Guide and Reviews on Best River Cruises and Anything That Relates to Them
Best River Cruises

Shearings Flagship Vessels Review

MPS Rotterdam

The MPS Rotterdam is flagship vessel chartered exclusively by Shearings since 2009. A beautifully designed traditional four deck ship, on board you will find soft furnishings in rich colours and dark cherry tones providing an air of elegance.

MS Belle de l Adriatique Shearings ship

Once you’re on board the elegant MPS Rotterdam, adjusting to your new surroundings is easy… the relaxed nature of cruises and the attentive service provided by staff means life on board is a sheer joy. The Rotterdam has the perfect mix of style, comfort and fantastic facilities, with four enticing decks.

The Promenade Deck is home to the chic reception, the Lounge Deck is where you’ll find the restaurant and bar, and the partially-covered Sun Deck offers the chance to watch the picturesque scenery serenely drift by. No matter how you decide to spend your time on board the Rotterdam, one thing’s for sure – you’re in for a truly magical experience.

MPS Da Vinci

MPS Da Vinci – back by popular demand and exclusive to Shearings Holidays for 2012. Designed along the lines of a splendid yacht, the MPS Da Vinci is one of the most elegant and luxurious river cruise vessels in Western Europe. Whether sailing upon the Rhine, Main or Danube, the MPS Da Vinci is ready and waiting to take you on your next river cruise experience.

Once you’re on board the MPS Da Vinci you can’t fail to be impressed with the open space and large reception area. Why not head to the sun deck to watch the ever-changing scenery go by, with a choice of chairs or deckchairs for your comfort. If you’re feeling a bit more energetic, how about a workout on the fitness equipment – or a relaxing sauna or Turkish bath?

You’ll also find it easy to relax in the beautifully-designed lounge, where you can immerse yourself in a good book from the library, with an inviting open fireplace to keep you warm. And at the end of the day you can retire to your cabin, with satellite TV to entertain you and a delightful river view right outside your window, allowing you to watch the world go by in complete comfort.

MV Virginia

If you’re looking for a quality cruise experience but on a more intimate scale, you must consider the MV Virginia. It’s a warm and inviting ship, perfect for the gentle waterways of Holland, the Rhine and Moselle, with many sights to see along the way. Once on board you’ll find a warm welcome and friendly, attentive crew on hand to help you and ensure an enjoyable river cruise experience.

You can enjoy life on board the MV Virginia at your own pace. The laid-back, leisurely atmosphere provides the perfect environment to relax, unwind and really enjoy your holiday. There are ample places on board for you to simply sit back, relax and watch the world go by.

The dining room offers a delightfully intimate atmosphere in which you can enjoy delicious meals at your leisure. Let the world gently drift past as you take in the breathtaking views afforded to you by the Rhine and Moselle rivers. Friendly, attentive staff will be on hand to take care of everything for you, leaving you to admire the ever-changing scenery in comfort and style. For a relaxing, intimate cruise amid wonderful natural scenery, the MV Virginia is hard to beat.

MV Esmeralda

The Danube is a beautiful river to cruise along, and what better way to appreciate this picturesque waterway than aboard the MV Esmeralda. Offering quality and modern accommodation for over 100 passengers, we’re
delighted to welcome you on board this elegant ship as we visit the Great Cities of the Danube. A firm favourite with Shearings customers.

While on board the Esmeralda you’ll enjoy fantastic views, a comfortable cabin and the very best of company. The service provided by the staff on the ship is second to none – nothing’s too much trouble for them, so you’ll be able to sit back, relax and make the most of your time away.

Just imagine it now… a pleasantly cool breeze gently blowing against your face, the air crisp and fresh as lush greenery, picturesque villages and dramatic mountain scenes pass you by as you gently meander along the Danube to reach its many and varied fascinating ports of call. We know the best places to take you and the best sights to show you – this is a holiday that’s all about awe-inspiring natural beauty, total comfort and relaxation on board your ship and, above all else, really enjoying yourself.

MS Michelangelo

Built in 2000 and refurbished in 2006, the MS Michelangelo, part of the CrosiEurope fleet, offers comfortable accommodation for 158 passengers. The interior has facilities including a lounge area, bar, dance floor, tasteful dining room, gift shop and a large spacious sun deck with swimming pool.

All 78 cabins are fully equipped with shower and toilet, hairdryer, satellite TV, radio, safe, central heating/air conditioning, 220V electricity and radiophone. There are 28 cabins located on the Upper Deck and 50 cabins on the Main Deck. Delicious food is served on board with an extensive buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner with a French inspiration. There is also a fine wine menu available on board.

