European River Cruises
The allure of being on a vessel where you are among only 150 other river cruise passengers, also adds to the enjoyment of taking your vacation on a European river cruise. This is a big change if you are one who has taken ocean cruises where the passenger count on a mega-ship can be as high as 2500 passengers.
With a much lower passenger count, the attention to detail and the quality service you can expect on a river cruise can easily surpass what is experienced on an ocean cruise.
Learn more about the 6 major European rivers that most of the river cruise lines sail on below.
Mosel/Moselle River Wine Region
Mosel is one of 13 German wine regions (Weinbaugebiete) for quality wines (Qualitätswein, formerly QbA and Prädikatswein), and takes its name from the Mosel River (French: Moselle. Luxembourgish: Musel.). Before 1 August 2007 the region was called Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, but changed to a name that was considered more consumer-friendly. The wine region is Germany’s third largest in terms of production but some consider it the leading region in terms of international prestige. The region covers the valleys of the rivers Mosel, Saar, and Ruwer from near the mouth of the Mosel at Koblenz and upstream to the vicinity of Trier in the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The area is known for the steep slopes of the region’s vineyards overlooking the river. At 65° degrees incline, the steepest recorded vineyard in the world is the Calmont vineyard located on the Mosel and belonging to the village of Bremm, and therefore referred to as Bremmer Calmont. The Mosel is mainly famous for its wines made from the Riesling grape, but Elbling and Müller-Thurgau also contribute to the production, among others. In the past two decades red wine production, especially from the Spätburgunder (Pinot noir), has increased in the Mosel and throughout the German vignoble and has become of increasing interest to the international wine community. Because of the northerly location of the Mosel, the Riesling wines are often light, tending to lower alcohol, crisp and high in acidity, and often exhibit “flowery” rather than or in addition to “fruity” aromas. Its most common vineyard soil is derived in the main from various kinds of slate deposits, which tend to give the wines a transparent, mineralic aspect, that often exhibit great depth of flavor. In the current era of climate change much work has been done to improve and gain acceptance for completely dry (“Trocken”) Rieslings in this region, so that most of the more famous makers have found acceptance for such wines, particularlly in Europe.
-Learn more about the Mosel courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Rhine River/Rhinegau Wine Region
Rheingau is one of 13 designated German wine regions (Weinbaugebiete) producing quality wines (QbA and Prädikatswein). It was named after the traditional region of Rheingau (meaning “Rhine district”), the wine region is situated in the state of Hesse, where it constitutes part of the Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis administrative district. Although, making up only 3 percent of the total German vineyard area, Rheingau has been the source of many historically important innovations in German wine making, and contains many wine producers of international reputation, such as Schloss Johannisberg. Rheingau, with 3,125 hectares (7,720 acres) of vineyards in 2008, also boasts a higher proportion of Riesling (78.8%) than any other German wine-growing region, with Spätburgunder (Pinot noir) making up most of the rest (12.2%), followed by Müller-Thurgau (1.6%).
-Learn more about the Rhone courtesy of Wikipedia.org
The Seine (/seɪn/ SAYN; French: La Seine, pronounced: [la sɛːn]) is a 777-kilometre-long (483 mi) river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Source-Seine, 30 kilometres (19 mi) northwest of Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre (and Honfleur on the left bank). It is navigable by ocean-going vessels as far as Rouen, 120 kilometres (75 mi) from the sea. Over 60 percent of its length, as far as Burgundy, is negotiable by commercial riverboats, and nearly its whole length is available for recreational boating; excursion boats offer sightseeing tours of the Rive Droite and Rive Gauche within the city of Paris.
There are 37 bridges within Paris and dozens more spanning the river outside the city. Examples in Paris include the Pont Alexandre III and Pont Neuf, the latter of which dates back to 1607. Outside the city, examples include the Pont de Normandie, one of the longest cable-stayed bridges in the world, which links Le Havre to Honfleur.
-Learn more about the Seine courtesy of Wikipedia.org
The Danube (/ˈdænjuːb/ DAN-ewb, known by various names in other languages) is Europe’s second-longest river, after the Volga River, and also the longest river in the European Union region. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.
The Danube was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, and today flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for 2,860 km (1,780 mi), passing through or touching the border of Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before emptying into the Black Sea. Its drainage basin extends into nine more countries.
-Learn more about the Danube courtesy of Wikipedia.org
The Rhône (/ˈroʊn/; French: Le Rhône [ʁon]; German: Rhone [ˈroːnə]; Walliser German: Rotten [ˈrotən]; Italian: Rodano [ˈrɔːdano]; Arpitan: Rôno [ˈʁono]; Occitan: Ròse [ˈrɔze]) is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in the Rhône Glacier in the Swiss Alps at the far eastern end of the Swiss canton of Valais, passing through Lake Geneva and running through southeastern France. At Arles, near its mouth on the Mediterranean Sea, the river divides into two branches, known as the Great Rhône (French: Le Grand Rhône) and the Little Rhône (Le Petit Rhône). The resulting delta constitutes the Camargue region.
-Learn more about the Rhone courtesy of Wikipedia.org
Douro is a Portuguese wine region centered on the Douro River in the Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro region. It is sometimes referred to as the Alto Douro (upper Douro), as it is located some distance upstream from Porto, sheltered by mountain ranges from coastal influence. The region has Portugal’s highest wine classification as a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC). While the region is associated primarily with Port wine production, the Douro produces just as much table wine (non-fortified wines) as it does fortified wine. The non-fortified wines are typically referred to as “Douro wines”.
The style of wines produced in the Douro range from light, Bordeaux style claret to rich Burgundian style wines aged in new oak.
-Learn more about the Douro courtesy of Wikipedia.org
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