Pfalzgrafenstein Toll Station Castle with Burg Gutenfels Castle in the background on the Rhine River Gorge
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River Cruise Newsletter

July-September 2015

Savor life...make memories...visit Dream Destinations!

Your journey begins here!

Anne & Hank Schrader, owners of Dream Destinations, are certified travel professionals who specialize in European River Cruises & European cruises and vacations for discriminating travelers. 
We believe travel should be value-based not price driven.  Let us explain to you in person what this means and how it could be the difference between a good trip and one that makes memories for a lifetime.

 We want to be your trusted travel advisors—please contact us so we can help you have a better vacation!
Call Hank at 713-397-0188
or contact by using the links below :

3 River Cruise Boats ported in Nuremberg, Germany.
20 years in Business--Special Pricing Extended--Come join Anne & Hank on a 2015 Christmas River Cruise or a 2016 Provence River Cruise!

As of December 2015, we will have been in business for 20 years.  This would not have been possible without the support of our many friends whose confidence in us has resulted in world-wide bookings and many referrals.  While there are numerous companies fortunate to have been in business longer than us, few have enjoyed the continued relationships with many of their original clients as we have.  Dream Destinations started as an idea of a “retirement business”—something to do after Anne & I retired from the workforce.  It grew into something much more thanks to your support!  Our business is historic in the fact that we were among the first travel agencies to be entirely home-based.  We are proud to say we were ahead of the curve, as many store-front agencies have closed shop.

Without your trust and confidence in us, we would not have made this “DREAM” possible.  Anne & I, co-owners of Dream Destinations, would like to sayTHANK YOU and invite you to join us on a special river cruise from 14-21 December 2015.
We will be sailing on the AMAPrima from Nuremberg, Germany to Budapest, Hungary.  This is a special cruise for 3 reasons—1) our celebration of 20 years, 2) a special beer cruise and 3) the Christmas Markets which are the best way to kick off the Christmas season—if you have never been in Europe during Advent, you will not believe how awesome Europe is during this magical season!  All the details are on our website in the "SPECIALS" page. It will also tell you about our sailings on the Danube and  the Rhine in 2015 and our newest 2016 cruise on the Rhone in Provence--we are leading them all!

The best way to see extravagantly decorated European cities, snow-capped villages glittering along historic riverbanks, and renowned Christmas Markets is on a luxurious AMAWaterways river cruise with Anne & Hank on their celebration of 20 years serving our loyal friends who have used us to help them travel worldwide. If you join us, you will enjoy heart-warming holiday scenery, shop for loved ones back home at enchanting Christmas Markets, and even celebrate the season on board with...festively decorated ships…a tree trimming party…local holiday traditions…carolers and more!

As you would expect, there is special pricing for this celebration.  If you book an outside balcony cabin in category (BB to SS) there is a
$1500 per person discount if your booking is made by 31 July 2015.

Our 2016 Provence River Cruise

Our April 8-15, 2016 Provence Cruise is a special winemakers cruise featuring Steven Kent of Steven Kent Winery.  We will be sailing on the Rhone Rivers in France from Arles to Lyon. We are sailing on the AMADagio and if you love wine and great food, this is the cruise for you!   There is special pricing for this cruise--a $750.00 per person savings.

This cruise is through the legendary wine growing regions of Beaujolais and Cotes du Rhone.  Along with these great wines, you will see ancient Roman ruins, stroll through medieval villages and shop for Provencal crafts.  There are two other highlights--the walled city of Avignon, home to the Pope for several centuries, and Arles where Vincent Van Gogh spent much of his life and home to an awesome Roman Amphitheater.

We have been on both the Upper Danube and Rhone Rivers on two different river cruises for each river.  There is so much to see and experience and it is hassle free--great food & wine and excellent cabins.
Both cruises are special--a good value and trips you will never forget!

Call Hank now 713-397-0188 (cell) or by e-mail and come join the fun—please reserve your spot today!
Some cabin friends in our cabin on an AMAWaterways Danube Cruise.

Frequently Asked European River Cruise Questions
Q.  Why Should I take a river cruise?
A.  A river cruise is, in our opinion, the best way to experience Europe--there is just so much to see!  The ships are small, friendly and comfortable.  Most river cruise lines have good food and wine.  Unlike ocean cruises, there is a clear upfront price that includes most of the expenses of the trip--food, wine & beer, excursions, accommodations, snacks, destination talks, free Wi-Fi, and usually local entertainment.  There are no inside cabins--all have a view.  With all that is included, it is a good value for the money!

Q.  What is the size of a rivership?
A.  There are basically 2 sizes of river cruise ships. River cruise ships have some limitations in width & height.  To fit under bridges, they generally have only 3 decks.  All are usually 38 feet wide.  The big difference is their length.  The two types are:  Longships which are 443 feet (135 m) & 360 feet ships, known as 110 m Class Ships.  The width and length restriction are due to the fact that river boats are limited in size to insure they will fit into the various locks on European rivers.  How the limited space is used on the vessel is an important factor in your choice of which company to use.

Q.  Why is river boat ship length important? 
A.  One of the real subtle differences in river cruising is what the cruise line has on board their ships.  For accommodations, this includes # of passenger cabins, what is in the cabin & views from the cabin.  Unlike Ocean Cruising, there are no inside cabins, but there is a significant difference in window size & balconies.  On board facilities & equipment is another factor that should be considered.

