Paris to Prague with Avalon Waterways – photos by Bill

Continuing with our Cruise Week features, Bill Edwards is sharing his photos of his recent Avalon Waterways Paris to Prague itinerary in Central Europe:

Avalon Bill map

Disney World? NO, this is the real thing! Charming Paris



Everyone’s favorite tower!


Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, Sacred Heart overlooking Paris


Off to join the river cruise, via the famed TGV !!




One of many castles along the Rhine
One of the many castles along the Rhine
Ruins along the Rhine



Reichsburg Castle overlooking Cochem


Avalon Luminary docked in Koblenz


Charming architecture of Koblenz


Bill in Miltenberg




Lovely View, Overlooking Miltenberg




The beauty of river cruising: the peaceful Moselle

Vineyards along the Moselle

The many locks always provide a fun and interesting experience!







Always something to see, along the Moselle


Historic Bamberg


Avalon Bill Bamberg2

Bamberg waterfront



overlooking Prague




Prague & blue skies


A very serious guard in Prague


Stunning window in Prague


For more information on Avalon Waterways, click here>

French Waterways with Tauck River Cruises – “Show ‘n Tell”

Our recent blog posts by John Lane featured some of his ports along the French Waterways cruise with Tauck, but in honor of our “River Cruise Week” we thought we’d put together some more photo highlights to illustrate this outstanding itinerary:

John’s itinerary was from Arles to Lyon, then TGV to Paris

Tauck John map


 A very FRENCH side street in Arles

Tauck John Arles street



 Cafe Van Gogh in Arles – how perfect is this?!!

Tauck John Arles Cafe Van Gogh


 The beauty of Arles – inside & out!

Tauck John Arles bakery garden


Avignon Bridge

Tauck John Avignon Bridge



Chateauneuf du Pape near Avignon

Tauck John Avignon Chateauneuf du Pape

Vineyards near Avignon

Tauck John Avignon vineyards



Tree-lined street in Viviers

Tauck John Viviers street



Tauck exclusive tour to the Laurent Family Ranch and the Camargue horses

Tauck John Laurent Family Ranch

John, overlooking Vienne

Tauck John Vienne



St Maurice in Vienne

Tauck John Vienne St Maurice



Roman ruins in Vienne

Roman ruins in Vienne



Festive colors of the produce & flowers in Vienne

Festive colors of the produce & flowers at the Vienne market!



Farewell dinner setting onboard Tauck Swiss Emerald

Tauck John farewell dinner



Paris:  The perfect ending to any visit to France!

Tauck John Paris


For more on Tauck River Cruise, click here>

Christmas in June

by Don McCann

We often host client presentations, which our business calls “Cruise Nights”.  Last week, we had a cruise night called “Christmas in June” featuring Viking River Cruises and their Christmas Market cruises in Europe.    This event was great fun to plan and easy to decide how to decorate.  However, the most enthusiastic of our planners was my daughter, Rachel, who just moved back from Germany, after having lived there for 3 1/2 years.   While there, she LOVED the various Christmas Markets and she had TONS of ideas for our event.  Not only did she bring in some of her market purchases, but she baked authentic heart-shaped gingerbread cookies with ‘Merry Christmas’ in German, French, and Hungarian, as well as some cookies with the Viking River logo, AND she agreed to be one of our guest speakers!

Vikings great 3minute video was an effective visual introduction to the Christmas Markets, then Rachel added her personal experiences about the Markets, with some wonderful “show ‘n tell” items.  Next up, our local Viking River Representative, Carolyn Szekeres, did a great presentation on the cruises themselves and the fantastic new river ships the line is adding.  All in all, it was perhaps our most fun, and certainly our most festive, cruise night yet!

If you were not able to join us, take a look at some of the photos (click on each to enlarge):

Brats & cheese with pretzel bread

Brats & cheese with pretzel bread

Christmas in June lights and seating

Christmas in June lights at Cruise Escapes


Carolyn Szekeres of Viking Cruises

Carolyn Szekeres of Viking Cruises

Christmas in June CE staff

Cruise Escapes staff at one of our Market ‘stalls’ with Viking cookies!


