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Admit It, You Want To Go On A River Cruise (We Do, Too)

Wary of cruises in the wake of a recent onslaught of infectious diseases and other bad press? We’ve got you—tone it down and jump on a river cruise. They’re hot, hot, hot right now.

Do the Viking River Cruise ads seep into your dreams? Those idyllic Eastern European landscapes sweeping by a light-and-airy, more intimate version of a mainstream ocean cruise liner? Waiting for Downton Abbey to start will never be the same. And neither will cruising. Viking (and its stellar marketing campaign) have almost single-handedly christened this more laidback style of cruising the “next big thing”—this kind of voyage that sails down a bustling riverfront that’s loaded with tourist sites, instead of spending days and days on the open ocean.

River cruise, this is your time to shine.

Last year alone, 35 new river liners hit the water, and closer to 40 are already planned for this year. Asia is the fastest-growing market for destinations, but river cruises span the globe, from our very own Hudson and Mississippi, to the Nile, Amazon, Mekong and Ganges. The era of the river cruise has arrived.

Then there’s Europe, the hotbed of river cruising. Just ask Viking: It will take you on a romantic trip down the Danube or whisk you away for a decadent 15 days on a Grand European Tour, on cruises that also cover the Seine, Rhine, Elbe and Douro rivers. And don’t forget the famous Christmas market cruises that dominate the holiday season that just came to an end.

But Viking doesn’t have a monopoly—despite what its prolific ads might have you believe. Avalon Waterways has eight ships in the Galapagos, Mekong Delta, China and Egypt, CroisiEurope is known for its budget-friendly deals, and AmaWaterways sails Africa, Asia and Europe, including Russia. Then there are the luxe models, from the butlers aboard Scenic Tours, Tauck River Cruising and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.

While some cruise diehards feel that the “Mini-mes” lack the general awesomeness of an enormous ocean liner, river cruise fans tend to enjoy the more laidback “floating hotel” as Viking calls it—no strict seating plans for dinner, and no waves (so no seasickness!). And since the ships are so much smaller, they can dock anywhere, making quaint European villages and historical stops along the Nile possible. Good thing, since river cruises are known for the plethora of sightseeing.

Loads of sightseeing, major convenience, (much) smaller crowds, a more chill, club-like atmosphere: River cruising is the way to go in 2015. Happy cruising.

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