Unlike any other travel experience, river cruises are as much about the journey as they are the destination. In one luxurious, all-inclusive vacation, you can hit all the stops on your wish list as you gently cruise along the scenic waterways of Europe, Asia, Egypt and beyond.
Imagine sipping champagne in your stateroom as you sail along the Yangtze River to explore the wonders of China, or lounging by the pool with a view of the Eiffel Tower after a bike ride through Paris. There are so many different trips available to choose from, each with several amazing stops along the way.
River cruise vacations offer the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure, allowing you to experience the thrill of international travel without the stress of having to plan all of the excursions and trekking around yourself.
Here are 8 reasons why river cruises are awesome:
1. Convenience. Unpack once and allow the best sights and cities in the world to come to you. After stopping and exploring at each destination, you can settle into your room and just relax. Many rooms have balconies or large panoramic sliding doors, so you can enjoy the scenery from one location to the next right from the comfort of your temporary home.
2. It’s first-class. From five-star amenities to fine dining, excellent service and luxury are provided throughout your trip without feeling too stuff. Casual dress is the standard. Heated pools, hot tubs, health clubs and spas are available for your enjoyment, and all the staff members speak English.
3. Comfort. Vessels rarely accommodate more than 200 people at a time, treating you to an exclusive and intimate travel experience that is unlike any other. Compared to an ocean cruise, river cruises are much more low-key and never feel crowded, so don’t expect any loud clubs or casinos, just pure relaxation. Plus, cruising on a river is always smooth and breezy, so you never have to worry about seasickness
4. You can choose a theme that suits you. River cruises have gained in popularity significantly over the past few years. And as they continue to grow and meet customer needs, cruise lines have come out with themed cruises, like springtime river cruises through the Netherlands or European family river cruises that cater to travelers of all ages. Uniworld, for example, offers various gourmet-themed cruises and European holiday market cruises.
5. All-inclusive value. Don’t be scared by the high price of river cruises because one price usually covers the trip. Meals, drinks, live entertainment, gratuities and even airfare and air arrangements are typically incorporated into your vacation rate. Most sightseeing tours and excursions are also included. Be sure to research various river cruise lines to find out if rates are all-inclusive and what they cover.
6. Excursions are easy. River cruises dock right in the heart of the most remarkable cities, only a stroll way from the top sights. Daily excursions are planned at each destination with experienced guides that lead the way to cultural and historical landmarks and hidden gems. If you prefer to travel at your own pace, you can do that too. Most river cruise lines also give guests a selection of off-boat adventures to choose from, rather than limiting you to just one. AmaWaterways even offers complimentary bicycles. Picture yourself pedaling your way through a quiet village in France or past the canals in Amsterdam.
7. Culture. Traveling abroad is about more than just seeing the sights; it’s about experiencing different cultures or perhaps even feeling like a local for the day. River cruises tailor their off-boat itineraries to give guests the most authentic sense of culture possible. A Rhine River cruise may offer a guided tour in Cologne, Germany, where you will visit and learn about the famous Cologne Cathedral in the historic Old Town, but afterwards there will be time to explore on your own, during which the cruise’s guides will be happy to point you in the direction of a quaint café to stop and simply absorb the atmosphere. Entertainment and food served on the vessel may also feature a local flair.
8. The Experience of a lifetime. Learn what it feels like to wake up in a new city almost every day. River cruises make it easy to go to the places you’ve always dreamed of (and maybe discover some new ones) all in one unforgettable trip.
Have you ever been on a river cruise vacation? What was your favorite part about it? Tell us in the comments.