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Benefits of adding pre and post days to your river cruise

If you can, always arrive early for your river cruise.  If you can, get to your starting destination a few days early.  I recommend 2-3 days but if you can only do 1, that’s OK.

This tip is not just for a river cruise, I recommend adding a few days for ANY trip you do.  River cruise, ocean cruise, land tour, etc…

Benefits of arriving early:

  • There’s no doubt that you’ll be starting in a wonderful city.  Spending some extra time there will be magnificent. Explore the city, do some of the things that are not part of the tour, venture out of the city to do something different.  Your travel advisor can give you some recommendations here.
  • It will help you get over jet lag for the start of your trip.
  • Flight delays are unpredictable.  Weather, mechanical issues, airline strikes, can affect your flight.  I’ve seen them all happen!  By leaving earlier, you minimize missing the start of your trip.  Most of the time you’ll be meeting your tour guides and fellow travelers over dinner on the first night and you don’t want to miss that!

In addition, you’ll be ending your river cruise in different spectacular city.  If you can add another couple days on the end of your trip, I always recommend that as well.  You’ve traveled a long way, why not make the most of it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Prague – Although Prague is not on a river, it’s a short bus or train ride from cruises that start or end in Germany on the Danube River.  Almost all river cruise lines offer pre or post cruise stays in Prague and they offer transfers to make it easy.
  • Amsterdam – One of the most popular river cruise itineraries are on the Rhine River.  Many either start or end in Amsterdam. This is an excellent city to spend a few extra days!
  • Vietnam and Cambodia river cruise on the Mekong River – Add some time in Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap.
  • Ski the Swiss alps when starting or ending your Rhine River cruise from Basel.

We certainly don’t have to keep it just to the cities that start or end your river cruise.  It’s super easy to fly from one city to another in Europe.  

  • Experience London or Paris then hop on a flight or train to start your Rhine River cruise in Amsterdam.
  • One of my favorite countries in the world is Italy.  Spend some time in Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice… Uniworld has a river cruise starting in Venice on the Po.  Or hop on a short flight to your starting tour destination.
  • I’ve added a few days in Thailand as it’s just a short flight away!  Add a stay in Krabi, Thailand at the end of your river cruise to soak in the sun at some of the most beautiful beaches.  And the Thai food is the BEST I’VE EVER HAD!

There are MANY options!  As a travel advisor, I can offer some fantastic recommendations and help plan your trip from A to Z…

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A Magical Holiday Christmas River Cruise

I love the Christmas Holidays.  Once we get to Thanksgiving, I start feeling that Christmas spirit.  Christmas music around the clock, Christmas movies, the cooler weather.  I love it all. 
As much as I love to river cruise.  Combine them, perfection.
A Christmas river cruise is pure magic.  And the Christmas season is one of the best times to go to Europe.  A true winter wonderland.
Glide by storybook villages and snow-capped castles on the riverside.
Each year, timeless traditions spring to life at European Christmas Markets, where rows of colorful lights illuminate cobblestone streets and charming booths brimming with traditional handcrafted souvenirs in historic town squares. 
A river cruise visits some of the most delightful Christmas markets.
Indulge in gingerbread, Christmas cookies and sugary chimney cakes
Feast on mulled wine or sip hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.
Shop for Hand-carved toys and ornaments from Christmases past.
Listen to Angelic songs of strolling carolers.  
And romantic ice-skating in front of the beautifully illuminated Vienna City Hall.

Some of the time honored Christmas Markets include:

– The Budapest Christmas Market – it’s Hungary’s largest.  It’s strict “handcrafted-only” policy makes it the ideal shopping spot for the one of a kind gift.
– Vienna – situated in front their impressive 19th century town hall with awe inspiring decorations that illuminate the city.
– Strasbourg, France – the self proclaimed “Capital of Christmas”.  The oldest, largest, and most famous Christmas Markets in France. 
– Nuremberg, Germany – One of the largest and most popular in all of Europe.  Nuremberg’s 400 year old Christmas Market offers live music, hand crafted souvenirs, a nostalgic carousel, and a children’s steam train.
– Regensburg, Germany – which an independent jury has described as one of the loveliest in Germany
– Cologne, Germany – featuring their specialty – potato pancakes with applesauce
You’ll be transported from one Christmas wonderland to another by river ship. 
Onboard festivities include music performances, tree trimming, exquisite feasts, and engaging in customs that have long since passed.  