Q.  What is the dress code?
A.  River cruising is casual.  No formal wear is required.  For the dinner meal, most men wear slacks and a nice shirt.  Some men will wear a sports coat--maybe a tie for the Captain's dinner, but it is not required or even expected.  Maybe the best way to define the dress code is casual elegant for dinner and comfortable day time wear during the day.

Q.  What are meals like?
A.  Breakfast and lunch are often include a self-service buffet and an option to order off a set menu.  There is a full-service dinner with complete waiter service.  The better river cruise lines include beer & wine for lunch and dinner.  Some cruise lines have better food than others--according to the Berlitz River Cruising in Europe guide book, AMAWaterways has the best food.  It is also our choice for the best food.

 Q.  Which European River should I cruise on?
A.  I would sail on all of them.  Since most want to know what are the best starting rivers, by far the two most popular rivers are the Rhine and the Upper Danube.  The 820 mile Rhine actually passes through 6 countries, but most folks consider it a German River since so much of its banks are on German soil.  The middle Rhine and especially the Rhine River Gorge, have the greatest concentration of scenic banks and castles in all Europe.  It never gets old!  The Upper Danube is the other great route--typically from Nuremberg or Passau to Budapest.  You will get to visit 4 countries, 2 or 3 capital cities (Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest), castles, Abbeys, wine-sloped terraces and even quaint villages--it is a great voyage.  Wine lovers should consider the Rhone or Garonne in France or the Douro (Portugal).  The lower Danube is the gateway to Eastern Europe.  Lesser known routes include the Elbe (Germany) and the Po (Italy).

Q.  I really do not like guided tours--will I dislike a river cruise?
A.  You do not have to go on any tours--stay on the boat if you like.  Also, as long as you make it back to the boat before it leaves, explore on your own.  Anne & I often break off to visit other places in a port, especially if we have seen the place before.  Also several companies have different groups--fast walkers, slow walkers, bike riders or optional tours (sometimes extra fee).  We use the cruise ship and the bus rides as an easy way to get to the sights and then participate or break off on our own.  If we can walk to the port, which happens a lot on a river cruise, we usually go off on our own--most lines provide maps of the ports.

Q.  What is the best European river cruise company?
A.  They all are good, but there are some big differences between companies.  Most folks have heard of Viking since they advertise heavily and have 50% of all the river cruise vessels on Europe's rivers.  The other lines may not be as well known but offer great vacations.  The best way to determine which cruise line is best for your taste is to compare them on 7 factors.  Here are 7 factors to consider when comparing river cruise companies:  They are:  1) Quality of the vessels, 2) Accommodations, 3) Cuisine, 4) Service, 5) Shore Excursions; 6) Extras (what is included or not included in the price), and 7) Cost—are you getting the value for your money?  Then match the features that are most important to you to get the right match.

Q. How can I honestly compare rivership companies?
A.  On our website under the CRUISES Tab, if you scroll down to RIVER CRUISES and you will find a way to compare 5 river cruise lines..  The last item on this page is a great comparison of 5 river cruise lines.  Here is the link , 

Savor life . . .make memories . . .visit Dream Destinations!
Your journey begins here!

Anne & Hank Provence River Cruise Wine Tasting

We are very confident we can help you get the right river cruise for you!  Here is why:
  • Experience-- We have been in business for 19 years.  In the last 3 years, we have planned 20 river cruises for 40 people.  We have developed very good working relationships with most river cruise vendors to insure we deliver the right trip for our clients.  Hank has been traveling to Europe for 44 years.
  • Certification—Anne is a Certified Travel Counselor (CTC);  an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC); a Destination Specialist Western Europe & a Uniworld & Scenic River Cruise Specialist.  Hank is an Accredited Cruise Counselor (ACC) and a Destination Specialist Western Europe.  Hank is an AMAWaterways, Scenic and Viking River Cruise Specialst.
  • Knowledge of the Industry— We are true river cruise experts.  On our web site, under the river cruise tab, there are two fantastic PDF PowerPoint slideshows that will help you really learn what Europe River Cruising is all about.  They are: Europe River Cruising and Comparisons of the 5 Major Europe River Cruise Companies that market in the US (this is a cutting-edge comparison).
  • First Hand Knowledge—We have been on 8 week-long Europe River Cruises since 2009.  We have sailed almost all the Rhine River & its tributaries, most of the Danube River and the Rhone, Saone and Seine Rivers in France.  We can provide amazing information on pre & post trips, since we have written 48 European Cities Destination Guides.   We have personally visited 41 of the 48 Cities—most with several days visits.  Our Guides provide a quick, portable summary of best sights & things to do, transportation trips & possible day trips.
  • WE are members of 2 Professional Organizations-- They are  CLIA—the Cruise Lines International Association—the world’s largest cruise line association and OSSN-the Outside Sales Support Network—a great professional organization.
  • Trust—We are honest, hard-working with one goal—to serve you—we will do what is best for you, not us.  We help you avoid hassles & get the best value for your dollar--saves you time & money and we will help you protect your travel investment.
6 really good reasons to use us!
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Dream Destinations 11911Fountain Brook Drive Pearland TX 77584

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