Whether you’re six or 106, river cruising is for people of all ages, and there has never been a better time to take a trip.
With modernized ships and great itineraries, river cruising is fast becoming popular with younger travelers. Millenials are more interested in cruising Europe than other generations, and more likely than Generation Xers or Baby Boomers to take a river cruise in the next two years, so we’ve compiled some reasons why travelers of any age should get onboard the river cruising bandwagon.
With limited vacation time, you’ve got to make the most of every day. Every hour spent on a bus or a train is one you won’t spend discovering hidden alleyways, sipping on local wine, or hunting down the best souvenirs in classic markets or trendy boutiques.
Traveling by river cruise means you wake up in a new city every day with no time wasted, so you can see more cities than you might think on a relatively short break.
You know what’s not fun? Dragging your wheeled luggage over cobblestone streets, or up the stairs of that charming hotel that just happens to lack an elevator. What’s even less fun is having to go through the whole process in city after city throughout your trip.
On a river cruise, you unpack once, settle into your room, and enjoy a wrinkle-free wardrobe for the duration of your vacation. It’s easier to bring along that extra pair of cute shoes (or pick one up in one of your destinations) when you know you won’t have to drag them through multiple cities in your bag.
There’s simply no better way to arrive in a European city than docking at the river cruise port and finding yourself just steps away from the main sights. It’s like having a hotel in a prime location in every city you visit, complete with waterfront views. You can stroll right off the ship to begin your sightseeing without having to figure out the local transit system or where to get a cab.
You’ve got enough on your plate without trying to plan the perfect day in every city on your trip. Most river cruises include multiple trip options in each city you visit, so you can select from expert-curated experiences to fit your travel style – whether that’s diving into the city or strolling through the countryside.
Many river cruise itineraries also feature exclusive experiences, from dining with university students for an insider look at local life in Germany to digging for truffles in Provence. These are experiences you simply couldn’t book on your own, and they’re often included in the price of your cruise.
You work hard for your vacation dollars, and it’s important to know what you’re committing to before you leave. Most river cruises offer all-inclusive dining and beverages so you’ll never find yourself scrimping on dinner because you blew your daily meal budget on a bottle of wine at lunch.
Beyond the dining room, you’ll also find that your cruise fare includes many excursions, along with equipment to take ashore, like bicycles and hiking poles.
No matter your age, there’s a river cruise that will wow you. A travel agent can help connect you to the cruise line that’s the best fit for your budget, goals, and travel style.
Want to explore Europe’s galleries, landscapes, and rich history without worrying about the kids getting bored? Family Twist are here to help! With a range of activities, tours, and info packages designed especially for kids, Family Twist will work with you to design the perfect European vacation to suit your family.
Ready for the ultimate family vacation? Give us a call today and let us help you plan the perfect trip to this spectacular part of the world.
From the Rhine to the Danube to the Elbe, Europe’s rivers are the backbone of this continent, connecting major world capitals and small country towns. Here, we look at 10 of our favorite European destinations to explore from a river cruise ship.
With its charmingly crooked houses, highly strollable canals, and laid-back culture, Amsterdam is a fun place to visit any time of year – but the city really shines in spring, when the parks pop with colorful tulips. To enjoy the city like a local, borrow a bike from your ship or rent one on shore – the city is compact enough that you can reach most of the main sights on two wheels. Pedal to Vondelpark to catch the tulips in bloom, and stop by the floating flower market to pick up some bulbs to take home.
With its two gothic towers, the Cologne Cathedral dominates this small city’s skyline and is within easy walking distance of the river cruise port. Granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1996, the cathedral has stood over the city for more than 700 years, and was one of the few buildings in the old town to survive the Second World War. After your visit, stop by a traditional brewhouse restaurant for a refreshing Kölsch – a pale beer made only in Cologne.
There’s no denying that Budapest is hauntingly beautiful, with many of its landmarks still bearing scars from World War II. But if you want to get at this city’s soul, you’ve got to take a soak in the thermal waters that have been tapped for bathing since Roman times. From outdoor pools to elaborately decorated indoor thermal baths to Central Europe’s largest water amusement park, taking the waters here connects the ancient and modern worlds.
