Philadelphia-based Gate 1 Travel was founded in 1981 as a tour operator, but only hit the river cruising market in 2016 with the building of their own ship Monarch Empress. Their goal is to allow guests to see “More of the World for Less” by offering affordable vacations to fit almost any budget. Along with their own river vessels, Gate 1 Travel also charters additional river cruise ships to provide even more destination options around the world.
How Many Passengers: From 138 to 146 passengers
Personality: Elegant and modern, with bright, light spaces and tasteful splashes of color throughout. Crew members are warm and cheerful, and there is a good mix of ages represented in the group of passengers onboard.
Fellow Passengers: Most guests come from North America and Australia, though you’ll find other English-speaking nationalities onboard, too. Many passengers are seniors, but you’ll find younger couples and groups of friends as well.
Cabins: Range from 140 to 260 square feet. All cabins are outside-facing and most feature French balconies. Each ship also has a small number of suites.
Dining: There is one main restaurant on the Gate 1 Travel ships. It’s set up more like a restaurant on land than a big dining room on a cruise ship, which means tables will be more intimate. Lunch is a generous buffet, and dinner is a four-course sit down meal. There is often only one soup and appetizer for everyone, and then a small selection of entrées to choose from.
Amenities: The river ships are equipped with a bar-lounge, sundeck (most with a jacuzzi), fitness center, wifi, an in-house musician, and a 24/7 beverage station. One of the ships also offers a putting green.
Best For: English-speaking guests, those looking for a more affordable river cruising experience, and couples both young and old.
Included Alcohol: Wine and beer with dinner
Where They Go: Danube, Rhine & Main, Yangtze, and Irrawaddy Rivers, along with the Russian Waterways and Holland & Belgium.