River cruises – when history, culture and beauty collide

cruiseThe river cruise is becoming an increasingly popular way of either exploring the world’s treasures or simply enjoying a relaxing getaway. Now that river cruise ships are rivalling and even surpassing ocean cruise liners in quality, luxury, space and service, more and more people are choosing to take a river cruise instead. The benefit of that is that instead of the same infinite view of the sea out your window, river cruise ships permit views of lush countryside, historic sights and glittering cities. And river cruise ships are able to get to places that ocean ships cannot – thanks to their smaller size. Some of the cruises that have proven most popular are trips along the Amazon and Mississippi in America, the Nile in Africa, and the Mekong and the Yangtze in Asia.

But many people choose to take a river cruise through Europe instead, and there is a reason for this. Europe has a vast and incredible history that is at your fingertips when you take a voyage on one of its grand and ancient rivers. Take the beautiful, romantic Rhine as an example, the longest river in Germany. A stretch of storybook castles stand on the banks of the Rhine, castles that were at the centre of the Thirty Years War in the Middle Ages. Many of these castles are just relics of that war, and a sight to behold. Meanwhile there are myths, legends and ghost stories galore on this river, including the spirit of an enchantress who bewitched sailors and still haunts the Lorelei.

At the same time, you can voyage right into the beating hearts of some of Europe’s most fascinating cities. You can discover the curious and liberal sensibilities and stunning architecture of Amsterdam, the expansive history of Cologne, the beauty of Strasbourg, and the traditional glassblowing demonstrations at Miltenberg. You can do all this from the comfort of a contemporary luxury cruise ship, custom-built to allow guests more space, with stunning technological marvels such as swimming pools that transform into cinemas. The trips are all-inclusive too, which means your food and drink, onshore excursions and activities and all travel and transfers are taken care of. There are even extra luxuries that you’d expect to pay extra for, but they’re included too. Furthermore, tipping for services is also taken care of when you book, which saves guests hundreds of pounds.

Europe has many treasures to behold, and a river cruise is a unique, comfortable and calming way of experiencing them.