This Week in Cruise: A Big Week for River Cruises

MS Douce France II

With a new ship setting sail and new air-inclusive packages on the horizon, it's been a big week for river cruises. 

CroisiEurope has inaugurated its newest cruise ship, the MS Douce France II. Thhe product of a complete renovation of the former MS Douce France, the ship's redesign has added more open spaces and natural light, CroisiEurope reports. The ship now has a capacity of 106 passengers at double occupancy, with 55 double occupancy cabins, four single occupancy cabins, two suites and one cabin designed for passengers with reduced mobility. All cabins have air conditioning, one double bed that can be separated into two twin beds, a private bathroom, flatscreen television, radio, hair dryer and safe.  All upper deck cabins have French balconies. The ship’s public spaces include a bar and lounge with dance floor, restaurant, sun deck with chaise lounges and a boutique. You can check out a photo tour of the new ship here

In package news, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has launched The Masterpiece Collection, a selection of fully inclusive cruise and air itineraries for 2018. The selections, valid through September 30, 2017, apply to all departure dates on select 2018 itineraries, including Gems of Northern Italy, Splendors of Italy, Paris & Normandy, Remarkable Rhine, European Jewels, Legendary Rhine & Moselle and Bordeaux, and Vineyards & Chateaux.

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The new collection offers guests fully inclusive packages that include all scheduled transfers to and from the airport, all meals and beverages onboard, including wine and spirits, bicycles, Nordic walking sticks, gratuities, onboard fitness classes, Wi-Fi, and exclusive shore excursions in each city. Rates start at $3,699 and vary by itinerary and departure date.

In itinerary news, Emerald Waterways has announced the new Charms of Holland & Belgium cruise for 2018. Sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam, the new cruise differs from Emerald’s existing tour, Highlights of the Netherlands & the Beauty of Belgium, which focuses on ports that highlight the countries’ tulips in bloom during the spring. Instead, this itinerary aims to explore the history and culture of the countries throughout the summer and fall. 

Stops include Dordrecht, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site Kinderdijk Windmills; Antwerp, with an opt-in Discover More excursion to the medieval town of Bruges; Maastricht, Holland’s oldest fortified city; Arnhem, home of the Airborne Museum Hartenstein exhibiting local military history; and Hoorn, which was founded in the 13th century and was the former base for the Dutch East India Company.

In Southeast Asia, AmaWaterways is expanding its 2018 lineup of itineraries through Vietnam and Cambodia on the Mekong River. The AmaDara will sail between Ho Chi Minh City or Siem Reap on a seven-night cruise visiting villages, historic sites, floating markets, and a Buddhist monastery, as well as an overnight stay in Phnom Penh

Finally, in marketing news, Scenic is sponsoring the latest season of The Great British Baking Show on PBS, which started airing Friday, June 16. 

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