Civilization started along the world’s riverways and, today, river cruising is a most civilized way to travel the world, prized for its leisurely pace, bucolic views, and authentic experiences.
With nearly as many river cruising options as there are rivers, it’s smart to enlist the help of an expert travel agent to match you with the experience that’s right for you. To get you started, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your river cruise.
Know the Benefits of River Cruising
River cruising invites you to slow down and enjoy the journey along with each destination. In addition, river cruising offers travel benefits like:
- Ease. As with conventional ocean cruising, you’ll unpack only once, and yet you’ll get to enjoy an in-depth look at a variety of destinations. Some river cruises also include shore excursions that introduce you to places and people well beyond the riverfront cities, towns, and villages, giving you a well-rounded feel for the area;
- Proximity. Wherever you dock, you’ll typically find yourself mere steps from all the action and—because river cruise ships typically carry less than 200 passengers—you won’t feel like you’re traveling with the masses every time your ship disembarks;
- History. Once upon a time, rivers were the “roads” and some of the oldest cities, towns, and villages grew up along the rivers—today, river cruising is a convenient and rather romantic way to access this history; and
- Cost-Savings. The cost for a typical river cruise includes all shore excursions and meals, and some also include limited alcoholic beverages, so you don’t encounter unexpected expenses during your trip.
Know What to Expect When River Cruising
To maneuver comfortably along winding, sometimes-narrow rivers, river cruise ships tend to have tight quarters. But, even on the smallest river cruise ships, there are usually cabin categories with ample breathing room. If you’re budget-minded and opt for a standard cabin, it’s important to note that common areas are often roomy, especially the rooftop deck—a spacious spot to relax, socialize, and take in the impressive and ever-changing views.
Know Where to Enjoy River Cruising
Europe, with its many scenic and diverse rivers, has set the standard for river cruising—but Europe is by no means the only place to enjoy river cruising. The Yangtze in China, the Nile in Egypt, and the Amazon which flows through several countries in South America are also exceptional areas to explore and enjoy with a river cruise. Close-to-home river cruises along the Mississippi River and Snake Rivers are also available in the United States.
Know Your River Cruising Options
A few of our favorite river cruise lines include:
- Avalon Waterways—this line has a fleet of new and very contemporary ships sailing the rivers of Europe, Asia and South America
- Viking River Cruises—with its new Viking Long Ships, this is now the largest river cruise line, and offers cruises in Europe, China, and Egypt;
- Uniworld Boutique River Cruises—this upscale line, with its luxurious interiors, consistently wins “world’s best” accolades for gourmet food and wine; and
- AmaWaterways—this upscale line has unique land and cruise combinations, and offers cruises in Europe, Africa, and Vietnam/Cambodia.
Know When (and How!) to Book Your River Cruise
The key is early booking. Unlike conventional ocean cruising, where you’ll sometimes find a great last-minute deal, river cruises sell out months before departure. To get the best discounts, and to benefit from the greatest variety and choices, book up to a year in advance. With literally dozens of ships and itineraries —let us sort out the options, and then match you with your best river cruise company and itinerary. And, because we’re current on all promotions, we can make sure you get the best value. Bon voyage!