It took me a while to embrace “river cruising.” How about you?
I went to my annual travel workshop and once again, I couldn’t deny the appeal of river cruising. I was glued to my chair and feverishly taking notes and pics on my cell phone.
I kept thinking…I’ve got to go on one of those!
And unless you have had your head buried in the sand for the past couple of years, you are probably aware that Ocean Cruising, with its belly-flop contests and buckets of beer, is slowly giving way to a more “civil” mode of travel. Many of the voyages are “themed”, for special interests such as “wine immersion”, “beer tasting cruise” etc.
Here are several reasons why so many travelers are switching to River cruising…and very few of them will ever go back to the oceans!
1. The boats are smaller and more intimate (120-170 passengers) so you can actually have the small, intimate setting and not feel overwhelmed with hundreds of people on the same space. You may eat with whom you choose every evening and have a choice of a few on-board dining venues for variety.
2. It is as close to hassle-free as you can get. There are no lines to get on or off the boat and, when you arrive at your next stop, you can usually walk right off and be immersed in your destination. Europe grew up along its rivers, so there are some very charming and interesting small towns and big cities to explore. Very few ports require bus transfers, which makes it easy to come and go at your leisure.
3. The trip can be totally all-inclusive, depending on the cruise line and ship you have chosen. For example, a 7-day cruise can even includes shore excursions in every port, airport transfers, Wi-Fi and all gratuities. You won’t even have to tip your Butler.
4. Being on the river, there are no waves, so seasickness is not an issue. Most cruises include transferring through a series of “locks” to accommodate the changes in elevation, which most people find super interesting to watch. You can literally touch the walls of the locks from your balcony as you pass through! Evening entertainment can be a little sparse, but there is always live music in the lounge. There are also lots of movies and entertainment on your in-cabin TVs and most cruise lines bring on local entertainers in some ports, such as an OomPah band in Passau Germany or Gypsy dancers in Budapest. Plus, there are informative talks on the ports-of-call and cocktails with your newly-made friends from around the world.
The price tag of a River Cruise can cause a little bit of “sticker shock”, but when you figure out everything you are getting for the cost, it is quite a good value. Give your honeymoon the inclusivity of river cruises, private car and driver to visit the special places or maybe a musical serenade just for you.
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