SEA CLOUD CRUISES
THE privately owned, Hamburg-based company is synonymous with luxury. Ships: Its only European river yacht is River Cloud II, which carries 88 passengers and has a crew of 35. Activities: You could safely say that guests are not into sweat. Shuffleboard is played on the sun deck, where there is a giant chessboard, and bicycles are available for riverside rides. Unique feature: The company is famous for its acquisition of Sea Cloud, which was built as a private yacht in Germany for the rich American Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1931. This aura of privilege is mantained on board River Cloud II. Attractions for Australians: A welcome bottle of champagne and selected wine and beer with lunch and dinner. Complimentary juices, soft drinks, coffee and tea throughout the ship and fresh fruit baskets that are replenished daily. Sample 2013 cruise: The June 22 eight-day sailing from Amsterdam to Nuremburg celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Richard Wagner. Wagnerian expert Peter Davids will provide an insight into the composer’s life and work throughout the voyage. There will be an excursion to Bayreuth, where Wagner lived from 1872 until his death in 1883. From $US2575 ($2530) a person twin-share. More: seacloud.com.