“The biggest difference between ocean and river cruising is that daily shore excursions are included,” says Richard Parnell, senior vice president of marketing for Viking. By far, Europe is the most affordable, with the majority of first time river cruisers booking there. Editor's note: Read below for brief breakdowns on river cruise prices in Europe, the U.S. and exotic destinations like China and Vietnam, South America and Egypt.
In the popular European market, according to industry observers, Uni world is the “luxury line,” followed closely in that top tier by Truck, Scenic and Waterways. Avalon Waterways and Viking RiverCruises are considered contemporary mass-market, and Grand Circle, known for its high-quality program directors and older ships, has a reputation for being the most affordable.
“If you don't have a list of things to ask about,” Clark adds, “you may get a similar price at two operators, but one of them may be giving you a lot more in terms of value.” While river cruise companies do charge a single supplement of 50 to 100 percent for solo travelers who book cabins designed for double occupancy, some companies offer a “roommate” program, where a passenger is paired with another solo traveler, thereby quashing the single supplement.
Occasionally, the lines will announce single supplement waivers or discounts on their websites. Other considerations include airfare, travel cancellation insurance, visas, and PRE- and post-cruise land stays in places like Prague, Budapest, Amsterdam and St. Petersburg.
Parnell says the trip extensions have become so popular that “almost a majority” of Viking passengers now take advantage of them. In many cases, the website will have a link to preferred travel agents within the shopper's zip code.
(Editor's note: Grand Circle sells its cruises directly to consumers, bypassing travel agents completely). “ River cruising is still a relatively new concept,” notes Wesley Bosnia, senior vice president of Uni world.
Hands down, mid-May through late September are the most popular months for river cruises, and sailings during that time are usually 15 to 20 percent higher in price. Business slacks off a bit in the heat of July and August, as do prices by as much as 10 percent.
Holiday Christmas market cruises in November and December are priced lower than those during any other time of the year, offering the best deal in Europe overall. In addition, U.S. river cruise lines typically offer group discounts and fare reductions for kids.
American Queen Steamboat Company advertises itself as the most inclusive river cruise product in North America, with fares that encompass complimentary wine and beer with dinner, all shore excursions, bottled water and soda, and a one-night stay in a deluxe hotel in the city of embarkation. The biggest difference in river cruising in places like China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar is that the trip also includes a land component that's often longer than the cruise itself. For instance, a typical three- or four-night Yangtze cruise is generally wrapped in a tour that lasts 10 or more nights.
Unlike in Europe, visas are required for entry to places like Southeast Asia and China. Airfare, due to the length of the flights, is also more expensive than Europe by as much as 20 to 40 percent. However, there are “value” seasons associated with weather and, consequently, limited demand periods.
The Mekong and Irrawaddy are still relatively new entrants when it comes to tourism development, so there are fewer choices for hotel rooms (and ships). Amazon River Cruise Prices. The Amazon, winding through Peru and Brazil, is the most expensive river in the world to cruise, in large measure due to the cost of getting there.
Sindbad and Avalon both operate small vessels that were built to navigate remote areas of the Amazon in Peru. Those cruises run nine and 10 nights, respectively. The luxury ocean lines, including Regent Seven Seas and Oceania, offer Amazon itineraries in Brazil that are two weeks or longer and take in far more destinations than an Amazon-centric tour offered by Sindbad or Avalon.
The actual Amazon sailing experience itself is scant, with the region explored instead by way of shore excursions. The best way to snag savings: Look for launch promotions at the start of a new year for both international airfares and cruise fares.
The variance in pricing between high and low seasons can be as much as 25 percent. The best way to get a deal is to work with a river cruise specialist offering last-minute promotions close to departure. The good news: The price of airfare to Egypt tends to stay pretty stable, even when purchased last minute.
Round trip fares start at around $700 from the Midwest and East Coast and $900 from the West Coast. Editor's note: Due to the political climate and resultant low demand, cruises on the Nile are currently running at half-capacity with plenty of deals to be had. Complimentary specialty coffees, tea, and filtered water refill stations are available 24 hours a day.
Asia: Complimentary coffee, tea, soft drinks, and local beer/spirits are available throughout the day. Amazon: Complimentary coffee, tea, select soft drinks, and local beer/spirits are available throughout the day.
On the Mekong, Ganges, Amazon, and Galápagos, dressy attire, coats, and ties are not recommended due to the warm, humid climate. You will need an adapter or converter to use in other outlets in the stateroom for any small personal items such as a razor, curling iron, or alarm clock.
