Carla Beddome. ACC
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  Have you thought about a River Cruise??  

I have personally taken three river cruises--The Christmas Markets on the Danube in December; Provence, France on the Rhone and Saone Rivers in July; and cruisesfrom Budapest to the Black Sea on the mighty Danube.

They don’t have big production shows or casinos, but you do get an intimate experience that only a river cruise can give you.  Docking practically in the middle of a city, walking off the ship to meet your local guide for a tour (which is usually included in the cruise fare) and getting to know the city intimately cannot be beat--you can easily make your river cruise ship your floating hotel.  This is tremendous value, particularly in European capitals where hotel and dining prices can be downright shocking.

I would love to share my experiences with you and assist in the planning of a dream cruise vacation whether it is on a river cruise or an ocean cruise.  I am about to take my 50th ocean cruise, so let me share with you my expertise and plan a memorable cruise adventure that fits your budget and your personality.

Rivers have a magical quality.  Unlike oceans, they are intimate, closely tied to the life of the thousands of villages and cities that grew up along their banks.   At night, sitting on the top deck, cruising lazily down the river and feeling the heat from the underside of the bridge as you cruise under it and hearing the captain say ’duck’ from your lounge chair so you don’t hit your head is an unforgettable experience. 

The Danube--The longest river in the European Union and second only to the Volga in all of Europe.  The river carries travelers to cultural centers like Vienna and Budapest from its origin in the Black Forest to the Black Sea. If you love history and want to see Central European countries and their cultures, this is the river cruise for you.

The Rhine--Medieval castles and the dark forests in dramatic surroundings--the stuff of pure romance.  In the fall, hundreds of wine festivals along the Rhine celdbrate new vintages with fireworks, boat races, regattas, local food and music.  This cruise is a natural choice for German-American fraternal groups and it appeals to wine-lovers and foodies.  If you love scenery and fun combined with oom-pah bands and hearty, delicious food, you can’t beat a trip through the Rhineland.

The Seine--From Burgundy through Normandy to Paris and on to the English Channel, the enchanted Seine penetrates the heart of France at a leisurely pace.  Its banks are laden with history, wineries and an appreciation for the arts.  Seine cruises are among the best for multigenerational travel, history buffs, art lovers, and those who appreciate classic fine food and wines, not to mention World War II veterans.  And who can resist the magic of Paris, expecially when coupled with the value of the ship as a home base?

The Volga--Together with small towns and villages that straddle the line between old Russia and a startlingly new one, 11 of the 20 largest Russian cities have delveloped on the banks of the Volga, the longest river in Europe.