River Cruise 101
Are You a First-time River Cruiser? 6 Things to Know Before Going on a River Cruise
River cruises are the hottest trend in travel, and travelers are turning to river cruises in record numbers, drawn by the opportunity to experience destinations in a unique and immersive way. If you are a first-time cruiser or you’ve only tried ocean cruises, there are some facts you should know before setting out on a river cruise.
- River cruise ships are small Ocean cruise lines feature ships that can carry thousands of passengers. River cruise ships are much smaller, typically only accommodating 200 passengers at most. This smaller size means certain amenities, such as spa services, may not be available, although some river cruise lines are using their smaller size to provide a luxury cruising experience. You should check out the specifics of your particular ship before booking your cruise.
- River cruises are affected by water levels If water levels are too high or too low, your ship could get stuck or delayed on a river cruise. This can be a particular concern on Europe river cruises, due to low hanging bridges and shallow drafts. For this reason, the best river cruises in Europe take place between early spring, after winter snowmelt has subsided, and late fall, before winter snows and frozen waters are a problem.
- With river cruise itineraries, the focus is on smaller towns River cruises take you to small towns and villages in the heart of your destination country. Instead of simply visiting the typical tourist offerings located close to ocean ports, river cruises are designed to provide unique itineraries that are very different from the typical travel fare. You can enjoy original, one of a kind experiences, such as North American river cruises that take you on a paddleboat journey down the Mississippi!
- You get to enjoy shoreline views every day On a river cruise, you travel inland on a small ship. That means that there are no inside cabins without windows, and every cabin enjoys a clear, unobstructed view of the shoreline every day. The view isn’t always picturesque, but since you’re always on the move, a new vista will be coming your way shortly. These extended shoreline vistas are one of the reasons Holland tulip tours are so popular – you are surrounded by a glorious explosion of springtime color for your entire cruise!
- Shore excursions are included in your river cruise fare Most river cruises use all-inclusive pricing, so you won’t have to pay extra to enjoy guided walking tours, bicycles for sightseeing (on some cruises), and certain shore excursions. Be sure to check before you book, though, as some cruises do charge separately, and many offer additional shore excursion options for a fee.
- You’ll spend a lot of time with your fellow passengers River cruises are intimate affairs, and you are going to spend most of your cruise mingling with your fellow travelers. Staterooms are small, meals are typically served at communal tables, and onboard entertainments are limited at best. That means you will spend much of your river cruise socializing with your fellow travelers.
If you think river cruising is for you, call CruiseExperts.com at 1.888.804.CRUISE (2784). Our travel experts can help you choose from hundreds of exciting river cruise itineraries and pricing incentives available! Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join our InnerCircle for exclusive offers and cruise news you can use! Also, check out our new Resource Center, where you can receive expert knowledge from us before your next cruise or cruisetour!