Whether this is your first river cruise or if you have experienced one or more of this type of cruising in the past, you will always benefit from employing the expertise of a river cruise specialist to reserve your next one.
- A “river cruise specialist” knows the various lines because he or she has travelled with them, quite often will have cruised the same itinerary you have in mind, and/or has been to the various ports of call/excursions included.
- A river cruise is a world away from home – literally – meaning long airline flights and overnight stays either coming or going. So while you can be assured wonderful accommodations on board the river cruise ship, finding that perfectly situated hotel to the embarkation point with suitable amenities that doesn’t break the bank can be problematic. Trip reviews on line? If you like to take questionable advice from strangers then go ahead, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to take the advice of a travel professional and someone you know has your interests at heart ? He/she quite often can recommend a hotel of which they have personal experience or has been glowing recommended by another client.
- When you have an overnight stay before/after your cruise, the travel professional can help with an extended visit – after all if you are flying a long distance, why not make the most of the flight by extending your holiday in the area? One night in Paris before your cruise, for example, is just a tease…
- Another item that needs arranging is your transfers. Quite often the cruise line will pick you up at the airport on arrival but if you have an overnight stay and it is not one of the cruiseline’s pre-cruise extended land stays, generally you are on your own. Dealing with your luggage in a strange country with a different language and customs can be daunting. River cruising is not just Europe any more ! A travel professional who specializes in river cruising knows all the little blips that can present themselves on your vacation – and ensures your trip is as hassle-free as is possible.
- Got your heart set on a particular itinerary or attraction? The specialist knows all the cruise lines that offer cruises in that area and will match you with the one that will give you the best experience – not one based on your neighbour or your co-worker who may entirely different wants and needs. And no, it will not be the cruise line that he or she personally prefers, or gets the highest commission to use, it will be the one most suited to your tastes, needs, and pocket book. For example, if you wish to see the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, there may be only one line where this excursion is both possible and included in the fare. Would you know which line to choose? There’s nothing worse than to be in the same area as an attraction you long to see but can’t, because it’s not on the itinerary!
- Don’t care to travel alone? And by that, “alone” can also mean as a couple. Your river cruise specialist can recommend escorted river cruises where you can enjoy the benefits of a group – the camaraderie, the security of having an escort to deal with the truly unexpected, and the additional perks that may be on offer such as a special pricing, ship board credit, special excursions, etc.
This list of reasons to employ a river cruise expert is by no means exhaustive, but then neither are the efforts of your trusted river cruise specialist when it comes to securing your best river cruise experience ever – “best” of course until your next one.
Ann-Marie Gaudet, owner of Cruise Holidays of Metro East, has hosted and escorted on a number of river cruise itineraries world-wide. ( See a video of her Mekong river cruise here, or her recent cruise through Bordeaux, France.) She and her team of travel professionals are river cruise experts who look forward to making your river cruise holiday exceptional.