Life & Style Weekend - - FRONT PAGE -

If the thought of a hol­i­day which cov­ers lots of ground with­out the has­sle of hav­ing to catch a mul­ti­tude of in­ter­nal flights ap­peals to you, then it sounds like you’re ready to go cruis­ing. Here are five ben­e­fits of river cruis­ing that might just en­cour­age you to take to the wa­ters for your next hol­i­day.


For­get about pay­ing a bomb in un­ex­pected fees, with river cruis­ing, most of the cost is taken care of be­fore you set sail. With meals, en­ter­tain­ment and on-shore tours in­cluded in the fares, you won’t be hit with an un­ex­pected bill upon de­par­ture or have to cut your sou­venir-shop­ping bud­get. Many river cruises in­clude com­pelling ex­tras in­clud­ing walk­ing tours, wine tast­ings and cy­cling tours.


For­get about days lost at sea, a river cruise al­lows you to tick off a new bucket list des­ti­na­tion ev­ery day. Re­freshed from a bliss­ful nights sleep, you’ll awake to a new port to ex­plore each day. Break­fast in France, fol­lowed by din­ner in Italy? Ab­so­lutely. No hol­i­day al­lows you to sam­ple the sights of Europe quite like a river cruise. While it may have started out as a mostly Eu­ro­pean en­deavor – given how many great cities lie along rivers in Europe – now many river cruise lines have ex­tended their cruises to ex­plore other cor­ners of the world too, like Egypt, Rus­sia, China, and through­out parts of South­east Asia. If you like a bit of va­ri­ety, there are a plethora of themed cruises to choose from, in­clud­ing winethemed itin­er­ar­ies in France and Por­tu­gal, and Christ­mas mar­ket cruises each De­cem­ber. APT is one travel com­pany with a huge list of cruis­ing pack­ages to tan­ta­lise your travel senses and the per­fect place to start for travel in­spi­ra­tion to suit ev­ery type of trav­eller.


This fac­tor should re­ally be at the top of the list, be­cause it’s truly what sets river cruis­ing apart from other hol­i­day op­tions. When it comes to cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, the level of ser­vice pas­sen­gers en­joy on board river cruises is sec­ond

“River cruise ships are of­ten bou­tique or ex­clu­sively built for the com­pany, boast­ing state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties.”

to none. With smaller pas­sen­ger num­bers reign­ing supreme on river cruise lin­ers, you won’t feel like just an­other head on board. Concierge ser­vices are avail­able 24/7 to en­sure all your needs are taken care of and ev­ery re­quest is met. No re­quest is too big or too small - whether you need some as­sis­tance or ex­pert ad­vice plan­ning on-shore ac­tiv­i­ties, or sim­ply just want an ex­tra blan­ket to cosy up with in the evening as you take in the sun­set, wine in hand. Lit­tle de­tails such as the bar­tender re­mem­ber­ing your cock­tail or­der re­ally make a dif­fer­ence.


River cruises can of­fer the type of in­ti­mate lux­ury that can’t be matched. Of­ten re­ferred to as ‘float­ing ho­tels’, the ma­jor­ity of cruise ships are fit­ted out with 4- and 5-star rooms and suites. River cruise ships are of­ten bou­tique or ex­clu­sively built for the com­pany, boast­ing state-of-the-art fa­cil­i­ties. There’s a va­ri­ety of cruise ships to suit all travel per­son­al­i­ties - from friendly and ca­sual to el­e­gant and re­fined. While some ships may cater to fam­i­lies, river cruis­ing is gen­er­ally adults-only – per­fect for those seek­ing a lit­tle ro­mance. While the in­creased pop­u­lar­ity of river cruises has seen the ship sizes grow, ac­com­mo­dat­ing up to around 200 guests, there is still an el­e­ment of in­ti­macy on board.


There’s a myr­iad of towns and vil­lages to ex­plore along the river­banks of Europe and be­yond, which makes for ex­cit­ing on­shore ex­pe­di­tions. Most river cruises take place dur­ing the warmer months, to take ad­van­tage of on-land ex­cur­sions. De­pend­ing on your cruise itin­er­ary, you will have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­plore sev­eral ports ei­ther in­de­pen­dently or on a pre-ar­ranged guided tour. Cruise com­pa­nies of­ten part­ner with lo­cal guides to of­fer more in­ti­mate ad­ven­tures ashore, from tours of an­cient cas­tles to bustling mar­kets and other cul­tural hubs.


FLOAT­ING LUX­URY: A Eu­ro­pean river cruise is the per­fect way to take in a num­ber of stun­ning des­ti­na­tions, with­out the has­sle of trans­fers, driv­ing or con­stantly pack­ing and un­pack­ing.

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