MS Belle de Cadix

Built in 2005 the MS Belle de Cadix, part of the CrosiEurope fleet, provides luxurious modern accommodation and facilities for 178 passengers. Of the 89 cabins, 40 double cabins can be found on the Upper Deck, 27 on the Middle Deck and 22 on the Main Deck.

All are fully equipped with en suite facilities, shower, hairdryer, satellite TV, radio, safe, central heating/air conditioning, 220v electricity, radiophone and TV/video in the lounge. Delicious food served on board includes an extensive buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner of French inspiration. There is also a fine wine menu available on board. The impressive and modern on-board facilities include a lounge bar, dance floor, panorama bar, dining room, gift shop, lift, large sun deck, swimming pool and a marina at the rear of the vessel with direct access to the sea.

MS Fernao de Magalhaes

Built in 2003 the MS Fernao de Magalhaes, part of the CrosiEurope fleet, provides modern, superbly appointed accommodation and facilities for 142 passengers. Of the 71 cabins, 38 double cabins can be found on the Upper Deck, 18 on the Middle Deck and 15 on the Main Deck. All are fully equipped with en suite facilities, shower, hairdryer, satellite TV radio, safe, central heating/air conditioning, 220v electricity and radiophone.

Delicious food served on board includes an extensive buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner with French inspiration. There is also a fine wine menu available on board. On-board facilities include a lounge bar with dance floor, bar, dining room, gift shop, lift, panorama bar, a large sun deck with deckchairs and a swimming pool.

Lord of the Glens

Lord of the Glens has rich mahogany interiors, a teak-clad promenade and viewing decks that give the ship the ambience of a luxury yacht. On-board facilities include the elegant Robert Louis Stevenson restaurant with large windows offering fantastic views, the Sir Walter Scott lounge and the David Livingstone lounge bar, where you can relax with a refreshing drink.

The 27 luxury cabins are all outside facing, tastefully finished and equipped with en suite facilities and shower, individually controlled air-conditioning/heating, satellite television, music system, hairdryer, telephone and safe. This coastal ship features observation lounges and a library and is perfect for viewing the magnificent Scottish landscape as you sail.

MV Chernishevsky

Explore the delights of Russia’s wonderful waterways. Sailing from St Petersburg to Moscow, there’s so much to enjoy on board. With fascinating ports of call by day, evening entertainment and a comfortable cabin to retire to at night, it’s the perfect way to explore this proud, magnificent nation. All cabins are air-conditioned and some offer superb views of the Russian waterways.

Once on board enjoy a welcome cocktail reception, a delicious meal in the restaurant with a variety of tempting options to choose from, diverse entertainment including live music and dancing, Russian language lessons – with the chance to practice! Why not play board games with your new-found friends or send your loved ones a post card from the on-board post office.

MS Belle de l’Adriatique

Built in 2007, and boasting a stylish modern design, the MS Belle de l’Adriatique, part of the CrosiEurope fleet, is an impressive four-deck ship with 100 stylish and comfortable cabins. You’ll find it easy to enjoy yourself on board, with a wide array of superb facilities. All cabins offer great river views and come equipped with air conditioning, private shower, hairdryer, satellite TV, radio and safe.

Facilities on board include: lounge bar with a dance floor, gift shop, comfortable dining room, bar, library, spacious sundeck with Jacuzzis. Just perfect for your coastal river cruise experience.

Shearings Cruises – Stepping aboard the Athena

It’s so easy to relax on board of Swan ships

Sleek and stylish vessels

Swan Hellenic hand picked some of the world’s finest river cruise vessels. No matter which ship you cruise on and where you sail with us, you can be sure of stylish surroundings and impressive facilities. What’s more, four of Swan Hellenic’s ships have been exclusively chartered by Shearings – you won’t find these cruises with any other operator. Choose from the elegant four-star MPS Da Vinci, the beautifully designed MPS Rotterdam, the warm and friendly MV Virginia and the welcoming MV Esmeralda.

Da Vinci river cruise liner

Superb value for money

River cruising’s not only a relaxing way to travel – it also offers unbeatable value for money. All meals – including full breakfasts, refreshing lunches and tempting dinners – are included in the price. Terrific on-board entertainment is also included, and great value shore excursions are available at all ports of call. There’s certainly never a dull moment on a Shearings river cruise!

