Reasons to take a river cruise in 2014

Date Posted: 03/12/2013

MPS Lady Anne

Pictured: River Cruise Line's MPS Lady Anne, on a Rhine Explorer – Especially For You cruise.

From voyages along the Irrawaddy River in south-east Asia to European battlefield cruises to coincide with World War anniversaries, there is a river journey to suit all tastes and budgets.

New ships and itineraries combined with a host of exciting destinations, plus the chance to gain a different perspective on a country means there are plenty of reasons why you and your group should enjoy a spot of river cruising in 2014.

Itinerary ideas and themed cruises

Due to launch in April, Riviera Travel will introduce the 140-passenger MS William Shakespeare. The cruise ship has been designed with sliding floor-to-ceiling glass doors in cabins and wooden furnishings made from sustainably-sourced tropical hardwoods.

Decks and public areas of the ship have been named after some of Shakespeare’s famous plays and characters such as the upper Hamlet Deck, the Middle Othello Deck and the Midsummer Bar. Groups can enjoy panoramic views from spacious public areas such as The Globe lounge and bar.

The MS William Shakespeare is set to operate three seven-night itineraries on the Rhine in 2014.

Group travel organisers will also find that Avalon Waterways has launched a new choice of themed cruises, including beer tasting or golfing on the Austrian Highlights & Bavaria cruise (7th July and 13th October), and a Wellness Cruise for yoga and healthy dining options on Blue Danube Discovery (14th July).

Alternatively, Lüftner Cruises is introducing a nine-night Golden Mandalay cruise on board Irrawaddy Explorer, which features excursions to the town of Thayet Myo, local markets to watch craftsmen at work as well as cultural and historical site visits across the region.

Centenary cruises

GTOs can opt from several cruises next year commemorating the centenary of World War One. Shearings has introduced new Battlefield Cruises to mark the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war, and the 70th anniversary of key events of World War Two. In remembrance of these historic occasions, Shearings have created new itineraries taking in famous battlefields among other historic sights.

Commemorative shore excursion

Pictured: A commemoration ceremony; as part of a shore excursion with  Shearings' Battlefield Cruises.

Likewise, Avalon Waterways will commemorate war history with a Paris to Normandy Landing Beaches Cruise, departing 1st April.

Guests travelling aboard River Cruise Line’s MPS Amsterdam can enjoy a day excursion to the battlefields as the ship travels from Ghent to Antwerp. Highlights include Tyne Cot Cemetery (reportedly the largest British war cemetery in the world), Sanctuary Wood, where the trench system is preserved for visitors to explore alongside a museum; and Ypres, to visit the Menin Gate and In Flanders Fields Museum.

New ships to sail European waterways

AmaWaterways will launch two new ships, AmaSonata and AmaReina, sisters to the 164-passenger AmaPrima and AmaCerto. Both new vessels will feature twin balcony staterooms and suites, Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary creations, and complimentary wine and beer at lunch and dinner.

Further highlights on-board comprise a heated pool with a swim-up bar, a massage and beauty salon, a fitness centre, and a fleet of bicycles for guests to borrow. AmaSonata will sail the Danube and Rhine on seven itineraries, while AmaReina will be dedicated to the Enchanting Rhine.

Tauck River Cruising will be launching two new riverboats, the MS Savor and MS Inspire which collectively comprise Tauck’s new Inspiration Class of ships. Groups can pick from four new river cruise itineraries, including Tauck’s first cruises on the Seine.

Fully inclusive holidays include Cruising the Seine, plus Versailles, Paris & London (14 days), Rendezvous on the Seine (ten days), Danube Reflections (ten days) and The Romantic Rhine: Amsterdam to Basel (eight days). 

Groups can also sail with Avalon Waterways, which will launch three suite ships in 2014 - The Avalon Poetry II, Avalon Illumination and Avalon Impression. These new ships will sail on a range of Avalon’s most popular river cruise itineraries on the Seine, Rhine, Moselle, Danube, Main, Rhone, Saone and Dutch Waterways.

Tauck cruises

Pictured: Guests enjoy the the bar on one of Tauck's new Inspiration Class of ships.

Extra benefits for 2014 river cruises

Solo travellers will be able to enjoy the delights of a cabin at no extra cost on the five days Rhine Explorer – Especially for You cruise, launched by River Cruise Line. Departing 18th and 22nd March, the holiday will begin in Andernach and meander along the Rhine, with highlights including the town of Rudesheim, the walled city of Koblenz, West Germany’s former capital, Bonn and the city of Cologne.

Uniworld’s new luxury river vessel the SS Catherine will be sailing through the southwest of France with three new itineraries – Bordeaux, Vineyards and Chateaux, A Portrait of Majestic France and also Treasures of China and the Yangtze.

All of Uniworld’s European sailings are all-inclusive with unlimited wine, beer, spirits and soft drinks on board. All gratuities on board and ashore are now included.

These ideas were generated by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA); group travel organisers can find further information on all of the above river cruises by visiting the website.

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