4 APRIL 2022


© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.

Article from BTNews 4 APRIL 2022


Ambassador Cruise Line has confirmed that the entry into service of its first ship, Ambience has unfortunately been delayed.

The ship has undergone extensive engineering and other works whilst in dry-dock in Croatia. The process has been subjected to some significant recent supply-side delays which also led to a temporary lack of availability of marine gas oil in Croatia.

Ambience’s maiden voyage to Hamburg has been re-scheduled to now depart on 20 April.  All guests booked on the first three (cancelled) sailings have been contacted by Ambassador to discuss a range of highly attractive alternatives or a full refund as per their preference.

The good news is that Ambassador will home port at Tilbury, just off the M25, and will be joined next year by a second ship, Ambition.



River cruising is back for Europe in spite of the Covid problems, with the Ukraine/Russia war casting a shadow on operations.  If you are taking a river cruise do check on the requirements of both your boarding country and when finally getting off the ship.

Fred Olsen at the present time do not operate European river cruises, although their sea-going ships visit Rouen where the tidal Seine ends. www.fredolsencruises.com   It is the same at Bordeaux with the Garonne leading into the wine growing country.  In Scotland Loch Ness provides river cruises for a number of operators including Noble Caledonia www.noble-caledonia.co.uk and Hebridean Island www.hebridean.co.uk.  We must also mention at this point the Edward Elgar, England’s only river cruise ship which BTN reviewed 7 September 2020.

Berlitz River Cruising in Europe & The USA
by Douglas Ward is the bible for the river cruise industry.   BTN’s last river cruise report was February 2020 Cruise Issue which highlighted AmaMagna wide-bodied and predicted that would be the top performer.

reached out to all river cruise operators selling in the UK.  The words are theirs, not ours!

AMA Waterways

Family-owned and operated for almost 20 years, AmaWaterways offers river cruise experiences in Europe with custom-designed ships on the Danube, Dordogne, Douro, Garonne, Main, Moselle, Rhine, Rhône, Saône, Seine rivers and Dutch and Belgian waterways.  Co-founded and led by pioneering river cruise executives Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst, its wellness activities include a wide choice of small group shore excursions featuring biking and hiking options; and its award-winning, locally sourced cuisine with complimentary fine wine. Modern, spacious and tastefully decorated, most ships welcome an average of just 150 guests and feature onboard amenities such as a stunning Main Lounge, specialty Chef’s Table restaurant, hair and massage salons, a Sun Deck walking track with heated outdoor swimming pools with swim-up bars. The revolutionary AmaMagna, is the world’s first wide-bodied river cruise ship.


With its modern fleet of 13 vessels, family-owned Amadeus River Cruises offers exclusive river cruises on Europe’s most beautiful and renowned waterways: on the waterways of Belgium and Holland, past the Rhine's picturesque vineyard scenery, along the Rhine-Main canal, in the steps of French Savoir-Vivre on the Rhône, Saône and Seine, and through the charming landscapes adjoining the Danube all the way to the Black Sea.

Aboard every one of the elegant ships of the Amadeus fleet, hospitality is more than just a tradition, it is a passion – a passion you will experience in every detail, from beautifully-appointed surroundings and gourmet dining selections to the enthusiastic professionalism of those taking care of you. With a staff and crew trained to the highest standards of service, the ambience onboard is relaxed yet impeccably gracious, designed to make you feel right at home in the heart of Europe.  All the conveniences of a floating 5-star hotel await you on board the Amadeus ships: a large sun deck with reclining chairs and the Lido-Bar, the Panorama-Bar with an almost uninterrupted 360° view over the passing river landscapes, the viewing deck on the River Terrace, the stylish Panorama-Restaurant, as well as the relaxed Amadeus-Club. The services on board are complimented by fitness and massage areas and a hairdresser.

Amadeus River Cruises offer excellent value for money as they include all meals, wine with lunch and dinner, onboard entertainment, complimentary use of onboard bicycles and port taxes.


French river cruise operator CroisiEurope has a fleet of 47 two- and three-deck standard and premium ships that accommodate between 16 and 180 guests, as well as six Freycinet-style hotel barges on the French canals that accommodate up to 22 guests. Every cabin on every ship has an exterior view with panoramic window or French balcony and is equipped with satellite TV, air conditioning and en suite bathroom. One of the highlights of any cruise is the outstanding cuisine prepared by the onboard culinary team, serving up classical favourites and local delicacies paired with a generous selection of regional wines. CroisiEurope offers a huge range of itineraries, from perennial favourites on the rivers Rhine, Seine, Danube and Douro to more innovative itineraries on the Guadalquivir, Vltava, Po, Garonne and on Lake Kariba in Southern Africa.

The cruises offer excellent value for money with all meals and drinks included on most sailings and shore excursions also included on select itineraries. Gratuities are not included in the cost of the cruise as they are discretionary. CroisiEurope is renowned for innovation – whether it is the introduction of paddlewheel ships on the Elbe and Loire, new and unique itineraries on lesser-known rivers or the implementation of environmental measures such as the use of greener Gas-to-Liquid fuel. Having been successfully operating for over 45 years, guests can be assured that they are travelling with a company that has vast experience and knowledge of the destinations they are visiting.

Emerald Waterways

Emerald Cruises offers a diverse line-up of river cruise itineraries on board its fleet of nine Star-Ships, eight in Europe and one on the Mekong in south east Asia, with a tenth, Emerald Luna, set to join the fleet in April. Guests can explore the fascinating waterways of the Danube, Douro, Main, Rhine, or Rhône rivers in Europe, among others.  Emerald Cruises offers contemporary and innovatively designed ships, outstanding service and an incredibly inclusive pricing plan. The EmeraldACTIVE programme provides an exciting new way to explore Europe from a unique perspective, with active excursions and Activity Managers on hand to lead guided hikes, bicycle tours and canoeing excursions. On board, join the wellness team for a yoga class, an aqua aerobics session in the pool or work out in the onboard gym.

Accommodating between just 112 and 180 guests at any time, most of Emerald Cruises Star-Ships feature an indoor pool which innovatively transforms into a cinema by night. The exception being Emerald Radiance, which sails Portugal’s Douro River, which boasts a custom-designed Serenity Pool – a spa-style heated pool on the Sun Deck to make the most of the warmer climate. The on-board Sun Deck is also home to a selection of activities to keep guests entertained throughout their journey, while the well-equipped Wellness Area is complete with a gym and spa.

Emerald Cruises inclusive promise ensures all flights, transfers and tips are included in the price you pay, as well as a selection of dining options, complimentary drinks with lunch and dinner, and a wealth of insightful excursions.

European Waterways

Cruising the most picturesque canals and rivers, European Waterways offers a unique, boutique experience and an immersive, all-inclusive ‘gentle voyage of discovery’ to the heart of Europe. Choose from a cruise on one of our seventeen barges that focuses on the culture, history, fine wine and gourmet cuisine of the region – from the Doge’s Palace in Venice to the storybook castles of the Scottish Highlands.

The luxurious barges accommodate between 6 to 20 passengers with a 1:2 crew to guest ratio. From the moment guests step onto the hotel transfer, to the moment they step off the post-cruise minibus, every need will be provided for. Onboard, enjoy meals prepared from local ingredients by a professional chef, kick back and relax in the bar area with your favourite cocktail or unwind in the hot tub with a novel.

Travelling in small groups allows for tailored experiences and fosters new friendships. Get involved with our chauffeured excursions to private off-the-beaten-track locations, from exquisite wine tastings to afternoon tea with the aristocracy. Glide along the still waters to palaces and châteaux, vineyards and valleys, gardens and artisan markets.

European Waterways traverses the intimate inland waterways that are inaccessible to larger vessels, such as the Caledonian Canal in Scotland, the Grand Canal in Venice, the Burgundy Canal in France and so many more. Our barge cruises offer guests more privacy than large liners and the slow pace provides guests with ample opportunity to explore the rural surroundings by bike or on foot.


Saga River Cruises

From the rich culture of the Douro to the incredible cityscapes of the French Waterways and the stunning scenery of the Elbe, there is a Saga river cruise to suit all tastes. Whilst Saga travels across many of Europe’s iconic waterways, some of the most popular cruises explore the Danube, Douro, Elbe, Oder and Rhine. At Saga, the team has total control over the itineraries of the cruises, which means their experts can make sure the cruises take the best possible route and visit the most interesting destinations.
Following the recent naming of Saga's newest river cruise ships, Spirit of the Rhine and Spirit of the Danube, Saga has a total of six vessels within its river cruise fleet including, Rex Rheni, which is exclusive to Saga, Amadeus Provence, Douro Spirit and Johannes Brahms. Saga also recently announced a major expansion to its fleet, launching four new river cruise ships in the next four years. Each ship provides guests with something a little different, but all offer itineraries, entertainment and cuisine created with passengers in mind. Ships range in guest capacity from 80 to 182 and each feature the first-class Saga facilities that guests have come to expect including a selection of restaurants, sun decks, spas and panoramic views from the onboard lounges.
Every Saga river cruise also includes the service of at least one Saga Cruise Host on board and available at all times, on-shore excursions and a Saga cocktail party. In addition, guests are provided with a VIP door-to-door travel service and every sailing is backed by Saga's reassurance and price promises – so guests know that they are getting the best price and feel safe and secure from the minute they book.

Scenic River Cruises

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours operate a fleet of 12 Space-Ships that sail on Europe’s waterways, including the Danube, Douro, Rhine and Rhône rivers, as well as a further two custom-designed ships that sail in south east Asia.

With Scenic it’s more than a river cruise, it’s truly all-inclusive luxury in a class of its own. Scenic’s custom-designed ships offer guests ample space and freedom to relax, knowing everything is taken care of – from a personal on-board butler, gourmet meals and premium beverages to exclusive Scenic Enrich experiences and personalised Scenic Freechoice excursions all included as standard.

On Scenic’s 5-star river cruises, there are no more than 163 guests on board each Europe river cruise journey, and up to only 68 in south east Asia, ensuring each guest enjoys an unrivalled small ship journey.

Scenic’s on board facilities elevate wellbeing to a new level – with nutritious meals, yoga classes, Salt Therapy Lounges (on select Europe ships) and e-bikes. From casual to fine dining, each ship offers an impressive selection of dining venues and a menu for every occasion. The award-winning custom-designed fleet boasts opulently appointed suites among the largest on Europe’s waterways, complete with elegant furnishings, spacious bathrooms and queen-size beds.

Scenic river cruises are truly all-inclusive, with all luxury details taken care of. All on-board dining, excursions, transfers, tipping and more are included.

TUI River Cruises

Sailing on the Danube, Main, Moselle, Rhine, and Dutch and Belgian waterways, TUI offers Maya and Skyla and the brand new Isla. All the ships are adults only, with a maximum of 155 guests onboard at any time.  Included within the holiday packages are flights, transfers, three meals with drinks per day, tips, and luggage allowance, all come as standard. Plus, all guests get £120 of shore experience credit per person, per seven days Cruisers who choose the all-inclusive drinks package will also enjoy a selection of wines, beers, ciders, cocktails, and spirits. Each ship has two restaurants and two bars, relaxation wellness area with a whirlpool bath and sauna, and a top deck which offers relaxation and a space for activities such as yoga.

Viking River Cruises

For the 2022 season Viking River Cruises, Europe’s largest operator, has welcomed eight new ships.  Four are built specifically to navigate the Seine River and bring guests to the heart of Paris with an exclusive docking location at Port de Grenelle, just a short walk from the Eiffel Tower. The other  additional ships – Viking Egdir, Viking Gersemi, Viking Gymir and Viking Hervor – will sail Viking’s popular itineraries on the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers.

Viking has a vast number of fully inclusive trips and BTN has selected a new holiday sailing, the 8-day Christmas on the Seine, sailing roundtrip from Paris. Available during the holiday season beginning in 2022, guests will sail through Normandy’s snow-covered countryside while enjoying the festive Christmas markets. Guests can select from holiday-centric shore excursions such as baking homemade gingerbread at the 850-year-old Abbaye du Valasse or attending a festive Christmas ornament making workshop in Rouen. Onboard, guests will enjoy special holiday-themed festivities including regional dining specialities, seasonal treats and more.

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum

Sarah Host, Liverpool

Both are owned by the same people but I never did understand why the higher grade Scenic has a sun roof dip pool and Emerald one inside.

Peter & Joan James, Willesden - London

Regal Princess (Ambience) was named by Margaret Thatcher in New York in 1991. Not many people know that. We sailed from Barbados in her in 1992. A well thought out ship with sensible sized cabins. We, like the ship, are now older, but are coming back.

Jill & Jack Smith, Chelmsford

We were CMV fans even if its ships were some of the oldest cruise liners afloat. If the new company can replicate something of the East Anglian spirit we had gotten used to, with much better facilities our bookings are assured.