Have any Christmas Market stories, or photos you’d care to share? – We’d love your reply!

The Talk About Tauck!

by John Lane

A quote that comes to mind that reminds me of my tour with Tauck would be:
“If you settle for ordinary you are just a tourist”. There is nothing ordinary about Tauck Tours. Tauck offers exclusive destination experiences that are truly all inclusive with the personalized service of a tour host and takes you to those out of the way places the other tour companies don’t.

Tauck river photo

Tauck specializes in ‘destination immersion’

On my Tauck River Cruise, we had several “Tauck Exclusives” that made the River Cruise even more special. We visited a family ranch in Camargue in the delta of the Rhone River. Imagine a provencal lunch served by family members in traditional costumes and being serenaded by a trio of guitar players during the wonderful noon feast. After lunch we had the opportunity to see the bulls and the guardians in action with a demonstration of a Camargue style bullfight. These young men were crazy, being chased by this wild bull through the ring. It was an amazing day that only Tauck could offer. On two other occasions we were given 20 Euros to spend to enjoy the local culture and food! A wonderful lunch in Avignon was enjoyed and in Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France, we enjoyed a “private food tasting”. We then sampled the wonderful foods that were awaiting us at the various stalls at France’s largest indoor food market all on the generosity of Tauck.

With Tauck you can not go wrong—they travel the world. This family run business offers the best! So if you never want to settle for ordinary, travel in good company, leave your worries at home and get what you pay for and then some …travel with Tauck…you won’t be disappointed and you will never travel with anyone else!

A Gem of a Hotel in Paris

by John Lane

I found a gem of a hotel in Hotel Moliere in Paris. Built in 1840 the hotel is in a prime location just off the Avenue de l’Opera and around the corner from the shops and cafes of the Rue de Rivoli and the Louvre. Who could ask for a better location! With all the major attractions of Paris at your doorstep! The metro is close by and if I can maneuver my way through the Paris metro system anyone can!

Hotel Moliere Paris

Hotel Moliere Paris

A welcoming reception staff helped with dining and shopping suggestions and reconfirmed travel arrangements for my departure. This gem of hotel offers complimentary internet service and along with the lobby lounge there is a small living room just off of the reception and small breakfast room. Continental breakfast is included in some rates. Rooms are are decorated in fabric prints on the walls with coordinating curtains hung from the ceiling draped over the window that open to the street. Bathrooms are marble and stone and new! This small hotel is a great value for a city that charges an arm and leg for hotel nights. Stay at the Hotel Moliere right in the heart of it all and you won’t be disappointed!


John recently returned from a Tauck River Cruise in France.

A Day in Arles

by John Lane

Who would of thought that a Roman Ampitheater would be in the middle of Arles in Southern France?   Arles, the southernArles amphitheater most point of our Rhone River cruise, became a Roman colony in 49 BC when Julius Caesar took over the region.   Arles is also known for Van Gogh.  He settled here in 1888 and entered into his period of uniques light colors of the region.

Camargue, outside of the city, is Western Europe’s largest river delta and home of more than 400 species of birds including the pink flamingo.   The famous Camargue black bull and the Camargue white horse are also found here.

A wonderful walking tour of the city in the morning and a “Tauck exclusive” afternoon at the ranch of the Laurent Family where we dined on a provencal lunch and watched the bulls and horses in action.   It was a truly amazing day in Arles.

Note:  John is onboard the Swiss Emerald with Tauck River Cruises this week, sailing from Arles to Lyon, France and will be posting blog updates as his time allows; check back for more!

Tauck River Cruise – Initial Impressions

by John Lane

Elegant was the first thing that came to mind once I entered the Swiss Emerald of Tauck River Cruises. The two-story reception area with the marble floors, rich woods, and crystal chandelier greet you as if you are in a fine hotel. The dining room and lounge are forward from the reception; the staterooms and bistro are aft.

