River Cruises Exciting New Options

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Uniworld will debut the S.S. Joie de Vivre next year.
Uniworld will debut the S.S. Joie de Vivre next year.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
The river cruise line will be debuting the S.S. Joie de Vivre, sailing along France’s Seine River, in March of next year. The aptly named ship will reflect the French “joy of living” philosophy and their profound appreciation for food, wine, art and music. The ship will feature two Royal Suites, eight Junior Suites, and 54 staterooms, with each accommodation featuring its own signature style. There will also be butlers on board trained to the same exacting standard as Buckingham Palace. Uniworld’s president Guy Young said in a press statement that the company “made the decision to build a 125-meter ship instead of a 135-meter ship so she can dock conveniently in the heart of Paris.” The 15-day Grand France itinerary sailing from Paris to Avignon starts at $5,899 (departing March 26). uniworld.com

Avalon Waterways
Come 2017, guests on board Avalon Waterways’ ships will have the option of choosing healthy, vegetarian food items that are sourced from small farms and “married with a sprinkle of ingenuity.” Next year will also see the return of a selection of popular themed itineraries, including the 8-day A Culinary Experience from Paris to Normandy (departing April 25 with rates starting at $2,834). And for those truly active-minded clients, Avalon has launched a 9-day Active Discovery On-The-Go Cruise that sails from Linz to Budapest and includes hiking, biking, canoeing and running. There’s also time to explore an ice cave, take an archery lesson, descend into an underground salt mine or ascend up a mountain during a guided climb. The July 8, 2017 departure from Linz starts at $3,167. avalonwaterways.com

Crystal River Cruises
Last month, the all-suite, 154-guest Crystal Mozart sailed off on the Danube on her maiden voyage. It’s the first Crystal River Cruises ship to set sail in the fleet; next summer will see four additional river yachts launched. The Mozart offers spacious suites—ranging from 204 to 705 sq. ft.—with Apple iPad devices that serve as digital directories and 40-inch flat-screen HDTVs, as well as backlit bathroom mirrors with integrated TVs. During the day, guests can attend a yoga session or relax on sun loungers on Deck 4, or get pampered on what is hailed as the largest spa in river cruising, the Crystal Life Spa, featuring an indoor pool and fully equipped fitness and spa. Cruises feature complimentary excursions, and guests can reserve electronic bicycles for independent exploration, or opt for VIP Champagne boat tours available for private cruising and sightseeing along Europe’s narrower waterways. Check online for rates and itineraries. crystalrivercruises.com

French America Line
With a first embarkation this Oct. 1, French America Line’s new flagship 150-guest Louisiane has been named a preferred partner by Journese, Pleasant Holidays’ luxury travel division. “French America Line is a great fit for Journese,” said Amy Comparato, brand director for Journese, in a press statement. “The new cruise line offers diverse and rarely sailed river cruises visiting charming American destinations with a wealth of amenities, enriching excursions….” The 75-suite and -stateroom vessel will be home porting in New Orleans and will sail 5- to 10-day cruises celebrating regional food, culture and history along the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Cumberland and Red rivers in areas that were known as French America during the time of American colonization. Pricing is virtually all-inclusive, with chef-designed meals; 1-night pre-cruise deluxe hotel stay; and complimentary WiFi, among other amenities. The 10-day Jewels of the Heartland from Chicago to St. Paul departs Sept. 30 and starts at $4,599. frenchamericaline.com

Emerald Waterways
Know of clients who yearn for more activities while sailing the world’s great rivers? Emerald Waterways’ Emerald Active program offers passengers the opportunity to engage in more athletic pursuits such as guided bike tours and hikes on six of the line’s most popular European itineraries. Examples include hikes in Germany’s dramatic Black Forest during the 8-day Jewels of the Rhine sailing from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, and to Wertheim Castle near Miltenberg, Germany on the 15-day Splendours of Europe sailing. Cycling enthusiasts will enjoy a guided bike tour of the Austrian city of Melk on the 8-day Danube Delights sailing from Nuremberg to Budapest, or a more urban biking experience around the Serbian capital of Belgrade during the 10-day Enchantment of Eastern Europe cruise. All Emerald Active excursions are offered to guests at no additional charge. Rates for the April 2017 sailing of Enchantment of Eastern Europe cruise start at $2,995. emeraldwaterways.com

