River cruises are a fantastic way to travel. You unpack once, you get a taste of half a dozen ports, and you get to drink and dance and lounge on the top deck as you float past castles and charming villages. (It’s like those massive gay ocean cruises, but with none of the waiting in line for the bathroom or the lifeboats.)
But Brand g’s land tour vacations are quite a different experience. Sure, the guests are still extremely friendly. (Cruise Director Johnathon is frequently voted Most Popular, but that might be for other reasons.) Sure, you’ll still get to drink and lounge and have silly fun. But the physical components of the trip and the experience of the country or countries that you’re visiting is totally unique.
The trips we’re speaking of include destinations like Japan, Jordan, Ireland, Nepal & Bhutan, Africa and the Amazon/Machu Picchu (we’ll have additional destinations coming for 2023).
Our river cruise and masted sailing trips typically accommodate anywhere from 140-230 guests. On those, you’ll have the chance to meet a lot of people, but of course you won’t come away “knowing” everyone, even if you’re Johnathon entertaining in his cabin. (Kidding – we love to tease Johnathon, but he’s actually more like a Quaker.) On our land tour vacations, we keep the total guest count to around 40, for several reasons. One is that this allows our guests to really bond, in a way not possible on any other type of trip. Truly meaningful friendships are formed. We’ve even had some marriages. Just sayin’.
Another reason for this passenger count is that smaller groups allow us to create extraordinary experiences that would be impossible for a much larger group (see below).
And finally, when a river cruise is involved as a small part of the trip (as with our Amazon/Machu Picchu vacations, which include a 4-day Amazon river cruise), the ships often only accommodate around 40 guests.
While our river cruises and sailing trips are 7-9 days in length, our land tour vacations average 12 days. For those who work, this allows for travel time on each end, and you still only need to take two weeks off. Let’s face it, a lot of bosses have to be sedated if you ask for more than that.
But the longer length was especially designed to give you a deep, comprehensive look at a country. River cruises give you a taste of a country and help you decide where you’d like to return to to spend more time. (Saying you’ve “seen” a country when you hit one or two cities in that country on a cruise is a lot like saying you know Ryan Reynolds because you drink his gin.) Land tours allow you to come away feeling like you’ve totally DONE that country.
Think of it this way: if a river cruise is high def, a land tour is 4K.
Sure, on a land tour, there are more planes, trains and automobiles. But Brand g carefully crafts these so that you don’t wake up going, “Kill me I have to pack again.” We’ll often use a certain city as a base from which we can access a couple of nearby destinations, so you remain in the same hotel for several nights at a time. And even when you do have to pack up and move, we make it as seamless as possible, so you can just go have breakfast and we take care of everything else.
On a river cruise, you may only be in a city for part of a day, or overnight. On a land tour, you’ll have the time to see everything memorable in that destination. Taking our Japan tour? We’ll be in Tokyo for four days, in Kyoto for three, etc. So, you’ll have plenty of time to really consider that new calling as a geisha.
The types of experiences we can create for 40 guests are things we could never do with 200. Many unique or high-profile venues are too small to accommodate that many people, and the experience wouldn’t be as memorable even if they could. These land tour moments are all about exclusivity and uniqueness. Trust us, you’ll never find anything like these on Viator: an all-LGBT flight over Mt. Everest; a private dinner on the African savannah; a shaman ceremony in Peru; a high-end sushi-making experience in Tokyo; a luxury dinner on Queen Elizabeth’s former royal yacht; etc.
Yes, the cost is a little higher than a 7- or 9-day river cruise. Sometimes more than a little, depending on the destination, since all tour companies are bound by the cost of living in a specific country. But for that higher fare, you’re getting a longer vacation. You’re traversing that country by whatever means is fastest and most comfortable. You’re getting the chance to really get to know your fellow travelers. You’re getting a comprehensive look at that country. And you’re getting fabulous once-in-a-lifetime experiences as you go.
These are definitely bucket list trips. So, once you’ve done a few river cruises, check out our (if you’ll forgive our immodesty) spectacular land tours. You’ll be dining out on the stories from them so often, your friends will hate you.
Hey, everything has its price.