Dash around the world: on a river boat

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By: Joel Dash Special to the Boca/Delray newspapers
The riverboat explosion is the fastest growing part of the travel industry.
My first experience of river boating was an overnight rafting trip down the Colorado River. From then on it has been a parade of rivers around the world. My next destination was a little more exotic, the Yangtze River in China, where I got a chance to cruise through the three gorges. Next on the agenda was the Nile River in Egypt, where I crushed from Aswan to Luxor with a fantastic Egyptologist, who was the best tour guide that I have had in the 109 countries that I have visited. The Rhine River connects by canal to the Danube River, which enables you to cruise from Lyon to Provence. Seine River trips take you to Normandy. Rhone River trips take you from Lyon to Provence.
The newest destination cruise is the Bordeaux region of France with the focus on wine as well as the area’s famous chateaux. You can also cruise on the canals on the more intimate barges. The Douro River from Portugal to Spain also features wine country. There is also a river boat on the Po River in Italy, and the Elbe River in Germany. You can cruise on the Volga River in Russia from St. Petersburg to Moscow.
In Asia, you have a choice of the Mekong River from Vietnam to Cambodia or the Mandalay River in Myanmar. AMA also has a luxury river boat on the Zambezi River in Africa. The newest river boat location is the Ganges River in India.
In the United States, there are trips on the Mississippi and Columbia rivers and the Intracoastal. I had the opportunity to smile on the inaugural cruise of the Pilgrim Belle from Ft. Myers through Lake Okeechobee to Stuart. The boat is now sailing in Alaska with Uncruise as the Legacy.
River boating is all inclusive, from all of your sightseeing to all your meals and beverages, wine and beer or with liquor, depending on the cruise line. They also include free WI-FI either in your cabin or ship-wide. Fleets are full of new amenities, more lavish accommodations, new theme sailings and even new routes. Now, you can bike on land or county castles from an on-board pool or on-deck restaurant.
A decade ago, if you were taking a European cruise, the question was an easy one for most Americans: Baltic or Mediterranean? In the last few years, many have discovered that they don’t have to settle for circumventing Europe, they can also cruise right through it. As a result, the number of ships sailing from Europe’s rivers has grown. There are fair major river boat companies worldwide: AMA Waterways, Avalon Cruises, Uniworld Cruises and Viking Cruises. In addition to those lines, Tauck Tours also has luxury river boats and Crystal Cruises just launched its first luxury river boat with four more to come.
Remember that river boats must pass through locks, so they all are comparable in size. Check out the size of the cabins, balconies, restaurants, on-board facilities, pools, exercise, bikes, etc. Theme cruises include Wine, Jewish Heritage, Christmas, Chocolate Connoisseurs, Art Appreciation, Tulip Time and others.
River board tens to book early offerings and early booking discounts.
For more information, contact Dash Travel at 561-498-8439 or visit at dashtravelandcruises.com or in person at 504 E. Atlantic Ave.