Abercrombie Connections takes cruisers on intimate journeys in the cities it visits.
By Chris Owen
European river cruising continues to be a hot travel trend, experiencing unprecedented growth year over year. River cruise lines are building new ships at a frantic pace, trying to keep up with demand for their destination-focused experience.
Viking River Cruises, for example, hopes to double its fleet to more than 100 Viking Longships by 2017. What were once tiny boutique river cruise lines are seeing similar growth. And even ocean cruise line Celebrity Cruises now offers combination ocean-and-river cruise packages. It seems that everyone wants a piece of the action, and luxury land tour operator Abercrombie & Kent (A&K), which taps its worldwide resources and rich adventure-travel background to offer a unique river-cruise product, is no exception.
The A&K Way
Abercrombie Connections is the company’s program that aims to go beyond what other lines offer. Discovering the world with A&K means included pre- and post-cruise hotels in 4+ star properties, traveling with an A&K “angel” (who ensures an experience not offered elsewhere), and exclusive events throughout the sailing that connect travelers with local, everyday people in an up-close and personal way.
I recently sailed from Nuremberg to Amsterdam aboard Luftner Cruises’ Amadeus Brilliant as part of an A&K group of just 13 travelers. Flying into Munich, the pre-cruise night was spent at historic Hotel Torbräu, which is steps away from the renowned Marienplatz, Munich’s central square, as well as a number of other attractions. It’s hard not to be impressed when you walk into the lobby of a hotel to find the tour operator has already checked you in and is waiting with your hotel room key and a packet of information about the upcoming experience. We were off to a good start.
Up early the next day and ready to begin our adventure, we quickly discovered the value of having an A&K angel along …
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Photo: Abercrombie & Kent