What comes to your mind when you think of cruises? Tiny cabins, lukewarm buffets, and crowded pool decks? Think again. The vibrant and beautiful natural surroundings of the world’s rivers are just one of the benefits of river cruising.
Cruising itself may have gotten a bad rap, but it’s not all bad food and tacky tour bus excursions. In the last ten years, river cruise bookings have increased a whopping 250%. Whether you’re new to a vacation on the high seas, or a long-time cruising aficionado, here’s why you should consider a river cruise for your next holiday.
You aren’t restricted to crowded ports because you have unlimited access to waterways not accessible by large cruise ships. On a river cruise, you’ll visit unique destinations and dock where the action is, in the center of town.
With unique and imaginative itineraries, you’re often able to visit a handful of different countries without having to pack and unpack your suitcase in between.
Smaller ships equal fewer guests. On average, river cruise ships host 120 guests versus the thousands housed on ocean liners. Fewer travelers on board not only appeal to covid-conscious travelers but those who do not enjoy crowds. You’re not going to find auditoriums and large-scale entertainment productions here, rather bespoke restaurants, cozy areas for relaxation, and plenty of space to relax.
You can forget about dark, windowless staterooms. Smaller ships mean less space for cabins, so the staterooms on riverboats generally run the ship’s perimeter, and the upper decks provide stunning views.
Cooking for fewer guests allows chefs to showcase their creative menus with fresh and local ingredients. While you’ve been off exploring the sights, the onboard chefs have been visiting markets and sourcing regional fare.
Another benefit of river cruising is that you don’t worry about packing your three-piece suit and evening gown for dinner. Dinner attire is typically more casual than on larger cruise ships. The experience is also all-inclusive and relaxing for guests. Not only are the meals included in the price, but as are alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, and shore excursions on most boats.
While you may think of river cruises as suitable only for those preferring a slower pace, river cruising can offer ample excitement. From visiting a new city each day to discovering the local way of life through an intimate cultural excursion – passengers have the chance to be educated, inspired, and entirely immersed in a new destination.
Europe remains the biggest hub for river cruises, but there are plenty of other regions (and rivers!) to explore. Cruise down the Nile River in Egypt, the Yangtze River in China, the transboundary Mekong River, Russia’s Volga River, or the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers in India. Wherever you choose to explore, if you’re aboard a river cruise, prepare to have an unforgettable time!