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In 2020, river cruisers headed to Europe have the chance to experience a unique event that only comes along once in a decade: the Oberammergau Passion Play. If you haven't heard about it yet, get ready to be inundated with Oberammergau fever in the run-up to 2020, as river cruise lines tailor sailings and itineraries to allow passengers to take in the spectacle. Avalon Waterways, CroisiEurope, Emerald Waterways, Scenic, Tauck and Viking River Cruises are among the lines offering itineraries -- and taking bookings -- for travelers looking to attend.
Founded in 1984, the U.K.-based tour operator Riviera Travel has become the country's largest provider of European river cruises with a fleet of 12 modern vessels sailing on the Danube, Main, Moselle, Rhine, Rhone, Saone, Seine and Douro. It also charters ships on the Nile, Mekong, Ganges and Yangtze. Offering value-for-money itineraries, Riviera now sells its cruises in the U.S. and Australia. Here are 10 reasons to love Riviera Travel for a river cruise -- and some that might mean it's not the company for you.
Both AmaWaterways and Emerald Waterways fall within the mid-tier price range of river cruising. That can make it hard to make a decision, because at face value, they look pretty much the same. Both lines are family-run, with their owners coming from solid backgrounds in the travel industry. AmaWaterways was founded in 2002 when Austrian-born President Rudi Schreiner, who grew up next to the Danube in Vienna, decided to launch river cruises. Emerald Waterways came along a little later in 2014. It is the sister company to the all-inclusive Scenic river brand, which is the offshoot of the Australian motorcoach tour company founded by Glen Moroney. So how do you decide between the AmaWaterways and Emerald Waterways? Take a look at our guide to help you choose between these two river lines.
Trying to decide whether to cruise with AmaWaterways or Scenic can be tricky, as on the outside both lines look pretty much the same. They also share a similar heritage as they are both family-owned. AmaWaterways' President Rudi Schreiner, who was born in Vienna next to the Danube, came from a background in the travel industry and the line was launched in 2002. Scenic's family tree goes back to 1986, when founder Glen Moroney began operating motorcoach tours in Australia before entering the river cruise market in 2008. AmaWaterways says it provides passengers with the "luxury of more" -- in terms of dining options, excursion choices and onboard amenities, while Scenic gives itself a self-styled five-star rating (unlike hotels, there is no official rating system for river vessels). In general, Scenic tends to be more on the luxury side of river cruising, although AmaWaterways keeps upping the amount of inclusions in their fare. Here's a look at the details between the two lines.