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Patti Fowler

Encino, California Travel Agent

River Cruise Travel Agent

On a river cruise, you see the changing landscapes as you sail along. Then, when your ship docks, you step off and find yourself right in the center of town. It is a great way to experience the world, so it is not surprising that once someone tries river cruising, they want to do it again and again.  

The European waterways were once its main highways, moving goods and people, so many of Europe’s main cities line up along the riverfronts. For example, in Budapest, the Parliament and many other gorgeous buildings are right on the river.  

My first river cruise was a Crystal Cruise from that visited Budapest, Prague, and Vienna, and I have been a fan ever since. All cruises are easy in that you pack once and never think about it until you are ready to go home and the food is always lovely. But unlike on the bigger, ocean-going ships, on a river cruise, you are never fighting lines or waiting for hundreds of people to get on and off the ship in each port. The entertainment is also more low-key. The focus is more on the destination and the people you are with than the onboard activities. Each evening, you will hear an informative talk about the next day and then perhaps have a nightcap.  

One of my favorite itineraries is cruising from Paris to Normandy. You will have the chance to visit Monet’s Garden in Arles, which feels like you are stepping into one of his paintings. Much more sobering is the visit to the battlegrounds and monuments of Normandy. The guides paint a very realistic picture of what D-day was like and it is heart-wrenching.  

There are many choices when it comes to river cruising. River cruises are becoming increasingly available on waterways from the United States and Asia to Africa. I have sailed on and studied many of the ships, so I can help you pick the line and itinerary you will most enjoy. I also can help you select the cabin location that best suits your needs—whether it is near the 24-hour coffee machine, on the same floor as the dining room or near the spa or gym. Plus, once I know your special needs, I can ensure that your cabin complies with your needs. For example, some people cannot have down feather pillows in their rooms, or foods with certain ingredients.  

Additionally, I can help you decide which excursions will be best for you, let you know how much walking will be involved in particular outings, and alert the ship to any dietary requirements or preferences. As a Protravel agent and Virtuoso member, I have direct access to key people at the cruise lines so I can ensure that you get the VIP treatment. This might mean an upgraded cabin, spa credits, and other value-added extras, as well as advantageous pricing. 

And as with all the trips I plan, if you have any special requests, weather-related delays to deal with or other needs at any time along your trip, I am there to help.  

I hope you will think of me when you are ready to take your next river cruise.

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