What Exactly is a River Cruise?

Nothing measures up to a river cruise. Because they move at a rather slow speed you can really see and enjoy all the stunning views, and the amenities they offer on board will make you feel pampered.

beach-84533__340.jpg River cruises through Europe are renowned for their amazing restaurants and wine lists, as well as wonderful service and lots of exciting activities, and they travel slowly enough that you can really take in the view of all the cities, towns, and landscapes you pass by or stop to visit. And one factor travelers really like is that they only have to unpack once.

These cruises will take you along ancient trade routes and contemporary cities, and everything in between.

While cruising on famed rivers like the Seine, Rhine, Volga, Danube, or Douro you will see the enchanting local scenery shift daily and can you be as engaged as you wish. Guests have the opportunity to become well-acquainted with the culture, art and historical past of their destination cities. Travelers will really to get to know the food, wine, art, and way of life at each destination.

In addition to guided excursions, travelers can wander unhampered around local stops or organize optional shore outings.

There is always ample opportunity to find something to do in every port, whether it's exploring an ancient castle, getting tickets to a classical concert or visiting a renowned museum. You will also be extremely comfortable onboard the ship, as they invariably have the greatest of amenities. All of the rooms come with a TV, a safe for your valuable possessions, and a little refrigerator, as well as a private bathroom and in-room temperature control.

Depending on your preferences and how many people are traveling with you, rooms can run from 150 to 600 square feet.

The services you have will be personalized and invariably top-notch. The ships are well known for their outstanding culinary programs, bars, and lounges, and most also have pools and sun decks where you can unwind in the fresh air, libraries where you can get something to read, specialty boutiques, and free Wi-Fi. Certain ships are large enough to have a pool and nice deck area for your enjoyment, or a library filled with great books you can borrow.

Whether you prefer to travel in the on-season or the off-season, you’ll be able to get a rich cultural experience in each of your destinations.

In the spring and summer, you might experience local outdoor events and lively activities that only take place during the warmer months of the year. To miss the predictable crowds of tourists in the summer, consider going in the fall months, as the chilly weather will mean fewer people visiting each port of call. And in the winter season, you’ll be delighted by fun Christmas markets and enchanted by the holiday customs and festivities of the locals.

A river cruise is a delightful way to see the world, particularly if you would like to have an effortless and stress-free way to travel.

Individuals who've never stepped foot on a cruise before will enjoy the relative ease of a river-bound trip with almost no chance of seasickness. What’s more, since river cruises give guests so much opportunity to enjoy local places and cultures, they are optimal for anyone interested in art, history, or just seeing new destinations. Each river presents its own history, panorama, and cultural influences.

Are you ready to go?

Is a River Cruise Actually Different from an Ocean Cruise?

When finding the right cruise for you, it is useful to know that while river cruises are similar in many ways to ocean cruises, there are also some big differences.

In general, ocean liners are more substantial in size and have more amenities in each stateroom. Given their larger size, they are going to have a lot more passengers on them at once. The more modest scale of river ships means fewer guests, but more chances to get to know fellow travelers, often leading to lifelong friendships. Another big dissimilarity is that river cruises usually do not ever sail a full day, as opposed to ocean cruises which might be at sea for many days at a time.

Passengers normally get to experience a new port every day. The panorama is continually shifting, so the ride itself is part of the adventure. Individuals concerned about becoming seasick will love the smooth sailing and shallow waters of a river cruise, as well as the fact that land is always visible. Then again, since they are bigger, ocean cruises have a more complete selection of onboard offerings like live entertainment, gyms and fitness centers, and more variety of dining choices.

But river cruises are great in that they feature inclusive pricing that covers water, alcoholic drinks, Wi-Fi, and even some fun excursions off the ship.

River Cruises and Diverse Ports of Call

Your visits off the vessel can be just as enjoyable as being on board the cruise itself. maldives-1993704__340.jpg For each river cruise around Europe there is a unique set of things to experience and see. Everyone from committed students of history to extreme adventure seekers, to curious tourists will appreciate the offerings and experiences. #P# You will have the opportunity to view the stunning scenery of Europe’s most beautiful villages and countryside, visit ancient landmarks, and participate in cultural events in the largest cities on the continent.