To access the ship's Wi-Fi Internet network you will be given a PIN at reception to use on your laptop, tablet, or mobile device. Special services are available (some free of charge) and vary based on destination.
Should you want to host an event on board, Celebration Packages are available for advance purchase in Europe. Television Each stateroom has color satellite TV and will receive some English programming.
Exceptions are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania; they all have their own currencies, but the Euro is accepted in many establishments. In these cases and for incidentals or small vendors, you will need some local currency.
Prior to your departure, confirm with your bank that your ATM or credit card and PIN will work abroad. For payment of shipboard accounts, Euro and U.S. dollars are accepted as well as American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Diners Club.
In Southeast Asia: In Vietnam (Dong) and Thailand (That), local currency is used primarily while in Cambodia U.S. dollars are widely accepted in addition to the local currency (Riel). It is advised that you check with your bank to ensure your card will work; otherwise we recommend you bring all the money you’ll need from home.
Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or with cash. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), or with cash.
Shipboard accounts may be settled by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), cash, or traveler’s checks. In Peru/Amazon: Peru uses Nero Sol (PEN) as their official currency; however, U.S. dollars are widely accepted.
Credit cards are accepted in Peru, and you should have no problems using them in larger shops and restaurants. Smaller shops may ask you to pay in cash or have a minimum amount required to use a credit card.
Vacation prices are per person, based on double occupancy, and do not include airfare except as noted on the itinerary pages. We encourage full deposit early to secure your space and to protect the price of your vacation.
Please note that Avalon reserves the right to ticket passengers upon receipt of full land and air deposit. Air is only available to passengers traveling from the United States and is only available when booked in conjunction with a land/cruise vacation.
You can learn about the optional excursions available on your Avalon vacation, including cruises with Monograms extensions, by visiting AvalonWaterways.com/MyAvalon. NOTE: Optional activities and excursions are subject to change and may not be available as described; please visit our website for up-to-date information, including Terms & Conditions and details regarding payment.
Free land and cruise arrangements are credited at the twin rate; single room and stateroom supplements must be paid in full. If a passenger’s name on an airline reservation does not match the name exactly as it appears on his or her passport or other government-issued ID used at the time of travel, boarding may not be allowed.
It is also important that this information be provided correctly at the time of booking, as any changes to your air booking, which includes correct spelling, could be subject to a change fee, penalties, higher fares, new schedule, and/or cancellation. There may be times when unforeseen events beyond our control impact travel schedules and potentially disrupt your vacation.
Avalon will send you a set of travel documents, which includes a copy of your itinerary and, where applicable, information on your hotels and optional excursions. Travel documents, including applicable ticket receipts, itineraries, and other information are sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure, provided full payment has been received.
Many of them belong to famous chains such as Weston, InterContinental, and Hilton-- Deluxe, Superior First-Class & First-Class hotels nearly everywhere we travel. The specific rating for each contract hotel is determined by our quality controllers.
If you'd like to add extra hotel nights, we will try to make arrangements for you at our contracted rates. Rates are per person, per night, and include a room with private bath, breakfast, service charges and taxes.
During particularly busy periods, hotel space in certain cities can become so limited that we may be unable to sell extra nights. Avalon is a cruise vacation with a Cruise Director and Globes is an inclusive escorted tour with a Tour Director, both of which follow a set itinerary.
Monograms vacations are designed for independent travel, including a package added to your cruise, with stays in major cities and destinations that include hotel accommodation with breakfast, sightseeing with VIP access, transportation between cities, and the services of a Monograms professional Local Host. Because of this and for the safety and enjoyment of all passengers, we do not accept children under eight years of age.
In addition, please note that there are no special arrangements or activities for children on our ships. Avalon Waterways makes reasonable attempts to accommodate the special needs of disabled and mobility impaired travelers but is not responsible in the event it is unable to do so.
Because we cannot provide individual assistance to travelers in many situations, and most of our transportation services are not equipped with wheelchair ramps, we recommend that you view our terms and conditions for details and contact us to learn more. We regret that we are unable to accept a second suitcase or any luggage exceeding these limits on any Avalon vacation outside of Europe.
Some vacations have more restrictive regulations than these listed above, such as cruises on the Galápagos, Mekong, and Ganges. Please note that air carriers, cruise lines, and other forms of transportation may have other restrictions and requirements, including weight, and we recommend that you contact the suppliers directly for additional information.
Avalon is not responsible for additional baggage fees imposed by air carriers. Avalon is committed to minimizing its impact on the environment and to reducing its dependence on non-renewable resources.