River cruise ships dock in Vila Nova da Gaia, just across the river from Porto. The Gaia side of the river is actually the best place to be for views, since you’ll look straight across to the view of Porto you’ve come to expect from postcards. Gaia is also where you’ll find all the Port houses, which offer interesting tours and tastings of their wares. But be sure to take the easy walk across the Ponte Luís I to Porto’s rambling Ribiera district and wander the winding cobbled streets.
Paris is packed full of must-see spots, from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe to Notre-Dame to Sacré-Coeur – not to mention a certain rather famous tower. But once you’ve checked the big monuments off your list, there’s a delightful second layer to Paris – sipping wine in a sidewalk café, browsing books at Shakespeare and Company, and exploring the alleyways of the Latin Quarter are all great ways to spend an afternoon.
Basel sits at the border of three countries: France, Germany, and Switzerland. In this decidedly modern city, 13th-Century architecture mingles with contemporary art. The annual Art Basel art show brings in works by more than 4,000 artists, and traces of that obsessive art weekend linger all year in the abundance of galleries and museums: there are 40 museums within just 37 square kilometers. But with more than 300 days of sunshine per year, Basel is also a great destination to simply grab a seat by the river (or on your ship’s sun deck) and watch the locals swim by.
You’ll be wowed by Vienna’s palaces, cathedrals, and grand State Opera House, but make sure to save some time to sit and linger in a café. Vienna’s coffee culture has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage that must be protected. Settling into a Viennese cafe with a coffee, a newspaper, and a Sachertorte, you’ll be following in the footsteps of centuries of authors, philosophers, and royalty who have called Vienna home.
Anchoring the old town, Bratislava’s main town square, Hlavné Námestie, is home to markets and charming coffee shops, but its most unusual attraction is a reminder of the damage the city has suffered through war: A cannonball fired by Napoleon’s troops in 1809 remains embedded in the Old Town Hall. Unlike the cannonball, though, the city is not stuck in its past – the old town is fast coming alive with new energy, as hip boutiques and cafes take root in the car-free zone.
Belgrade is one of the oldest cities in Europe. Located in a uniquely strategic position where the Danube and Sava rivers meet, it has been shaped by a long history of conflict and conquest. Nowhere is this more evident than at Kalemegdan Fortress, where a fort was first built to protect the Roman Empire in the first century AD. Exploring the site today, you’ll find 15th century city gates, an 18th century fortress, and the tombs of Ottoman commanders, along with local people out picnicking and enjoying the sun.
More often thought of as a sea cruise destination, Venice is also featured on some river cruise itineraries sailing Italy’s Po River. Besides the obvious advantage of embarking and disembarking with hundreds, rather than thousands, of fellow cruisers, river cruises often have an overnight in Venice. That gives you the chance to explore the city early in the morning and late at night, when the tourist crowds have thinned and you can wander along the magical canals at your own pace.
Sure, Amsterdam offers plenty of fine dining – but you’ll get your share of that on your river cruise ship. Fueling yourself with classic grab-and-go street food favorites gives you a real taste of Dutch life for just a few euros as you snack your way through the city. Here are our top picks.
If you’ve pictured yourself dangling a raw herring over your mouth, holding it by the tail as you gobble it up, you’ll have to revise your expectations – that’s just not how it’s done in Amsterdam. Raw herring is a staple street food here, but it’s served chopped up and topped with onions and pickles, eaten by spearing the chunks of fish with a toothpick.
It’s an intense flavor experience, to be sure. To soften the blow, try ordering a broodje haring (herring sandwich). You’ll get all the same ingredients, but tempered by a soft white roll that also makes the whole thing much easier to eat while standing up.
Where to try it: You’ll spot standalone herring stalls all over town, often along the canals. Stubbe’s Haring, near the Centraal Train Station, is just a 15-minute walk from the river cruise port.
These delicious little puffed pancakes topped with butter and powdered sugar are a must for anyone with a sweet tooth: each is about the size of a silver dollar and is a delight to pop into your mouth (just give them a minute to cool down – they'll be served straight from a sizzling-hot cast-iron pan).