Christmas river cruises sail on the Rhine, Danube, and on the Seine in Paris:

– Danube river cruises sail from Budapest to Germany (Vilshofen, Passau, Nuremberg).  Extend in Prague which is less than 2 hours from where the cruise ends in Germany.  Transfer and hotels included so no need to worry about how you’re getting there.
– Rhine river cruises sail from Amsterdam to Basel.  Extend in Paris or Switzerland.
– Or a Parisian holiday on the Seine. 
Christmas river cruises start when the Christmas Markets open (Towards the end of November – could start as early as the 22nd or as late as the 29th).
Best time to go, I’d say anytime.  My opinion, that early part of December.
There’s also cruises that are out on Christmas day so you can celebrate on the ship.  And you can even celebrate the new year on a river cruise.  Keep in mind that most Christmas Markets do end just after Christmas day so if you’re most interested in the Christmas Markets, go a bit earlier in the month.
Christmas on a European river cruise is magical.  It’s a great option for couples and families.  If you’re looking for a holiday getaway, I would highly recommend a river cruise.  No better way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Please feel free to call with any questions at 305-814-8184!

Seabourn Journeys to some Spectacular Destinations

In the old days of cruising, when I say this, I mean in the last decade or so, a cruises ship was the destination.  You booked a cruise for all the activities on board (and the food).  Sometimes, you didn’t even get off the ship at your ports of call.  More and more, people craved something different from their cruise.  Better food and more of an enriching experience.

After all, a ship can access some of the worlds most intriguing and unique ports of call.  But sometimes a day is not enough to experience a destination.  You need more time to explore.

Seabourn has taken this to a new level.

Seabourn is an ultra luxury cruise line that takes you to all 7 continents with top notch service and intimate ships.

They introduced 4 new Seabourn Journeys in 2020 to exceptional destinations in Europe.  These are extensions that you can add to your cruise before or after your voyage.  These are not your ordinary single day excursions from the ship.  They can last from 6 to 13 days.

These journeys enable you to combine exceptional land and sea experiences seamlessly.  They’re kept small, between 2 and 10 guests.  This offers a more intimate and personalized adventure.

There are 14 options and most visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • UNESCO Banff National Park & The Rocky Mountaineer
  • UNESCO Splendors Of Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu
  • UNESCO Sydney, The Red Centre & Great Barrier Reef
  • UNESCO Lakeside Gems Of The Swiss Alps
  • UNESCO Treasures Of Tuscany
  • UNESCO Cambodia: Phnom Penh & The Temples Of Angkor
  • UNESCO Treasure Of China: Beijing, Xi’an & Hong Kong
  • UNESCO India’s Golden Triangle: The Taj Mahal & Jaipur
  • UNESCO Imperial Heritage Of Europe
  • South Africa: Cape Town & Kruger Park Safari Lodge
  • South Pole Quest
  • The Denali Experience 2020
  • Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

These are some fantastic pre and post cruise options.  Many cruise lines offer extensions, although not all on this grand level.  Whether you book your extension with the cruise line or set something up on your own, I always recommend adding a couple days before and or after.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write us or call 305-814-8184.

Adventure river cruise in the U.S. with Uncruise

Uncruise is a small ship adventure company started in 1996.  They sail in Alaska, Galapagos, Hawaii, Latin America, Mexico, the Pacific Northwest.  And if you’re feeling a river cruise, they’ve got one right here in the US – Columbia & Snake Rivers.
The Columbia & Snake rivers is the recreational mecca of the rivers.  For the adventurer, you can explore by kayak, raft, skiff, swim or a hike.
This cruise is not a sit on the sideline cruise.  You’re in the middle of it all.  Each day the great outdoors calls:  Coulees (pronounced coolees) and canyons, evergreen forests, and dramatic basalt (busalts) cliffs.  You can explore the rivers’ trails by foot or by bike, and along the shore by kayak and raft.  Or you can opt to focus on wine, craft beer, and culinary touring and tasting at vineyards, wineries, breweries, and cideries. The areas along the Columbia and Snake rivers are like California’s Sonoma Valley winemaking region.  It is a blossoming wine region and the quality of wine is astounding!  There are new award-winning wineries opening all the time.
Plus, get a dose of history and geology.  Follow the path of Lewis and Clark from desert to rainforest.