Your cruiser will be able to move into the smaller ports due to its nimble size, presenting you the opportunity to visit towns, villages, and sights you might otherwise not be able to explore. France’s numerous waterways will take you to some of its most distinguished areas.

Paris is one of the most dazzling cities in the world, Provence delights the senses, Normandy is interesting for the history that took place on its beaches, Bordeaux is a mecca for wine aficionados, and foodies will love the famed gastronomy of Lyon. Explore the harbors, vineyards, farms and forests of Aquitaine, formerly Europe’s richest kingdom. You can go Cognac tasting at the Camus distillery in Périgord and then go hunting for its famed truffles. Enjoy France’s very best oysters just brought in from the bay at Arcachon.

Treat yourself to winetasting at famous wineries in Saint-Émilion, Médoc and Sauternes. Regardless of which French river you choose – the Seine, Dordogne, Gironde, or Rhône – you will be able to enjoy France’s distinct food and wine culture and well as its art, history, and other traditions.

Elbe River cruises highlight both the Czech Republic and Germany and transport passengers on a fascinating trip past medieval villages and ancient forts. Wine fanatics will enjoy a trip on the Mosel River, known as the Moselle in France, which traverses the region in Germany best known for its farming of the Riesling grape.

crocodile-1557483__340.jpg The Danube River carries travelers through Central Europe to destinations such as Vienna, where you can learn how to waltz, or Budapest, where you can relax in the classic thermal baths known as banyas. People who like to check out areas off the beaten path will enjoy outings to smaller cities such as Passau and Bratislava, while adventurous foodies will enjoy noshing on the delicacies of the regional cuisine. Traverse the waterways of Russia and observe for yourself the classic Russian architecture in Moscow’s Red Square and the domes of St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Art enthusiasts will enjoy the stunning Hermitage Museum in Russia, which is the world’s second largest museum. The glorious Peterhof Palace will take your breath away, while the Soviet-era kommunalka will give you remarkable insight into the everyday lives of the many families who lived there together commune-style. In addition to its world-famous caviar, Russia has many other delightful traditional foods you should taste: blini pancakes, solyanka, borscht, and pirog. The history of the Dnieper River was greatly impacted by Ottoman, Mongol, Greek, Cossack, Tatar, Jewish, and Russian forces.

Historic places of worship and monasteries, Soviet-era structures, museums and displays of legendary horsemanship, and music and dance are found along the river’s banks from Kiev to Odessa. In Portugal you can sail the Douro River to the capital city, Lisbon, with its charming old town and thriving newer neighborhoods with popular restaurants, bars, and cafes. Wine lovers will want to stop in the lovely vineyard region to taste local wines, while the classic foods and fado singing will be a delight for all.

The Douro River Valley is proud to be the first demarcated wine production zone in the world as well as a UNESCO site.

Explore the lush Nordic region by sea, then move on the the historic river Rhine. Start in Bergen, a historic city where the Vikings landed, then check out the charming village of Flåm and the nearby fjords, historic Kristiansand, and the more vivacious modern cities of Stavanger and Olso. Skagen, Denmark is famous for its sandy beaches in the north; Kinderdijk, Holland is the home of the country’s traditional windmills; and Amsterdam is the region’s most vivacious and colorful city. Visit Cologne’s renowned cathedral and explore Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.

A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fabulous Middle Rhine should really be high on your list, with stunning old forts, breathtaking churches, charming towns, and interesting history. The Black Forest in Germany is known for its dense forests, luxurious spas, and picturesque villages; France’s Strasbourg is home to a stunning Gothic cathedral; and Basel, Switzerland is famous for having the country’s largest fine arts museum.

