the beaten path options at different activity levels. So you can take a walking, bike or bus tour in many places. And I love that groups are limited in size to 15 or 20 so you are never crowds of 40 and 50 people, waiting to get on a bus or into a church.

And there are always special surprises. Like in Vienna, we were hosted in a third floor secret cafe for coffee and attended a private Mozart concert performed in a palace, just for us! And on the Rhine cruise, we experienced a vinegar tasting at a business that had been run by the same family for centuries. The vinegars were surprisingly delicious and we learned that there is a proposed vinegar for almost every ailment!

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