For the first time AMAWATERWAYS is offering a new series of escorted European rail-cruise holidays in partnership with York-based Great Rail Journeys.

AMAWATERWAYS says the five itineraries take the stress out of flying, combining the excitement and romance of First Class rail travel from St Pancras International with the leisurely pace of a river cruise.

Itineraries include: Rhine Cruise – Nine days cruising the Rhine on Amalyra or Amalegro, passing through the beautiful scenery of the Black Forest, the Neckar Valley and the Rhine Gorge. Ports of call or excursions include Breisach, Strasbourg, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Rudesheim, Koblenz, Cologne and Amsterdam.The journey starts at St Pancras International, with Eurostar to Brussels and First Class rail through Luxembourg to Basel, returning from Amsterdam. From £1,735 per person, with departures from April to October.

Europe’s Heartland Cruise – Nine days’ travelling including a river cruise on Amadolce or Amacello from Cologne to Trier, via Nuremberg, Bamburg, Wurzburg, Miltenberg, Mainz, Rudesheim, Cochem and Bernkastel. Rail from St Pancras International to Cologne and from Trier is included. From £1,895 per person with departures from May to October.

Danube Cruise – 10 days from Nuremberg to Budapest on Amacello, Amalegro or Amadagio, calling at Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Vienna and Budapest. First Class rail is included all the way from St Pancras International to Nuremberg and from Budapest back to the UK.From £2,195 per person with departures from May to October.

Waterways of the Tsars – 16-day rail-cruise including the Jan Kiepura sleeper train to Warsaw and then the overnight Ost-West Express to Moscow, flying back to the UK from St Petersburg after a scenic 12-night cruise on MS Tolstoy across the Russian countryside, with several days in both Moscow and St Petersburg. From £2,975 per person, departures in July and August.

Rhône & Provence Cruise – Eight days in beautiful Provence, with Eurostar and TGV travel to Arles and from Lyon. The cruise, on Swiss Pearl, takes in Avignon, Viviers, the stunning Ardeche valley and Vienne. From £1,949 with departures in September.

Each AMAWATERWAYS cruise includes all meals on board (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner), unlimited wine with dinner, a daily sightseeing programme, on board folklore and musical performances, bicycles for use in port and free internet access. First Class rail travel is included wherever possible, as well as four- or five-star hotels en route and with a professional Tour Manager.

Steve Williams, managing director of Fred. Olsen Travel, AMAWATERWAYS’ representative in the UK, says: “These exciting rail-cruises are the perfect way to travel for anybody who prefers a slower pace of life, which is what river cruising is all about. The fact that they are fully escorted makes them ideal for single travellers, those who are less confident travelling independently or, of course, anybody who prefers not to fly.

“On all these itineraries, the rail element of the journey is an enjoyable part of the holiday, rather than merely a means of getting there. And what’s best, of course, is that there is no need to budget for any shore excursions, drinks with dinner, transfers or meals. With AMAWATERWAYS and Great Rail Journeys, it’s all included.”

Julian Appleyard, commercial manager for Great Rail Journeys echoes this sentiment: “We have seen a rapid expansion in our ‘cruising by rail’ concept and have refined our product over the previous two years. We know that our customers like the comfort of First Class rail travel across Europe, and once ‘in resort’ four- and five-star hotels are expected. We are therefore delighted to partner with AMAWATERWAYS, a company that matches our own high standards of service and customer care”.

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