Tauck interior

Elegant Interior of Tauck Swiss Emerald

My junior suite (cabin 302) is one of the nicest cabins I have ever had.
There is plenty of closet space with a safe, mini bar, and plenty of nice wooden hangers. A queen size bed with nice reading lights, along with a glass top dressing table and then a table and two chairs are situated in front of the french balcony. The marble and granite bathroom are what I would consider one of the best I have had on a cruise. Molton Brown toiletries, thick towels, and blow dryer await you.

I have found a good friend in the self serve coffee/cappucino/espresso machine in the bistro. It is open 24 hours and offers continental breakfast in the morning starting at 6 am and later a light lunch; cookies, tea, coffee are available 24 hours. A bistro dinner is served each evening and you must make your reservation by 2 pm to be one of the lucky ones to dine in this small venue. But more on the food later. Today we will explore Arles, our first port, and learn more about “cultural immersion”, as Tauck calls it.

Note:  John is onboard the Swiss Emerald this week, sailing from Arles to Lyon, France and will be posting blog updates as his time allows; check back for more!

Viking River Cruises Sets A New Record

by John Lane, Cruise Escapes

Viking River Cruises set a record on March 20 by christening 10 new Longships and setting a Guinness World Record as most ships inaugurated in one day by one company.

Viking River christening new European River Cruises March 2013The Viking Aegir, Viking Alta, Viking Bragi, Viking Embla, Viking Forsetti, Viking Jarl, Viking Rinda, Viking Skadi, Viking Tor and Viking Var were chistened in dual ceremonies in the shipyard in Rostock, Germany and in Amsterdam in stimultaneous ceremonies. I know you are asking were did these names come from. Viking names each of their ships after Norwegian gods.

These 190 passenger Longships with 95 staterooms offer two Explorer suites, seven two-room Veranda Suites, each with a full size veranda in the living area and a French balcony in the bedroom. There are also 39 Veranda stateroom with full size verandas and 22 with French balconies.

Viking River European River CruisesBy the way, Viking will surpass this years record in 2014 when they christen 12 new Longships in the spring. Viking River captures 40% of the river cruise market and continues to become a household name. All of these ships will offer the scenic itineraries of the wonderful European Rivers. You are probably thinking that is lots of ships to fill, but Viking is sold out for most of the remainder of this year. With only 95 cabins on each ship, each departure sells out fast and we have lots of people that wait too late too book and are disappointed that there is not a cabin available for them. Even with all these new ships you MUST book early (a year in advance in many cases) to get the cabin you want.
River cruising is completely different than deep water ocean cruises. No last minute bargains. If you wait till that last minute you will be left at home.

Heartland River Cruise

America’s heartland will again be the home of two riverboats from two different cruise lines this year. American Cruise Line and The Great America Steamboat Company will offer 3 to 10 day voyages on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennesee and Cumberland Rivers.

The Queen is back! The American Queen (formerly of Delta Queen Steamboat) will enter service in April of this year under the flag of The Great America Steamboat Company. The American Queen, the larger of the two paddle wheelers, can accommodate 436 guests. Included in the voyage fare is a luxury one night hotel stay and transfers, select shore excursions and complimentary wine and beer with dinner.

American Cruise Line’s Queen of the Mississippi will be the first authentic overnight paddle wheeler built for the Mississippi in the last twenty years. She will enter service this August. Queen of the Mississippi will have the largest staterooms ranging from 300 to 600 square feet with 85% of those having private balconies with floor to ceiling sliding glass doors. She will offer six spacious lounges, American cuisine from the regions you travel. The Queen of the Mississippi will accommodate 150 guests with an all American crew. Complimentary cocktails, wine and beer with lunch and dinner are included along with daily high tea!

Both of these offer great itineraries to the heartland of America. Now is the time to see the great heartland of America on one of these fine paddle wheelers.

We’re Here! Blogging about River Cruises!

We’re so excited to announce that we are launching  For decades we here at Cruise Escapes have worked in all aspects of the cruise industry, but in recent years we’ve seen a seismic shift in the types of cruises our clients are requesting.  Our newfound passion for  River Cruises has lead us to create an area of our business fully dedicated to River Cruises around the world.

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