I really hand it to AmaWaterways. Even in the throes of the pandemic, it continued to safely operate a small number of 'bubble' river cruises in Europe, working with local authorities, and pioneering some of the protocols and practices that allowed other cruise lines to safely restart cruising.
But now, cruising is finally back in earnest. The first full-bore European river cruise season began in March, 2022.
And for those thinking of embarking on a river cruise soon, I wanted to get some inside, top-level information and advice. I interviewed Kristin Karst, co-founder and executive vice president of family-owned river cruise line, AmaWaterways.
By: Lynn Elmhirst, producer and host, World's Greatest Cruises
Tips for River Cruise Travelers in 2022
Kristin advises travelers with cruise credits burning a hole in their pockets to use them now to lock in travel. It doesn’t have to be this year, it could be for travel in 2023. But then you’ll know you have a spot booked.
Why? River cruising appetites are at an all time high. 2022 is already a very busy year for AmaWaterways, and 2023 is booking up fast. If you have a special itinerary, specific date or other specific river cruise wishes, you need to lock that in quickly with your travel advisor to avoid disappointment.
We discussed the return to travel and river cruising, and how every person has a different comfort level to accompany their personal choice to travel.
Some guests are still intimidated by new travel protocols, and Kristin made a couple of excellent points:
·One of the benefits of working with a travel advisor and a river cruise company is that travelers aren’t on their own before or during their trip trying to figure out how to navigate new processes they maybe aren’t familiar with yet.
·Plus, as people are choosing longer trips, travelers who want to minimize the different protocols can opt for back-to-back cruises in a single country. There are river cruises on a number of rivers in France for example, and guests can easily go from one to another by the country’s high speed train system. And once you’re in France, you don’t have to worry about any new protocols.
Hottest River Cruise Trips in 2022
I asked Kristin which AmaWaterways river cruise itineraries are the hottest tickets this year.Here’s where travelers are looking at wait lists for 2022 – and where they should get booked now to make sure they get there in 2023.
Douro River, Portugal: AmaWaterways has two ships on the Douro river in Portugal, it’s in such high demand.Many seasoned river cruise travelers are looking for something ‘new’ and the sunny, wine destination is proving a big hit, especially with cruise extensions in Spain.
The Nile in Egypt: AmaWaterways is now sailing in Egypt, with a new, 72-guest ship, the AmaDahlia. The 7-night cruise along the Nile through Egypt’s ancient history is enhanced by 4 nights in Cairo so guests get to experience this fascinating destination, the last remaining ancient World Wonder of the Great Pyramids and Sphinx, and modern Egyptian hospitality.
Christmas Market Cruises: Europe’s Christmas markets perfectly capture the spirit of the season every year, but Kristin says AmaWaterways is especially seeing multi-generation family groups booking river cruises this year to make up for time not spent together over the past two years.
Floriade, the Netherlands:Once every decade, the world’s biggest horticultural festival (dubbed the ‘World’s Fair of Flowers’) makes the Netherlands an even more ‘can’t miss’ destination – and it’s happening in 2022. A number of AmaWaterways itineraries include Floriade, which runs nearly the entire spring-to-fall river cruise season. This is one you can’t put off til 2023, so if Floriade is on your travel bucket list, Kristin recommends you don’t wait to talk to a trusted travel expert about availability.
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