(Image courtesy of Uniworld®)
10 Reasons to Love River Cruising
Fun No Matter What Your Age!
Have you been on a river cruise yet? Do you think it is just the choice of older, retired pensioners on vacation? If you have never been on a river cruise, or haven’t been in a few years, you may be surprised to find it is a vacation choice for all types of people – the history buffs, the culinary and wine connoisseurs, the experiencers – and folks of all ages too.
Here are ten reasons to consider a river cruise for your next vacation, no matter what your age.
• River cruising is a bargain. Wine, beer, and bottled drinks are complimentary – sometimes for all three meals. (Mimosas at breakfast anyone?) And another big saving is that at least one or two excursions a day are included in your fare. Some lines also have free internet. Book on a themed cruise and you may have guest lecturers, wine or beer tastings, classical or jazz concerts, and visits to breweries, vineyards, and specialized museums at no extra charge. River cruising is truly all-inclusive.
• The ships are small and intimate. No crowds of people anywhere on the ship so no long line-ups, even at embarkation. Because river ships must fit through locks on most itineraries, they are long and narrow. The only way they can expand is in their length – too high and they might not fit under a bridge, too wide and they wouldn’t fit through a lock. Most only have a couple of decks, and there may be as few as fifty cabins. It’s a fantastic way to meet people if you are so inclined – or travelling alone – as there are so few guests on board.
• Meals are gourmet quality and exceptional. Remember, the kitchen is serving far less people than a cruise ship or even a resort. Like to cook? Theme cruises may have cooking lessons with the chef – or even shopping in the local food markets pre-dinner preparation. And with free drinks you can fill your wine glass up before retiring to the lounge to take in the evening’s scheduled entertainment – local singers, dancers or musicians.
• Staterooms are just as compactly designed and comfortable as those found on an ocean cruise liner, but the corridor distance to your room is shorter – a huge plus! You can leave your room and be at your dining room seat in under two minutes. Depending on the ship, you can choose a stateroom with a window, a French balcony (think patio doors with balcony railing), or a small balcony – some river cruise lines have both the latter types available in the same room. Avalon Waterways® boasts you can lie in bed on their ships and enjoy the passing scenery.
• River cruises have a view – always – and not just of surrounding expanses of water. Whether from your room’s balcony, the windows in the public rooms, or out in the open on the top deck for a 360 view, you can watch the surrounding countryside, small towns, villages, and cities pass by. Depending on the river, there may also be other ships or small boat traffic to see as well.
• You are where the action is. Because the ship sails a river, it docks in the heart of towns and cities, and you can often walk where you want to go, exploring on your own instead of an excursion, or timing your strolls in the intervals between excursions or other activities. Skip dinner to eat in a local restaurant on shore, shop, or take in some city nightlife.
• River cruising can be a very active, engaging vacation – or not – it is your choice. Bicycled down a country road in Europe lately? Been on safari in southeastern Africa? Sat down for a meal with locals? Explored a vineyard and tasted the wine produced there? There’s excitement around every corner, every day of your cruise. You don’t have to participate in all the activities on offer if you don’t wish to, you can just sit back and enjoy the ambiance and the views. But if you want to be engaged every minute, you can be on the go with guided bicycle tours, walking tours of nearby sights, or making the most of interactions with locals. Most lines ensure that walking tours are offered at various levels of physical activity, so no one feels hampered by slower walkers, or conversely, feels they are rushed and out-of-breath.
• Age appropriate activities are important. “Age is just a number” is a popular phrase but there are limits to this. Uniworld® offers “U by Uniworld” which caters select sailings to active, young people – the millennials – with activities to match their lifestyle. If you are a family with younger children, it helps to have activities geared for that age interest too. Most lines have special cruise dates on which children have age appropriate menus, lessons made for fun and learning, and excursions to stretch their mind, if not their muscles too. These are the perfect river cruise opportunities for multi-generational travel.
• Lastly, river cruising is fun. It’s a no-worries time when you can leave all the logistics to the cruise line experts,especially the best to see and do on every stop of your chosen itinerary. And with river cruises in Europe, Russia, Egypt, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, southeastern Africa, the Amazon in South America, and in the United States, you can visit the heart of countries or continents rather than skirt ocean coastlines. Be a true explorer of this world.
Your experienced and knowledgeable travel professional, Ole, at Concierge Travel Services can help you with the choice of river cruise line and itinerary which best suits you.
Feature image courtesy of Scenic® .
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