I am three weeks away from my first river cruise since the pandemic began, and to say I'm excited is definitely an understatement. Since discovering this amazing way to see Europe a few years ago, river cruising has become my favorite way to vacation. If you haven't tried cruising on the rivers yet, I want to highlight some reasons you may want to put it on your bucket list.
Here are just some of the reasons to love river cruises:
River cruise ships are floating boutique hotels where you unpack once. It’s your mode of transportation and a place to keep your baggage rolled into one. Like hotels, the quality of the ship’s interior and inclusions varies by price point.
The average number of passengers is just over 100 people for many river cruise lines and some ships are even smaller. This factor is a big distinguisher from ocean cruises. The small passenger size encourages socializing with your fellow shipmates and the crew which makes for an enhanced social experience.
Seasickness is never a concern because the water is calm and you're never far from the shore.
The destinations/ports are the main focus of the experience. You dock right in city/town centers and you can easily walk off the ship right into the center of everything. The ship will offer a range of excursions and activities (often included), and some extra-special, hidden gem experiences.
Local food and beverages are brought on board when docked and the menus reflect the local cuisine. Chefs can be seen shopping at the local markets.
There’s typically a high guest-to-staff ratio which means that the service on board is top notch. The better river cruise lines have very low turnover with their staff, so it gives the experience a family feel.
Many river cruises offer an all or almost-all inclusive experience. Unlike ocean cruising, you won't have to spend a lot of extra money while onboard.
Finally, let me say that not all river cruise lines are the same. Some of the lines that are less well known (because they don't advertise), are actually the best and provide the most unique features. Like everything else, matching you to the best experience is key. But the bottom line is that river cruising is a relatively seamless, relaxing way to travel for a wide range of ages.