River cruises are not cheap, no one will dispute that, and when you are spending your hard earned money on travel - any travel - you should always seek the assistance of experts. Our affiliated agents are experienced, trained, and have sailed on thousands of rivers cruises themselves - they know the products they sell! Additionally, all have achieved the industry recognition, and designation, of Master Cruise Counselor - or higher! Plus, they are not influenced, employed, or dedicated to any particular river cruise line(s), so they will always guide you to the options that are truly best for YOU!
Our site will give you an idea of the variety of options available. On many pages, we link directly to the river cruise lines' websites so you can, if you wish to, research the itineraries each offers and their pricing. But, our job as Cruise Counselors is to give you information, guidance and the best values available anywhere! Our services are always provided without any obligation whatsoever!
A luxury river cruise offers a unique and refined travel experience, combining the comforts of a luxurious hotel with the breathtaking scenery and cultural immersion of a river journey. Here are several benefits and features that make luxury river cruises highly sought after:
Intimate and Exclusive Experience: Luxury river cruises typically accommodate a smaller number of passengers compared to ocean cruises, creating an intimate and exclusive atmosphere. This allows for more personalized service and attention to detail, ensuring that every guest's needs and preferences are met.
Scenic Beauty and Cultural Immersion: River cruises take you through some of the most picturesque landscapes and iconic waterways in the world. As you sail along rivers like the Rhine, Danube, Mekong, or Nile, you can immerse yourself in stunning vistas of vineyards, castles, ancient ruins, and charming riverside villages. The proximity to the shore allows for a closer connection to the local culture, history, and traditions.
Luxurious Accommodations: Luxury river cruise ships are renowned for their elegant and spacious cabins or suites, often featuring panoramic windows or balconies that offer stunning views of the passing scenery. The accommodations are meticulously designed and furnished with high-end amenities, ensuring a comfortable and lavish stay on board.
Exceptional Service: One of the hallmarks of luxury river cruises is the exceptional level of service provided by the crew. From attentive staff members who anticipate your needs to dedicated concierges and butlers, you can expect personalized service that caters to your preferences and ensures a seamless and enjoyable experience throughout your journey.
Gourmet Dining: Luxury river cruises are known for their culinary excellence. Experienced chefs create delectable menus that showcase regional specialties and international cuisine, often using locally sourced ingredients. Whether it's a formal dining experience or a casual al fresco meal on the deck, the focus on quality, presentation, and taste is paramount.
Enriching Activities and Excursions: Luxury river cruises offer a variety of enriching activities and excursions that enhance your travel experience. Expert local guides lead shore excursions to explore historical sites, cultural landmarks, and hidden gems. These experiences may include visits to UNESCO World Heritage sites, wine tastings at renowned vineyards, immersive encounters with local artisans, or active adventures like cycling or hiking along the riverbanks.
Onboard Amenities and Entertainment: Luxury river cruise ships are equipped with a range of onboard amenities and entertainment options to ensure your comfort and enjoyment. You can relax in spa facilities, take a dip in the pool, attend enriching lectures or cooking demonstrations, indulge in wine tastings or cocktail receptions, and enjoy live music or performances in the evening.
Stress-Free Travel: River cruises provide a stress-free way to explore multiple destinations without the hassle of packing and unpacking at each stop. You only need to unpack once, as the ship becomes your floating hotel. The itinerary is carefully crafted, offering a balance between leisurely cruising and guided shore excursions, allowing you to make the most of your time while enjoying a relaxed pace.
All-Inclusive Nature: Many luxury river cruises follow an all-inclusive model, where the upfront price covers most aspects of your journey, including accommodations, meals, beverages (including alcohol), shore excursions, onboard activities, and even gratuities. This comprehensive approach ensures that you can fully immerse yourself in the experience without constantly worrying about additional expenses.
In summary, a luxury river cruise offers a remarkable blend of opulence, scenic beauty, cultural immersion, and personalized service. It provides an intimate and exclusive travel experience with lavish accommodations, gourmet dining, enriching activities, and the opportunity to explore iconic rivers and fascinating destinations around the world.
Why is this important? The river cruise options are much different than the modern ocean cruise options which have multiple thousands of passengers on each ship, and are, ineffect, self contained :cities at sea". Contrast that with river boats which can range from 8 passengers (yes, pretty intimate) to 200-400+ (predominantly on the US rivers, Nile and Yangtze), with all Europen waterways cruises under 200 passenger. And, the level of service is so varied! While the ocean going cruise mass market is more of an a la carte menu of cruising, with river cruises, especially if you are paying top dollar and traveling on a Deluxe category ship, you should expect it to include shore excursions, drinks (at the minimum with meals), gratuities, local entertainment, and many other unique amenities such as lecturers (often well known writers, historians,subject matter experts, political figures, etc.), whisper headsets, bicycles for passenger use, private room attendants, and much much more!
You cannot book on our site. You will not dial in to a call center with commissioned salespeople (make no mistake - they are NOT professional travel agents, much less cruise specialists - they ARE salespeople) whose only desire is to process a transaction as quickly as possible. This is, unfortunately, the model at every large seller of cruises. Our service is different. You may call us retro, or old-fashioned - and you would be right! We are not simply transactional salespeople. We are a collective service provided by true cruise professionals, and overseen by a 40+ year travel professional, Peter Coloyan, Sr., who is known as "Mister Cruise".
When you submit a quote request form, you will be contacted by a cruise professional best suited to fulfill YOUR cruise needs - in this case the best river cruise professional - and they will be your Cruise Counselor from planning, through sailing, and upon your return! That is why we ask so many questions on our forms- it allows us to better understand your level of travel experience, your budget and your lifesyle, which allows us to better recommend the river cruise lines, ships, itineraries and theme cruises that will be sure to fulfill all your expectations and create great travel memories that last a lifetime!
Note on our requirement of travel insurance on all cruises:
A river cruise can be a significant investment of your time and money, and to best service you, our company insists that every customer takes out travel insurance to cover their cruise purchase. We have had this policy at Smart Traveler since 2002 - just after 9/11. This will add an additional 4-7% or so to your final cost, depending on your age(s), but in these uncertain times, it wll add an additional layer of security to assure that your vacation is truly protected from most any issue that could occur, before, or during, your cruise - giving you the ultimate level of peace of mind, and, therefore, enjoyment of your vacation! In many cases, the savings we find for our customers will pay for the travel insurance, and the insurance we offer is through a highly rated 3rd party - Travelex Insurance - and is the best value travel insurence in the industry. We never recommend getting travel insurance from the same travel supplier that your travel services are provided by - meaning they are self-insuring - because if they go out of business - who are you going to collect from? No one, unfortunately! (It has happened more often that you would think.)
So, you will ALWAYS get a quote from our Cruise Counselors that includes insurance. You will also always get the highest quality service, best possible price guaranteed, and, again, the ultimate level of peace of mind!
Our Counselors, and myself, are dedicated to providing nothing but 5 star service 100% of the time!
Thank you for considering our services!
"Mister Cruise" Peter Coloyan Sr.
President, Smart Traveler