River Cruise? Don’t Wait!

by Don McCann

European River Cruises have become quite popular in recent years, so that many people are now ‘aware‘ of river cruising and many people are interested in actually taking one, too.  However, we see time and again that potential river cruisers are surprised that their cruise of interest is either already filled, or has very limited availability.  Unlike ocean cruises which accommodate hundreds, or thousands of passengers, river cruises usually accommodate about 160 guests!  So if you do some simple math: high demand + low capacity…then it only stands to reason that planning in advance is essential.

So when to plan?  Well, September is actually one of the peak months for booking European cruises in the following year; in other words, NOW is a good time!  While this does not mean that you will not be able to find anything if you wait, it does mean you’d have to be flexible on date and accommodation type (the lowest deck is actually the least popular and what is usually “leftover”).  September is also when some of the last advance booking discounts expire.  One such example is with Avalon Waterways…..they currently have a discount on their 2016 cruises, plus they also have an airfare discount, as well.  If you’d like more info, just click here.

In our office we’ve all been on river cruises and we all love them (in fact our Alice Burkhart is onboard one right now!).  So if this is of interest to you, please contact us; we’d love to assist you in planning YOUR River Cruise!

Avalon generic aerial

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Sunday Afternoon in Les Andelys

by Don McCann

On our recent Avalon Waterways cruise on the Seine River, we had two ‘ports of call’ for our second day.  After a fantastic morning exploring the gardens and home of Monet in Giverny, we stopped in Les Andelys.  Perhaps my favorite part of this stop was just as we were gliding into position along the dock, there were locals strolling along the waterfront, enjoying their Sunday Afternoon and only passively interested in our arrival.

We had the choice of a walking tour through town, or ‘up the hill’ to Chateau Gaillard which was built by King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196.  We opted for the town tour, which I thoroughly enjoyed; nothing special, just a walk in the heart of another charming, quaint, little French jewel along the river.  However, I wish there had been enough time to also hike up to see the ruins up close.  My camera was able to zoom in pretty well though; it looks impressive.

After our tour, we walked around on own, first along the riverfront, then up the hill a ways, overlooking town.  With only about 150 passengers onboard a river cruise, once you disperse and explore on your own, you feel like you’ve blended into the local culture as a respectful visitor (rather than arriving with thousands at a port on an ocean cruise and being seen as invaders!)

Just a really enjoyable Sunday afternoon in Les Andelys!

Les Andelys arrival

arrival in Les Andelys

Les Andelys Chateau Gaillard from town

Chateau Gaillard as seen from town

Les Andelys Chateau Gaillard

Chateau Gaillard with a zoom lens!

Les Andelys church

Les Andelys church & town square

Les Andelys from hill

Les Andelys as seen from the hill

Les Andelys Tapestry II

Avalon Tapestry II docked in Les Andelys

Les Andelys timber architecture

Les Andelys examples of timber architecture

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