Enjoy a warm and friendly welcome

River cruise vessels are smaller and more intimate than ocean liners, which means you’ll find a convivial atmosphere where it’s so easy to get to know your fellow travelers. You’ll also quickly get to know the attentive staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble.

Admire the ever-changing views

A unique aspect of river cruising is the constantly-changing scenery. Take in gorgeous landscapes, beautiful countryside, quaint villages, bustling cities and famous landmarks from the comfort of your cabin or relaxing on the sun deck. You’ll be sure to have lots of photographs to share your fond memories with loved ones back home.

Tasty dishes served fresh every day

Food is a vital part of any cruise experiences – and Swan Hellenic’s river cruises are no exception. Your on-board chef will work hard to provide you with a mouth-watering array of culinary delights throughout your voyage. You’ll find a different menu every day, so you’ll always have something new to look forward to every dinnertime.

All ashore that’s going ashore

Whether visiting iconic landmarks, exploring captivating capital cities or strolling around colourful floral gardens, there’s so much to see on our shore excursions. Swan Hellenic’s team of experts has carefully planned each excursion programme to make sure you don’t miss a thing. To really make the most of your time ashore, you can prebook your shore excursions before you travel saving 10% on the on-board price. With everything from guided city tours with local experts, spectacular shows and the chance to sample the local wines, these excursions offer the ideal way to fully experience the cultures and traditions of your ports of call.

Greek & Turkish Odyssey Cruise

Rivers of Europe and beyond with Swan

Holland

Dutch Waterways See the famous windmills, colorful bulb fields and pretty villages of Holland’s beautiful waterways.
Ship to cruise on: MPS Rotterdam, MV Virginia

Germany

Europe river cruising with Swan

Rhine One of Europe’s longest and most impressive rivers, truly breathtaking scenery.
Ship to cruise on: MPS Rotterdam, MV Virginia, MPS Da Vinci

Moselle Winding through splendid scenery and historic towns, with stunning sights and fascinating ports of call.
Ship to cruise on: MPS Rotterdam, MV Virginia

Main Cruise through the heart of Germany and enjoy its traditional heritage.
Ship to cruise on: MPS Da Vinci

Spain, Portugal and Italy

Po Italy’s longest river, the Po has great historical importance.
Ship to cruise on: MS Michelangelo

Guadiana Relax as you take in the beautiful countryside along this serene, tranquil river, running along the Spain-Portugal border.
Ship to cruise on: MS Belle de Cadix

Douro Running through Portugal and Spain’s pretty villages, tranquil countryside and delightful vineyards.
Ship to cruise on: MS Fernao de Magalhaes

France

Seine Take in romantic sights along the Seine, France’s largest river, passing through Paris, Rouen and Honfl eur.
Ship to cruise on: MS Botticelli/MS Seine Princess/MS Renoir

Garonne & Dordogne Explore the delights of southwest France along two of its most beautiful waterways.
Ship to cruise on: MS Princesse d’Aquitaine

Scotland

Scottish Lochs Find out why so many return to the Scottish Highlands year after year as you take in its majestic beauty.
Ship to cruise on: Lord of the Glens

Russia

Volga, Svir & Neva Join us and visit some of Russia’s awe-inspiring sights, including St Petersburg, Moscow and the Kremlin.
Ship to cruise on: MV Chernishevsky

Central Europe

Danube The EU’s longest river, passing through ten countries and four capital cities.
Ship to cruise on: MPS Da Vinci, MV Esmeralda

Adriatic The Adriatic Sea offers stunning scenery along the rugged coastlines of Croatia and the Dalmatian Islands.
Ship to cruise on: MS Belle de l’Adriatique

Aegean Discover the ancient treasures of Greece and Turkey as you sail along the stunning Aegean Sea.
Ship to cruise on: MS Belle de l’Adriatique

And beyond…

Nile Enjoy a gentle, meandering cruise along the world’s longest river, seeing magnifi cent ancient wonders.
Ship to cruise on: Viking Princess

Yangtze Asia’s longest river, the Yangtze is home to amazing sights including the Three Gorges Dam.
Ship to cruise on: MV Century Star

Mekong Visit rural villages and modern cities, learning something of Indochinese history along the way.
Ship to cruise on: MS La Marguerite

Gardens of the Celtic Fringe

Cruising the Moselle and Rhine

Embark A-ROSA Brava in the dynamic city of Frankfurt on the Main, the fifth largest city in Germany and the largest financial centre in continental Europe. Depart in the early evening, watching as the dramatic skyline fades into the distance.

