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Maybe you've cruised on a gigantic cruise ship before. Our Tulip Time Spring river cruise is very different. The custom built (in 2003) river cruiser, Symphony, has only 73 cabins, making for a much more personal and less institutional experience.
The river cruise itinerary is also very different to a traditional ocean cruise. You never have rough seas, and you're always treated to beautiful views out your cabin window, never just empty ocean.
About the Cruise/Tour
Like a traditional cruise, this is a fully inclusive cruise, and - better than a traditional cruise - it includes a generous amount of shore touring as well. You won't have to pay extra for your shore touring as we visit the lovely towns and cities as we cruise around the waterways.
The cruise of course includes three great meals a day, plus various other snacks, on-board entertainment, as well as generous opportunities to sightsee, both from the boat as it cruises the river, and while ashore during the many stops. You typically have time to both participate in a provided tour and also to sightsee and shop on your own.
A nice extra feature is free wine provided with every dinner.
While all meals are available on the vessel, you'll also be able to experience other dining opportunities ashore if you wish. Similarly, the on-board entertainment can be supplemented with visits to clubs and bars and shows ashore - the vessel will sometimes stay in port until late at night, allowing you a chance to experience each town by day and by night.
Why River Cruising
River cruising is simply and absolutely the most comfortable and convenient way to travel around Europe. You can unpack your bags and get comfortable in your lovely large cabin and not need to repack or transfer until the end of the cruise - this in itself is probably all the convincing you'll need!
In addition, European towns have historically tended to be centered around the major rivers, and so river cruising is a great way to get to the lovely historic parts of Europe, at a sedate speed, and in luxurious comfort.
How else could you travel around Europe? On a bus tour? Yuck! By train or car - yes, but then you have an abundance of travel hassles every day.
I've experienced every possible type of travel, and I'm a 100% convert. River cruising is the best way to see Europe. Try it, and you'll be sure to agree.
Why Cruise in Spring?
Experienced travelers know the best time to travel is always either side of the peak periods. Spring is a glorious time of year, especially in mid/late April.
You have long days of sunshine without overbearing heat, you have the glorious palette of spring flowers enlivening the views from the boat, and you're avoiding the worst of the peak summer crowds and costs.
Independent Reviews of Amadeus Waterways Cruises
It always pays to check what other reviewers say of a cruise. Although Amadeus Waterways is a new operator, it is already starting to gain positive public reviews. Here are several commentaries that provide glowing reports.
Cruisereviews.com has a lengthy and positive review of a Symphony cruise in 2003.
About.com also has a positive review of a Symphony Cruise in 2003.
And here's a review of a Symphony cruise by an individual.
Amadeus also show some passenger feedback on their website.
This cruise itinerary operates on seven different sailings in April (details here). We can arrange your cruise for any of these seven dates, or, if you'd like to be part of our small group, you can join us on the group sailing date.
The featured group cruise commences in Amsterdam on Sunday 17 April 2005. If you're traveling from the US, you should leave on Saturday 16 April (or earlier) to arrive into Amsterdam on the 17th - most flights tend to be overnight flights.
The cruise also finishes in Amsterdam, on Sunday 24 April. You can then either return home that day or extend your stay in Europe as you wish.
We recommend, if at all possible, that you plan to arrive into Amsterdam a day before the start of the cruise. This means if you - or your luggage - should miss a connecting flight, or if anything else goes wrong, you still have a day up your sleeve before the start of the cruise.
It also gives you a day to 'de-jetlag' before the cruise gets underway.
About the Symphony and Amadeus Waterways
The Symphony was specially built in 2003 for Amadeus Waterways. It has been custom designed to take best advantage of the special conditions involved in river cruising.
Although the oldest of the Amadeus fleet, it is the perhaps the 'cosiest' of the ships, giving the best overall guest experience. Because it is slightly shorter than the new ships, it can also go some places that the other ships can't, and so we've chosen an itinerary operated by Symphony for this tour.
The boat is long but narrow. It is 358' long and 37.4' wide, and cruises at 15.6 mph (25 kph). There are 73 cabins on three decks, and all are well equipped with a/c, bathroom and shower, phone, television, hairdryer and safe. The television has satellite tv channels, and a bridge-cam channel.
With a maximum passenger capacity of 146, you'll find it easier to make new friends on board, and when the boat stops in a small town, you don't overload the town and its small shops with thousands of fellow tourists.
