A record number of ships are wanting to give you a close-up look at Europe’s rivers in 2010.
“Attention ladies and gentlemen. We are approaching a very low bridge, and we kindly ask that you vacate the Sun Deck until we have passed.” Floating down Moselle River, Peter Deilmann River Cruises’ Heidelberg is passing under a bridge — a low bridge.
The crew removes not only all tables and deck chairs from the Sun Deck but also the side railings. Even the captain’s pilot house must be lowered so that it is flush with the upper deck.
Welcome to river cruising in Europe, where the experience is unlike any other. With the ability to cruise through the heartland of Europe, river cruises have all the advantages of a bus tour, but without the hassle of having to change hotels or deal with your luggage – or, let’s face it, endure the long bus rides.
River cruises have resonated so well with travelers, in fact, that 2010 will represent a record year for the number of ships offering river cruises.
“River cruising continues to be an in-demand product, as veteran ocean cruisers look for something different,” says Ana Figueroa, director of business development for AMAWaterways. Her company introduces two new ships in 2010.
Joining the parade of ships, Cruise West, a Seattle-based small ship operator, that introduced a new vessel on the Danube River this year. President Dietmar Wertanzl calls his company’s foray into Europe “a natural progression as we continue to provide intimate, up-close experiences not available on larger vessels.”
It’s hard to imagine a more up-close experience. Back on the Moselle, Heidelberg passes under the bridge — with only two inches to spare.