Written by Joy Thrun.
One of the hottest trends in the travel industry these days is river cruising. Born in Europe and growing around the world, almost every major river on the planet features exciting itineraries on beautiful new ships. If you have not taken a river cruise yet, you are probably intrigued and if you have, you are probably looking forward to your next one.
I have had the pleasure of sailing with Viking Cruises through Provence and Bordeaux, on the Rhine with Avalon Waterways, the Danube with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, and the Peruvian Amazon with Aqua Expeditions. I experienced a life changing cruise on the Nile in Egypt and sailed on a boat shaped like a giant golden dragon on the Yangtze.
With the expansion of river cruising, choosing the right itinerary and cruise line can get a bit complicated and overwhelming. Personal experience is essential and we at Classic Travel can provide the expertise to help you make the right decisions.
A Few Reasons to Love a River Cruise
This is probably the number one reason that makes river cruising so enjoyable and effortless. Unpack once and you are free to enjoy the rest of your trip without the hassle. When you move from hotel to hotel and place to place, you never feel completely settled. Here you settle in comfort and watch the world go by. A new day, a new place. On the Rhine, you visit four countries in eight days!
There is nothing rushed about a river cruise. As you leisurely sail along the river, your meals, sightseeing, and every creature comfort is taken care of. Attitude and dress onboard is casual. Passengers are usually older, more well-traveled and there are not many children. A river cruise is a combination of convenience, luxury, education, and experiences.
With ship sizes ranging from about 50 to 200 passengers, cabins and suites all have outside views. From picture windows to French balconies and full verandas, the shoreline and boats gliding by are always changing. Cabins are small, but creatively designed with the amenities of a 5-star hotel room.
Meals and snacks are included on a river cruise. Breakfast and lunch are buffet style and one seating for dinner. The menus change daily reflecting the regional cuisine along the way. Local wines and beer are usually included with lunch and dinner. You can have a romantic dinner for two or join your new friends at mealtime and share your travel experiences.
One of the great advantages of river cruising is the comprehensive sightseeing opportunities. Practically every day features an included tour. Since you are docked right in town, there is usually a walking tour in smaller groups with a local guide. Wireless headsets allow you to stroll around while getting expert narration. After these tours, you can return to the ship for lunch or you may choose to stay in town for some local flavor. Additional optional sightseeing trips are offered in the afternoon. You can do as little or as much as you wish. Your Cruise Director will give port talks in the lounge the evening before you arrive to help you with your decisions and plans.
There are times on the river when you will be enjoying scenic cruising. Whether it’s viewing castles in the Rhine Gorge or storybook villages in the Wachau Valley on the Danube, this is the time to be up on the observations deck. Relax in a lounge chair and order drinks while surrounded by spectacular scenery.
With increasing competition within the river cruise industry, service is important and usually top notch. The one-on-one relationships between crew members and passengers adds to the entire experience. From the baggage handlers to the Cruise Director, the entire staff is dedicated to good service. Everyone works hard to make sure your cruise is a memorable one. Tipping onboard, of course, is at your discretion. To make it easy, there are suggested tipping guidelines that can be added to your shipboard account and distributed among the crew at the end of the cruise. The ship runs with the efficiency of a Swiss watch.
There are many details and components to consider when arranging the perfect river cruise. From booking to the actual trip, we are here to answer questions and keep you informed along the way. Flights, transfers, additional sightseeing, and extensions can all be taken care of in our office. Sailings book up fast. Don’t miss out!
Contact Classic Travel at 517-349-6200 or submit your request below.