Doing one of these interests me, particularly France or the Danube with Budapest as a beginning or ending. Does anyone know a reasonable, cost-wise, way of doing these? I keep checking prices and they are pricey! Could I book through a friend in Budapest or France and get a deal? And, more importantly, what are the river cruises like? Do you feel you get enough time in each stop?
Monarch of the Seas, Southern Caribbean, 2/01
Infinity, Southern Caribbean, 2/02
Nordic Empress, Western Caribbean, 2/04
Haven't been on one yet (my husband and I are in our early 40's and like to go-go-go in Europe), but I think we will sooner or later after we slow down a bit just to do something different, so I keep looking. Uniworld's prices look pretty good (they include air). Also, about 6 months ago, our local paper had an article on canal cruises in the UK that looked really neat. Said the scenery looked like a Thomas Kinkade painting. You rent those narrow house boats and get out and work the locks yourself! So much to see over there . . . .
I'll be watching your post to see what info you receive.
You're right about the canal narrow boats in the UK. Also, there is a district known as the Norfolk Broads situated in East Anglia (the round bit on the east coast just north of London) This area has a wide expanse of rivers and a lot of Brits go there for their summer vacations hiring a river cruise (not a narrow boat) for a week or two. My wife and I did this two years ago. The cost of the cruiser which sleeps four was about $900 a week in September. On top of that you've only got spending costs really.
The scenery is OUT of this world. Beautiful beyond belief with wild life all over the place. You meet loads of people and you moor up at night and then the local hostelries are a great place to go and sample local delicacies (including the ducks you just fed earlier in the day!!! j/k ).
If you can steer a wheel-barrow, you can steer one of the boats. No tuition is required other than a 5 minute ' this is how you do it' familiarisation.
Ideal for artists, fishermen, wild life enthusiasts, those seeking a quiet time and kids too.
Nb. the Norfolk Broads are split into the Northern and Southern Norfolk Broads (complicated - I know!!!) Anyway, to get from north to south, you need to go through the town of Great Yarmouth. Because the tide rises and falls about 15 feet in the narrow part of the river here, you have to catch it at low tide so that you can get under the bridges. And, to add to it, get there too early and you'll wreck the top of the boat or - you'll get caught in a strong current and you can't turn around because the river's too narrow at that point!!!! So - if the tide is going out and your're going from North to South you're in a one way rip at about 12 knots. Going from south to north and still with the tide going out, you're going at a snail's pace because you're 'full ahead' trying to beat a current of about 7 knots!!!!. Switch this around and the tide coming in and it's all vice versa!!!!
Great fun to plan. Hair raising in it's execution!!!!!!!!
Thanks for all the detailed information and the sites. I've checked them out, and there's a lot of great info. I also had a small taste of the beautiful scenery that you referenced. We appreciate the time you took to gather the info and wish you the best in your travels.