Ralph Grizzle's Ultimate River Cruising Handbook: A Review

Avid Travel Media

It is a rare book that explains, advises a relatively new multi-billion dollar industry, one that has many dimensions, with news that changes daily. But Ralph Grizzle’s new book, The Ultimate River Cruising Handbook takes this subject and defines it in both personal and professional ways. It also has helpful price comparison guides, that help with consumer cruise choices for 2018-2019 

Viking River Cruises

The river cruise industry has only been in existence since the mid-1990’s, and it is now a billion dollar industry, with multiple companies offering a dazzling array of cruises at different pricing, many with different amenities. It takes someone who knows cruising – has been there, done that multiple times, and is always abreast of industry change to write a comprehensive book like this. 

Mr. Grizzle is that person, an ultimate river cruiser. He is well-known in the field, as his two popular websites,, and, have been read by millions and have helped many decided on which river cruise to take. Recently, in this book, he has written about his impressions of ocean and barge cruises as well. 



Photo AmaWaterways AmaPrima sailing the Danube near Passau, Germany.

This book, all 274 pages, transcends many travel books in the field whose subjects include river cruising, but are not the only subject.  This book is about river cruising only, and the Ultimate River Cruising Handbook has a very consumer-centric tone.  And for one reason: Grizzle himself has traveled on the vessels he writes about and gives the reader advice about the advantages and challenges of the river cruise field, and impressions of the voyages taken and the destinations visited.    

He also discusses personal experiences – one particular one is how he missed a sailing because his plane was late. Missing the boat in one destination, knowing how and where to take a train in order to board it in another is a great story, helpful to anyone who has had this happen, or might have it happen in the future. He also discusses insider ways to save on booking flights and cruises. 

The book manages to combine personal experience, with the history of river cruising, and the history of the multiple cruise lines extant today, plus discussions about the destinations offered by the most of the river cruise and barge cruise lines today. 

Bill Maloney

Photo Crosi Madeline, Barging on a French Canal.

The idea of barge cruising is still not that well-known to many in the United States, but Grizzle has been on many, and makes an excellent point about barge vessels allowing a greater flexibility in smaller canals in Europe, allowing the visitors greater access to unique destinations not usually visited by larger cruise vessels. He also discusses some of the unique amenities that larger cruise lines offer, making Viking River, AmaWaterways, Scenic, Emerald Waterways, Tauck, Uniworld, and others so seductive to many. 

However, what is arguably the most helpful part of this book is the appendix, as it deals with pricing and attributes of major river cruise companies, years 2018-2019. First is the section, dealing with attributes of the top river cruise companies, which is a chart and explanation of various company features, i.e. what some river cruise companies have, what some don’t. Second is the section on pricing chart explanations, and price comparisons for the areas most visited on river cruises. There is a price comparison chart for river cruise companies who cruise the Bordeaux, the Lower Danube, the Danube, the Douro, the Rhine, the Rhine/Main/Danube, the Seine, and finally Rhone river(s).  

The Ultimate River Cruising Handbook is an entertaining and educational compendium of advice, stats, pricing guidelines.  Just about all information that potential cruise travelers need in order to understand the changing currents, the nuances and news of the dynamic river cruise industry. 

Pricing for this book varies as to format:

$49.95 color edition in print and may be purchased on Amazon, and Grizzle’s website,   

$24.95 for the black and white print version

$14.95 for the digital version



Emerald Waterways

Emerald Sky On the rhine

Avid Travel Media

Ralph Grizzle, Author, in Portugal Vineyard, on the Douro.

Susan Kime

Susan Kime's career combines publishing, journalism and editing. She was the Destination Club/Fractional Update Editor for Elite Traveler, and senior club news correspondent for The Robb Report's Vacation Homes. Her work has been published in Stratos, Luxury Living, European CEO, The London Telegraph, Caviar Affair, ARDA Developments, and Luxist/AOL. She was the Editor-in-Chief of Travel Conno...(Read More)

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