The popularity of river cruising is soaring like a white-hot rocket and getting more popular by the day! Ships are sold out over a year in advance of their sailing dates and cruise lines continue to launch new ships to answer the demand.
What is the allure that travelers around the world find so irresistible?
It’s So Easy – Guests are greeted at the airport and transferred to the ship, where they receive a warm welcome. You can unpack once and wake up each day in a new destination. At most ports, you can walk off the boat and into town at your convenience.
All-Inclusive – What’s not to love about included meals and beverages, with excellent wine during lunch and dinner. On some lines, alcohol is included throughout the day, so enjoy an afternoon beverage while relaxing on the top deck.
Shore Excursions Included – Most itineraries include at least one shore excursion and some lines offer you choices. Engaging and knowledgeable guides connect you to the destinations and bring their history to life. Marvel at the architecture, admire the exquisite artwork in the cathedrals, taste amazing wine at a local winery, and visit a local family for lunch to better understand their lifestyle and culture. You can venture out on your own and cycle around town or to the next town on one of the onboard bikes.
Attentive Service – The river ships are far more intimate than ocean vessels and carry fewer than 200 passengers. The staff to guest ratio allows you to have a very personalized experience.
Variety – Cruise lines operate on rivers around the world, not just Europe. Each line differentiates itself to appeal to specific interests and travel styles. Cruise length, inside décor and included amenities vary from line to line and river to river. You should be able to find a cruise that suits your travel aspirations and budget.
For example, the Danube has a lot to offer and is extremely attractive right now. It’s one of the longest, most beautiful, and important rivers in the European Union. It’s impact on transportation and trade goes back to ancient times as it was an important route on the northern frontier for the Roman Empire. It flows through Romania, Hungary, Serbia, Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine and Moldova.
What you can see while cruising the Danube
Nuremberg – A visit to this city will provide insight into its fascinating WWII history.
Passau – Discover the medieval Czech city of Cesky Krumlov and stroll through is World Heritage-listed old town.
Melk – Tour the magnificent 18th century Benedictine Abbey, take a bike ride along the river, or taste fine wines as you tour a local winery.
Vienna – Witness the opulence of the Habsburg Empire and explore the city on a guided walking or cycling tour, or admire a collection of Austrian art, including ‘The Kiss’ and ‘Judith’ by Gustave Klimt.
Budapest – Learn about the city’s Jewish heritage, hike to Buda Hill to enjoy breathtaking views over the Danube or take the onboard bikes for a spin.
River cruises are hot! They are a great value and terrific way to travel when you want to unpack once and see multiple cities and countries. The vibe is “relaxed energy” yet not frenetic, and you’ll travel with passengers who are similarly interested in the culture, architecture, history, gastronomy, and wine of the cities on the itinerary.
If a river cruise is on your radar, get going now and book early. What are you waiting for?
Helen Jordan is the owner of Jordan Luxury Travel, an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a member of Virtuoso. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org