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See the Sights of Europe, China or Egypt without getting on a bus!

Longing to do a tour of Europe? But the idea of an escorted tour via tour bus is a turnoff?

How about a river cruise?

River cruises are often compared to ocean cruises, but there's really no comparison. Ocean cruise ships are MUCH larger (anywhere from 1000 - 3500 passengers, vs. fewer than 200 on most river cruise ships).

Ocean cruise ships are built to provide tons of entertainment onboard, for those long days at sea. The result is that the ship becomes the destination, and many people don't even bother with the (expensive) shore trips when they dock along the shore!

On a river cruise, the cabins are comfy, boutique-hotel style rooms, but the daily excursions are the real highlight of the trip. You'll cruise right to the heart of Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, Moscow, or Cairo (unlike an ocean cruise that only skims the coastlines). You dock steps from the city, disembark, and start exploring! Daily excursions are included in the cost of the cruise so there are no extra fees for sightseeing, and you'll enjoy the scenery as you travel from city to city (instead of staring at the sea).

All in all, a river cruise brings you closer than an oceanliner to the culture you're visiting, but without the cramped bus seats and daily packing and unpacking of most tours.

Small-ship cruises are available throughout Europe, with a few in Russia, China, and Egypt. There are also a few small ship cruises in the US , including, of course, Alaska (you'll get much closer to the icebergs and wildlife on a small ship), the east coast, and the Pacific Northwest.

• Many cruise lines are offering discounts at this time of year, so check them out now! I recommend Avalon, Viking, or Uniworld for Europe, China, or Egypt. For US cruises, American Cruise Lines has the most to offer.

Next month, we'll talk about Airport Tips - how to get through the airport without driving yourself crazy!

Until next time - Happy Travels!

Great Women's Vacations in Woman's Day Magazine!!

Great Women's Vacations has been mentioned in an article in the May, 2011, issue of Woman's Day Magazine. The article, about planning a girlfriend getaway, has lots of tips on how to handle finances, responsibilities, etc - along with plenty of reasons you need to get away with "the girls"! We're mentioned at the end of the article, with other resources for planning your getaway.


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