River AmbassadorThe popularity of river cruises continues to rise. And why not? It's perhaps the most relaxing way to see Europe. As you slide down the Danube, Elbe, Main, Mosel, Rhine, or Seine, you'll have many fewer fellow passengers than you did on the airplane that brought you to Europe. We think the best cruise boats are operated by Uniworld (last year the Today show deemed it the world's "best river cruise line") and have convinced them to again extend a discount exclusive to our readers.

Thus, we are able to offer a $400 per couple cruise-only ($900 for cruise plus air) discount on The Treasures of Prague, the Rhine and Main (25 of you loved this cruise in 2011) and on Gems of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands with Floriade.

Customers who contact regarding rental cars in Geneva, Basel, Zürich or St. Gallen, Switzerland, are advised that prices in nearby cities of other countries are much, much less expensive. Switzerland's car rental rates are among the highest in Europe and, depending on the city, a five-minute walk, a 45-minute ferry crossing, a 15-minute taxi ride, or a 90-minute train trip can save hundreds of dollars.

The "no-brainer" is the Geneva Airport where an intermediate car for one week on the Swiss side of the airport with tax is $444, including airport fee. But walk through the airport to the French side and the price is $298 plus the airport fee of €39. In Basel, the tab for an intermediate sedan is also $444 but just across the Rhine in Lörrach, Germany, it's just $253. The numbers are the same for St. Gallen and Zürich where the best rate for an intermediate car is $503. From St. Gallen, cross the Bodensee on a ferry to Lindau or Friedrichshafen, however, and get the same car for $253. The closest alternative to Zürich is Singen, Germany, about 90 minutes by train. The same intermediate vehicle that costs $444 at the Zürich airport is $253 in Singen. Oddly enough, this year there seems to be little difference in the price of cars picked up Swiss airports vs. downtown locations. Get a quote.

Starting July 1, if you want to drive a car in France you'll have to have not just one, but two breathalyzers in the car to test the level of alcohol in the blood. If you rent the car in France the rental company will provide the necessary devices, but if you rent in another country you're on your own.Breathalyzers

The idea is that drivers should be able to self-test to determine if they are fit to drive. Two breathalyzers are needed because if the first is used the driver still must have an unused one in the car when stopped by the cops.

The legal limit in France is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood, lower than most places in U.S. (80 mg). It has been reported that the devices will be available for sale at entry points into France. If caught without a breathalyzer the fine is about $17. The penalty for driving with a blood-alcohol level exceeding 80 mg is about $5,000 plus possible imprisonment.

We will say more about this when we know more.

Read more about blood alcohol limits in the U.S., France and other countries.

European rental car rates predicted to rise tomorrow, March 1. Best one-week deals today: 7-passenger van in Germany, $468; fullsize Mercedes C-Class, or similar, with GPS and automatic, $311; compact, 4-door VW Golf or similar, $188. These prices all include 19% VAT. In France, a Golf with automatic is $244 and a 7-passenger van is $435. All these prices are way down from a year ago. To book before the end of the month call can always cancel.