They slow the pace, emphasise the local, and produce unexpected pleasures from the magician's hat of cruising.
The anticipation is palpable as we tread the red carpet to board the Majestic Imperator.
When you think of Salzburg, you think of The Sound of Music - not Christopher Plummer carrying 'that bloody fat child up the mountain'.
From Broadway razzmatazz to risque burlesque, the quality and variety keep getting better.
It's so photogenic you could acquire some kind of camera over-use injury.
A flotilla of new small ships is about to set sail, many dedicated to small-ship cruising in interesting corners of our watery planet, as Brian Johnston reports.
These new Asia cruises present opportunities to kayak among dolphins, scuba-dive on pristine reefs and encounter remote communities.
This easy-going town is a popular day trip for anyone cruising on the Douro River or visiting by train from Porto.
Signing up for a cycling tour justifies another slice of strudel or Sachertorte, doesn't it?
The last thing you expect to see on a cruise along Australia's most remote - and arguably most beautiful - coastline is an art gallery.
A river cruise from St Petersburg to Moscow skims the surface of the world's biggest country
You aren't confined to eating on board while on a cruise, with many shore excursions providing the chance to plunder local produce and learn about local cuisines. Here are six top tours sure to whet the appetite.