There are 2 itineraries:

Rivers of Adventure – 7 night cruise from Portland, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington (or you can do the reverse).  
  • River rafting trip
  • Hike, kayak, swim, and skiff at: Palouse Falls State Park, Columbia Hills State Park, and Ft. Clatsop, a Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
  • Multnomah Falls walk and visit
  • Jet boat ride into Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
  • Bike (or shuttle) and wine outing in Hood River Valley
  • Rowena Overlook hikes at Tom McCall Nature Preserve
  • Transit eight locks and tour the Bonneville Dam Visitor Center
  • Presentation by a Nez Perce tribal member
  • Narration by natural and cultural history guides
Rivers of Wine & Culinary – 7 night cruise from Portland round trip.
  • Onboard sommelier (sumulyay) and farm to table culinary demos
  • Winery tours in Washington and Oregon AVAs: Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla, Red Mountain, Willamette Valley
  • Cruise through the heart of the Columbia River Gorge
  • Wine, craft brews, kombucha, and cider tastings
  • Wine-pairing lunch and cooking demo at Walter Clore Wine & Culinary Center
  • Food and beverage demo with a local chef in Astoria
  • Local culinary delights at historic Gesa Power House Theater
  • Rodin sculptures, European paintings, Native artifacts, and Northwest art at the Maryhill Museum
How will you be getting from point A to point B?  On the S.S. Legacy which is a 90 passenger replica of an early 20th century coastal steam ship with a Victorian look and feel.  If is a wonderful ship!
Uncruise also has some fantastic theme cruises set for 2020.
There’s an Insiders theme cruise, here you’ll be taken behind the scenes with people who live and breathe in the places you explore.
If you love birds, there are Birding cruises, with birding experts on board.
And if you have a love of photography as I do, there are some great photography cruises with the pros .
Uncruise is all about small ships, BIG adventures.  Their small ships are intimate with no more than 90 guests on any itinerary.  Guides have vast and deep experience, plus an impressive collection of advanced degrees in curiosity peaking subjects from whales to fungi to geology.
If you have any questions on Uncruise, or anything else, please feel free to reach out to us 7 days a week.

A River Cruise that’s closer to home

River Cruising is a hugely popular way to travel. Some of the most popular rivers to sail on are the Danube river, the Rhine, the Seine – all in Europe. The Mekong is gaining popularity and the Douro river in Portugal is a gem. But there’s one river a bit closer to home that shouldn’t be overlooked.


On the Mississippi, there are mainly 2 types of cruises you can do – the Upper Mississippi and the Lower Mississippi.  There are probably many more but the main 2 are the upper and the lower.
Upper Mississippi cruises sail between St. Louis, Missouri and St. Paul Minnesota.   Lower Mississippi cruises sail between Memphis, Tennessee and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Some highlights you can expect to experience on a lower Mississippi cruise are:
– The Civil War sites and monuments,
– Majestic mansions and antebellum architecture
– New Orleans jazz and the historic French Quarter
– Sprawling cotton and sugarcane plantations
– Southern Cajun and Creole cuisine, and some good ole Southern barbecue.
And there are plenty of Themed cruises like Plantation Thanksgiving, Mardi Gras on the River, Antebellum South, American River BBQ challenge.
Highlights from the Upper Mississippi river cruises are Mark Twain’s hometown and literary inspirations, scenic river views, American bald eagles, extensive lock-and-dam systems, and charming small-town America.  Themed cruises like Mark Twain’s Mississippi,
The 2 main river cruise lines that sail the Mississippi are American Cruise Lines & American Queen Steamboat Company.  Again, there are several other lines sailing but we’re going to stick to these 2 for now.
American Queen Steamboat Company operate real paddlewheelers.  They have 3 sailing on the Mississippi including the largest steamboat ever built, the American Queen.  Their 3rd river ship, American Countess, starts sailing in 2020.

American Cruise Line has more modern ships and currently have 3 sailing on the Mississippi and a 4th coming in 2020, that’s the American Jazz.

If you need help planning a trip, feel free to reach out to us anytime at 305-814-8184.