American Queen Steamboat Company
It’s still summertime, but your clients are probably thinking ahead to their Christmas vacation, and so should you. American Queen Steamboat Company is also in the Christmas mood offering 9-day holiday voyages aboard the American Queen, which will travel along the Lower Mississippi River beginning this Thanksgiving and through the New Year. Features include onboard music, and seasonal and locally produced crafts and goods, as well as holiday-specific onboard entertainment, carolers in St. Francisville, LA, and departure serenades from the levees of Vicksburg and Natchez, MS. The line’s president and COO Ted Sykes said in a press statement that, “We are thrilled to offer these lively holiday cruises that incorporate the best of the Antebellum South during this magical time of year.” The 9-day New Orleans to Memphis Thanksgiving Festival itinerary is one of several holiday cruises, and starts at $2,249. americanqueensteamboatcompany.com

The 130-guest ms Joy, which was christened recently on the Danube, is Tauck’s second river cruise ship to launch this year. It features twenty-two 300-sq.-ft. suites, which, according to press material, is the most suites of that size on a European riverboat. Each comes with two French balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows, roomy walk-in closet, and spacious marble bathroom. There are also thirty-two 225-sq.-ft. cabins (including eight loft cabins), plus an additional 13 cabins ranging from 150 to 190 sq. ft. Additionally, guests have access to a second dining venue, Arthur’s, named after the company chairman Arthur Tauck, Jr. In 2017, the ms Joy will host family groups as it sails on the 8-day Tauck Bridges itinerary, the Blue Danube: Family Riverboat Adventure, starting at $3,990. tauck.com

Scenic Cruises
In the competitive river cruise landscape it’s all about upping the ante to focus on unique guest experiences, so to that end for 2017 Scenic Cruises is rebuilding three of its Space-Ships in France—Scenic Diamond in Bordeaux and Scenic Emerald and Sapphire on the Rhone and Saone—to add Scenic Culinaire, an onboard cooking school offering immersive courses in the culinary delights of the Rhone and Bordeaux regions; a reduced guest count of 155; and the addition of two new Royal Owner’s Suites at 506 sq. ft. There will also be new theme cruises, including cycling journeys and French culinary experiences. For those clients booking a 2017 sailing by Sept. 30, 2016, Scenic is offering free and reduced airfare on all sailings. The amount of the roundtrip offer is based on the itinerary, the category of cabin booked and the departure airport, and ranges from free to $995 pp. Additionally, select departures in March, April and October to December 2017 are available with no single supplement—on any suite; or, clients can book a standard suite on select sailings between May and September and receive 50 percent off the single supplement. scenicusa.com

American Cruise Lines
It’s coming onto the scene next spring—American Cruise Lines’ newest showpiece, the 170-guest American Constellation. Inspired by the long line of American ships named Constellation—and leaving on its first cruise from Constellation Pier right next to where the retired USS Constellation is docked—this newly built ship will offer 10-night Grand New England cruises, sailing roundtrip from Boston, MA, after sailing two 7-night cruises on the Chesapeake Bay roundtrip from Baltimore, MD. In a press statement, Tim Beebe, the line’s v.p., said, “…American Constellation will raise the bar for all small ship cruising in the United States.” The Chesapeake Bay cruise departing May 6, 2017 starts at $4,100. americancruiselines.com

For adventurous clients who want to explore the world with their children, Pandaw offers family-friendly cruises on the Mekong. Departing Jan. 7, 2017, the 7-night family-friendly Classic Mekong sailing—with an age limit for children of up to 18 years old—includes revised program of shore excursions, designed for children to enjoy; kid-friendly food; onboard cooking lessons; shore excursion challenges; cycle tours of the major sites, either as a family or with the group; and movie nights on board. Pandaw offers special family prices, with children under 4 traveling free if sleeping in a cot in the same cabin; and reduced fares for children ages 4 to 18. Rates start at $3,025. pandaw.com