From the Blue Danube to the Yangtze, rivers have long captured the imagination of dedicated explorers.
Once an industrial necessity, these waterways now serve as prime tourist destinations, attracting travelers on the hunt for new and unique cruise experiences. From friendly groups of guests to constantly changing scenery, river cruises offer an array of incredible benefits.
The following are just a few of the many enviable features guests will encounter while traveling downstream.
Vast, majestic views of the ocean may not be available on the standard river cruise, but that’s because you’ll be soaking up a different kind of scenery.
River cruises boast an abundance of interesting landmarks, including mountains, valleys, bluffs, local foliage and historic structures. You’ll be sailing right along the banks of small towns and large cities, giving you a non-stop show from your stateroom or anywhere on the ship.
History buffs adore river cruises, as they often highlight castles, mansions, temples and other fascinating structures. This intriguing architecture can be enjoyed at a distance while traveling on the ship, or up close during guided tours and periods of self exploration.
Luckily your close proximity to the shore means it’s easy to snap a photo and even easier to reach these beautiful sites when your ship docks right in small towns or cities.
Far more time is spent onshore during river cruises. From personal exploration to guided tours, these cruises make it easy for guests to feel completely immersed in a destination. As such, a river cruise can serve as an excellent compromise between a cruise enthusiast and a travel partner less excited about the prospect of spending an entire voyage aboard a cruise ship.
Equipped to handle thousands of guests, ocean cruises are typically accompanied by large crowds. Some travelers thrive in such busy settings, but others desire a more laid-back approach to travel. The average river cruise has just under two hundred guests, ensuring that crowds are kept to a minimum. This results in a greater sense of peace and quiet, as well as shorter waits while getting on and off the ship.
With only a couple hundred of guests on board, it is easy to get acquainted with other vacationers. You’ll immediately find a connection with others as you’ll see them frequently and have a shared interest based on your destination. Get ready to meet lifelong friends, many of whom are destined to meet again for future cruise journeys.
Ditch those impersonal, overly commercial ocean port cities and get ready for a week or more of small town and city exploration. These intimate excursions allow for maximum cultural immersion, which is further strengthened through the inclusion of local cuisine, wine tasting and craft demonstrations right on board the ship!
Despite claims of inclusiveness, many ocean cruises force guests to pay for everything from beverages to internet access. River cruises tend to offer a greater range of inclusive features, including complimentary wine, beer, coffee and other refreshments. Guests also enjoy access to a wide array of inclusive activities, such as informative talks, hands-on cooking and live performances. Your agent can help outline exactly what’s included in your cruise.
Each cruise ship is thoughtfully designed to reflect the unique ebb and flow of various rivers. From narrow canals to expansive passages, river cruise vessels are capable of conquering a wide array of waterways. Experienced river cruise travelers continually find themselves marveling at the unique structure of each river ship on which they set foot.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of river cruising is that there truly is something for everyone. Culinary enthusiasts, history buffs, athletic types — all can benefit from a relaxing trip down one of the world’s many gorgeous rivers.