RIVER CRUISING 101
Published April 3, 2018
RIVER CRUISING 101: WHAT TO EXPECT
River cruises are increasing in popularity as time progresses. River cruises offer a smaller ship, so a more intimate and destination specific experience. River cruises allow the ship to get to smaller ports to have a more enriched experience. European river cruises are the most popular, however, you can find river cruises in Asia, South America and the US and Canada.
You can expect daily discoveries, stopping at new ports almost daily. A scenic sailing experience, river cruises do not spend a full day sailing, however, there is plenty of time to take in the stretches along the beautiful rivers. Most river cruises offer an all-inclusive experience. Food, beverages and offshore excursions for travelers to enjoy. One-of-a-kind experiences are plentiful with access to narrow ports and shallow waterways. Travelers also get a chance to enjoy local cuisine and cultural experiences that may not be available on larger vessels. There are options to upgrade to luxury options on river cruises as well.
Size of the Ships: River cruise vessels are much smaller than ocean vessels as they are designed to fit in smaller ports and shallow waters. Particularly in Europe, the vessels have to be much smaller to fit in the locks and underneath the low bridges. River cruise vessels are usually much longer, than wide and don't normally have inside cabins, so you can expect a great view out your balcony.
Food onboard: All meals are included onboard. Lots of lines also offer complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner. And always unlimited coffee and tea. Some lines include an open bar along with gratuities included. Most lines also have open-seating so you can sit with whoever you like whenever you like. Breakfast, lunch an dinner is included every day and snacks can be enjoyed throughout the ship.
Entertainment: Due to the amazing passing scenery as the major attraction, entertainment on river cruises isn't as popular compared to ocean cruises. The river cruise experience is to view the passing by area and the picturesque views.
Cabins: Compared to an ocean cruise, the staterooms on a river cruise are a bit smaller, but don't skimp on the homey comforts such as hotel-style beds, high-quality toiletries, large TV's and entertainment systems, hair dryers and lots of storage space. Due to the size of some ships, there are no inside cabins, only cabins with balconies or verandas. Some lines also offer butler services in the suites.
Motion: Inland waterways are remotely calm and flat, so seasickness should never be a barrier when making a decision.
Challenges: River cruises have some downsides. They are not as easily accessible for wheelchair users or passengers that have mobility issues. Newer ships have elevators and adaptable cabins, however, please consult with your travel agent or professional about specific issues with accessibility.