With the holidays over and done for another year, you might be surprised to learn that January is actually one of the best months to plan and book a river cruise. With European river cruises on winter hiatus until March, river cruise lines are trotting out the incentives for sailings throughout the rivers of Europe and beyond. Indeed, there are plenty of deals to be had on exotic river cruises throughout China, Russia and Southeast Asia too.
So who is offering what? We take a look at some of the exceptional cruise deals on offer right now from six different river cruise lines.
While AmaWaterways has a number of specials on the go at the moment, including deals on its popular “In Celebration of Wine” voyages for 2016. Save up to $1,500 per stateroom and enjoy complimentary shore excursions to historic wineries and vineyards, plus a private wine cellar tour, complimentary wine & food pairings as well as lectures and discussion with acclaimed wine experts.
Traveling solo? AmaWaterways is offering solo cruisers another promotion that includes the ability to waive the dreaded “single supplement” entirely when they book a Category E stateroom on any 2016 European river cruise. As frequent solo cruisers, that’s music to our ears.
CroisiEurope is the value price leader when it comes to European river cruising, and in 2016 the line is taking that value to new heights by offering more inclusivity than ever before.
The Strasbourg-based line is featuring five-day voyages along France’s Seine River for as little as US$1,205 per person. These quick river cruise getaways sail from Paris to Honfleur and include locally sourced cuisine and all-inclusive drinks that feature, unsurprisingly, excellent wines from France.
If you like your voyages on the longer side, CroisiEurope’s nine-day sailings along the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam (and reverse) are tough to beat. The March 31, 2016 sailing of the MS Lafayette starts at just US$2,643 per person. This voyage also features unlimited complimentary alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, free Wi-Fi, and even free Samsung Galaxy tablets for use onboard the MS Lafayette.
Feeling adventurous? Get in on the line’s special 40th Anniversary Cruise that spans 40 days, 10 countries, four separate ships, and four unique river cruise itineraries. This is one of those ones you have to call your travel agent (or CroisiEurope) to obtain pricing.
3. Emerald Waterways
Emerald Waterways has a continually rolling schedule of special pricing events. That being said, the company doesn’t have anything featured right now – but there is one itinerary that we think is worthy of notable mention.
This year, Emerald Waterways will branch out from the waterways of Europe to offer 10-day voyages along the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar (Burma). Spaces are still available on the first departure from Mandalay to Yangon, at US$4,000 per person for the September 1, 2016 sailing.
Sailing aboard the 56-passenger Irrawaddy Explorer, guests will be treated to stops in Amarapura, Sagaing, Bagan, Salay, Magwe, Thayetmyo and Prome.
We recently completed a journey through Myanmar with Viking River Cruises, and this emerging destination was one of the most magical experiences we’ve had. A destination truly not to be missed.
A household name in its native Australia, Scenic has been making significant inroads in Canada and the United States in recent years thanks to the company’s striking collection of high-tech luxury river cruise vessels that sail the rivers of Europe.
Notable offers to kick off 2016 include the ability to save US$2,000 per couple on select European river cruise departures in 2016 if booked by January 31, and a special promotion featuring US$695 per person economy class airfare on select 2016 voyages. This last promotion is only valid for specific air gateways, and once again only lasts until January 31.
Scenic also wants to make getting to its river cruises through Southeast Asia a little less painful, with US$495 per person add-on airfare on select 2016 Southeast Asia itineraries. This promotion was set to expire on December 31, 2015, but is still featured on the Scenic website as of January 4. If you’re keen on taking an exotic river cruise, it can’t hurt to ring your travel agent to see if this one is still on.
5. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is known for the elaborate interior design of its ships and the in-depth nature of its river cruise itineraries. And if you missed out on the opportunity to take a festive Christmas Market river cruise this year, good news: Uniworld is offering some great incentives to get in on the action early for 2016.
Until March 31, 2016, Uniworld is offering savings on its 2016 Holiday cruises throughout Europe. The line is also featuring Early Booking Savings on the entire lineup of 2016 European River Cruises – but only on new bookings made before January 15. Act fast!
Uniworld is also courting solo guests with an offer to reduce or entirely wave the solo supplement on a variety of river cruise itineraries and departure dates in 2016 in both Europe and Russia. This offer is ongoing throughout the year, expiring on December 31, 2016.
If you like your river cruises luxe and inclusive, it’s hard to beat Uniworld’s fleet of uniquely designed river cruise vessels.
6. Viking River Cruises
Last but not least, river cruising juggernaut Viking isn’t just offering deals on its 2016 voyages; the line has also expanded its list of available specials to include 2017 river cruise departures as well.
Viking is offering discounted or free airfare to Europe on select 2016 sailings, and discounted or free airfare to Europe on all 2017 river cruises. The former offer expires January 31, 2016; the latter offer has no printed expiration date at the moment.
Viking also wants to let prospective customers know that the line offers more than just river cruises. To that end, Viking is offering an early booking discount on 2016 and 2017 Ocean Cruises. Expiring January 31, 2016, this offer also includes discounted or free airfare depending on sail date and stateroom category booked.
Finally, if you’re looking for great river cruise deals, there’s no substitute for a good travel agent. Brick-and-mortar or online, they frequently have access to specials and promotions that may not show up on the river cruise lines’ websites.