About Alex

Who is Alex Leete? A passion for travel and over 15 years' experience in the industry encouraged me to set up Global River Cruising, our own family run company. Over the last few years we have been on as many river cruises, ships and seen as many destinations as we possibly can so we can rightfully call ourselves "experts". As independent specialists we work hard to find the perfect river cruise for our clients - at the very best prices too! A little more about us ...

Why do single travelers pay more for a river cruise?

“Why do I have to pay double for a single cabin?” We get asked this question all the time.  The worst thing for a single river cruise traveler is the single supplement.  But don’t just get angry.  It’s easy to avoid paying double by understanding the river cruise single market and how it works.

Most cruise lines do not have actual single cabins on board.  River cruise ships don’t have actual single cabins – ones that are smaller than double cabins. Yes, that’s right.  Single cabins are few and far between.  I can think of maybe 20 ships in the whole of Europe which have one small cabin onboard, always on the bottom deck with no french balcony.    A small cabin, on the lower deck and you can have it with no supplement.  I’m not sensing much excitement about that option.

So, as a single customer you are usually getting the same size cabin as two people. This is why it looks like the cruise company is charging more for you to be in a double cabin, but on your own.

Sometimes a cruise line can take the decision to not charge a single traveler double, and lower the supplement.  This usually happens when a cruise first goes on sale for a season, hence these discounted double cabins for sole use always sell out really quickly,

From then on, once these have sold out they will usually charge extra.  This can be anywhere from 10% to 100% extra,

My advise is to book early to get either the single cabins or take up their early booking offers of no supplement.

river cruise on the Douro as a single river cruise traveler

What sort of holiday do I want as a single river cruise traveler?

Are you a solo traveler off to explore with like minded people?  Then often you want to make sure you have a good social group on your trip and that you will have some other solo travelers to socialise and dine with.  You don’t want to feel you are going to stick out like a sore thumb, but want to use the trip to make new friends and talk to some interesting people.  You may also want the tour operator to have thought about you beyond the space in the cabin.  Some even offer to pick you up from home, and a really nice idea is a dedicated tour manager who can get the group to interact and make sure that seats are reserved at dinner?

Are you a single river cruise traveler who is travelling with friends?

This is probably the most frustrating issue as you have all found a cruise you like and a date that will suit you all.  And guess what?  You have to pay the same price as your friends do in total for two people.  Unfortunately on a river ship, there isn’t a way to give you half the space so that you pay half the cabin price.  River cruise operators should really just give a cabin price and be done with it, but there you are.

Emerald Star Ship Balcony Cabin

With this in mid here are a couple of recommendations for single passengers.

Uniworld – Itineraries ideally suited for single river cruise travelers.  An open seating plan at every meal, small group excursions, and kindred spirits who share your passion for fresh destinations.  No single supplement or reduced the single supplement on many of their most popular itineraries! Book early for 2018, while space and no supplements are available.

Riviera Travel – have a number of departures with low supplements for both 2017 and 2018 from the Rhine in Germany to the Portugal Douro River most are window cabins for a very reasonable price, but again try to book early as not many cabins available.

Saga River cruise – has very reasonable prices for a single river cruise traveler, limited availability for 2017, and a good selection left for 2018 dates with low or no single supplement.

You can book some amazing river cruises through Europe and beyond with Global River Cruising, offering a range of fantastic itineraries and budgets suitable to your needs and preferences.

 

 

 

 

Wine River Cruises in France on the Rhône

Wine for elevenses? It’s almost obligatory when sailing on a Rhône wine cruise in France.  How do you fancy a relaxing morning being taken to the local vineyards to see the vines tumbling over the hillsides, before sampling the various wines the local vineyards and wineries have to offer along the Northern and Southern Rhône?

As well as the stunning views of medieval towns and colourful landscapes, the Rhône River winds its way between the many vineyards that line its banks from Lyon to Avignon.

