Upper Rhine 2   Beautiful AXQ –  Don’t be insulted but we came to this site confused and now we find ourselves wallowing in more great information than we ever thought we’d find online, and we are even more confused.  We’re in our mid-sixties, retired as of two weeks ago, and ready to see a bit of the world. We’ve only done two cruises on huge ships and didn’t particular like them. No, that’s not right. We hated them. The heavy pushing in the gift shops, the extra charges for edible food, and the “art” auctions  with the hard sell and the fine print did it for us.

So here we sit. Fans of your efforts. We are financially comfortable and we are willing to travel anywhere to have the best possible experience on a river boat. But – and it’s a big “but”, we’ve done one Insight tour to Ireland – and that’s it. So we feel as though the world is waiting for us but we just don’t know where we should begin. We want to see it all with, perhaps getting away for two trips a year, (four or five if Trump gets in) Since everything is included we thought we’d start with the riverboat and then go from there. So how do we begin?

A – We think the pace of a riverboat vacation and its introduction to some of Europe’s most successful nations makes sense as a starter trip. Many of the better travel consultants will talk to you for a while and try to formulate a five-year travel strategy based on the kinds of places that are or should be on your bucket list. Set up a relationship with a travel advisor in your town or someone who can counsel you over the phone.

The specific trip we would recommend for you is a sailing that will run north to south from Amsterdam to Budapest. This is a kind of “sampler” cruise and you will be sailing the Rhine, the Rhine-Danube Canal and then the Danube. We would look closely at both Crystal and Tauck for this itinerary.  Tauck is an upscale but not “over -the-top” first class  tour operator. It might be smart to sail with them and then, if you love them, you can move on to consider more than 100 quality tours they operate worldwide.

Yangtze River Cruise tourists from boat CIf you are not considering a trip to Europe, we would suggest you look at one of the better two-week programs in China. It will be fascinating as China is nothing like the stereotype we imagine. You should do China while you are young as it is always a rather busy itinerary.