31 October 2014

CRUISE NEWS: European updates

A few updates on the river-cruise scene from Europe.

A Viking Longship at Melk on the Danube River, Austria.
Photo: Viking River Cruises
Viking invasion
Viking River Cruises has seen a remarkable number of ship launches over the last few years, yet shows no signs of slowing down. Next year, it breaks the champagne bottle on another 10 top-model Longships in Europe, bringing its total fleet to 64 vessels. Viking first debuted its Longships in 2012 to critical acclaim for their design, technology and quiet. The largest ships in Europe, Longships carry 190 passengers and feature a minimalist Scandinavian design, light-filled public areas and a sundeck stretching across the entire ship: just the spot to watch Europe drift by. More: vikingrivercruises.com.au


Sailing on the Rhine River in Germany with
Botanica World Cruises.
Photo: Botanica World Cruises
Flower power
Themed tour specialist Botanica World Discovery has launched its 15th anniversary program, with five new tours and six new cruises as part of its 33 itineraries. As well as branching out into art, history and gourmet tours, the gardening specialist will be visiting Hawaii, the Croatian coast and Morocco for the first time. Also on the agenda: a 15-day mostly river-cruise meander through the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and France with gardening journalist and television presenter Monty Don. It departs 23 April, with visits to some top public and private gardens and on-board gardening lectures. Sounds blooming marvellous. More: botanica.travel


The Pont de Pierre in Bordeaux, France.
Photo: Scenic Tours
Vine romance
Several river-cruise companies operate out of Bordeaux in France, and now Scenic Tours has announced a new cruise starting from July next year. The 11-day jaunt sails the Dordogne and Garonne River and the Gironde Estuary, docking at Cadillac, Libourne, Blaye, Pauillac and Bordeaux, all of which are destinations sure to please wine lovers. The cruise aboard Scenic Diamond also takes in market towns, fortresses and historic villages. And with no overnight sailing on this languid journey, even the lightest sleepers should be satisfied. More: scenictours.com.au


Tournon on the Rhine River, France.
Photo: River Cruise Insight
French accent

Avalon Waterways is following the river-cruise boom in France by doubling its ship numbers in the land of baguettes and berets next year. Two new river ships, Avalon Poetry II and Avalon Tapestry II, will be the first of the company’s Suite Ship class to sail the Rhône and Seine rivers. Avalon also rolls out a new itinerary, the 16-day ‘Rhine & Rhône Revealed’ that combines Amsterdam-Basel with a drift down the Rhône from Beaune to the Côte d’Azur – a wander from the North Sea to the Mediterranean across the heart of western Europe. More: avalonwaterways.com.au


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