American Queen | Mississippi River Cruising

American Queen Voyages has announced its most comprehensive voyage in its history with the Grand Ohio & Upper Mississippi Rivers.

On July 24, 2023, the ship will set sail from Minneapolis for a 23-day journey.  Including exploring the 1,772-mile route of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.

“Guests have made the 16-day Mighty Mississippi voyage between Minneapolis (Red Wing) and New Orleans one of our most popular itineraries. The sailing from Minneapolis to Pittsburgh will pass through ten states.  Marietta,

Premium and included shore excursion highlights of the itinerary include: “A Story of Cinema: The “Field of Dreams” Experience”, in Dubuque, IA, “The National Quilt Museum”, in Paducah, KY, as well as “Tracing the Trail of Tears”, in Cape Girardeau, MO.

American Queen Steamboat Company /

Avalon’s New Short and “Suite” Itineraries

Whether you’re in search of an impromptu getaway or just want to sample a river cruise without committing all of your vacation days to long itineraries, you’re in luck. In 2020, for the first time ever, Avalon Waterways will be offering a choice of 4, 5 or 6-day river cruises. Because let’s face it, while lengthy vacations are enticing, they’re not always realistic. With Avalon Waterways’ short and “suite” itineraties, you’ll be able to choose from three new and exciting itineraries: A Taste of the Rhine, Heart of Germany, and A Taste of the Danube. Here’s what to expect.

A Taste of the Rhine

Cologne Sunset Twilight Credit: Avalon Waterways

Spend five immersive days exploring the highlights along the Rhine River. Take a culinary walk through Amsterdam, enjoy a guided tour of Cologne, and savor a sampling of regional wines in Boppard. The itinerary even lends itself to free time in Rudesheim where you can enjoy a wine tasting and live music in Drosselgasse. If you are looking for the highlights of the river’s charming cities and the beautiful castle-dotted coast, A Taste of the Rhine is for you.

Heart of Germany

Credit: Avalon Waterways

The former featured Christmas cruise is making an appearance year-round in 2020. Sailing along the Main River and Main-Danube Canal, the exciting itinerary features a guided hike through a picturesque Bavarian village and a visit to Würzburg, where towering fortresses and the Baroque Bishop’s residence await. Sample Bavarian wines in Itzingen or onboard beer tastings in Volkach and take in the sites of Bamberg, a Bavarian oasis built on seven hills. The six day adventure ends in the Northern Bavarian city of Nuremberg.

A Taste of the Danube

Danube Budapest Credit: Avalon Waterways

Explore bespoke towns of the Danube with stops in Budapest, Bratislava, Melk, and Dürnstein before your final stop in Vienna.

Signature Suite Ships

Credit: Avalon Waterways

Regardless of how many days you spend cruising along European rivers, all itineraries sail on Avalon Waterways’ stunning Signature Suite Ships. Expect to be impressed; these suite ships provide luxe accommodations. That includes two full decks of 200-square-foot, one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites featuring the industry’s only Open-Air Balconies and beds facing the incredible views for which river cruising is famous. So, hop on board and book a 2020 cruise soon to take advantage of The Suite Life Sales Event which gets you $299 air and a savings of $1,000 per couple on select sailings.

The Perfect Time To Go On A European River Cruise

Ask a handful of people when the best time of the year to go on a river cruise in Europe is and you’ll get a host of different answers. Some travelers tolerate summer crowds in return for warm weather and outdoor festivals, others prefer cooler climates and autumn foliage. But in our experience, sailing in May and September enhances the experience for a number of reasons: the crowds are light, the weather is typically comfortable and water levels are adequate for cruising.

Credit: Shutterstock

Less Crowds

Cruise in May and September to avoid the summer crowds. June, July and August are peak river cruising months. Visitors flock to Europe while children are off from school and the weather is warm. What’s even better?  Pricing in the shoulder months is often lower.

Great Weather

The weather in Europe during May and September is ideal. Typically, you can expect day time highs in the mid to upper 60°F and nights in the mid 50°F. It’s a good idea to layer clothes so you can adjust as the temperature fluctuates and the sun comes out. Sail in May and experience the beautiful spring flowers and longer daylight hours.

Ideal Water Levels

April, May and June carry the risk of flooding rivers due to melting snow and spring rains. When water levels are high, boats are unable to pass under low lying bridges. Wait until August and water levels could be too low, especially during dry summers. So, while we love sailing in May, if you want to err on the side of caution when it comes to water levels, September is the best month to sail, and you may even experience the beginning of autumn foliage.

To further break down the best time to go on a river cruise in Europe, let’s look at individual itineraries.

Main, Rhine, and Danube Rivers

Sailing Amsterdam in May brings a bounty of colors as the Dutch tulips are in full bloom. For holiday markets and festive celebrations, consider sailing in December, and if you want to be sure of water adequate water levels, sail in September when water levels are typically perfect.

Rhine River

Easter is a great time to sail the Rhine as local markets feature beautiful wooden decorations, vibrant colored eggs, and exquisite fresh flowers. The Rhine in the fall often brings food and wine festival, so if you’re looking for an epicurean adventure sail in September. Early spring may bring the risk of flooding from the melting snow, so opt for late April and May if this is a concern.

Danube River

Originating in the Black Forest, the Danube is the only major European river flowing west to east. With the summer months drawing large crowds and spring bringing the risk of rain and flooding, the best time to cruise the Danube is September and October. Reliable water levels, fewer crowds, and lower prices make early fall ideal. But for those looking for an immersive holiday experience, the Danube in December brings the magic of Christmas alive with festive markets and decorations.

