Sail on the Seine River in Paris as you glide past the Eiffel Tower. Or maybe down the Amazon river while taking in the incredible rainforests around you from the comfort of your luxurious balcony stateroom. River cruising has become extremely popular in the last 10 years and has exploded as a major player in the travel industry. It’s become so popular that all of the major river cruise lines in the industry continue to invest and build more ships just to keep up with the demand! Take a look at my top ten reasons to take a river cruise and see what all the fuss is about:
Love the idea of getting to see lots of cities and villages in Europe over the course of a week or two? What you may not love is the fact that you’d have to unpack, pack up again, check out of your hotel, taxi/fly/train your way to a new one only to have to unpack and repeat the process every couple of days. On a river cruise, you’ll only have to unpack once and not have to think about touching that suitcase until several days later.
Think you won’t like cruising due to motion sickness and bumpy waves? Think again! River cruising would definitely be a wonderful first cruise experience for you. Sailing on a river is literally much smoother sailing than on a traditional ocean cruise due to the design of the river cruise ships and the calm river currents. No need for motion sickness bands or pills here.
There’s so much to see and do on large cruise ships that people sometimes feel that if they don’t experience everything, they’ll get FOMO or Fear Of Missing Out. Not the case with river cruising - it’s all about immersing yourself in the experience and the destinations you’ll visit. Once you’re onboard, you’ll get the chance to meet some great people along the way and truly relax the entire time you’re there. They also offer nightly entertainment along with activities like karaoke, fun games and local cultural events to participate in with your new friends!
Complimentary Wine & Beer
During lunch and dinner, almost all the major river cruise lines will give you the option to order wine or beer with your meal. Their wait staff is educated to recommend a great vino to pair with your entree and they'll happily fill your glass when it’s running low. Some cruise lines will even offer a complimentary happy hour on select days to get you out of your room and to mingle with other travelers. More exclusive cruise lines include selections of wine, beer, spirits & cocktails throughout the day in their pricing! Did someone say Cheers?!
Included Shore Excursions
Not sure which excursion to pick? Not to worry. One complimentary shore excursion at each port you’re visiting is included with most river cruise lines. They make it easy for you to just hop on one of their buses and visit the city while being guided by a knowledgeable local guide. Keep in mind some lines will require you book your included excursion spot before you go and others will have more in-depth excursions available to upgrade to as well. You’ll get some free time while you're out, but this really takes the guessing game out of the equation and allows you to simply enjoy the top sights while you take those insta-worthy pics!
Most river cruise lines have a stellar relationship with the top airlines to be able to offer either highly discounted or even FREE airfare for a lot of their itineraries. These lines bring so much business to the them that the airlines are actually willing to work with river cruise lines and discount the airfare. To earn your business, the river cruise companies pass those savings on to you. With the additional savings you'll get, you may want to consider using it to arrive a day earlier which is always a good idea. Or you may want to stay a day or two after the cruise to explore, maximize your fun and give you more bang for your buck!
Most cruise lines will allow you to secure your spot for as little as $100 per person. Not bad considering some of these itineraries sell out very quickly - like a year in advance quickly. Some deposits can be nonrefundable so keep that in mind when booking and be sure to ask me about cancellation policies and travel insurance.
Float Past The Sights
You’ll calmly sail past cities, towns, villages and even castles while you’re on a European river cruise! Bring a pair of binoculars if the cruise line you choose doesn’t provide them to be able to scope everything out. You never really know what you’re going to see out there so be sure to grab a table by the large windows during lunch or dinner. Or perhaps you can go out on your balcony, have your camera ready to shoot or just sit back and take it all in!
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner are all included in your sail price and most river cruise lines source their food locally to keep everything tasty and fresh. Beverages like tea and sodas are also included along with wine & beer during lunch and dinner. Breakfast is usually done in a buffet style so be sure to eat up before going on your excursions! You’ll need to eat lunch in town if you’re doing a full day of sightseeing and dinner is always going to be onboard. Some lines offer specialty dining or Chef’s Tables that require reservations months in advance so be sure to ask me about that.
Adults-Only & Family-Friendly Options
Most river cruise lines have a strict policy to only allow kids onboard that are over a certain age in order to attract an adult-friendly crowd. However, there’s a couple of river cruise lines that do cater to families with small children so if that’s something you’re looking for we can help with that, too!
River cruising really is a unique way to see some pretty incredible parts of our vast world. Destinations where river cruises are currently available include regions in Europe, Asia, Egypt, Africa, India, and South America. It’s also a more all-inclusive way to travel which takes a lot of the hassle out of it for you. There are several lines to consider and it’s my job to help you figure out which one will give you the experience you’re looking for. Have questions about river cruising? Or maybe you’ve been on a river cruise before - I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!