9 Reasons To Do A European River Cruise

In this article you’re going to discover nine reasons to do a European river cruise.

Emerald Waterways Emerald Dawn

Removes hassle of arranging European travel

One of the best reasons for taking European river cruise is simple: it removes all the hassle and strain of planning a trip around Europe. Once you’ve chosen your itinerary and booked, the river cruise line takes care of everything. Some will even go as far as picking up from your home, taking you to the airport, to the ship and back to your door.

Also, the great news is that once you’ve booked, pretty much everything’s included on most river cruise lines and so you know the total cost of your vacation upfront.

Most cruise lines are largely all-inclusive and your food, some or all of your drinks, excursions and Wi-Fi are included in the fare. So, you know the price of your trip once you’ve booked it and, once you’ve paid for your cruise, there should be very few extras.

With your meals taken care of, the places to go and see arranged and excursions planned you can relax and let yourself go with the flow, knowing that the cruise line will have sorted out everything.

Immersion into a region

Another great reason is that a river cruise really gives you deeper immersion into a region. River Cruises tend to travel relatively shorter distances, and you call at lots of different ports and see lots of places within a small stretch of the region. It gives you a chance to immerse yourself in and take time to understand that region in greater detail.

The line will tend to tailor the food and drink based on the region you’re going through. The tours will be with local guides who live in and know the region You will often stay overnight or way into the evening in many places you call on, giving you the chance to go explore the culture, restaurants or nightlife.

River cruise ships tend to dock right in the heart of the town and so you are right there in the centre of things. You can stroll off and you step right into culture and what’s happening in that particular place. You are right in the heart of things. Most river cruise lines will also bring on board local speakers or entertainers, and they give you port talks and background on the places that you’re visiting.

All of this makes river cruising great for immersing yourself into a region.

Local entertainers will feature on tours and on board

Iconic and historically significant places are along the rivers

Another great reason for going on a river cruise through Europe is you get to explore and see the iconic and really important parts of Europe and its history.

The magnificent and big rivers like the Rhine, the Danube, the Seine the Douro and Loire run through the most important parts of Europe. Lots of history has happened along the rivers, and many of the most significant cities and towns are on their banks.

As these rivers were, and are, key to transport and trade, the different countries developed and grew and key historic events happened close to the rivers. River cruising takes you to see and explore these important parts of Europe.

River cruises take you right into the heart of major cities like Budapest on Emerald Waterways

Safe and Secure

Another consideration for taking a river cruise is it’s a safe and secure way of traveling. If you want to explore Europe, you face lots of different languages, cultures and other challenges that you need to navigate. The benefit of going on a river cruise is you have a tour manager and guests around you, so you always have people you can turn to and rely on if you need help or guidance. They are with you all the time to help guide and support you as you travel unfamiliar countries.

Many river cruise lines run the same itinerary back-to-back during the season and they know the rivers and towns incredibly well. If you have any issues or problems, they will know how to solve those in every place you cruise to. On a river you’re always near towns and land, so you have security knowing that if you have any issues or problems you’re near to land and support if you need it.

There is also no chance of getting seasick because there’s no real motion onboard.

River cruises are a safe and secure alternative because the cruise lines and the tour managers know the stretches of the river so well.

Pack and unpack once

The fact that you only have to pack and unpack once and see Europe, and different countries, is a real plus. Once you’re on board and you’ve unpacked, you move between countries and places without any down time. The cruising experience and the traveling time becomes part of the vacation.

If you’re traveling by bus, train or plane, there’s a lot of downtime on motorways, in train stations and airports. But on a river cruise you are able to travel in a calm, sedate and civilized way with great scenery around you all the time. Your travel time becomes part of your vacation. It’s an efficient way of seeing Europe because you don’t have a lot of downtime. If you want to see Europe, river cruising is probably the most efficient way of using your vacation time.

You are surrounded by beautiful scenery constantly on a European river cruise

Luxury accommodation and facilities

Another great reason for going on a river cruise around Europe is the accommodation. River cruise lines have really comfortable cabins and facilities.

Obviously, the style of cabin and facilities varies based on if you are cruising on a premium or value line, but the standard is high across all ships. You will have comfortable beds; your own bathroom and you don’t have to worry about having to find and stay in different hotels across your trip (which may vary in quality). You can have one beautiful room that you travel in for your whole time on the cruise. Although river cruise cabins are relatively small because of the size of ships, they are welcoming.

Discover what a river cruise ship is like and what the facilities and the cabins are like by watching my video tour of Emerald Waterways Emerald Dawn ship.

Watch my Emerald Waterways video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/725LgTuoCpw

Five-star Dining

Food is another really important reason for taking European River cruise. You have five-star dining, no matter which cruise line you go on. Many of them have relationships with Michelin or well-known celebrity chefs. Food is a really important part of river cruising, and the lines will often link the food to the region you’re traveling through.

You are guaranteed to have great food, and you won’t have to worry about finding restaurants and navigating that problem. You’re will have three meals a day and often afternoon tea too. They will be multiple courses with local wines. As the ships don’t have lots of storage, they also pick up fresh ingredients as they travel. So, you’re usually going to have fresh local produce bought from local markets and served that night.

On a European river cruise, you are guaranteed great dining without worrying about finding a great restaurant.

Intimate adult-focused experience

Unlike ocean cruising where you often have great big ships, river cruising is a more intimate experience because of the nature of the rivers. The ships are limited in size and width and normally have around 100 – 120 passengers onboard.

It’s a pretty intimate experience and easy to get to know people. You are also likely to have an adult experience. Although some river lines are starting to attract more families in the key summer vacation months. However, if you’re looking for a more adult vacation you are very likely to find that onboard a European river cruise as river cruising in Europe is not a big family activity currently.

Less Stressful

One of the great advantages of going on a European river cruise, and I believe one of the most important, is that it’s much less stressful once you are on your European vacation than land-based options. You cover a lot of territory, you see lots of places without having to sort out and make many decisions – as the line is taking care of them every day for you.

If you’re on land-based trip you have to constantly worry about how you are going to move between places, what to see and how to get them, language, currency and finding suitable places to eat. On a European river cruise that’s all sorted. You get on board the ship and they have sorted out the right things to see and all the details (even access to Wi-Fi!). You travel in a comfortable room where you have unpacked and settled into.

Final thought

I hope you found that helpful and that’s given you 9 good reasons why you should do a European river cruise. It’s a great experience and I strongly recommend that you give it a try!

Watch my video on the same topic

Watch my why do river cruise video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/fOyYSgx9Xw4

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Gary Bembridge

I grew up in Zimbabwe, but I have been based in London since 1987. My travel life spans more than three decades and that includes more than 95 cruises. In 2005, I launched Tips for Travellers to make it easy and fun for people to discover, plan and enjoy incredible cruise vacations. And the rest, as they say, is history. I have the largest cruise vlogger channel currently on YouTube, with more than 3 million video views per month.

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1 Response

  1. November 14, 2018


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