You’ve done Europe’s Danube, Rhine and Seine, and maybe Russia’s Volga, Portugal’s Douro, or Central Europe’s Elbe.
You’re a devotee of river cruising, and you’re not alone. River cruising is the hottest segment of the cruise industry right now, fueled in large part by baby boomers who enjoy the small ships, the close-up passing scenery, and the informative shore excursions, often included in the price.
European waterways from Spain and Portugal east to the Black Sea are now teeming with river vessels, with more being launched every year.
Cruise lines such as Viking, Uniworld, AMA Waterways, Avalon, Scenic, CroisiEurope, and Emerald Waterways are all competing fiercely for your business there, churning out sleek new ships with tons of innovations like floor to ceiling windows that open up and turn into virtual “balconies” with sitting areas.
Uniworld just launched… Continue reading
I’ve often wondered about the derivation of the ship godmother tradition. A female celebrity of some sort says a few nice words about a new vessel and, in theory, breaks a bottle of Champagne across the bow to christen it.
According to one account I read, the tradition goes back thousands of years to when pagan priests would douse a new ship with blood as a kind of bon voyage send-off.
Somehow this morphed into celebrity godmothers and bottles of bubbly. Even royalty have gotten into the act. Queen Elizabeth II has served as godmother for a couple of Cunard’s “Queen” ocean liners, and Kate Middleton has appropriately doused a Princess Cruises vessel.
Actresses Make Great Godmothers
Actresses are commonly tapped. In retrospect, I would have gladly splurged on a balcony… Continue reading
One of the big developments in cruising in the past few years is the rapid rise of river cruising, which has a big marketing advantage over ocean cruising among a certain segment of the population: namely, those who don’t like the idea of being out in the ocean on a big ship.
Whether it’s fear of open water, fear of getting seasick, fear of overcrowding, or fear of being on a big ship if a crisis strikes at sea — such as some of the highly publicized events of the past year or two — a number of people just won’t consider taking a traditional ocean cruise. (No matter how much I or many other cruising advocates try to convince them otherwise.)
River cruising, on the other hand, enables you to stay close to land on… Continue reading