River Cruises and Canal Barging
|Abercrombie & Kent||Avalon River Cruises||AMA Waterways|
|Uniworld||Tauck River Cruise||Viking River Cruises|
Europe, Asia, South America, North America, Russia, China
Early Bird Discounts - Group Rates - Sale Dates
Consider a river cruise with your own private group!
Our River Cruise specialists can set you and your group up with special group pricing and amenities.
Call Oak Brook's River Cruise Travel Agency for a quote
The major success story in the cruise industry in recent years has been that of river cruising. With a huge increase in vessels introduced each year,additional itineraries to choose from, and the sudden expansion of quality river cruise vessels throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.
So many companies are jostling for position, claiming to be the best, that it's hard as a consumer to make a judgement on which to choose. First of all, a quick rule of thumb - you get what you pay for! If something looks cheap, that's either going to be because it is out of season (March/April or late October/November), or because it is of a lesser quality experience.
While in the ocean going cruise market it is quite easy to differentiate from brand to brand, when choosing a river cruise, you will be more likely to find many similarities. If you are paying top dollar, you should expect included shore excursions, included drinks with meals, included gratuities, local entertainment, a lecture program, whisper headsets and bicycles for passenger use. In our opinion, an experienced agent can help you "navigate the waters" and fit you to a cruise that fits your lifestyle and budget.
The following companies are just a few of the very best river cruise lines for your consideration:
Avalon has different sailings that cater to families...seniors...singles, and those that are looking for a more active adventure. With eight or more people, Avalon offers group cruise prices with luxury accommodations and VIP access to some of the most popular and unique destinations around the world.
Whether you'd like a romantic mini-break, an extended exploration, or something in between, with Avalon Waterways, you get to choose the river cruise that reveals the very best of Europe, Asia, South America, or Africa-your way!
Uniworld certainly has to be considered one of the best river cruise lines in the world.When you step onboard a Uniworld ship, you immediately start to appreciate the Uniworld difference. The concept is all about recreating the feel of a small boutique hotel on board an all-inclusive river vessel, and every ship is different, personally designed by members of the Tollman family who own Uniworld's parent, TravCorp.
If you've seen pictures of Uniworld's ships then you'll probably have been struck by the slightly garish interiors depicted in the official photography; but in reality, the decor is a lot more subtle than it appears in the oversaturated promo shots. Quirky, yes, but elegant and tasteful with it.
In design terms, it is all about the detail - depending on the vessel, you will find hand crafted mirrors, lavish staircases, original collections of antique oil paintings, hand-painted trompe l'oeil ceilings, faux marble columns and ornate murals, all bearing tribute to the skills of artisans from all over Europe. Within the staterooms and suites, the lavish décor is enhanced by the latest technology.
To match the décor, attention to detail is the watchword throughout the vessel: charming and attentive service by staff trained to Uniworld's exacting standards, gourmet dining, exclusive shore excursions included in the fare, all combine to make a Uniworld river cruise something quite different from the norm.
The river cruise industry owes a debt of gratitude to the Viking giant, whose highly visible advertising campaigns have created a widespread awareness of all the reasons you might choose a river cruise, and enabled them to effectively 'own' the sector, with good reason. Totally reliable, with a fantastic range of product, and supported by offices around the world, Viking have a tried and tested formula which won't let you down, with a focus on exploration and learning.
Viking Longships are decorated in a contemporary Scandinavian style, fresh and free of clutter. Huge windows ensure light-filled lounges and restaurants. Most accommodations are compact and functional, but if you're looking for more space, those options are available.
Excursions are a mixture of included and optional, and the more unusual ones are designated Local Life, Working World and Privileged Access, so you can choose to tailor your experience to suit your personal passions. On board, the Culture Curriculum includes lectures on history and art; tasting of vintage wines; restaurant menus inspired by local cuisine; informative port talks; and local folkloric shows and musicians.
Indoor and outdoor dining areas serve meals with a local influence alongside global classics, and throughout the vessels you will be looked after by Swiss-trained staff, friendly and knowledgeable. Take a moment to review the Viking range of product - with so many choices you can always find a new itinerary, even in regions you have visited before.
For over 90 years, the Tauck family have specialized in operating worldwide land tour programs. Many generations of Taucks have been involved in making the company the huge success it is today, with a focus on their personal philosophy of integrity, innovation and respect. What does this mean to you as a Tauck customer? Well, first of all the company has had over 90 years to build 'old friend' relationships around the world, and so when they speak of 'Uncommon Access', this means they can really and truly take you into privately owned collections and venues for a totally unique experience. Secondly, the company instills its principles right across the board, ensuring that all its tour directors and staff buy into a way of behaving that is principled and caring, so you know you are going to be properly looked after, by empowered problem solvers who can resolve issues right on the spot. And finally, it means that you will be traveling with fellow guests who, like you, look for the best value rather than the cheapest price, choosing Tauck over cheaper alternatives because they have heard from friends and acquaintances about the special experience which is travelling on a Tauck tour. So on a Tauck river cruise, expect extra tour directors, lots of little Tauck touches to surprise and delight, and fares which include every detail of your seamless travel experience. Tauck river boats are elegant and welcoming, with interesting designs (such as the unique loft cabins on the lower decks) and excellent no supplement fares for solo travellers.
An award-winning cruise line with 21 ships, and more to come. The highly personal AmaWaterways operation results in a warm and cozy environment with lots of emphasis on the guest experience, as the families' passion for great design, great service and great food permeates throughout the team. AmaWaterways set the bar high with some industry leading initiatives - cabins with one or even two balconies (a French balcony and a full outside balcony); fewer guests on each ship to ensure the restaurants and lounges are not crowded; a menu of varied included shore excursions in every port of call; special interest tours, and different tour paces; a fleet of complimentary bicycles; guided hikes and more.
As a member of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, the focus on food has been paramount, with a fantastic main restaurant and The Chef's Table, where you can watch the chef prepare your dinner right in front of you. Wine is included with lunch and dinner, and for those with a particular interest, look out for the many themed wine cruises.
Crystal Cruises took the world of river cruising by storm in 2016 with the launch of Crystal Mozart, an elderly vessel totally refurbished to Crystal's exacting standards and offering a product like no other. In 2017 Bach and Mahler joined the fleet, and in 2018 there will be two more additions, Debussy and Ravel. While other river cruise lines have built on an existing model of river cruise operation, Crystal created a new style of river cruise based on their award-winning ocean ships. The key differences include genuine open seating dining in the main restaurant, an extraordinary crew to guest ratio, crew members trained by Crystal Cruises to match the standards on their ocean ships, and ships with sufficient space to offer excellent facilities including the Bistro for casual dining, the exclusive private Vintage Room, a range of lounges, and an excellent spa and fitness center including indoor swimming pool.
Spacious accommodation (even the minimum Petite Suite grade is 188 square feet) includes butler service and a fantastic range of amenities. Crystal itineraries are longer than the average river cruise to give an easier pace, with lots of time to relax and enjoy the vessel and the scenery, overnights in port, and a wide range of complimentary shore excursions, using Crystal's own luxury fleet of buses. Genuinely all-inclusive pricing covers all meals, drinks, gratuities and shore excursions.