10 Reasons to Take a Europe River Cruise
River cruising itineraries for 2014 are almost completely sold out, but you may still be wondering why river cruising is the in-vogue travel trend at the moment. If you are, read on!
River cruising is so popular, especially in Europe, that more than 2 dozen new ships will debut this year - with Viking Cruises adding 14 new ships to their fleet, and Avalon Waterways, Uniworld River Cruises, Tauck and Scenic Cruises also all adding new ships in Europe in 2014.
So, why should you join the trend? Why should you jet off to Europe and spend your time leisurely cruising its inland waterways? We have 10 excellent reasons to start with - and all of the others are just waiting for you to find out for yourself!
1. So many rivers to explore:
Cruises on the Danube and the Rhine are still the epicentre of the river cruising industry, but that's just the beginning of where you can go! Cruise the Main, the Moselle, the Rhone or Saone, the Seine, the Po, the Douro or even the Volga. Visit inland Bucket List places like Vienna, Budapest, Moscow and Amsterdam! There are so many rivers, and so many cities, you can see that you'll find that just one itinerary just isn't enough!
2. The experience is leisurely:
River cruises aren't about rushing, or always having something to do or some form of entertainment to see. Its about visiting key sites, as well as having the time to relax in between them. Sit under a canopy on the open deck, soak in a hot tub or pool, catch up on a book in the library, chat with new friends and old, and all the while catch the beautiful river views that include castles, farms and old-worldly cities.
3. The ships are intimate:
Forget about losing your way on a river ship or forgetting which deck your cabin is on. River cruise ships are limited in size because they have to fit through tight locks and under low bridges. Most carry around 100 to 200 people maximum, and this small-ship experience gives you the opportunity to get to know the other passengers. Public spaces are limited and the restaurant is usual open-seating, so there are plenty of opportunities for you to make new friends, as well as enjoy the peace and tranquility of the river without the crowds.
4. Time to explore:
Your small river ship will dock right in the heart of town, so you will have plenty of time to get into the centre of things - mix with the locals, visit a sidewalk cafe or market and visit key must-see attractions. There is plenty of time to hike or bike, absorb the local culture or take an organised tour, because you aren't docked an hour away from all of the main sights.
5. Improved cabins:
Previously, river cruise ship cabins where small and a tight-squeeze, but these days the cruise lines are coming up with improved ways of using their limited space, and creating cabins that are comfortable and contemporary. These days, most river cruise ship cabins have step-out balconies, French balconies or walls of glass that open up to let the river breeze in, hotel-like beds, comfortably-sized bathrooms and flat-screen TV's. You may even be able to book a suite with a separate living area and truly cruise your chosen rivers in style and comfort.
6. Nicer ships:
As well as making cabin improvements, the ships themselves are improving with each launch, and the newer ships are hip and contemporary. Cruise lines have gotten smarter with their use of space, and have worked on adding alternative dining venues, comfortable lounges with opulent furnishings, libraries to offer you a quiet spot to read, open decks to hang out in the sun or the shade, and extras like golf putting greens and herb gardens.
7. Local tastes and cultures:
Onboard your ship, you will have loads of opportunities to explore local tastes and culture - from snacking on local bratwurst and drinking a local beer as your cruise Germany's castles, sampling the wine from Bordeaux, or watching a local folk group perform for you. Your itinerary will be tailored to include food, drinks and entertainment from the regions you visit.
8. Not a lot of extra charges:
These days, most river cruise lines are moving towards offering all-inclusive fares, but check always check what is included as it differs from line to line. Some inclusions are shore excursions; wine and beer with dinner - or an open bar if you're lucky; soda, bottled water and speciality coffees; and free internet. It makes the cruise experience all the more convenient, as you don't have any extra costs to think about and keep track of.
9. Casual dress code:
Not a huge fan of formal night on your last ocean cruise? Haven't had time to get the tux dry-cleaned from its last outing? You don't have to worry about these on a river cruise. In general, the dress code is casual dress, with the exception of evening dinners, which tend to be country club casual/business casual - so just a little more dressy than casual. Plus, you still have the benefit of only having to unpack once!
10. Its for grown ups:
On a river cruise, you will rarely see any children. The main demographics are 55 plus, but travellers in their 40's are being attracted by the more contemporary ships. However, the casual pace and lack of children's facilities or entertainment means that kids are few and far between, so if you are after a child-free holiday, then this is definitely the one for you!
So, there you have it - our top 10 reasons for taking a river cruise, and more specifically, a river cruise in Europe. What are you waiting for? If 2014 is already almost sold out and its only January, then the 2015 itineraries are sure to be gone in a flash. For more details on an itinerary you may be interested in, call one of our Cruise Specialists on 1300 954 661 today!