Are European River Cruises Right for You? ✈
For the past five years, European river cruises have been the fastest growing segment of the travel experience industry. A river cruise shares many of the benefits of a conventional ocean cruise. Both allow you to wake up each morning in a new destination without packing or unpacking. You’ll travel between destinations effortlessly and in style, paying for your transportation, meals, and accommodations in advance for less than the individual components would cost.
River Cruises vs. Ocean Cruises
River cruises offer additional advantages that ocean cruises do not. River cruises are more intimate, and with fewer than 200 other guests, it’s easy to meet fellow passengers who may have similar interests. The public areas also are smaller, so you’ll never feel lost or overwhelmed.
Because they’re more casual, river cruises are ideal for people who don’t like to dress up for dinner. Comfortable travel clothes are the order of the day, and country-club casual is fine in the evening.
Being able to dock in town means you’ll never have to wait for a tender or catch a taxi or Uber to see the sights. You can come and go from the ship quickly and easily. You won’t waste any of your valuable vacation time, and there’s a nice balance between structured experiences, sightseeing and free time.
Staying in the heart of your destination also makes it easy to meet the locals. When you dock in a city overnight, you can even have dinner ashore or go back into town after dinner for a nightcap or a concert.
Everyone travels to see new things, but many travel to do new things as well. With the introduction of Avalon Waterways‘s new Active Discovery cruises on the Danube and Rhine, there is something for travellers with varying interests and for all fitness levels. You can now hike, bike, and explore your way through the scenic and historic wonders of the world – from action-packed experiences and interactive discoveries, to traditional sightseeing.
A Panorama of Sights Right Outside Your Stateroom
Unlike on an ocean cruise, you’re always close to the action with a passing panorama of sights right outside your stateroom. Because there are no inside cabins, you don’t have to pay more to enjoy the view. What’s more, there’s no worry about getting seasick, which is a big plus for those who are prone.
Best of all, fares for most river cruises include such amenities as wine with meals, shore excursions, and Internet access. On an ocean cruise, you are expected to pay for these “extras,” which can add up substantially.
River cruising is more flexible than many other travel options. You can be as independent or social, or as active or sedentary as you like.
With more than a hundred vessels to choose from, there’s probably one that’s just right for you. Before you sign on the dotted line, however, there are a few things to consider.
Depending on how you choose to travel, a river cruise can be more expensive than an ocean cruise – sometimes a lot more but when you calculate everything that’s included, river cruising can be an excellent value.
Because river cruise ships often have fewer than 100 staterooms, versus thousands on an ocean cruise ship, you’ll need to book well in advance. River cruises usually sell out quickly, particularly in the most and least expensive categories.
River Cruising isn’t for Everyone
Most travellers enjoy the experience, and in fact, many river cruisers keep coming back for more. But river cruising isn’t for everyone. You may be happier doing something else if:
• You are travelling with young children. Uniworld offers some multi-generational cruises during the summer and over the holidays, and AmaWaterways has partnered with Disney Adventures to offer family-friendly departures. Nonetheless, ocean cruises still do a better job of entertaining kids.
• You have difficulty walking or negotiating stairs or steps. River cruise ships are often less accessible than ocean-going vessels. Because dock space is at a premium, multiple boats are often tied together. This means you might have to walk across one or two other boats to go ashore.
• You don’t enjoy socializing. Although dining is usually open seating, there aren’t many tables for two, so you may end up dining with others much of the time. You can dine ashore if you wish, but that lessens the value of your cruise.
• You enjoy gambling, nightlife, and entertainment. If you love the activities that big cruise ships offer, or if you like dressing up and dancing every night, a river cruise may be too quiet in the evenings for you.
Explore the Heart of Europe
When you take everything into account, river cruising combines the convenience and comfort of an ocean cruise with the cultural immersion of a land tour, as well as the unstructured free time of independent travel. For those who want to explore the heart of Europe without packing and unpacking, hopping on and off tenders, or leaving port every night, a European river cruise is a terrific solution. ∎
Featured and hero photo sources for: Is A European River Cruise Right for You?: Shutterstock/Envato Elements by licence (hero), and iStock by licence. (Featured).
Thank you for visiting and reading our blog.
Total Advantage is a full service travel agency located in Toronto. We expertly manage and book your travel arrangements with the world’s top tour operators, airlines, hotels, railways and cruise lines. Our company’s commitment is to supply you with the highest level of personal service, expert advice, and the best travel values. Contact us for all your travel needs.