river Moselle near coachem

Spend the following morning on the river Moselle, arriving at Cochem at lunchtime. Cochem is a quintessential wine town, with a charming flower-decked promenade caressing the banks of the river. The old quarter is dominated by the late-Gothic imperial castle (a 19th century restoration) and is dotted with medieval squares and lovingly restored timber-framed houses. An afternoon and evening ashore will allow you to independently explore the cobbled streets with their decorative fountains or join an excursion to a local winery. The nearby chair lift carries you up above the wooded slopes to the Pinnerkreuz where you can enjoy views over the valley.

Enjoy a day cruising the charming and picturesque Moselle river, passing ruined medieval castles, steep sided vineyards and marvel as Brava negotiates several locks with just inches to spare.

Arrive late afternoon at the 700 year old town of Bernkastel-Kues, nestling on a wide horseshoe bend in the river in the centre of the middle Moselle. Situated on both banks of the river, beneath the imposing ruins of Landshut Castle, the old town invites you to stroll along its cobbled streets.

Further along the Moselle River, Brava moors at Mehring close to Trier a city which claims to be the oldest in Germany. Founded by the Romans in 16BC, by the end of the 3rd Century the city was one of the capitals of the Tetrarchy and known as the ‘second Rome’. With a full-day in Trier, enjoy a guided walking tour to discover some of the best-preserved Roman monuments in Northern Europe including the Porta Nigra – the huge fortified gate that formed the eastern border of the Roman Empire – the Imperial Baths and the Basilica of Constantine as well as the bustling Old Quarter.

The busy city of Koblenz is located at the confluence of the Moselle and the Rhine. Enjoy a guided walking tour around the old town, viewing the Romanesque Basilica of St Kastor and the 12th century churches of St Florin and Our Lady. Alternatively, visit the iconic 13th century Stolzenfels Castle, located south of the city on the Rhine, built to impose illegal ‘Rhine tolls’ and probably the best known of the Rhine castles.

Spend the morning in Bonn on the Rhine, the capital of Western Germany from 1949-1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990-1999. A walking tour of this riverside university city will introduce you to some of its highlights, including the imposing facade of the former Archbishop’s Palace (now housing the university), the impressive Romanesque Minster and the Beethoven Museum. Beethoven, Bonn’s
most famous son, was born in the small house which today houses a museum containing some very moving artifacts.

An afternoon walking tour in Cologne will introduce you to its famous high Gothic, aisled basilica, constructed over several centuries from 1248, and sometimes referred to as one of the architectural masterpieces of mankind. Cologne also boasts 12 historic Romanesque churches, adorned with countless sculptures, and paintings, which reveal the city’s importance during the Middle Ages. Another option is a visit to the Roman Germanic Museum, built around the 3rd century Dionysus Mosaic.

Between Koblenz and Rüdesheim the river is lined with medieval fortresses, castles and palaces on either side of the river bank. This area, known as the Middle Rhine Valley with its historic towns and vineyards, ‘graphically illustrates the long history of human involvement with a dramatic and varied natural landscape. It is intimately associated with history and legend and for centuries has exercised a powerful influence on writers, artists and composers (UNE SCO).’ Cruise through undoubtedly the most scenic section of the Rhine River known as the Rhine Gorge where we will see the rocky slate outcrop known as the Lorelei. Complete your cruise with a late afternoon independent visit to the wine town of Rüdesheim on the Rhine. Another option is to join a supplementary wine tasting at Schloss Johannisberg, associated with some 1,200 years of viticultural history.

A French Accent 2012 with Swan

Before You Go – General information about Swan river cruises

PASSPORTS AND VISAS

River cruise with Swan

All citizens require a full 10-year passport valid for at least six months after the date of travel for all countries to be visited and with spare pages. It is the responsibility of each passenger to check with the various embassies or consulates involved in their particular river cruise to ensure that they have the necessary documentation to enter all countries visited. Any passengers arriving at the departure port/airport/train terminal without a passport or correct documentation will be refused permission to board the boat/aircraft/train. Failure in this respect is not covered by insurance and no refund can be made. The purser on board deals with all immigration formalities.