Rhone River Cruise, Beautiful Rhône Valley Vinyards

A Provence itinerary on a Rhône river cruise takes you through this prized wine-producing region in southeastern France, known throughout the world as the Rhône Valley. You’ll also get to savour some delightful wines from the Beaujolais region just to the north, where the Rhône meets the river Saône. The valley traces the path of the river for almost 150 miles, with views of grape-covered vines gripping its steep sides. Since it’s so large, the climate varies greatly from north to south as does the soil and wine quality.

The Northern Rhône

The Northern Rhône is a smaller wine growing area than the South, but still offers prestige wines.  Offering a continental climate with granite soils and grows Syrah grapes used in the famous Hermitage wines, so impressive that it’s the only red grape grown in this region to create the full bodied, rich and tannic wines, the white wines are made from Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne.

The Southern Rhône

A warmer climate is enjoyed in the Southern Rhône with hot summers and mild winters. This larger sub-region is responsible for nearly 95% of the entire region’s wine, including a wide range of everyday whites, rosés and Grenache-based red blends from the more commonly known Côtes du Rhône appellation. The south also creates a variety of powerful, high-quality reds and whites in areas like world renowned  Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Rhone River Cruise, Fine Wines from the Rhône Valley

What to expect on a Rhône wine cruise

Whilst on a Rhône river cruise  you can look forward to sampling some of the hand selected local wines recommended by the on board wine host with your evening meal.  Wine tasting of course goes hand in hand with talks on winemaking and other activities including an evening excursion in Vienne pairing red wine and delicious chocolate at Chateau De Tournan , A hike in the vineyard of Tain- L’Hermitage  followed by a visit to a local vineyard to sample the wine, whilst in Avignon you can either visit Pont Du Gard an impressive roman aqueduct or take a Provencal cookery lesson before wine tasting at Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, that give an insight into the local gastronomic traditions and history of the local area you are sailing through.

Rhone River Cruise, Avignon, France

Away from the vineyards, there’s nothing quite like a visit to the Carrières de Lumières—an impressive underground art show held at a limestone quarry near the town of Les Baux. You’ll be surrounded by colour and light from every angle at this stunning visual exhibit, which brings famous paintings to life as they are projected against the rock faces of the quarry.

A visit to Avignon, where truffles are a highly prized delicacy sometimes referred to as “the diamonds of the kitchen.” No man or machine can locate them, only specially trained dogs can detect their scent beneath the roots of certain types of trees such as oak, beech or hazel. You can take part in this authentic and  unique experience on a visit to a Truffle farm.

And finally no visit to this area would be complete without a wander around the streets of Arles, one of France’s most beautiful cities,  where  Vincent Van Gogh lived and painted such well known pictures including “Starry Night” and “The Irises”

Update – Rhone Wine Cruise Offer for Summer 2017

We have negotiated an exclusive price with our partners at Amawaterways.  Their 7 night Rhone wine cruise from Arles to Lyon onboard the AMACello luxury river ship on 3rd August 2017 features an exclusive wine tasting in the chateauneuf-du Pape region and tour of a local vineyard.  On day 4, you will enjoy an onboard wine lecture from your wine host.  In the evening you will enjoy a “red wine & chocolate pairing” at a Tournon Chateau.  Day 5 enjoys a scenice drive to Tain-I’Hermitage for a wine tasting.  Finish the day with a Chaine de Rotisseurs paired wines with dinner.  Day 6 features another wine lecture and tasting whilst cruising to Lyon.  Day 7 is either free time in Lyon, or a Beaujolais vineyard tour and wine tasting in the Oingt hilltop village in the home of a local vintner.  Prices start from £1699 for the cruise based on 2 sharing.  Flights and transfers are available.  Please ask  for a quote: enquiries@globalrivercruising.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Is a river cruise holiday right for me?

If you are not sure whether a river cruise is right for you, rest assured you are not alone.
It is a lot of money to spend on a holiday and if you are not sure, it is much easier to do nothing.

is river cruising the right holiday for me?

As a river cruising travel agent, we get a lot of people like yourself who ask us for a brochure and then we don’t hear from again.  They still are not sure whether a river cruise holiday is something they will enjoy.

