River cruising is contagious. That’s what Cruise West, a Seattle-based company specialized in small ship explorations, is realizing.
After quietly testing out a few river cruises on the Danube River this year, Cruise West is branching out with three different itineraries and three departures for 2010.
“Cruise West offering European river cruising is a natural progression as we continue to provide intimate, up-close experiences not available on larger vessels,” said Cruise West President and CEO Dietmar Wertanzl. “With the value of the euro where it is, cruises provide a cost-effective way for travelers to experience Europe.”
Next year, Cruise West will continue to charter the 148-passenger Amadeus Diamond from the Austrian firm Luftner Cruises, the same river cruise ship it used for the Danube cruises this year.
The ship is brand new, having just launched this year, and boasts modern décor with a warm color palette. In addition to a standard restaurant and panorama bar and lounge, the Diamond has a walking track, bar and small putting area on its sun deck.
Cabins range from 170 to 304 square feet with French balconies in 80% of the staterooms. Also available to guests are a fitness center, hairdresser, masseuse, doctor and Internet station.
For 2010, the three river cruises being offered include a 11-day Danube River cruise from Bucharest, Romania to Vienna, Austria, departing on Sept. 22 and ranging from $4,999 to $6,899, per person, cruise only.
Guests will be greeted at the Bucharest airport before transferring to the 5-star Marriott Hotel. The countries visited during the river cruise are Austria, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Croatia. Excursions include wine tasting at a vineyard near Vukovar, Croatia; a classical music performance in Vienna; and a tour of the historic city of Constanta with lunch in Mamaia in Romania. Guests can add-on a two-night stay in Prague or a three-night tour through Transylvania.
An 11-day Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers cruise sails from Vienna to Cologne, Germant, departing on Oct. 2 for the same price range as the above cruise.
Guests will sail into the historical Regensburg, Germany; to Nuremberg, the capital of Franconia; and along the River Rhine to Rüdesheim, an old wine town in the upper middle Rhine Valley area.
And an 11-day Chairman’s Cruise along the Rhine and Mosel Rivers will sail from Cologne to Basel, Switzerland, departing on Oct. 12 for $5,299 to $7,199 per person, cruise only. Prices depend on the cabin category.
Dick West, chairman of Cruise West, will be hosting the cruise, which includes a midnight sailing from Cologne to view the lights of its Gothic towers; cruising through the Rhine Gorge passing a castles and the legendary Lorelei Rock; and the villages, vineyards and forest along the Mosel River to Cochem, where Riesling wines are cultivated.