And we are adding the 11th: Guaranteed Shares in Category E on Tulip Time AMA River Cruise: April 2014
These are in part from USA Today. And in part from our experiences.
Experience is leisurely River cruises are not about rushing here and there. You visit key sights but there is also time to relax. And since you dock near cities, you can leave the ship when you wish.
Ships are intimate The size of river ships is limited by the need for the vessels to go through locks and under low bridges. Most carry fewer than 200 passengers. The small-ship experience brings opportunity to get to know your fellow passengers — including at open-seating meals. There’s no dealing with crowds.
Time to explore Your ship ties up right in town and you can walk to a sidewalk café or shops or markets (including Northern Europe’s popular Christmas markets) and mingle with locals or head off on the ship’s organized tours to museums, monuments and other must-see attractions. There is time to bike or hike and visit the places you came to see, and to absorb the local culture.
Better cabins There was a time when cabins on river ships meant a choice between tight and cozy. Beds are hotel-like, bathrooms comfortably-sized and amenities include flat-screen TVs. AMA includes free internet in your cabin and wifi in public areas. TV and movies are English speaking- on some river cruise ships they are not in English but AMA is always in English.
Nicer ships The newest ships offer surprisingly hip, contemporary environments. While space is limited, the lines have gotten clever with public rooms including adding alternative al fresco dining venues. Lounges are comfortably. Libraries offer a quiet spot to sit with a book. Open decks afford space to hang out if you wish fresh air.
Local tastes, culture There is often opportunity shipboard to snack on local fod and drink , drink or try other local flavors depending on your itinerary. Culture comes onboard, too, in the form of local folk groups and other performers.
Not a lot of extra charges Shore excursions, wine and beer with dinner (and sometimes also lunch), soda, bottled water, are all included in the cruise fare. Bonus: internet is free.
Casual dress code Don’t pack the tux. River cruising is casual dress at all times. Plus you only have to unpack once.
It’s for grownups
Most river ships market to the older demographic, though travelers in their 40s would feel right at home — particularly on the newer, more contemporary river ships. Kids are a rarity.