Cabins are a massive 160 sq ft each. There are also four suites of 236 sq ft.
Smoking is restricted to outside areas only.
The cruise is marketed primarily to English speaking people and the official language on board is English. This means you won't have the inconvenience of having to listen to every announcement being repeated in four or five different languages.
Amadeus Waterways is a relatively new company, founded by their President Rudi Schreiner in 2003, who formerly started the river cruising operation for Uniworld, and who then founded Viking River Cruises before now creating this latest company. He has taken his experience and knowledge of both what is good and bad about other river cruises and built a high quality company that is quickly setting the new high standard for river cruising in Europe.
I've spoken with Rudi at length, and we know many of the same people in the travel industry, and am very comfortable endorsing his company and his tours.
We are offering this cruise in three different grades of cabin plus also the suites.
A grade cabins have the best view because they're on the upper deck.
B grade cabins are identical in size and layout to the A cabins, but are one deck down.
D grade cabins are on the bottom deck and so offer the poorest views and do not have the over-size and opening picture windows.
Unless you like staring at a blank concrete wall some of the time while moored at the dock, the upgrade from D to B is well worth the extra money, and for only a very little more money, you go up one more deck to the best cabins. We recommend the A cabins accordingly.
An inclusive price for the cruise, with no nasty hidden extras for taxes, port and extra charges, and also including most shore excursions, too (that is a massive extra value item included for free!) is $2211 for the A cabins, $2161 for the B grade cabins and $1861 for the D cabins. The suites are $2761. Prices are per person, based on sharing a cabin with one other person.
Travel Insider readers get a 5% discount off these rates. Your price is $2099 for the A cabins, $2053 for B and $1768 for the D cabins. Suites are offered at $2623.
You can pay for your cruise using a credit card with no credit card surcharge.
A $200 per person non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your places on this cruise, and the balance 90 days prior to departure.
A single supplement is available. This is 50% of the per person rate.
What about the Air Fare?
You will save money and gain flexible convenience if you arrange your own air travel. These days airlines seldom give discounts to groups, and sometimes even charge more, while also adding extra restrictions to the tickets!
You are therefore free to make your own arrangements, any way you wish, to travel to Amsterdam, and you can of course make extra stops and arrive earlier or stay longer. You can choose whichever carrier has the best fare and the best schedules for you, and you can also choose a carrier that you wish to earn miles with.
You can even cash in miles and fly on frequent flier awards.
We'll be pleased to answer any questions you might have about arranging your air transportation, of course.
In addition to this flexibility, you can also take advantage of a negotiated airfare offered by Amadeus Waterways, which assumes you'll travel from the US on Saturday 16 April and return on Sunday 24 April, and these dates can be varied if you'd prefer. This is approx $680 per person from New York and more from other cities. Taxes of approximately $170 are extra. If you choose the Amadeus air, then airport/dock transfers are included to and from the airport.
Need More Information?
We generally recommend you should protect against the various types of losses that may occur while traveling.
Amadeus Waterways offer a policy that covers you for trip cancellation and interruption costs, medical costs, trip delay, and baggage delay or loss. This is $199 per person. For an extra $30, you get a 'no questions asked' cancellation coverage - you can cancel for any reason at any time and get a voucher for the value of the cruise, to be used against future cruising with Amadeus any time in the following two years. The premium is payable with your deposit.
If you would like to add this protection, we'll send you a copy of the terms and conditions so you understand exactly what is covered.
How to Extend or Vary this Tour
There are many ways you can extend or vary this tour.
We recommend that you should arrive into Europe at least a day before the cruise starts, so as to give yourself a day to resolve any problems that may occur such as missing flights or losing luggage.
You might want to spend more time touring around Europe, or perhaps hop over (under!) the channel to Britain. A Eurail pass is a great way to travel around Europe.
If you have more questions, please don't hesitate to ask. We're here to help ensure your experience is as good as possible.
Tour Terms and Conditions
Our standard terms and conditions apply to this tour.
In addition, please note these extra terms :
1. The 90 day payment due date is considered to be Wednesday 12 January.
2. US citizens require a current passport that will not expire for at least six months after the date of their planned return back to the US in order to be admitted to Europe. They do not require any European visas. Citizens of other countries should check with the airline that will transport them to Europe to determine what passport and visa requirements may apply.
3. Tour price is subject to change prior to full payment being received.
4. Terms and conditions of the cruise line (Amadeus Waterways) also apply.