Best value in river cruising (Budget Travel's pick for 2009)

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— Courtesy Avalon Waterways
Sailing on the Rhone River in Lyon, France

There's a reason river-cruise bookings have spiked by more than 20 percent each year since 2001: Unlike on mega ships, you typically won't find surprise fees tacked onto your bill when you sail on these small vessels. Riding this wave of popularity, Avalon Waterways is adding four ships—Affinity, Creativity, Luminary, and Felicity—to its European fleet. On May 9, the Affinity starts its maiden voyage in Holland. avalonwaterways.com, six-day trips from $1,699.

—Geraldine Campbell, from the May 2009 issue of Budget Travel

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