Where does the enthusiasm go and when do the nerves set in? Or there are other reasons which mean what seemed like a good idea is now not so urgent.  Did life get in the way?

So, thinking of the main objections that people have and nerves about trying it for the first time, let’s see if we can put them to rest.  We’d like to make it happen for you.

1.Why can’t I fly from my local airport?

The main reason is probably that there just aren’t any direct flights or they simply don’t go on the right days.  River cruise destinations in Europe tend to be starting from great capitals like Budapest or Vienna and from a smallish local airport these flights won’t exist or won’t be on the right days.  But if your local airport has flights with low cost carriers like Easyjet or Jet2, then we look at flights first and then which rivers work well, second.

2. I don’t want to fly, I’d rather go by train.

is a river cruising holiday right for me?

Trains are a great way to avoid the airport security restrictions or if you have a fear of flying.  London is a great hub to get to and travel by Eurostar.  It is then easy to get to Brussels or take a longer train south through France.  Journeys can however take a lot longer than a flight and it is worth considering this when making your decision.

3. I am a single traveller and the supplements do seem high


River cruise ships are small and hold between roughly 100-190 people. We can be very politically correct about this and say that you get the space for two people. Most operators will look at 50% supplements over and above the twin passenger price.

Our Advice: If the price of the supplement has put you off, then we do know other operators who charge far, far less than 50% and would be happy to talk you through those options.

4. I’m not sure whether I am fit and able enough for a river cruise holiday at the moment?

If this seems like a stumbling block, then I always suggest breaking the holiday down into portions and working out whether they are manageable. If you are happy with getting on and off buses but don’t want to walk far, then river cruising is still for you.

If you don’t want to feel that you have paid for tours that you are not going to use, then we can look at operators who don’t include tours. No one wants to pay for something they are not going to use.

Our Advice: You need to be able to get up and down stairs, however slowly, but you can watch the world go sailing by, or indeed go off on your own.

5. The dates don’t work for me this year

River cruising seasons go on sale usually in March the previous year, so to get the best choice of dates – June and September are by far the busiest months, then plan ahead. A deposit will secure the holiday of your choice with the balance paid usually 3 months before travel.

Finally – Am I going to enjoy it?

is a river cruise holiday right for me?
River cruising is about culture, sightseeing and the of luxury of having a floating hotel in the centre of some of the world’s most beautiful places. The atmosphere is very relaxed, but it is a touring holiday where the destination is king. Entertainment is low key in the evenings and dining is good to excellent but there is only usually one main dining room. With around 150 people on board, you will make friends easily. And remember, it doesn’t have to be something that you do every year for the rest of your life, a river cruise for you may just be a way of seeing a part of the world you have always wanted to go to.

So, I hope that this blog post has moved you closer to knowing whether a river cruise is for you.  Each river offers something different as does each cruise operator.  As a specialist in our field.  We look forward to making river cruising work for you.

Alex

 

Why are Douro Valley River Cruises so Popular this Year?

Douro valley river cruises seem to be on everyone’s bucket list for 2017 and 2018.  This Northern Portugal river cruise is being asked for more and more.  (The odd enquirer doesn’t even really care where it is, the Douro valley just sounds good!)  The weather promises to be good in the summer in the Douro and the landscapes picturesque.  And you don’t have to be a seasoned river cruiser or a history buff to enjoy it.  We Brits like our bit of European summer sunshine to look forward to and Portugal’s Douro river is benefiting from increased demand.

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Forget Christmas Day Cooking!

This week’s problem solved by a little travel savy: how to avoid cooking on Christmas Day.

No Washing Up This Christmas

Chatting to a customer the other day, we both realised that as summer was “over”, then it was straight onto talking about Christmas. “It’s my turn this year” she bemoaned, “but something always goes wrong with the oven and you don’t get any time to enjoy the children opening the presents. And before you realise what has happened, everyone has fallen asleep in front of the telly and left you to do the washing up! I need to do something different this year or I’ll go mad!”

Christmas River Cruise

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