Many com­pa­nies of­fer spe­cialised cruises, typ­i­cally ded­i­cated to cook­ing, wine tast­ing, mu­sic, theatre, his­tory, pol­i­tics and sport

Business Traveller (Middle East) - - Cruisine -

pri­vate bal­conies are much in vogue.

Some ships squeeze in three restau­rants, but even­ing ac­tiv­i­ties tend to be lim­ited to a lec­ture on the next day’s pro­gramme, a res­i­dent pi­anist, or re­gional en­ter­tain­ers join­ing for a few hours. Emer­ald River Cruises has in­tro­duced an in­door pool with a roof that folds back, be­com­ing a cinema at night.

All river ships have large, un­en­cum­bered top decks suit­able for sun­bathing, the oc­ca­sional buf­fet din­ner and, some­times, a pool. But the de­sign has to be clever, and as eco­nom­i­cal with space as pos­si­ble. This is be­cause the ves­sels have to pass un­der bridges when rivers are flow­ing at their peak – usu­ally this prob­lem oc­curs in the win­ter, but not al­ways. Squeez­ing un­der­neath when the wa­ter has risen to its max­i­mum level can prove en­ter­tain­ing.

It’s im­pos­si­ble to get lost on a river cruiser, as it com­prises only three decks and a sin­gle cor­ri­dor be­tween the cab­ins. Em­bark­ing and dis­em­bark­ing could not be sim­pler, as the boats of­ten dock in the cen­tre of a city – Dus­sel­dorf or Avi­gnon, for ex­am­ple. Am­s­ter­dam is at the head of the Rhine, but also the start­ing point for trips through the Dutch canals and the Elbe. The port of Am­s­ter­dam is close to the city’s main rail­way station, with the big sea-bound ships nearby tow­er­ing over you in com­par­i­son.

In a sur­vey car­ried out for the Cruise Lines In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion last year, one of the ques­tions was: “Which is of greater im­por­tance to you, the qual­ity of the fa­cil­i­ties or the choice of des­ti­na­tion?”The ship and its fa­cil­i­ties topped the poll with ease. So make sure you choose care­fully.

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