Viking Expands European River Fleet with Launch of Seven New Ships

Whether wandering through charming storybook villages or savoring destination focused dining, there is perhaps no better way to discover Europe than on a riverboat cruise. If you’re considering riverboat cruising, let us give you seven more reasons to jump on board this growing trend.

Viking recently announced its European River fleet expansion with seven new ships. The launch of the new Viking river ships is the company’s largest milestone, and a great reason to set sail for enchanting rivers and what lies beyond.

Credit: Viking River Cruises

The Rhine River, in Basel, Switzerland set the stage for the recent naming of the seven new river ships with a festive celebration. The Viking Einar, Viking Sigrun, Viking Sigyn, Viking Tir, Viking Ullur and Viking Vail will be deployed from Viking’s most popular itineraries on the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. Inspired by the longship’s design, the seventh new ship, Viking Helgrim was built specifically for the Douro River in Portugal.

Six of the seven ships added to the fleet are Viking Longships. If you aren’t familiar with longships, expect to be impressed. With a streamlined Scandinavian design, longships are not only built to bring you up close to your destination but provide the largest suites of any riverboat ship, including oversized staterooms with full-size verandas, perfect for al fresco dining.

Integrating culture, local cuisine and unrivaled port excursions Viking offers guests an immersive experience through the rivers of Europe. Understated, yet elegant suites offer a relaxing reprieve from the day; a day filled with art, music, and history. Imagine having tea in the home of local residents or visiting the “The Real Downtown Abbey;” a private tour of Gottweig Abbey, where you will have the unique opportunity to dine with Abbey monks and receive a special traveler’s blessing. It’s these types of itineraries that let guests truly dive deep into the local culture and one of the reasons Viking swept the Cruise Critic’s 2019 Cruises Choice Award with 11 First Place Wins.

Creating memories comes through sharing means and sampling local cuisine. Unlike mass-produced food buffets on large ships, Viking’s chefs prepare exquisite dinners prepared with locally sourced ingredients, for a true taste of the port’s culture. Epicurean’s will even have the opportunity to accompany Viking Chefs on hosted trips to local farmers markets. Onboard, sample regional cuisine and dessert specialties along with wine pairings based on your destination port.

Credit: Shutterstock

It’s the bespoke details of ‘The Viking Difference’ that makes the company an industry leader. And, keeping with maritime traditions dating back thousands of years ago, Viking invited seven long-serving employees and important members of the company’s family to serve as honorary godmothers of these new ships. If you’re ready to be among the first to set sail on one of the newest beauties, you’re in luck! Viking is currently accepting bookings for upcoming cruises.

Delightful River & Ocean Mediterranean Cruises

Wander lusting of aqua waters, picturesque coastal towns, and gourmet flavors of the southern European region? Then, it just may be time to sail along the coastal waters of the Mediterranean. Whether you chose to set sail on the sea or a river cruise, these luxury liners not only boast features of a five-star hotel, but their intimate, chic settings will appeal to even the most distinguished travelers.

PONANT Le Bougainville: Inaugural Cruise Mediterranean Islands Malaga to Athens

Discover a treasure trove of mystical sights and the charm of the Balearic Islands and be the first to sail on the newest edition to the PONANT fleet. The 8-day journey from Malaga to Athens encompasses the “Island of Beauty” Corsica, a 12th-century cathedral in Palermo, and Delphi, the sanctuary of Greek gods. The LeBougainville boasts 92 refined staterooms that feature private balconies, French bath products, and the finest of linens. Enjoy the luxurious onboard spa featuring Haaman, a theatre which not only delivers world-class entertainment but also talks by naturalists and specialists. Be sure to also enjoy the exquisite dishes prepared by chefs who embody a passion for sharing their French culinary heritage.

Viking River Cruise: Lyon to Provence Viking Longships

Credit: Shutterstock

Delectable French cuisine paired with Beaujolais wines, hunting for truffles and exploring the Palace of Popes in Avignon are just a few of the experiences waiting for you on a Viking river cruise. The Viking vision seeks to create a truly immersive experience of the country’s food, culture, and customs. In fact, Viking offers exclusive  cultural treasures around the globe.  With innovative Scandinavian design, the Viking Longships offer expansive staterooms with full-size verandas as well as quiet corners in public spaces – evoking a feeling of well being. Step out to the many outdoor spaces on the ship and enjoy al fresco dining as you bask in the warm air, sunshine and postcard worth sights.

Silversea Silvershadow: Barcelona to Monte Carlo

Credit: Shutterstock

From tapas in Barcelona to the treasures of Monte Carlo and every exciting destination in between, Silversea’s Silvershadow brings unsurpassed opulence to your 8-day Mediterranean journey. Enjoy Alghero and wine tasting on the 18-acre estate of Azienda Agrituristica Ledà d’Ittiri. Explore Provence, in the heart of the South of France, as you step back in time in the quaint village of Bormes-les-Mimosas, brimming with flower-filled villages and the enchanting Provence Castle. With four exceptional restaurants, the Zagara Beauty Spa and a casino, few can top this adventure. Silversea is known for boasting the highest ratio of service at sea, in fact, all suites include a butler. So rest assured, between the accommodations, service and port excursions, this will indeed be a trip of a lifetime.

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