Los Angeles Times

The perks of a river excursion

- — Rosemary McClure

My weeklong trip aboard Viking Cruises’ longboat Var traveled from Budapest to Nuremberg, Germany. Several other cruise lines also travel this route.

Prices start about $200 a day per person. (My cruise penciled out at $213.68 per day.)

You’ll pay more for a river cruise than for many ocean cruises, which sometimes can cost as little as $50 a day, because perks such as excursions and liquor are often included in the cost of a river cruise.

Besides the popular weeklong trips, there are 10- to 24day voyages, traveling longer segments of the river and spending more time in ports.

Among the riverboat lines traveling the Danube are AMAWaterwa­ys, Avalon Waterways, Crystal Cruises, Scenic Cruises, Tauck River Cruises and Uniworld.

The cruises vary in several ways. AMAWaterwa­ys, for instance, has partnered with Back-Roads Touring to offer bike tours on some cruises, enabling passengers to choose to ride along a riverside bike path during the day.

Some lines, such as Crystal and Tauck, focus on higher-end clientele, marketing perks such as butler service. Viking, with more ships on the water, offers the largest variety of itinerarie­s.

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