Family-owned cruise company Jerry Van Dyke Travel Service Ltd is preparing to launch its popular range of European river cruises for 2017.
Operating journeys on its chartered two-deck yacht, the Da Vinci, the company has been sailing Europe’s rivers since its foundation in 1988. It’s this longevity that has driven family member Jeremy Van Dyke’s faith in its tried-and-trusted business model and approach to river cruising, one that he feels is a dying breed in the industry today.
“Increasingly, the cruise company owns everything in sight,” he commented. “That’s great for corporate, but the customer is not getting the real taste of things. When you travel, it’s all about the experience.” The family’s focus on delivering a genuine European experience is the main factor, Van Dyke argues, that sets it apart from competitors who opt for a less-immersive approach.
The company opts to work largely with local families and tour guides, seeking to deliver an experience that provides customers with the most authentic local experience possible. “Families that live in the area,” Van Dyke asserts, “live it, breathe it, and become an added value to the whole experience.”
The company’s 2017 river cruise itinerary commences at the beginning of April, with the Da Vinci setting sail down the waterways of the Netherlands and Belgium. Having realized the pitfalls of staging its cruises in Europe’s sweltering heat and fluctuating river levels in June and July, the company instead operates a carefully-scheduled program of cruises that does not include these hot, busy summer months. Instead, “we specifically choose what itineraries we do at each time of the year, so we can be on the right river at the right time,” Van Dyke said.
The company waits until the stifling European summer weather has passed before embarking on its most intensive period of river cruising; throughout August, the Da Vinci will sail through Bavaria, Austria and Budapest, before taking in Vienna and Amsterdam from the end of August to the beginning of September.
In September, the Da Vinci will cruise the scenic rivers from Amsterdam to Basel, and also takes in Weggis, Zermatt and the Furka Pass between the middle of September and early October. The reverse trip from Basel to Amsterdam then wraps up by Oct. 5.
The company offers a wide array of journeys, and anticipates the addition of two more – Scandinavia & Finland, and Nova Scotia & P.E.I. – in the summer of 2018. Yet its most prominent series undoubtedly remain the European river cruises that the company made its name – and stakes its reputation – on. Highlighting the unique and inimitable style of these cruises, Van Dyke encourages travel agents to get in touch to learn more about their distinct appeal and popularity.
The main focus for 2017? Unsurprisingly, Van Dyke’s reply is unhesitant. “That’s easy. It's the same since the day we started: that everybody that travels with us returns home satisfied. Not about bottom line, not about money – that’s only what’s most important for the accountants.”
Information on the company’s full range of 2017 journeys is available at www.jerryvandyke.com, or by calling 1-800-265-8174.