Love the idea of a river cruise, but feel a little overwhelmed by all the choices? What’s included and what isn’t? We’ve taken a look at five of the most popular river cruise lines to create an at-a-glance guide to help you with this exciting decision.
If having all your expenses managed before you sail is important, you’ll love AmaWaterways. Not only are beer, wine and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner but you’ll also enjoy sparkling wine with breakfast and complimentary cocktails during Happy Hour. Shore excursions and special interest tours are also included in the cruise fee. On board, you’ll find that many of the spacious staterooms offer twin balconies – a French door and an outside balcony for an extra special experience.
Because great dining is key, all-inclusive AmaWaterways features the Main Dining Room, the Chef's Table Restaurant offering multi-course, wine-paired dinners, as well as light lunches and breakfast served in the lounge (full lunches and breakfast are served in the main dining room). Guests appreciate gluten-free snacks, fruits, 24/7 coffee stations and Gemstone detox water.
CAA Members save up to $600 per stateroom on all AmaWaterways sailings and can enjoy a welcome gift or stateroom credit on select sailings.
Offering cruises on the most beautiful rivers in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa, Avalon Waterways is best known for its innovative “Active Discovery” cruises featuring Adventure Hosts and optional hiking, biking and exploring. (Note: some optional tours involve fees but bikes are provided free.)
Guests enjoy beer and wine with lunch and dinner, sparkling wine with breakfast and complimentary tea and non-alcoholic beverages 24/7. For great dining, choose between the main dining room, and the intimate Panorama Bistro, where, by reservation, small groups (30 people) can enjoy an elegant light menu paired with wine. Grilled lunches are available on the Sky Deck when the weather cooperates and when it doesn’t, meals can be served in the Club Lounge and Panorama Lounge.
In the well-appointed staterooms, beds face floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors so you can lounge and watch the world sail past. (Note: mini-bar items are not included.)
CAA Members save $50 per person on Avalon itineraries.
Viking River Cruises
Perhaps the most advertised of all river cruise lines, Viking includes a complimentary shore excursion in every port, but also offers optional shore excursion choices at an additional cost. Their staff of more than 4,000 English-speaking professionals welcome you on cruises that explore Europe, Russia, Asia and Egypt.
Locally-focused gourmet dining is in The Restaurant, on the outdoor Aquavit Terrace® at the bow of the ship, or even on the upper sundeck. Wherever you choose to dine, beer, wine and soft drinks are included with lunch and dinner, and optional Silver Spirit beverage packages are available for purchase that make other bar drinks all-inclusive. Specialty coffee and teas are always available and room service, stocked mini-bars and laundry are included for the higher-end Explorer Suites. Viking arranges for guests to enjoy bicycles and gym facilities ashore.
CAA Members get $250 per person onboard credit on Viking River Cruises of 8 to 13 days.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworld sails luxury ships that host an average of just 130 passengers who enjoy all-inclusive shore excursions as well as the option to participate in unique specialty experiences, such as evening concerts in Vienna, offered at very reasonable prices. One onboard perk not found on many other river ships is a free laundry service for guests in higher-end suites and complimentary self-service guest laundry facilities for others.
Guests in higher-end suites also enjoy room service and butler service, while all passengers are treated to one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios of any cruise line. All onboard and onshore gratuities, as well as scheduled airport transfers are included, as are unlimited beverages, including premium spirits and wines. Elegant river-view staterooms and suites all feature sumptuous Savoir® beds and guests can access an onboard fitness centre, exercise and wellness classes, bikes, Nordic walking sticks, onboard entertainment and signature lectures.
CAA Members save up to $250 per person on all Uniworld itineraries, as well as complimentary pre-cruise hotel with breakfast and transfers on select sailings.
In 2011, Tauck, a company specializing in European cruises and combined land adventures along the banks of the Seine, Rhine, Danube and more, becoming the first river cruise line to go truly all-inclusive. Tauck sailings include gratuities, excursions, beer and wine at lunch and dinner, as well as all premium drinks 24/7, onboard bikes, fitness centre, mini bar and two elegant dining venues – the main dining room and the more casual Arthur’s. To ensure top quality guest service at all times, Tauck provides not one, but three tour directors in addition to the cruise director and offers a huge lineup of creative extra activities.
Offering an intimate, club-like atmosphere, Tauck’s custom-designed riverboats feature many 300-sq.-ft. verandah suites as well as staterooms with exterior balconies and provides access to both off-the-beaten-path and must-see sights, local culture and exclusive destination experiences you can't find on your own.
CAA Niagara’s Travel Consultant, Lori Cecchini, got to experience Tauck first-hand. Read her rave review of the trip here.
CAA Members save up to $300 on airfare on select sailings and classes of service.
For more information, expert advice, or to book a river cruise vacation, contact a CAA travel agent today.