River cruises are not cheap, no one will dispute that, and when you are spending your hard earned money on travel - any travel - you should always seek the assistance of experts. Our affiliated agents are experienced, trained, and have sailed on thousands of rivers cruises themselves - they know the products they sell! Additionally, all have achieved the industry recognition, and designation, of Master Cruise Counselor - or higher! Plus, they are not influenced, employed, or dedicated to any particular river cruise line(s), so they will always guide you to the options that are truly best for YOU!
Our site will give you an idea of the variety of options available. On many pages, we link directly to the river cruise lines' websites so you can, if you wish to, research the itineraries each offers and their pricing. But, our job as Cruise Counselors is to give you information, guidance and the best values available anywhere! Our services are always provided without any obligation whatsoever!
Why is this important? The river cruise options are much different than the modern ocean cruise options which have multiple thousands of passengers on each ship, and are, ineffect, self contained :cities at sea". Contrast that with river boats which can range from 8 passengers (yes, pretty intimate) to 200-400+ (predominantly on the US rivers, Nile and Yangtze), with all Europen waterways cruises under 200 passenger. And, the level of service is so varied! While the ocean going cruise mass market is more of an a la carte menu of cruising, with river cruises, especially if you are paying top dollar and traveling on a Deluxe category ship, you should expect it to include shore excursions, drinks (at the minimum with meals), gratuities, local entertainment, and many other unique amenities such as lecturers (often well known writers, historians,subject matter experts, political figures, etc.), whisper headsets, bicycles for passenger use, private room attendants, and much much more!
You cannot book on our site. You will not dial in to a call center with commissioned salespeople (make no mistake - they are NOT professional travel agents, much less cruise specialists - they ARE salespeople) whose only desire is to process a transaction as quickly as possible. This is, unfortunately, the model at every large seller of cruises. Our service is different. You may call us retro, or old-fashioned - and you would be right! We are not simply transactional salespeople. We are a collective service provided by true cruise professionals, and overseen by a 40+ year travel professional, Peter Coloyan, Sr., who is known as "Mister Cruise".
When you submit a quote request form, you will be contacted by a cruise professional best suited to fulfill YOUR cruise needs - in this case the best river cruise professional - and they will be your Cruise Counselor from planning, through sailing, and upon your return! That is why we ask so many questions on our forms- it allows us to better understand your level of travel experience, your budget and your lifesyle, which allows us to better recommend the river cruise lines, ships, itineraries and theme cruises that will be sure to fulfill all your expectations and create great travel memories that last a lifetime!
Note on our requirement of travel insurance on all cruises:
A river cruise can be a significant investment of your time and money, and to best service you, our company insists that every customer takes out travel insurance to cover their cruise purchase. We have had this policy at Smart Traveler since 2002 - just after 9/11. This will add an additional 4-7% or so to your final cost, depending on your age(s), but in these uncertain times, it wll add an additional layer of security to assure that your vacation is truly protected from most any issue that could occur, before, or during, your cruise - giving you the ultimate level of peace of mind, and, therefore, enjoyment of your vacation! In many cases, the savings we find for our customers will pay for the travel insurance, and the insurance we offer is through a highly rated 3rd party - Travelex Insurance - and is the best value travel insurence in the industry. We never recommend getting travel insurance from the same travel supplier that your travel services are provided by - meaning they are self-insuring - because if they go out of business - who are you going to collect from? No one, unfortunately! (It has happened more often that you would think.)
So, you will ALWAYS get a quote from our Cruise Counselors that includes insurance. You will also always get the highest quality service, best possible price guaranteed, and, again, the ultimate level of peace of mind!
Our Counselors, and myself, are dedicated to providing nothing but 5 star service 100% of the time!
Thank you for considering our services!
"Mister Cruise" Peter Coloyan
Sr. President, Smart Traveler