River cruising is having a moment.
Cruise Critic announced the winners of its 8th annual Cruise Critic Editors’ Picks Awards on Monday, and for the first time, river cruises are in a category all their own.
River cruises are one of the “hottest markets with travel agents” right now, according to Linda May Dinsmore, “The River Cruise Lady,” particularly in Europe. Whereas before one of the most popular ways to see Europe was a bus tour — which required frequently switching hotels, waking up early, and repeatedly packing and unpacking — cruising brings the relaxed feeling of the Caribbean to Europe, Dinsmore told Mashable.
“You quickly get into the heart of a city,” Dinsmore said, “but you don’t have to switch hotels. Also, you don’t get seasickness on a river cruise.”
The big winner of Cruise Critic’s picks was Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, taking the titles for Best River Cruise Line, Best New River Ship and Best Shore Excursions. UniWorld added a new route through Bordeaux this past year and will start sailing through India in 2016.
The line also has special shore excursions, such as truffle hunting in France or an after-hours illumination of St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, according to Cruise Critic.
AmaWaterways also won more than one prize: Best Dining and Best for Active Cruisers; the line is one of Dinsmore’s favorites.
“It’s family owned and operated,” she said. “At the end of a day, when you come back on board, it feels like coming back to family.”
Viking Cruises, named the number one river cruise line by Travel + Leisure, reported that demand for river cruises is growing exponentially. An estimated half a million North American passengers will take a river boat cruise in Europe this year.
For those interested in booking a river cruise, Dinsmore urges them to book well in advance: Many cruises are already taking reservations for 2017.
Here is the full list of river cruise winners:
- Best River Cruise Line: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Best New River Ship: Maria Theresa (Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection)
- Best Dining: AmaWaterways
- Best Cabins: Avalon Waterways
- Best Enrichment: Grand Circle Cruise Line
- Best Shore Excursions: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
- Best for Active Cruisers: AmaWaterways
- Best Itineraries: Viking River Cruises
- Best Value-for-Money: Emerald Waterways.
related article: http://web.horde.org/mikeyscruiseblog.wordpress.com