Travel

Best European Cruises

By mlamoureux - March 03, 2019
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Perhaps more than any time in our history, we are busier than ever.

The realities of the digital age have us plugged in at all times, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The demands of work, family, friends, and function are nearly endless. As a result, our vacation time is more precious than ever. But how do we choose the right time off, the right pursuit, the right way to relax? There’s a seemingly infinite array of choices, from place to provider, mode to menus, season to setting. And the last thing we need on a vacation is to be stressed by its failings.

Cruises may not be the first thought for those looking to get out of their own particular Dodge, but for those with finite vacation time, a cruise can be the perfect, and perfectly-packaged escape. You’ll get to visit many locations without switching rooms; you’ll get the majesty of both beautiful lands and open water; and you can experience a variety of cultures with ease and convenience.

But how do we choose the best cruise? Europe, by reputation and geography, offer a large expanse of cultures, countries, and cruises. Narrowing down the choices can be unnecessarily hectic, the exact opposite of what we want from European cruise research!

Some important variables to consider:

 

RIVER OR OCEAN CRUISE?

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The Mediterranean or the Rhine? Seems like a simple choice, but it’s more complicated than many vacationers think. River cruises are more active than ocean/sea cruises. While the open sea offers more time to relax, river cruises have more stops and cultural indulgences. Typically, more is included with river excursions, with daily tours and sightseeing; bike, walking and bus tours; food and wine tastings; concerts, museums, art lessons, and more. Sometimes these are included, sometimes not. Check before you book!

Additionally, be aware of the seasonal nature of river cruises. While ocean/sea cruises run year-round, heavy rain and spring flooding can affect rivers and lock systems adversely, as can unexpected dry seasons. Be sure to check with your local (and international!) weatherperson. Nothing can ruin a cruise like choosing the wrong season, unless rain is your idea of the perfect vacation!

The world is, literally, at your full disposal. The Mediterranean or the Rhine? Are you looking for culture? Museums or mosques? Good food or great people? Privacy or a party? European cruises offer all of these and more. Research your trip, and plan for you! Many European cruises are flexible and adaptable to all kinds of vacationers.

The cost can vary both before your trip and during your European cruise. Your daily rate for a stateroom times days at sea are not an accurate reflection of your costs. Don’t forget about airfare to and from port, and the costs of incidentals such as alcohol and day trips.

Ships and rooms come in all different sizes. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the size of your ship, and figure out if big or small is what you’re looking for. Rooms also vary to great degrees. And on ships, it’s more difficult to switch after you’ve arrived than in a hotel. Be sure to educate yourself by contacting the cruise line or your travel advisor.

CRUISE LINE?

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This is, perhaps, the most important of all. Different cruise lines have different reputations and cater to a variety of vacationers. Big or small? Long or short? Culture? Comfort? Food? Fun? The list of variables and choices is seemingly endless. Be sure to ask friends, family, and respected online resources like Travel Advisor before making your decision.

A good example of a contemporary cruise line that offers boutique excursions for the discerning traveller is Silversea Cruises. A luxury cruise line, Silversea has been offering vacationers the ultimate in European cruises since 1994. Positioning itself as “the leader in luxury cruises,” Silversea has offered the best in cruises for over 2 decades nearly everywhere water will take you. Their Mediterranean cruises visit Barcelona, Monaco, Ibiza, Venice, Athens, and all points in between. Plus, they offer signature and personalized cruises unlike any excursion you’ve ever imagined.

If you prefer to take a European river cruise, there’s no journey like one up the Rhine. From the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps to the North Sea, a cruise on the Rhine will be a vacation you will surely treasure. Castles, vineyards, villages, fjords, and fantasy! A Rhine cruise is a journey through the past in the luxury of the present.