My husband calls me a serial cruiser. With eleven ocean cruises under my belt, three more planned within the next year, and at least 30 more on my bucket list… I love to cruise! Now that I’ve returned from my first river cruise, I have some clear thoughts on which of my ocean cruising clients would enjoy a river cruise, and which of my non-cruise clients would find a river cruise a wonderful vacation choice.
Here are some things to consider:
Age: Are you in an older demographic; or appreciate this well-traveled, experienced segment of the population? If you answered yes to either, consider a river cruise! With no youth activities onboard, and no staterooms that would accommodate a family, the average age of river cruisers is between 55 and 65 years old. In my experience, my fellow travelers were friendly individuals who enjoyed participating in the onboard social activities, and were quick to share stories of their past trips. All in all, an interesting group to spend days with.
Tour style: Do you enjoy touring with a group of passengers and a knowledgeable guide? If you answered yes, consider a river cruise! Organized tours are a part of the package. There is also free time built into the schedule. Our tour guides were very knowledgeable, which added much value to the overall experience. When visiting churches, monuments, historical sights or event for a quick city overview, there is truly no comparison between having a guide and going it alone.
Getting from here to there: Do you enjoy traveling to new cities without packing/unpacking and changing hotels? If you answered yes, consider a river cruise! Not only does traveling along the rivers save you the time and hassle of moving to a new location, there is always something to see along the way as you pass small towns, other river-going vessels and beautiful scenic landscapes.
Motion: Do you avoid ocean cruising because you are concerned about the motion of the water? If you answered yes, consider a river cruise! With no waves, no large swells, and land close by on both sides, there is no need to be concerned about the water’s motion. I speak as someone whose motion sickness is easily set in motion (pun intended).
Organization/Logistics: Do you like your travel days to be very organized? If you answered yes, consider a river cruise! The river cruise staff has everything figured out to a T. Both embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, and daily schedules are set in place to the wire (when we arrived onboard literally two minutes past due, we found they had already made an announcement to locate us – and I believe a search party was just about to set out). Even the passengers onboard took their responsibility seriously…. everyone was punctual, tours set off on time, and no stragglers.
Yes, river cruising is one of the hottest new trends in travel; and yes, river cruising is a fabulous experience for many; however it is not right for everyone!
Perhaps Not: Do you prefer dining with only your own travel companions? Do you prefer complete travel independence? Do you enjoy only private tours? Do you value a daily schedule that allows the greatest amount of personal freedom? Do you enjoy a city-center hotel experience throughout your vacation? Do you dislike riding on a large motor coach, if even only for a short while? If you answered yes to most of these questions, or if any one is a deal-breaker, than a river cruise should not be a consideration for you.
Personally, I enjoyed the mix of having pre/post-cruise independent stays along with our river cruise experience. Will I cruise by river again? Definitely! With so many great rivers and regions to sail, choosing which river to cruise next will be a fun decision!