The classic version is tasty enough, but you can also have them stuffed with apples or raisins or topped with Nutella or jam. Locals know to flip the poffertjes over before eating to avoid having powdered sugar blow all over your clothes.
Where to try it: You’ll find poffertjes stands at most local markets. We like Poffertjes Albert Cuyp at the Albert Cuyp Markt, or Ome Tom’s at the Dapper Markt in Amsterdam East.
You can buy packaged stroopwafels (syrup waffles) at any grocery store in town, but for the real deal, you’ve got to have one hot and fresh, with the molasses-like syrup oozing out between two thin waffle cookie layers. They’re available dipped in chocolate, but the syrup is sweet enough that this seems like overkill unless you’re a die-hard chocolate fan.
Where to try it: Albert Cuyp Markt is your best bet all year round. During the holiday season, you’ll also find stands at holiday markets and outdoor skating rinks.
Think plain old French Fries sound a little boring? Not in Amsterdam – you won’t be eating them plain, or with ketchup.
The classic Dutch style is to serve frites topped with mayonnaise, but there are plenty of other options to drizzle over your paper cone. Satay sauce is a popular choice, or try one of two common topping combos: Patat speciaal is topped with curry ketchup, mayo, and chopped onions. Patatje oorlog also has mayo and chopped onions, but swaps the curry ketchup for peanut sauce. Grab plenty of paper napkins!
Where to try it: You’ll find frites stands at most markets, and plenty of takeout windows around town. We like Vlaams Friteshuise Vleminckx on Voetboogstraat in the city center.
If your cruise brings you to Amsterdam during the holiday season, seek out an oliebollen stand. An oliebol is a deep-fried, sweet ball of dough. It’s similar to an apple fritter but somehow more delicious, and it can be served plain, with raisins, with apples, or topped with powdered sugar. It’s a must-eat on New Year’s Eve, but you can find the stands starting in mid-November. They disappear January 1.
Where to try it: You’ll find oliebollen stands in just about every neighborhood, but the best oliebollen in Amsterdam according to readers of local newspaper Het Parool are actually found in a bakery: De Bakkerszonen (The Baker’s Sons) in Amsterdam East.
We’ll admit right upfront that FEBO is not a classy affair, but it’s an Amsterdam grab-and-go eating experience not to be missed. Think of it as a constantly replenished room-sized vending machine with rows upon rows of little glass doors. Behind each door is a freshly cooked hot snack, most of them deep-fried and all of them delicious – if not exactly packed with nutritional value. Choose what you want, put in your money, and open the door to pick up your purchase.
The classic FEBO pick is kroketten (croquettes), a perfectly salty, crunchy, deep-fried treat.
Where to try it: You’ll find FEBO outlets all over town. The closest one to the river cruise port is a 12-minute walk away on Oudezijds Voorburgwal in the Red Light District.
Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.
Holland America Line is teaming up with America’s Test Kitchen to offer an enticing selection of live onboard cooking shows and hands-on workshops where guests will learn foolproof techniques and user-friendly recipes to make delectable dishes with confidence.
Cut each tenderloin crosswise into 4 equal pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time, place pork, cut side down, between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using meat pounder, gently pound to even ¼ inch thickness. (Pieces should be about 5 inches long.) Pat pork dry with paper towels and season with pepper.
Place 1 prosciutto slice on top of each cutlet, folding as needed to prevent overhang. Dip 1 side of each sage leaf in egg white and place 1 leaf, egg side down, in center of each prosciutto slice. Cover with plastic and pound lightly until prosciutto and safe adhere to pork.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half of the pork to skillet, prosciutto side down and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Using tongs, carefully flip pork and cook until second side is light golden brown, about 1 minute. Transfer to platter and tent with aluminum foil. Repeat with remaining pork.
Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to now empty skillet and heat over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add garlic and minced sage and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in broth and wine and simmer until reduced to ½ cup, 5 to 7 minutes, scraping up any browned bits. Reduce heat to low and whisk butter, 1 piece at a time. Stir in lemon juice and any accumulated meat juices from platter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over pork and serve.
Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.
