Audley Travel launches European river cruise itineraries
Bespoke travel company Audley Travel has launched new itineraries incorporating cruises along Europe’s most iconic waterways coupled with Audley’s award-winning land-based tours before and after the cruise.
The itineraries cover nine countries and are available to book now for 2024 and beyond, offering an effortless way to travel while taking in varied sights and landscapes of the likes of The Netherlands, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal.
Audley has selected over 20 routes offered by AmaWaterways for the cruise element of the itineraries, thanks to the thoughtful excursions, smaller ship size and luxurious, intimate sailing experience. Clients can expect spacious staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies on most cabins, plus gourmet dining, spa facilities and a generous wine cellar.
While the cruise elements are set itineraries, the nature of Audley’s bespoke trips means that the land-based part each client’s trip is curated with their personal tastes, budget and wish list in mind, enjoying memorable and unique experiences, as well as stays in characterful, boutique accommodation. Audley’s specialists help clients to make the most of their visit to Europe, adding in sites not accessible via the cruise, as well as memorable, personalized touches to the journey, and streamlining arrival and departure logistics, including flights where requested.
Heather Heverling, President & Managing Director (North America) at Audley Travel said: “Floating down one of Europe's iconic waterways is one of the most scenic, peaceful and efficient ways to travel. Many of the continent's most important cities were built along its rivers, allowing travelers to take in must-visit sites with minimal effort.
“Combining the best of all worlds, from luxury accommodation and gourmet dining to out-of-the-way villages and a wide section of expert guided tours for an authentic experience, we are thrilled to open up these bespoke vacations for our clients to explore Europe.”
As examples, itineraries pairing AmaWaterway’s cruises and Audley’s land activities include:
Cruising the Rhine (Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany and France)
Clients start their trip with two nights in Amsterdam, with excursions including a food tour of the Jordaan district to taste some of Amsterdam’s traditional delicacies and a full day visiting its world-renowned art museums, and taking a Jewish heritage tour.
The cruise then takes clients through the Dutch countryside and into Germany, where optional excursions include a guided tour through the Old Town of Cologne, visiting the UNESCO-designated cathedral or take a cycling tour along the Rhine. In Rüdesheim am Rhein, Audley recommends a gondola ride to the Niederwalddenkmal, a monument built in 1871 to commemorate the unification of Germany or a bicycle tour through the surrounding wine region. The final days of the cruise are spent in France (Strasbourg) and Switzerland (Basel).
Audley suggests spending time in Switzerland before flying home, with two nights in Geneva. Highlights here include a guided walking tour and exploring the waters of Lake Geneva aboard a Belle Epoque paddle steamer.
Audley’s 12-day itinerary costs from $11,495 per person (based on two sharing) and includes private transfers, two nights’ accommodation in Amsterdam and Geneva on a B&B basis, a seven-nights full board cruise and excursions before and after the cruise (shore excursions can be booked on the ship). 855-435-1768 / www.audleytravel.com/us.
Port and Palaces on the Douro (Portugal and Spain)
Audley recommends staying in Lisbon for two nights before joining the ship, experiencing a traditional Fado dinner and exploring the city’s maze of hills and alleyways with a local guide.
The cruise sails from Porto, a three-hour journey from Lisbon by train, and birthplace of fortified wine, port. Cruising along the Douro clients have several chances to visit local quintas (country houses), which offer the chance to try traditional cuisine. Food and wine lovers will enjoy exploring Mateus Palace and Gardens, an 18th-century grand Italianate house and home of Mateus rosé wine as well as sampling Bolas de Lamego (a local stuffed bread) and Espumante, the Portuguese sparkling wine.
After the cruise, Audley’s specialists recommend a night in Salamanca, a Spanish UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s home to one of the oldest universities in Europe, and two nights in Madrid. Favorite excursions for Audley’s experts include an evening wine and tapas tour in the Chueca and Malasaña areas of the capital.
Audley’s 13-day itinerary costs from $11,295 per person (based on two sharing) and includes private transfers, train travel, accommodation in Lisbon, Porto, Salamanca and Madrid on a B&B basis, a seven-nights full board cruise and excursions before and after the cruise (shore excursions can be booked on the ship). 855-435-1768 / www.audleytravel.com/us.
More information on the river cruises recommended by Audley’s specialists, together with land-based itineraries to complement them, can be found here.