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Exploring Europe's Waterways: 3 River Cruises with Michael

Exploring Europe's Waterways: 3 River Cruises with Michael

  • Thursday 28 March 2024
Embark on a journey with Michael, as he recounts his captivating river cruise experiences:

1. Rhine Getaway

My first experience of a river cruise was on a short trip from Koblenz in Germany to Amsterdam- just to satisfy my curiosity. I boarded in Koblenz and overnighted onboard after a visit to the city on foot. The following day we sailed to Cologne, where the Cathedral was the big attraction. But there are also the appealing old streets, shops and great restaurants where we dined.

River Cruising Cologne

Onward the next day to the village of Kinderdijk in South Holland- famous for its windmills, dykes and water control facilities. It was interesting but we spent most of the day onboard our ship mingling and having a few Dutch beers.

The next day we sailed into Amsterdam for an overnight visit to this wonderful city. This first mini-cruise whetted my appetite for river cruising.

2. Bordeaux to Bordeaux

A couple of years later we ventured on a river cruise again, this time in France, for a full week. We flew to Bordeaux, were met by the ship's transfer staff and were taken to our cruise ship to stay overnight.

The following morning, we sailed to Cadillac and visited the beautiful château, sampled their famous dessert wines, and strolled about admiring the landscape. That night we dined onboard with some new friends.

Onwards the next morning to Cussac-Fort-Médoc with a visit to the World Heritage site; a 17th-century defensive fort. More enjoyable was a guided bicycle tour of several wineries- great fun. We dined onboard again that evening. Next, through scenic countryside, was on to the historic town of Blayne; it was a chilled-out stop and was one of our favourites.

Bordeau River Cruising

The following morning, we sailed to Libourne for an overnight with a visit to Saint-Émilion for a great wine experience – enough said, we floated back to our ship after an educational wine experience. Our next stop was back in Bordeaux where we stayed on board for the night but dined in a lovely restaurant just a short walk from the ship.

The following morning we disembarked. Rather than heading home right away, we headed to Château Des Vigiers for two relaxing nights, and a round of golf on one of its lovely courses which weaves through a vineyard. This wonderful château is about 90 minutes from Bordeaux. My colleague Suzanne has stayed here too- and wrote a blog about her experience.

This second week of river cruising was interesting and enjoyable. And I certainly wanted to experience it again.

3. Burgandy: River Rhone and Provence

This time we flew into Marseille, where we were met and transferred to our ship in Avignon- another of our favourite places for strolling, shopping and dining. You can also visit the Pope's former residence. We reluctantly left Avignon and arrived in Arles with its ancient Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard. We had a lovely walk around and some lunch, and then on to Tournon for the night.

Our next stop on this river cruise was Vienne and it is well worth a visit; a hugely impressive Roman amphitheatre and forum, the Cathedral and more streets for shopping. We next arrived in Lyon for another overnight.

Lyon turned out to be one of our favourite places of all, and is well worth a weekend visit for the beautiful riverside, bustling markets and fantastic food.

Michael's Final Thoughts

So, what is attractive about river cruising? Small cosy ships, with fewer guests, so it's easy to meet fellow travellers. Great service. It's easy to get to the first embarkation point from most Irish airports. But above all, it's the ability of the ships to dock right into the most interesting cities, towns and villages. Undiscovered destinations where you can walk from the ship to explore for a day at your ease. 

Our next one in Europe will probably be on the Rhine, but we also have river cruises in Vietnam and Peru on our bucket list.


Experience it for yourself; contact our Cruise Department:

Call 021 427 7094 or 0818 300205, or email cruise@shandontravel.ie

Click here to browse River Cruises. You can also submit the enquiry form with any cruise and one of our team will be in touch.


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