Our staff and major service providers strive to ensure that no removal of any natural or cultural artifacts or materials occurs to ensure each environment looks and functions the same before and after our visit. Avalon Waterways strives to bring you the best docking locations along Europe’s rivers.
Once your ship’s docking assignment is available, you can download a map that shows only that specific location, including address. Mother Nature (water levels and weather conditions), as well as man-made conditions (maintenance or repair of locks that all ships must pass through), as well as logistical obstacles due to labor strikes or natural elements can create unforeseen disruptions to river navigation.
With real-time updates via social media, we provide complete transparency and valuable information for our guests. Before, during, and after your Avalon Waterways cruise, we are dedicated to your safety, comfort, and convenience.
With our contact-information policy at the time of your booking, to swift resolution protocols during your cruise, to ease of post-cruise communication with travelers’ services, your satisfaction and comfort remain our commitment to you. In addition to the above, the plan offers Travel Insurance benefits including Trip Cancellation for independent air arrangements, Trip Interruption, Trip Delay, medical expense, emergency medical transportation, baggage loss, theft, damage or delay coverage, etc.
OVER THE BARREL The most common method of punishment aboard ship was flogging. The unfortunate sailor was tied to a grating, a mast, or over the barrel of a deck cannon.
DRESSING DOWN Thin and worn sails were often treated with oil or wax to renew their effectiveness. GROGGY In 1740 British Admiral Vernon (whose nickname was “Old Program” for the cloak of program which he wore) ordered that the sailors' daily ration of rum be diluted with water.
The crow would fly straight toward the nearest land, thus giving the vessel some sort of navigational fix. CUT AND RUN If a captain of a smaller ship encountered a large enemy vessel, he might decide that discretion was the better part of valor.
He would order the crew to cut the lashings on all the sails and run away before the wind. This term also meant to cut the anchor cable and sail off in a hurry.
The diverse and fascinating geography of the European Continent has blessed it with magnificent and varied natural sights. Mountain ranges such as the Swiss Alps, the French Losses, Germany's Fichtelgebirge and Black Forest region have given birth to the great rivers of Europe which have provided most important transportation links since ancient times.
Once the water levels are equalized, the gates at that end are opened and the vessel can continue on its way. The Rhine-Main-Danube Canal runs between the German towns of Bamberg and Kelham via the historic city of Nuremberg, transporting thousands of river cruise ship passengers every year between the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers.
Connecting the Rhine River with the Danube via its tributary, the Main, was a dream of Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, who began the first attempt at construction of the “Fossa Carolina” more than 12 centuries ago. While his construction effort failed, parts of the canal are still visible in southern areas of central Franconia.
King Ludwig I of Bavaria built the first fully functioning Main-Danube Canal in only 10 years of construction from 1836-1846. Yet, the Ludwig-Main-Danube Canal as it was called, with its 101 water locks was rather narrow and its practical use for shipping was highly limited.
It stretches for a length of 106 miles from Bamberg, in Germany, via Nuremberg to Regensburg. Internet cafés can be found in many towns in Western Europe, generally with reasonable charges.
To use any small personal appliance such as an electric razor, curling iron, or electric plug-in type alarm clock, you will need an adapter to plug in to the wall sockets for dual voltage appliances and a converter as well as an adapter for appliances that are not dual voltage. Cheap, non-certified converters may damage your appliance and are a fire hazard on the ship.
Staterooms are also equipped with USB outlets which are useful for charging phones, tablets, cameras, etc. Television: Europe: Each stateroom has color satellite TV and will receive some English programming.
Mekong: Each stateroom has color satellite TV and will receive some English programming with a selection of movies and music. Ganges: Each stateroom has a color satellite TV, however, service is limited.
Galápagos: Television service is limited and offered in the ship’s library only. Electricity: Onboard bathrooms have a dual 220v/110-120v plug for shavers and small appliances.
You will need an adapter or converter to use in other outlets in the stateroom for any small personal items such as a razor, curling iron, or alarm clock. Telephone Service: In the Galápagos and the Amazon, there is a satellite-linked pay phone available for use in an emergency.
Television: Treasure of Galápagos provides a TV in the ship's library for playing DVDs only. Email and Internet: On the Mekong and Ganges, complimentary Wi-Fi access is available in the Panorama Lounge.
To access the ship's Wi-Fi Internet network, you will be given a PIN at reception to use on your laptop, tablet, or mobile device. So, if the plug fits and using modern dual voltage electronics, no adapter/converter is required.
Mekong's staterooms are also equipped with USB outlets which are useful for charging phones, tablets, cameras, etc. Onboard bathrooms have a dual 220v/110-120v plug for shavers and small appliances.