10 Reasons to Take a River Cruise

cruise travel, river cruise, travel, blairvillanueva
Photo credit: Midnight in Paris

River cruising in Europe is all about visiting destinations and is very different from cruising aboard large ocean-going cruise ships, were passengers can number in the thousands, and embarking, disembarking and security queues can be an exercise in frustration. The maximum number of passengers per rivership is around 200, so any visits are done in much smaller groups, or individually, and on a personal scale.

River cruising in Europe has grown dramatically in recent years. In 2005 there were just over 22,000 beds available; in 2017 there were more than 45,000 beds, reflecting the rise in demand. Riverships vary from the equivalent of a waterbus to what some think of as eau couture. The hassles of ordinary travel are eliminated in one pleasant package, with someone else doing all the cooking and driving. Don’t worry about motion sickness, either – it’s all smooth sailing.

Budgeting is easy, too. Because you pay in advance, you know what you will spend on your holiday, without any hidden surprises. It’s all low-key- there are no casinos, bingo, knobby knees contests or other potentially irritating parlour games (unlike on an ocean cruise), and any events that are organized tend to be geared towards culture. And, when your river ship docks, you simple walk off. You never have to take a tender to go ashore, because most river ships dock close to the centre of a destination.

So why you should try river cruising when you visit Europe?

Check these 10 awesome reasons why, and we bet you’ll be delighted.

1. The sights
River cruising is all about the sights (you get a 360-degrees panorama from the open top deck of a river ship) and sightseeing, from the key highlights en route to villages and the countryside.  River ships provide ever-changing scenery (called rivers capes) at eye level and up close, and offer the anticipation of waking up in a different place each day, usually in the heart of a city or town. They give a new take on a destination from the one you would experience on a wholly land-based tour and a totally different too, from the coastal approach of an ocean cruise.

10 Reasons to Take a River Cruise
image: @sternundkreis Instagram

2. Almost everything is included
Upfront pricing means almost no unexpected additional costs, so budgeting is simple. Accommodation, all meals (usually including wine), snacks, destinations talks, some excursions, light entertainment and perhaps transfers to get to and from your river cruise are all included.

3. They are small, friendly and comfortable
With their size governed by the length and width of the locks they need to negotiate, most river ships carry 100 and 200 passengers. The atmosphere is friendly and informal, and never stuffy or pretentious, and the dress code is completely casual.

4. It’s so easy
Simple embark, unpack and enjoy the scenery, as your floating inn take you from one historic destination to the next. It’s a single-currency world on board. There are no tenders to take to go ashore, no formalities, and you will no doubt learn something new every day.

5. There’s always something to see and do
There will be talks by guest speakers, and perhaps wine or beer tasting sessions or cooking demonstrations.

6. You’ll have a room with a view
Almost all cabins (except on Primadonna and Rossini) have windows and river views, so you’ll be able to admire the scenery. Many cabins have a balcony, although this is mostly likely to be a ‘French’ (open-air) balcony, with doors or electrically operated windows opening onto a safety railing due to the size restrictions. But some river ships have full balconies that you can sit out on.

7. You don’t have to look like a tourist on tours
Wireless receivers and earphones are provided, so you can hear what is being said without having to crowd around the guide.

10 Reasons to Take a River Cruise
image: @lotustourshk Instagram

8. It will all be smooth cruising
Don’t worry about motion sickness – the gentle waters of rivers are different from those of the ocean, with no waves. Itineraries can however, be affected by low or high waters: not enough water and the river ships can’t cruise; too much and they can’t get under the bridges (in such cases, comfortable coaches take you to and from the key attractions).

9. Most river ships are surprisingly chic
The newest river ships are very different from those that previously dominated the market. You can have a balcony, various dining options (e.g. venues in different areas and possibly on an outdoor deck), wifi (usually with no additional charge) and a flat-screen infotainent system.

10. You don’t have to cook
It’s all done for you, and so is the washing up. You don’t have to make the bed either! Or drive!

cruise travel, river cruise, travel, blairvillanueva
Photo credit: Midnight in Paris

The biggest challenge when considering a river cruise is deciding which river interests you the most, but all river cruises are aimed to be welcoming, scenic, comfortable, effortless, small-scale, mostly inclusive, unhurried, organized and memorable. Above all, there is a river cruise to suit every pocket.

Have you ever experience river cruising?

xoxo, Blair

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  1. We've never taken a river cruise but this post just made me want to do it!

    1. That is great! This is best to try especially when you visit Europe where there are many rivers to do it.

  2. I've never gone on a river cruise in Europe, but I'm sure it's a great experience. Next time in Europe I'll make sure it's part of the itinerary.

  3. How fun! What an easy way to see the architecture surrounding the river.

    1. And could be cheaper too! Perfect for those who opt for a laidback kind of experience.

  4. River cruises are so much fun! I did one here in the States one time. I just had to deal with sea sickness for a while.

    1. if you are not used to water travel, yeah seasickness is awful.


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