HEALTH, VACCINATIONS AND MEDICAL INFORMATION

As health regulations are ever changing, we recommend you consult your G.P., or contact MASTA (Medical Advisory Service for Travellers Abroad) www.masta-travel-health.com at least 12 weeks before your intended departure to check the latest requirements of the countries you will be visiting. If you do not normally enjoy good health, you should consult your doctor regarding the advisability of taking a cruise and being away from the usual medical and hospital facilities. Your insurance company must be advised of any pre-existing condition at the time of booking and of any condition arising subsequently prior to departure, otherwise your insurance may be invalid.

CHILDREN

There are no recreational facilities for children aboard Swan river cruisers and reservations for those under the age of eleven are not advised.

PASSENGERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS

Swan Hellenic will always try to accommodate passengers with special needs. However, the following conditions apply:

Medical Situations: any disability or medical condition that requires special treatment or medical apparatus must be reported to the company’s Passenger Services Department in writing along with the first deposit, which is due at the time of booking. These include but are not limited to wheelchairs, oxygen therapy, dialysis, etc. Failure to disclose a medical situation at the time of booking may result in you being denied boarding at port of embarkation.

Health Care Companions: all passengers with special needs must be self-sufficient and must be accompanied by a passenger who will take full responsibility for any assistance needed during the cruise and in the event of an emergency.

Passengers with Limited Mobility: we should point out that Swan are not specialists in catering for the disabled. If you or any person traveling with you suffers from a disability, you must contact Swan’s office for advice before you make your booking. At all ports of call featured in this cruise program, passengers are required to walk up or down the gangway when embarking or disembarking the vessel. There are times when river cruisers are rafted up alongside each other; this might mean walking through one or more river cruisers to access your vessel. Please note: There is no lift on board any of A-ROSA’s river vessels; there are stairs (spiral staircases on Bella) between decks and steps up to the Sun Deck. We recommend that passengers with reduced mobility always choose the flight option to travel to and from the cruise.

Pregnancy: regulations vary from airline to airline, but some will refuse to carry women who will be 28 weeks pregnant on the date of return travel. If you are in any doubt, please check with the airline concerned and we would recommend that you also consult your doctor prior to travel.

Special Diets: Swan can usually make provisions for special diets provided that sufficient notice is given. A vegetarian choice is available on board and vegetarian meals are also available on flights. Please indicate any requests at time of booking. Swan will make every effort to satisfy your request, although this cannot be guaranteed.

Note: The company has the right to refuse or revoke passage to anyone who, in its judgement, is in a physical or mental condition unfit for travel, or who may require care beyond that which the vessel can provide. Under such circumstances, no refund, assistance or compensation will be payable.

SHORE EXCURSIONS

Shore excursions are included in your cruise fare in every port of call, where available. Please note that the company reserves the right to amend, cancel or substitute an included shore excursion and in these circumstances is under no obligation to make a refund. Additional excursions may be available at supplementary cost. All excursions can be pre-booked although it is also possible (subject to space) to book your tours on board. Shore excursion details will be sent to you approximately 8 weeks before departure. Please note that it is not possible to credit the non-use of an included shore excursion against the cost of a supplementary shore excursion.

ON BOARD CURRENCY AND PAYMENTS

On board all prices are in Euros. As there are no foreign exchange facilities on board, we would recommend that you purchase any currency requirements you expect to need before you travel. There is little opportunity to visit banks whilst on excursions. For purchases ashore, many shops accept most Travellers’ Cheques and major Credit Cards. A cashless system operates on board with passengers settling accounts at the end of the cruise. Visa, MasterCard and American Express credit cards, cash and Travellers’ Cheques are accepted for payment of onboard accounts. Maestro cards, debit cards and personal cheques are not accepted.

WHAT TO WEAR

As a general rule, for days on board and ashore, spring/autumn clothing/casual wear is the order of the day. It should be light, comfortable and easy to care for. A sweater and jacket for cooler evenings and a light raincoat are also advisable. On warmer days the weather will usually be suitable for sunbathing, so don’t forget your wrap, bathing suit, sunglasses, sunhat and sunscreen. For trips ashore and for walking on cobbled streets, comfortable, sturdy walking shoes are a must. You may also want to bring with you a camera, binoculars, umbrella and insect repellent.

In certain countries, shorts, short skirts, bare arms and shoulders will not be appreciated locally and you may be prohibited entry to certain sites. Advice will be given on board. Although dress code is relaxed during the day, gentlemen are requested to wear a jacket and tie in the evening.

SMOKING

Passengers are only permitted to smoke on the open decks. Smoking is not permitted on excursion coaches.

River Cruising with Swan Hellenic

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