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On a recent sailing onboard Tauck’s Inspire, I was impressed by how many biking excursions are included in the price of the river cruise. Mindful of the varied physical abilities of its guests, the line offers slower-paced tours as well. But there is no question that an increasing number of brands are offering more active opportunities onboard and ashore in addition to traditional “gentle walker” options.
As a professional cruise travel journalist, I’m mindful of balancing my consumption of fine dining with physical activity in between meals, and the result is that I lose more weight on trips than when at home. River cruising is inherently great for this goal as there are plenty more opportunities to walk for miles in a lively European city, conveniently located right off the dock, versus ocean cruising, whose ports are frequently located outside city centers.
In addition to Tauck, many lines are taking active immersion a step further. AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, CroisiEurope, Crystal River Cruises, Emerald Waterways, Scenic, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and U River Cruises also offer bicycles stored onboard for taking out on land. With the exception of CroisiEurope, all lines have onboard fitness centers.
European Waterways offers traditional bikes to guests, too, and the line recently announced that it will introduce e-bikes for 2020. The electric bicycle varieties will be available to rent on most French itineraries. The boosted cycles can be pre-ordered for $580 for the first bike and $290 for each additional one. Traditional bicycles and helmets will continue to be offered for free.
E-bikes can be rented from the following regional barges: La Belle Epoque, L’Art de Vivre and L’Impressionniste in Burgundy; Renaissance in the Upper Loire and Western Burgundy; Anjodi in the Canal du Midi; and Panache in Alsace.
In addition, European Waterways has enhanced its custom biking maps with more convenient route information, insight into historical background and popular points of interest. The maps are available in print or digitally for smartphone download.
For those who prefer strolling, Riviera River Cruises is debuting new Cruise, Walk & Discover excursions this fall, with more set for 2020. These guided active walks are escorted by local experts and traverse forests, meadows and vineyards; clients can also expect panoramic vistas, castles and ruins. Tours last about 2.5 hours and range in price from $39 to $59 per person.
For example, on a Medieval Germany departure, clients can climb the ruins of Wertheim Castle to see its dramatic tower. Views overlook the Main River and the Tauber River before guests descend a forested trail on the way back to Wertheim.
This is just a brief snapshot of new and upcoming active journeys, but advisors can expect even more soon as lines seek to attract younger cruisers.