For most people, the first association with cruise is the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Pacific islands and similar destinations that can be reached by sea. However, some of the world’s most fascinating places can also be experienced by taking a river cruise. While the interest in river cruising is growing, it still tends to be overlooked by most travellers who would like to explore and experience the world aboard a ship even though river cruises offer several advantages over the traditional ocean cruising, such as:
Let’s be honest, ocean liners can be very crowded no matter how luxurious. Riverboats, on the other hand, are much smaller which creates a more intimate atmosphere and makes them ideal for romantic getaways for two, seniors and others who prefer peace on their holidays.
Most of the modern and ancient capitals and great cities were built nearby major rivers. As a result, riverboats take you virtually to the ‘doorstep’ of some of the greatest attractions. Don’t believe it? Just think on Paris and its Eiffel Tower, the charming city centre of Vienna, Budapest, St. Petersburg, Belgrade, Amsterdam,… the list could go on forever. And the same counts for other parts of the world.
All who went cruising by an ocean liner or consider to do so know that shore excursions add up to the overall cost significantly as they can be very expensive. The price of most river cruise packages, on the other hand, includes shore excursions as well.
River cruises have their drawbacks as well.
Due to the smaller size of riverboats, the prices tend to be higher. But considering that shore excursions are usually included, the overall cost is actually lower. Higher starting price thus isn’t really a disadvantage. But there are other factors to consider as well before booking a river cruise. First of all, there are many cruise operators with some offering a better value, more attractive itineraries, more comfort, better food, … You get the picture. So do some research about the leading brands and satisfaction rates among their former passengers.
In comparison to large ocean liners, riverboats don’t have as many on-board facilities and amenities because there’s simply not enough room. According to most passengers, they also aren’t particularly family-friendly and don’t offer as many children’s activities and entertainment. Lastly, the choice of destinations outside Europe is quite limited. In places such as Egypt, China and Peru, river cruising is usually only a part of the travel programme.