No doubt you have seen the television commercials or received the brochures in the mail – river cruising is a hot topic in travel lately. A river cruise is about more than the destination, it’s the journey. Experiencing small historical cities from the vantage point of the rivers that run by them helps get passengers closer to the destination both literally and figuratively. Discover local culture and sights on included tours, then hop back onto your river cruise ship and sail to the next charming town.
Along with easier access directly into cities, river cruising allow passengers to be more active – offering daily walks of differing speed and difficulty, or using the bikes onboard to take out for the day. For example, many river cruises offer complimentary active shore excursions daily for more athletic or adventurous guests. These may include hiking, kayaking and biking on back roads or off the beaten path. If a leisurely stroll is more your pace, you can do this too!
With all of this additional on-the-ground immersion and activity, guests must be aware that if mobility is an issue this may not be the trip for them. Cobblestoned streets, paired with climbing up and down stairs to get off docked riverboats means that travelers need to be well equipped for these kinds of challenges. Not to say that arduous activity is a necessity for all – travelers can also relax out on the beautifully appointed terrace of their ship and enjoy the leisurely sail.
Another pro tip? Always arrange to stay a night or two pre and post cruise so you can experience some of Europe’s grand cities like Amsterdam and Budapest. River cruises typically sail out of the embarkation city by 4 pm the day the cruise starts - so you won’t have any time in the embarkation or disembarkation city unless you plan to stay ahead of time. A travel advisor can help you with the arrangements and touring to hit the highlights of these spectacular cities.
While river cruises have previously focused on a more mature clientele, savvy travelers should keep an eye out for companies offering specific river sailings specializing in family travel. With the whole world to explore, parents and grandparents are looking for ways to share their favorite places with younger generations – and the river boat is the perfect mode of transportation to suit all ages!