Discover the best of Europe on a river cruise
If you made a New Year’s resolution to take a river cruise you won’t regret it. Beautiful views pass the windows and tours ashore start at your door.
All river cruises include full board and many give unlimited wine and beer with meals, creating a convivial atmosphere. So check out these ideas. Tulip Time cruise sailing on April 6 or 13 from Amsterdam. The seven-night cruise on Dutch and Belgian waterways offers a visit to the Keukenhof gardens, a canal cruise in Amsterdam with cheese tasting, and walking tours of Ghent, Antwerp and Maastricht. The cost, from £1,479pp (if booked before January 31), includes home pickup service, flights and excursions. 0808 115 2927; avaloncruises.co.uk.
Now you can cruise on the Rhine, the Rhone and the Saone in one holiday. Voyages Jules Verne (0845 166 7035, vjv. com) has a new nine-night itinerary starting in Amsterdam and ending in Avignon. How? By blending two cruises aboard sister ships operated by French line CroisiEurope. After a night on board in Amsterdam you’ll cruise along the Rhine to the German cities of Dusseldorf, Cologne and Koblenz and sail past castles on crags and pretty riverside towns to Mainz. After disembarking in Strasbourg, the sixth day of the holiday is spent travelling by road to Besancon for a walking tour of the Citadel, then settling in on another boat, at Chalon-sur-Soane. Sailing overnight, you’ll arrive at Lyon for a tour and then on to Tournon for wine tasting. Continuing south along the Rhone there is a tour of Arles before arriving in Avignon. Departures are on May 17, June 27 and September 28. The cost, from £1,745pp includes rail travel via Eurostar, drinks on board and excursions.
The wine country of Bordeaux is a new region for Viking Cruises (020 8780 7995, www.vikingcruises.co.uk). New ship Viking Forseti will be sailing on the Garonne and Gironde rivers on one-week itineraries from March to December. The ship docks overnight in the heart of Bordeaux at the beginning and end of the cruise. Wine lovers will be in their element, docking at Pauillac, home to Chateau Lafitte Rothschild, Latour and Mouton Rothschild, in the Medoc, for a wine-tasting tour. While moored in Blaye there is the chance to take a trip to Cognac. Cruises cost from £1,345pp including flights, six guided tours and drinks with meals.