Europe & the UK: the latest river cruise news

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Europe & the UK: the latest river cruise news

The next few years will see the unveiling of several new vessels on Europe’s waterways as operators ramp up their offerings in this quintessential river cruise destination.

Avalon Waterways has announced two new luxury Suite Ships to lead its fleet in Europe, as part of its expanded 2012 program. The operator has commissioned the 83-cabin Avalon Vista and 64-cabin Avalon Visionary to enter service on the Danube and Rhine in 2012. Like the recently launched 83-cabinAvalon Panorama, they will offer two whole decks of all-suite accommodation, with wall-to-wall panoramic windows. The operator has just released its 2012 river cruise brochure, which offers a choice of 25 European itineraries plus a further nine itineraries in other destinations.

Other new initiatives for Avalon in 2012 include an expanded range of themed cruises, an increased choice of Monograms city-stay add-ons and free wi-fi services across the entire European fleet. Its 2012 earlybird deals in the brochure are available until September 30 or until sold out.

In other news, Viking River Cruises recently released its preview 2012 brochure, which features its most popular itineraries and four new vessels. Viking said its classic river cruise itineraries such as the 15-day Grand European Tour (Amsterdam to Budapest) and 13-day Waterways of the Czars (Moscow to St Petersburg) continue to be bestsellers among its suite of itineraries.

The brochure features Viking’s new Longship class vessels — Viking Freya, Viking Idun, Viking Njord and Viking Odin — as well as its early booking discount for 2012 sailings, which expires on July 31. Travellers can save up to $2000 per person on the operator’s Europe itineraries. Viking’s European program also features in wholesaler Beyond Travel’s new Waterways and Beyond brochure for 2012.

In other news, APT has released its new Europe River Cruising 2012 brochure, with new features including more ships and itineraries, more Freedom of Choice excursion options and new high-speed Thalys trains replacing Amsterdam to Paris coach transfers. APT’s Dine Around Dinner options have also been introduced for Europe, in cities including Vienna, Berlin, Split and Lucerne. Free return airfares, free companion airfares or APT SuperDeal savings of up to $2600 per couple are among the pre-September 30 booking deals in the brochure.

Elsewhere, Travelmarvel has announced it will use the MS AmaLegro, a luxury boutique river ship of parent company APT, for its 2012 Europe river cruising season, replacing the MS Sound of Music.