A "rail and sail" itinerary enables clients who can’t fly to forego travel stress and start their river cruise holiday with a relaxing train journey. With enquiries for these trips on the up, Abra Dunsby looks at three top options
Glacier Express and Danube Cruise
Great Rail Journeys’ new trip combines a journey onboard the Glacier Express – famed for providing spectacular views of canyons, gorges and Alpine villages – with a seven-night Danube cruise. Clients can also witness the beauty of cities including Bratislava, Vienna and Budapest, which is visited by night.
Lisa Wood, sales and marketing director at Great Rail Journeys, says: “Many clients will be taking time to reflect on their travel plans, considering ways to travel more responsibly and reduce their environmental impact. Agents can help holidaymakers interested in supporting the conscious-travel trend to discover rail and river cruise as a no-fly, climate-friendly travel option.”
Book it: From £3,295pp, including five nights’ hotel accommodation and seven nights onboard the Amadeus Queen, Silver II or Imperial. Price includes Eurostar travel for 8 August 2021 departure. greatrail.com/travelagents
Christmas Markets of the Rhine
Clients who want to immerse themselves in the spirit of Christmas can hop on a Rhine river cruise, discovering Germany’s many fairy-tale riverside villages and towns and soaking up the festive sights, sounds and smells along the way.
The Riviera Travel cruise onboard Oscar Wilde includes visits to the twinkling festive markets of Cologne, Koblenz and Rudesheim, with a Christmas Day gala dinner onboard.
Tom Morgan, head of agency sales for the UK & Ireland, says: “We offer a number of river cruise itineraries where customers can take the train with no weight limits for bags, which is a great benefit. I hosted a Rhine cruise fam trip a few years ago, travelling by train. The feedback from all agents was fantastic as it was a very relaxing, enjoyable way to travel.”
Book it: Prices for the eight-day cruise start from £1,989pp, departing 21 December 2021 and including Eurostar travel. rivieratravel.co.uk/agents
Flavours of Bordeaux
On Scenic’s new Bordeaux itinerary (launching 2022), clients will sail the Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde, stopping to sip fine wine in vineyards, eat fresh seafood in Arcachon Bay and even learn how to cook French delicacies onboard alongside a Scenic Culinaire.
Clients can reach the cruise terminal via Eurostar with no added supplement. Joseph Grimley, director of UK trade sales, explains the increasing appeal of a rail and sail trip. “No-fly river cruises have been popular for us so far this year. Guests can avoid the stresses flying may pose, relax and make the journey part of their holiday. There is also more flexibility, with Eurostar running multiple times a day. Guests can even enjoy an upgrade to Standard Premier on Eurostar included.”
Book it: Scenic offers the 11-day Flavours of Bordeaux itinerary from £3,795pp, departing 25 May 2022, including Standard Premier Eurostar. scenic.co.uk/agent-portal