Uniworld Boutique River Cruises added a second cruise and rail itinerary in Europe this 12 months, a mix that’s rising in recognition for vacationers in Europe however is to date supplied by few river cruise traces.
Uniworld, discovering success with its Cruise & Rail program and its partnership with Golden Eagle Luxurious Trains, launched a brand new itinerary this 12 months, Castles of Transylvania & Enchanting Danube, with two departures — one lasting 12 days, the opposite 13 — that allow visitors to discover elements of Japanese Europe.
The Cruise & Rail program was launched by the road in 2021, prompted by its need to diversify its choices and supply visitors extra of Europe.
Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge mentioned its partnership with Golden Eagle was a recent, new strategy to give visitors the chance to discover quite a lot of locations throughout a number of nations in a single journey with numerous modes of transport.
“Yearly, we deal with innovation within the river cruise area,” Bettridge mentioned of how its partnership with Golden Eagle developed. “To carry this programming to life, we would have liked a associate that aligned with our five-star requirements, and we’re lucky to seek out that in Golden Eagle Luxurious Trains by way of current business relationships.”
Photograph Credit score: Nicole Edenedo
What units Uniworld’s itineraries aside is that the rail journey is a part of the journey itself fairly than a pre- or post-river cruise extension.
Although there are a selection of luxurious rail choices, from day trains to in a single day sleepers positioned within the locations Uniworld sails globally — equivalent to India and Peru — Uniworld mentioned Europe was the apparent, and most suitable option, for the corporate to lean into its rail enterprise.
“The area that we’re most acquainted with, Europe, was the proper place to start out,” mentioned Bettridge, including that the primary Cruise & Rail itineraries complemented the road’s newly reworked S.S. La Venezia, venturing to locations that Uniworld had not visited earlier than.
However the advantages of cruise and rail mixtures do not merely prolong to the scenic benefit of seeing locations past the rivers. Cruise and rail choices can be a sensible various in an more and more hotter and altering local weather.
Low water ranges plagued almost all river cruise traces crusing Europe’s Rhine and Danube rivers from late July by way of most of August. Extreme warmth and drought situations depleted waters to unnavigable ranges alongside some stretches of the rivers. Late-summer rain finally helped replenish the rivers to navigable ranges, however not earlier than many cruise departures had been canceled, delayed or modified.
Cruise & Rail, Bettridge mentioned, “allows us to attraction to a variety of vacationers, supply a product not like anything in the marketplace and adapt when mandatory.”
Luxurious prepare add-on is fashionable
Uniworld is among the many few river cruise firms to embed a rail journey inside an current cruise itinerary that is not a part of a pre- or post-cruise extension bundle. On most traces, vacationers must independently e book a luxurious rail part, which suppliers say is more and more fashionable.
“We’re doing tons of pre- and post-river cruise journeys this 12 months,” mentioned Frank Marini, CEO of Railbookers Group, a rail trip packager that makes a speciality of customizable FIT itineraries. “There are quite a bit in Switzerland — that is an enormous piece of the place we’re seeing these pre- and post-river cruise journeys vacationers are taking.”
Most river cruises that journey to Switzerland sometimes start or finish in Basel, positioned on the Rhine, and switch by coach or rail to start a rail journey. Uniworld’s preliminary itinerary, with its 14-day Milan, Venice & the Swiss Alps and 12-day Venice & the Swiss Alps departures, begins or ends its Golden Eagle prepare expertise in Zurich.
The 13-day model of the corporate’s latest Cruise & Rail itinerary begins with an in a single day keep in Budapest, adopted by 4 nights on the Golden Eagle prepare after which a return to Budapest to embark on a seven-day river cruise on the Danube by way of Austria and earlier than ending in Passau, Germany. The 12-day Enchanting Danube & Castles of Transylvania travels in the other way and doesn’t embrace an in a single day keep in Budapest.