Four Reasons to Take a River Cruise

River Cruising is a major thing. Really! It has become a topic of conversation everywhere I go – from my gym to my hair salon to cocktail conversations to networking meetings. It’s incredibly popular and appealing to a diverse group of travelers. And the demographic continues to get younger! While each cruise line has its differentiator, the one thing they can all say is that oceans take you to countries while rivers take you through them.

It’s Easy

Board the ship, unpack once, and see multiple countries with at least one tour included in every port. Speaking of each port, you dock in the heart of the historic city center and you have the choice to enjoy the tour(s) offered by the ship or explore on your own. All cabins have window views, French balconies or full balconies.


Meals are included plus wine and beer is included with lunch and dinner. Many have coffee and tea available throughout the day along with some snacks. The luxury lines include premium wines and liquors at any time and transfers to and from the airport/train station on the start and end dates of the cruise. Guided tours in each port are a fantastic value, especially if you’re not familiar with the destination. Keep an eye out for promotions that include international economy or even premium economy air.

Appeals to All Age Groups

If an image of mature travelers sitting on the deck with blankets on their laps while they play cards comes to mind when you think of river cruises, hold on. Savvy cruise lines are innovating and creating itineraries that appeal to different styles of traveling.

  • Uniworld appeals to an upscale clientele that appreciates traveling well – and they have another brand called “U” by Uniworld that appeals to travelers that have a more footloose style of travel. While their target market is Millennials, anyone can board their sleek black ships.
  • Tauck appeals to multi-generational families with their Bridges sailings that offer activities for children and adults. Tauck also appeals to solo travelers with no single supplement in their Category 1 cabins on European river cruises.
  • AmaWaterways offers several Disney cruises that bring families together to explore iconic destinations and storybook villages, while offering activities for adults and children.

Variety of Destinations

There are river cruises throughout the world. Itineraries cover over a dozen rivers in Europe, including the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Seine, Volga, Rhone, and Douro. But you don’t have to stay in Europe to enjoy a river cruise, you can also choose itineraries on the Mississippi, Nile, Chobe, Amazon, Yangtze, Ganges, Mekong and Irrawaddy.

River cruises show you gorgeous landscapes, bring you into beautiful city centers and focus on a country’s culture and history, and most offer active shore excursions like hiking, kayaking, biking, and walking tours, as well as wellness programs. If you’re looking for a cruise that will take you “through” a destination, rather than “to it”, river cruising is the answer!

Helen Jordan is the owner of Jordan Luxury Travel, an independent affiliate of Brownell Travel, a member of Virtuoso. She can be reached at [email protected].