APT will feature on the Summer of Tennis

River cruising has grown at such a rate in the last decade or so – particularly among Australian travellers – that multiple new operators and brands have popped up in that time, while others have significantly expanded their operations. The market has become so saturated in some parts of Europe that it can be very difficult to differentiate between each competing cruise line.

Fully inclusive Australian cruise lines like APT and Scenic can sometimes be muddled with more European lines such as Avalon Waterways and Amras Cruises, which are somewhat inclusive. We have sorted through miles of marketing material to display the benefits and standout features of each line to help you work out which is right for you!

In assessing each, we have looked at five things to consider about each brand.

APT

APT's Amabella sailing in Europe
The AmaBella is one of many APT ships cruising Europe’s rivers.

How Inclusive: Includes shore excursions, open bar, airport transfers and all crew gratuities in the base price.

Regions Cruised: Europe, Asia and the United States.

Who is the average passenger: Australian, retired.

Why you’ll love them: A little touch of home abroad with APT catering generally to Aussies and Kiwis. Occasionally American and British guests may also be onboard but don’t expect it to be much of an international mix.

Something they do differently: All guests are given name badges so you wont have any awkward moments trying to remember your fellow passengers names once you have been introduced. Unless of course you choose not to, or forget to put it on.

Avalon Waterways

Avalon Waterways' new vessel Avalon Imagery II.
The newest member of the Avalon Waterways fleet – Avalon Imagery II – was christened in April 2016.

How Inclusive: Includes selected shore excursions & wine/beer with dinner only.

Regions Cruised: Europe, South America, Egypt and Asia.

Who is the average passenger: International with Australian focus, largely retired.

Why you’ll love them: A more international flavour is felt aboard Avalon, with the line connected to famous touring companies Globus and Cosmos. So expect a lot of passengers to be combining their Avalon river cruise with a tour with these brands. Avalon typically also price slightly lower than its competitors without compromising on service or standards.

Something they do differently: The majority of the beds onboard Avalon vessels point towards the window or balcony, allowing you to lay in bed and enjoy the views of Europe.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

SS Maria Theresa Suite highlights the European influences in the design of Uniworld's river vessels.
The S.S. Maria Theresa suite highlights the European influences in the design of Uniworld’s river vessels.

How Inclusive: Includes shore excursions, open bar, airport transfers, butler service and crew gratuities in the base price.

Regions Cruised: Europe, South America, Egypt and Asia.

Who is the average passenger: International with American focus.

Why you’ll love them: Uniworld offers the most traditional product in the European market, with smaller capacity ships of around 130 guests ensuring that everybody has the chance to enjoy complete butler service.

Something they do differently: Uniworld ships draw upon historic European décor, with each ship featuring unique and original works of art and handcrafted textiles.

Viking River Cruises

Speciality dining for all guests is included aboard all Viking River ships.
Speciality dining for all guests is included aboard all Viking River ships.

How Inclusive: Includes speciality dining, shore excursions, wi-fi, open bar at dinner & lunch, airport transfers and crew gratuities in the base price.

Regions Cruised: Europe (including Russia), Asia and soon to launch in the USA.

Who is the average passenger: International with American focus.

Why you’ll love them: Pegged as ‘The Thinking Person’s’ cruise line, Viking’s Scandinavian influenced spaces provide the most contemporary setting on any river vessel in the world.

Something they do differently: Viking hold the “Grandfather” rights to the majority of the rivers and canals in Europe, providing them with priority access to the best locations in most cities. It also means that they are first in and last out, giving you more time ashore.

Scenic

The Scenic Sun Lounge features on Scenic Jasper.
Scenic will also soon offer an onboard cooking school on select ships in coming seasons.

How Inclusive: Includes shore excursions, wi-fi, open bar, airport transfers and crew gratuities in the base price.

Regions Cruised: Europe, South America and Asia.

Who is the average passenger: Australian.

Why you’ll love them: Scenic’s fleet of “Space Ships” provide guests with a significantly higher space to guest ratio, with each vessel designed to the highest of standards by luxury hotel designers.

Something they do differently: Scenic provides its guests wishing to explore on their own with a handheld device called ‘Tailor Made’, which is programmed with 720 points of interest and will provide informative commentary on each point in addition to helping you navigate a route of highlights in each destination.

Travelmarvel

Sail the Rhine Valley with an Earlybird deal from Travelmarvel
Travelmarvel Jewel sailing in Germany’s Rhine Valley.

How Inclusive: Includes shore excursions, wi-fi, wine and beer at dinner only, airport transfers and crew gratuities in the base price.

Regions Cruised: Europe, South America and Asia.

Who is the average passenger: Australian.

Why you’ll love them: As the four-star sister brand to its five-star parent APT, guests on Travelmarvel experience vessels once enjoyed by APT guests, with the slightly older ships (albeit typically only three to four years old) providing a comfortable space to relax and enjoy your destination as it slides by. They also provide that same Aussie welcome expected of sister brand APT, without the price tag.

Something they do differently: When travelling in a small group, a dedicated APT host will be provided to ensure your holiday is everything you and your group expect it to be.

Have you sailed on any of these lines? Tell us about your favourite one in the comments.

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