Updated: Jun 17
Cruising THROUGH a Country is Better Than TO a Country! Ocean Cruising has its advantages with its numerous onboard activities, from belly flop competitions to casinos and broadway shows. But have you heard about its rival from the ever-growing popular river cruise lines?
Most common in Europe, on the Rhine, Danube, Seine, Rhone, Douro, and even Po rivers, river cruising extends to Russia, China, Vietnam & Cambodia (and yes! Even the United States).
Many river cruise voyages have "themed experiences" for special interests such as "wine immersion," "Tulip Time," "Jewish Heritage," "beer tasting," and the ever-popular "Christmas Markets" cruises. We love river cruising, and if you have never experienced a river cruise, check out our top six reasons why so many travelers are switching to the river over an ocean cruise.
1. Hassle-Free Travel
When it comes to river cruising, scheduling your trip is as close to hassle-free as possible! With no lines to get on or off the ship, travelers enjoy not waiting for their turn or standing in line like an ocean cruiser must do. Let's be honest, who likes waiting in line? With river cruises, you arrive at the next stop, and you can usually walk right off to be immersed in your destination immediately. Europe grew up along its rivers, with some very charming and attractive small towns to explore. With very few ports requiring a bus transfer, it makes it easy to come and go at your leisure.
Stay Balanced Travel Tip: Take advantage of the bikes from the ship to bike around town.
2. All-Inclusive Options
Your river cruising trip can be all-inclusive, depending on the cruise line and ship you choose. For example, a 7-day cruise on the Rhone River with AmaWaterways River Cruises includes first-class shore excursions at every port, airport transfers, and Wi-Fi. Other cruise lines even have butlers, which you cannot tip. Imagine your coffee delivered just the way you like it or breakfast served every morning while you are admiring the beauty of castles and vineyards from your stateroom balcony!
3. Unpack Once
Are you a HUGE fan of independent travel? If so, river cruising is an excellent choice for convenience!! Imagine that you can see multiple villages, towns, and countries and only UNPACK once!!! You can shower and dine while en route to your next destination without the worry of having to shuffle through your luggage. I never tired of seeing the variety & beauty as we cruise down the Rhone River. Smaller and More
4. Intimate Ships
River cruising ships are smaller and intimate (think 100-170 passengers). The ship size allows you to know your fellow guests and not feel herded along like cattle. You may eat with whom you choose each evening and have a choice of a few onboard dining venues for variety.
Stay Balanced Travel Tip: Enjoy the experience at the Chef's Table Restaurant (3 tables). AmaWaterways is the only river cruise to be part of the Chaine Des Rotisseurs, a highly exclusive culinary society with an authentic luxury dining experience to enhance your river cruise taste buds.
5. No Motion Sickness
On the river, there are no waves, so seasickness is not an issue. Most cruises include transferring through a series of "locks" to accommodate the elevation changes, which most people find super interesting to watch. You can literally touch the walls of the locks from your balcony as you pass through!
Evening entertainment is more subdued, not the massive theater shows onboard an ocean cruise, but live entertainment in the lounge. There are also many movies and entertainment on your in-cabin TVs, and most cruise lines bring on local entertainers in some ports, such as an OomPah band in Passau, Germany, or Gypsy dancers if in Budapest. (The low-key, authentic entertainment is an excellent alternative to the hustle & bustle aboard a big cruise). Plus, there are informative talks on the ports of call and cocktails with your newly-made friends from around the world. Try new cocktails or enjoy a wine tasting and wine class on board.
The price tag of a River Cruise will cost more than the starting price of a budget ocean cruise. But after a little bit of "sticker shock," you can calculate the better value once you figure out the ocean cruises, water, soft drinks, excursions, Wi-Fi, and other costly add-ons. River cruises provide a more transparent upfront all-inclusive cost providing a better value.
A luxury travel expert specializing in European river cruising (like us!) who personally has relationships with the cruise lines can be incredibly additional value in helping you sort through all of the options and find the perfect River Cruise line! It's an excellent option for small groups of friends, family, or even team building for work colleagues who want to travel together. When thinking of a river cruise, ask your friends if they want to join you on the trip....most times, at least 1 or 2 other couples come forward, and you won't regret it!
Who would you like to sip champagne with as you cruise through the incredible Wachau Valley in Austria's wine country?
So, if you think you are looking for a slower-paced luxury cruising experience, why not give the river a try? 96% of first-time river cruisers say they would recommend the experience to a friend! Stay Balanced Travel is authorized to sell all the cruise lines, and we would love to help match you (and your friends) to the perfect river!
Get onboard the river cruise movement. But don't take just our word for it; DISNEY even chose AmaWaterways to host their Adventures by Disney cruises. AND we all know the high standards Disney imposes! Now let us know if you're ready to experience an incredible river cruise. Click here to receive the Stay Balanced Travel VIP experience with even more tips and advice on must-sees and dos!