Your time off the boat should be just as interesting, enjoyable, and indulgent as your time onboard. Immerse yourself in the unique culture, attractions and dining of the places you’ll visit. Every cruise ship is designed to be its own one-of-a-kind creation, just as each destination along the itinerary is a unique and one-of-a-kind place.

River Cruising Popularity Increases

It is said that the road best traveled is actually a river. Vacationers are increasingly opting for river cruises over other getaway choices. family-932245__340.jpg These days these cruises offer more amenities and luxuries than they used to. Cruises have always been a fun way to vacation but sailing the globe’s wandering waterways has been increasing in appeal as a way to travel and see the sights without traveling over large bodies of open water.

Cruises in Europe are attracting visitors from all across the world as they offer something to suit everyone's taste. In addition, river cruises provide many advantages over ocean cruises.

They go closer to certain landscapes, giving guests a more in-depth experience. Ships that navigate rivers tend to be a good deal smaller than those sailing oceans, making them feel a lot more intimate. Most river vessels take fewer than 200 people, while the staff is still rather large, so the service tends to be superb and extremely personal.

Although they have to be more compact than ocean cruisers to navigate in the narrower rivers, the comfort they provide is on par. For illustration, some of the high-end vessels offer their travelers a swimming pool and a modern spa area, as well as panorama windows, or even private balconies. Passengers love how effortless and convenient river cruising can be. When you arrive at the airport you will not have to figure out how to get to the port, as a staff member from the ship will be there to transport you.

At ports, you simply walk off the vessel and into town – no waiting in lines to disembark. You will not have to keep unpacking and packing your bag as you go from one port to another.

Ship builders throughout Europe have also benefitted from the increased number of cruisers moving through. Cruisers that are already in use often need repairs or upgrades, and new ones are being commissioned on a fairly regular basis. The requirements for river cruise lines are getting higher and higher each year. architecture-3254644__340.jpg Not only are these cruisers required to be more cutting-edge and luxurious, they must also be state-of-the-art in terms of technology.

The uptick in orders is making ship builders fight to keep up at times.

River ships are starting to be made in a method that is friendlier to the planet than in the past, as are ocean vessels. Some of the most recent advancements are particulate filter systems, water and energy-saving systems, consistent elimination of waste, and recycling as well as shore-based power supply for the ships. Shore-based electrical power components in particular represent a milestone for river cruising. These help vessels to keep their total nitrogen emissions as low as practical by shutting down the majority of their own engines anytime they are stopped in a port.

But river cruises offer still more benefits than those. Because cruising along a river usually happens at a relatively slow rate of speed, people on board get to spend more time diving in to the local events and lifestyles along the route. In France, join a local chef at an outdoor market to pick out the deliciously fresh food he will prepare for your sumptuous dinner that evening, or in Hungary enjoy a fascinating live show of traditional gypsy dancing as you travel the Danube. River cruises really let you attain a more personal understanding of local lifestyles.

River voyages also offer a gentler experience than on the ocean, which works well for the landlubbers who don’t necessarily enjoy being at sea. Seasickness is caused by the bobbing of the ship in waves, and since there are ordinarily no waves in rivers, people do not tend to get ill.

What’s more, considering that land is always in sight, it’s a great way to go for anyone scared about staying in the open water for days at a time. Cruising on a river gives people a comfortable and worry-free way to really experience close at hand the sights and sounds of exotic destinations.

Along with the rise in the popularity of river cruises comes an expanse of the kinds of travelers they draw in. Cruises that sail a week or less tend to appeal to younger, employed passengers, while the longer voyages will get more retired people who have additional time to travel. There are cruises that cater to a sophisticated audience with extravagance and class, and others that have a more informal vibe great for families.

One final thing to keep in mind when reserving a cruise, whether it be a river cruise or an ocean cruise: it’s a good idea to include travel insurance.

This type of trip protection can help you recoup non-refundable money frequently required when reserving a cruise in advance.

With so many fantastic advantages, it’s no wonder that river cruises have become such a popular way to travel and visit the world. It’s sure to be a development that won’t slow down anytime in the near future.

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