No Stress, Maximum Comfort Travel!
Most of our readers know by now, we love to drive. The road trip is usually our preferred travel mode, but it can get tedious and tiring, finding a decent rental car, packing and unpacking the car at the different stops along the way–hauling luggage up and down stairs, cobbled streets, into elevators that claim capacity for eight but barely fit two people (and then you might have to balance your luggage on your head). There has been a time or two, however, where coincidences have brought us together with fellow travelers disembarking from a river ship, no luggage in tow, no bulky backpack weighing them down, free to wander and explore unfettered. We were a little jealous, I have to admit.
The idea of signing up for a European river cruise has been growing on me for a few years now. My parents have taken a couple of river cruises and enjoyed their experiences immensely. So when I came across JohnnyJet’s recent blog post, “Blogger Contest: Win a Emerald Waterways European River Cruise for Two,” I was intrigued, enough so that I am now writing and posting this article!
As someone who likes a quiet, restful, and easy vacation, I’ve always been a bit skeptical of cruises, especially the massive, floating hotels that ply the Caribbean. However, with Emerald Waterways‘ growing fleet of boutique river cruisers, I could easily imagine myself floating past some sleepy hillside village or jagged castle-ruin while enjoying my cocktail of choice from the breezy, deck side terrace as the sunset glow bathes the entire scene in hues of golden yellow.
People have been travelling on rivers since the first groups of humans banded together and formed communities along the banks of these now famous rivers. In most parts of the world, these waterways have carried the lifeblood of humanity, from trade and commerce to art and culture, river ways have allowed the exchange of essential materials and ideas for millennia. Few rivers in the world are as steeped in history and human development as the Rhine and Danube rivers. What better way could there be to understand this connection then to become part of the river yourself?
Emerald Waterways, Europe’s newest river cruise ship company, sets the course down these two significant rivers on a variety of cruises. They have eight-day cruises along the Danube or on the Rhine, or combine the two on a magnificent 15 day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. The route that intrigues me the most, however, is the Treasures of the Danube: 17-days from Bucharest to Nuremberg, as it allows you to experience life and history along the longest stretch of the Danube.
The European Union’s longest river, the Danube runs from its source in the Black Forest to its delta on the Black sea. It has held a place in history as a major trade route as well as forming the borders and frontiers of empires. Emerald’s sleek new, state of the art river ships will make stops and excursions to UNESCO world heritage sites, imperial cities, Roman ruins, island monasteries, and bucolic farming villages.
This stretch of the Danube delivers such a wide view of history that is sure to be an eye-opening and thought provoking experience. Perhaps the most interesting part of the tour will be the first 12 days as we travel through Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovakia. Traveling through these former communist countries reveals the strength and national pride of the people who endured severe hardships during the cold war. It is fascinating to see how they have emerged from those days and rebuilt their countries and traditions. Travelling in these countries can be hard with austere conditions. Doing so from the comfort of Emerald’s stylish, new river ships will be truly an amazing experience.