With inspiring ports of call, breathtaking scenery, and a relaxed ambience, it’s no surprise travelers everywhere are lining up to experience the pure joy of river cruising. Unlike traditional ocean cruises, with their larger than-life ships and more limited itineraries, river cruising provides a completely different experience and takes you places only a river cruise ship can go. River cruise ships are necessarily smaller than ocean cruise ships as they have to navigate the sometimes shallow and tricky flow of an inland waterway. Most river cruise ships generally accommodate between 100 and 200 people, although, some are even smaller. River ships truly afford you the opportunity to see more of the world, visiting intimate, ancient towns and villages that can never be reached by ocean going ships. Charming cities like Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest, Rouen, Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Prague, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Beijing, the Nile River, the Mekong River of Vietnam, and many more can only be reached by river cruise ship. Expert tour guides provide travelers with a background, context, and regional perspective on the many towns, cities, and ports of call visited. As well, river cruisers can enjoy plenty of deep cultural enrichment with demonstrations, workshops, and performances that supplement onshore explorations.


It seems that travelers have their eyes  set on Southern Europe this year. And why not! Steeped in more than 25 centuries of history, art, architecture, and culture, Southern Europe is a brilliant mosaic of sights and sounds – and every country here is certain to stimulate your senses. Here you can follow in the footsteps  of ancient civilizations, marvel at the precious ruins and relics of bygone eras.  Travelers are particularly drawn to Southern Europe’s warm Mediterranean climate that’s home to endless beaches and crystal blue waters.  So what countries exactly make up Southern Europe? That question has been debated for a long time given aspects such as geography and culture can often define the expansive region. Regardless, we’re quite fond of places like Greece, Italy, and Spain, and smaller destinations like Malta and Cyprus. Keep in mind that with so many countries, cities, and regions to choose from just within Southern Europe, deciding on where to travel can seem a daunting task. Remember that your local travel professional is your best resource to planning and booking your European adventure. They not only have access to the very best vacation values, but they’re available 24/7 should you need emergency assistance while exploring the world. 


With their vibrant personalities and one-of-a-kind offerings, boutique hotels provide an unparalleled ambience and heightened level of service not typically found in large hotels. Travelers particularly love the localized experience each exudes. And for those who shy away from cookiecutter décor and services, the boutique hotel experience is simply unmatched. Prefer to bring along your furry friends when traveling? No problem! An overwhelming number of boutique hotels are pet-friendly, often having fewer rules and restrictions than bigger, more conventional hotels when it comes to pets. In fact, your pooch will receive the same warm welcome and plenty of pet-friendly amenities to keep them (and you) happy during their stay. So, just how big or small are boutique hotels? While they can vary in size, many travel pros agree that boutique hotels should be no larger than 100 rooms. Boutique hotels can also include those hotels tucked within bigger hotels, where they include their own check-in, lobby, and public spaces that are entirely separate from the larger hotel in which they are located. Most importantly, boutique hotels strive to have an independent attitude and work hard to not feel like a corporate hotel, no matter if they are independently owned or a member of a luxury hotel brand.


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