I have just returned from several overseas trips, and I can confirm that airports are bustling and that international travel is booming! Many travelers are busy lining up their 2024 and 2025 trips to Europe, but what is surprising is the number of last-minute requests we are receiving for river cruises departing the second half of this year. While space is limited for the Christmas Markets cruises, we still have staterooms available on many autumn cruises and the year-end Christmas and New Year festive cruises.
For those travelers who are catching up on missed experiences or just wanting to squeeze in a bit of spontaneous fun with friends and family, it’s not too late to join us in 2023 in Europe or even further afield in Vietnam and Cambodia. Here are a few of my tips that I hope will make it easy to pack your bags, hop on a plane and change the view from your window!
Tip #1: Check the Expiry Date on Your Passport
US passport renewals are taking up to 6 months to process so set yourself a calendar reminder at 7 months before yours expires, to ensure you apply with plenty of time to receive it back. Most countries require that your passport is valid for at least six months after your return flight home and for some multi-country trips like Jordan, Egypt and Israel, you’ll need six empty pages to accommodate the required visas. You’ll find more helpful hints on our website under Prepare for Your Cruise.
Insider Tip: If you are planning to join one of our Egypt cruises, sign up for our VIP Visa service on arrival and we’ll take care of whisking you through immigration with all the right paperwork in place.
Tip #2: Pack Light and Use Our Affordable Laundry Services
A simple wardrobe in neutral colors with lots of layering options to adjust to changing weather will see you through a couple of weeks of river cruising if you use our very affordable laundry service on board our ships.
Insider Tip: See my blog post: “What to Pack for Europe in Every Season”
Tip #3: Stay Zen and Reserve a Pre-Cruise Land Package
Not only will the extra time let you get over jetlag and ensure you have 100% energy to sign up for that bike tour, but you’ll also remain completely Zen if any slight trip delays or weather issues arise during your arrival flight. Another bonus is you’ll have extra time to get to know your cruise manager, discuss excursion choices and make friends with other guests.
Insider Tip: Ask your travel advisor about our AirPlus fixed price airfares. This offer includes transfers and works with our pre-cruise land packages on many different dates and destinations!
Tip #4: Maximize Your Airfare Cost and Stay Longer
Due to the higher airfares this year, we are seeing many guests opting for a Combination Cruise and staying two to three weeks onboard our ships.
Insider Tip: Four of our French ships depart on Thursdays, making it easy to explore the four corners of France in one trip! France is such a surprising country. Each region has its own iconic historical sites, distinct culinary and wine specialties waiting to be discovered...
Tip #5: Travel November, December, or February and Enjoy Crowd-free Access to Iconic Sites
Starting in 2023, you can enjoy the splendid foliage and festive atmosphere along the Douro River during November and December, or yet again the winter festivals on the Rhine and Danube starting February 11, 2024. You can save 20% on certain dates by reserving before September 30, 2023.
Insider Tip: “Ama” means love so why not surprise your loved one with a Valentine’s Day cruise on board AmaMagna? Our crew loves to arrange unforgettable Vow Renewal ceremonies for our guests !
I hope some of these tips will inspire you to travel now but if you are the type of traveler who loves long range planning and anticipation, you will be happy to learn that we have started opening our 2025 reservations for certain destinations and we will have all our 2025 itineraries available by the beginning of August.
Whether you have done 10 cruises with us or just planning your first, be sure to join our AmaWaterways Loyal Guests Facebook page to get other great practical tips from fellow river cruisers.