Azamara Club Cruises invites you to step ashore as an insider and Explore Further.
The initial layers of a city, including its people, buildings, and shops — can be seen by anyone, with each person having a similar view. Inspiration is found when one goes deeper — beyond the surface of a city. Explore the world within the world, while discovering more about yourself. With overnight stays and docking at smaller, less-traveled ports, Azamara Club Cruises invites you to step ashore as an insider and Explore Further.
Azamara ships are not too big (you never feel lost). And they’re not too small (you won’t run out of new things to do and new people to meet). Plus, with the newest addition to our fleet—the Azamara PursuitSM—you’ll have even more choice in immersive voyage that call on the world’s most desirable destinations.
With a capacity of 690 guests, the new Azamara PursuitSM, is really just right. You’ll love the genial club-like atmosphere and the way our staff and crew get to know you. And you’ll feel the same friendliness with your fellow voyagers.
Our smaller ships also offer the big advantage of being able to sail to places larger cruise lines can’t. For instance, we sail to the doorstep of Bangkok, while other large cruise lines dock a few hours away. We sail to the city center of Bordeaux, the heart of Seville, and within a short walk to Hong Kong’s buzzing nightlife and Shanghai’s famous Bund.
Being near the center of action is much more fun, don’t you agree?
When you book a stateroom, you’ll love the polished style and stellar service in your own private retreat. You’ll appreciate the finer touches included in every stateroom, but it takes more than a beautiful room to elevate a voyage from "good" to "great." With Azamara Club Cruises®, you’ll discover just how much professional service and a friendly attitude can add to your enjoyment.
There’s no finer way to travel than in the comfort of a Club World Owner’s Suite, Club Ocean Suite, Club Continent Suite or our NEW Club Spa Suites on an Azamara voyage. Our suite guests receive a variety of exclusive benefits in addition to comfortable, spacious accommodations. We take care of all the details, so you can focus on experiencing the world.
Staying in a suite is like staying in your own vacation home complete with ocean views, sea breezes, and butler service. Relax with plush cotton robes and slippers, French bath products, fresh flowers, and fine linens. Open the sliding glass doors to your private veranda, perfect for reading, al fresco dining, or stargazing. Enjoy a drink from complimentary bottles of specialty spirits, mixers included. And should you need anything, your English-trained butler is never more than a call away, ready to assist with restaurant and spa reservations, private parties, dinners for two, and much more.
At Azamara Club Cruises® we take you to remarkable destinations. We also give you more time to fall in love with them. It’s what we call Destination Immersion®—and it’s what happens when you can stay longer and experience more on our voyages. More time to get to know the local life and culture in every port. After all, isn’t that what travel is all about?
But Destination Immersion isn’t just something that happens on shore. It happens onboard, too. What does that mean for dining onboard? We incorporate the flavors of a destination into our menus. What does that mean for you? A culinary experience that is exclusive. Personalized. And very local. It’s time to get a real taste for travel.
Feel on top of the world as you dine in luxury and elegance at our specialty restaurants. We invite you to the top floor to dine at Prime C and Aqualina with these fabulous reduced-price packages.
Featuring an exceptional range of choice from Chef’s Table meals to five-course menus paired with the sumptuous wines, these fine dining experiences are hosted by a senior officer or special guest. From lobster bisque to crème brûlée, savor a heavenly experience at a down-to-earth price.
At Azamara Club Cruises® we’re always moving forward to bring you the most incredible, immersive cruise experience. We’ve delivered on new destinations, new itineraries, a new ship and now, new onboard entertainment. We’ve jazzed (and opera’ed) up our current playbill to include a lineup of refreshing shows and talent designed to make your voyage all the more unforgettable.
On every sailing you’ll have more variety to choose from with Broadway entertainment, live theatre shorts, and selections of opera classics—plus the signature Azamara shows and events you know and love.
When you’re ready to embark on a journey with Azamara Club Cruises®, be sure to pack your bags, but leave the phrase, "Check please," at home. Because when you travel with us, pretty much everything you could ever want is included.
Inclusive amenities for all guests:
Plus additional inclusives for suite guests:
And even more for specialty suite guests: