Category Archives: River Cruising

Trip planning 101 – How to take a European River Cruise from Brugge.

Trip planning can be every bit as enjoyable as the trip.  Our theory is some of the happiest people in the world are those who either are planning a vacation or those that are on vacation.  If you are not doing one, well you should be doing the other.

Belgium Trip Planning

Here are the 3 most critical tools we used for planning a trip to Belgium.

  1. A guidebook from Brugge tourism,
  2. Great Beers of Belgium book
  3. Trappistes Rochefort 8.

Straffe Hendrick

We had such a good time planning that we decided to go there ourselves.

One unique way for you to add Brugge to your vacation is to take a Rhine Getaway river cruise with Viking River Cruises and add in a 3 night pre-stay in Brugge.  Begin your trip on an amazing note by staying in the heart of the old town at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy, walk along the canals, explore the cobbled streets and many sidewalk cafes.  But what ever you do, don’t forget to spend some quality time at the Half Moon Brewery!  After visiting Brugge, you will be transferred to Amsterdam to start your cruise on the Rhine river heading towards Basel, Switzerland.

Rhine Getaway itineraryDAY 1 AMSTERDAM – Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship. After boarding, the afternoon is yours to explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits and you are interested, you may wish to visit the Anne Frank House.

DAY 2 KINDERDIJK – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter an actual working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). Cruise through the night.

DAY 3 COLOGNE – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction was begun in 1248 and which was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on your own—as always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and we remain docked until late evening.

DAY 4 KOBLENZ & RÜDESHEIM – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Lunch aboard as you enjoy this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop locations. Arrive in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon. Spend free time in the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars—dine aboard or in town if you prefer. Ship departs after midnight.

DAY 5 HEIDELBERG & SPEYER – UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Cruise through the morning enjoying brunch and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a journey to Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle, and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from its hilltop location. Continue with a walking tour through the Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.

Rejoin your ship in Speyer this afternoon and take some time to look around. You dock in full view of the imposing Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica, the building’s design was highly influential upon Romanesque architecture for centuries to come, and is the final resting place of eight German monarchs. Its soaring interior features graceful rows of sandstone columns and a large stained-glass window installed in the western façade during a later Gothic period.

DAY 6 STRASBOURG – UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures—fabulous churches, medieval covered bridges, beautiful parks and some lovely Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the quaint little city of Kehl.

DAY 7 BREISACH –  After cruising through the night you arrive during breakfast in Breisach, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach for some free time before an early evening departure. Or, choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard while you cruise on to Basel, arriving around midnight.

DAY 8  BASEL – After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or, extend your time in Switzerland’s Alpine region with 2 nights in lovely Lucerne or a 3-night stay at Lake Geneva.

GetAway Travel is your best resource for river cruises.  We have the necessary expertise and are completely focused on meeting your needs.  Call now for a free consultation 262-538-2140

We hate to brag, but…

We love our clients and work very hard to make sure all of their travel dreams come true.

As the majority of our business is from word of mouth referrals, it’s always great to get feedback to see how they enjoyed their vacations.

Here is some of our most recent feedback:

 “GetAway Travel Service is the company that we used for our recent trip to France and Italy. They spent a lot of time with us to help us decide where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. They took care of all of the details and provided all of the information we needed to avoid stress when we were there. Everything went flawlessly. I highly recommend Sue Adams and Paul Adams at GetAway. Consider using them for your next trip!”

These clients took an amazing river cruise in France and then while they were already in Europe, we sent them on a luxury tour of Italy (Venice, Rome, Florence).

“We booked our 25th anniversary trip with them this summer. When the plans changed (beyond our control) just 5 days before our trip, Paul and Sue booked us an entirely new trip and took the stress away! We are already booked with them next year.” 

These clients had booked a Celebrity Galapagos cruise over 1 year in advance.  Literally days before departure, the cruise was cancelled (very rare circumstances).  We quickly scrambled and sent them on a dream cruise to Alaska.  We worked with the cruise lines to get them an upgrade on their Alaska cruise stateroom, and got full refunds on their air and cruise for Galapagos.   They have already rebooked their Galapagos cruise for next year.

Is there anything we can do to help you make your vacation dreams come true?

Experience the difference that smart dedicated travel agents can make in your next vacation.

 

 

France – Burgundy & Provence – Vino Group – on it’s way soon!

Starting next week we have a group of very fortunate travelers heading out for a river cruise on the Saône and Rhône rivers through the heart of Burgundy and Provence.

River Royale

Here is just a bit of a sampling of the things they will be enjoying.

The scent of lavender fields.  Glowing sunflowers that inspired paintings by Van Gogh.  A Roman amphitheater still in use after millennia.  The 14th century Palace of the Popes.  A tri-level aqueduct bridge built in 19 BC.  Visit to a produce market and dinner making with a celebrated French chef.  Visit to a truffle farm and watch a truffle dog work amongst the oak trees.  Visit the Hospices de Beaune, begun as a charitable organization in 1443 where the tradition of an annual wine auction to support the monks work continues to this day.

GetAway Wine grapes logo

Oh and we’re fairly certain there will also be some wine sampling along the way such as:  exclusive tour and private tastings at select Grand cru and premier cru wineries in Côte de Beaune. Visit to wine cellars in Tain l’Hermitage.  Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyard visit and wine tasting.  

France is the source of many grape varieties now planted throughout the world and it also originated the notion of “terroir” that describes a wines sense of place.  What better way to get a sense of the place of the wine, then to journey where the wine is grown?  And what better way to journey than to go with a group of your friends?

This group was organized with the help of our wonderful friends at the areas best wine bar – Vino Etcetera –  in the town with the greatest “Wisconish” name ever – Oconomowoc.

If you are not going with the group this year, stay tuned we have grand plans for another wine trip in 2014!  Ciao!

Honfleur – Beautiful picturesque Normandy

On the southern bank of the Seine in Lower Normandy is a beautiful town with the most picturesque 17th century harbor – Honfleur.  Painted many times by famous artists including Claude Monet, the port is characterized by its houses with slate covered frontages.

Honfleur Harbor

Harbor of Vieux Bassin, Honfleur

Honfleur Harbor boats

The sky was well overcast and it drizzled most of the time during our visit, but you could not escape the unique charm of this town.

hondfleur half timbered bldgs

The amazingly well-preserved half-timbered medieval architecture was everywhere to be seen during our walking tour.

Honfleur St Catherines church

St Catherine’s is certainly one of the most unusual churches you will visit in France.  Apparently all the local stone was used to build town defenses, so the church was built out of wood by nautical ship builders.

Honfleur sweets

Oh and there is no shortage of bakery goods available for the tourists to satisfy a sweet tooth.  There are many different ways to tour Normandy and Honfleur, one that we highly recommend is by River Cruising.  You can get more details at our partner site with Uniworld

Sustainable River Cruising

Not only do you want to go to great destinations, but it’s good to know that suppliers such as Uniworld are working to keep them as great destinations for future generations of travellers. 

Here is what Uniworld has to say about this important initiative.

Sustaining the destinations we visit is of great importance to us at Uniworld. We are part of a joint initiative by The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands called TreadRight; a not for profit working to ensure that the environment and communities we explore remain vibrant for future generations.
TreadRight is The Travel Corporation’s hub for all corporate social responsibility efforts, and manages a long-standing grants program that benefits sustainable tourism projects.
To date, TreadRight has committed more than USD 1.5 million to projects worldwide, and encourages industry best practice through our support for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. To learn more about our work at TreadRight, please visit us at http://www.treadright.org.
Uniworld’s current and most exciting project is in partnership with The Travel Foundation, a United Kingdom-based charity with the same socio-environmental values we share. With their support, Uniworld is spearheading the Sustainable River Cruising project—the first of its kind—focusing on minimizing the environmental impact of Uniworld’s ships, and the river cruising industry at large.
We believe conservation starts at the local level, and encourage you to learn more about our Sustainable River Cruising initiative and its impact on Uniworld and the river cruising industry as a whole.

Why not join us on a very special River Cruise in 2013?