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River Cruise Guide – 15 Reasons for Choosing River Cruising

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  • Discover a relaxed, luxurious way to explore new destinations and enjoy cultural experiences
  • Choosing river cruising as your next holiday opens up a world of travel adventures
  • From luxury cabins and dining to excursions and meeting new friends, a river cruise may be a perfect holiday for you

Are you choosing a river cruising holiday for the first time? Perhaps a river cruise holiday in France has caught your eye or an Asia river cruise in 2020, but you’re unsure what a river cruise entails? Regardless of where in the world you go, a river cruise is a cultural adventure, one that visits several amazing destinations on one trip. So, is a cruise right for you? Read our river cruise guide to find out.

1. Choosing river cruising is an exciting way to discover the world

When you embark on a river cruise, you set sail on a luxurious floating hotel. Each day offers the chance to explore and sightsee in a different destination – but you only need to unpack your suitcase the once. Whether you’re interested in river cruises in Europe or Asia river cruisescruising holidays are unforgettable, life-enriching experiences. You’ll see the world from a whole new perspective.

2. Insightful cultural excursions are part of the package

Why take a river cruise? If you love engaging and informative excursions, you’ll be pleased to know that cultural tours are typically included in your river cruise price. Whether it’s a city walk, a village stroll or a guided tour around a famous gallery, iconic landmark, castle or vineyard, English-speaking experts with insider local knowledge will bring destinations and history to life.

choosig river cruising sightseeing on the banks of the Danube

Sightseeing along the Danube river

3. River cruises are inspiring and relaxing

Although escorted excursions are a significant part of river cruises, guided tours are at a leisurely pace. You also have the option to sightsee on your own or stay on the ship. Few river cruise ships accommodate more than 160 guests – many cater for just 50 passengers – so the onboard atmosphere is relaxed and informal.

4. There’s no formal dress code

Unlike some ocean cruises, the dress code on a river cruise is relaxed. River cruise passengers won’t need to pack a ball gown or tuxedo for evening dining. If wondering what to wear, bring comfortable casual clothing for daytime excursions, and opt for a smarter dress, perhaps a blouse and capri pants or a shirt and blazer, when dining at night. Remember, however, nothing is obligatory.

5. River cruises appeal to like-minded travellers

Sharing experiences with others who are equally as excited about exploring a new destination or ticking off a bucket-list landmark is much of the appeal of river cruises. And as you make memories to last a lifetime, you can also make lifelong friends; it’s easy to strike up a conversation when everyone is having fun.

choosing river cruising making new friends

6. Solo travellers can avoid single supplements

Choosing river cruising is also a great idea if you’re travelling alone, as some companies don’t add that dreaded single supplement. Look for solo cruise prices that are fully exclusive, and you’ll get a luxurious cabin all to yourself without paying extra. There are also exclusive solo traveller cruises where all cabins are for solo use. You won’t be charged under-occupancy fees on these cruises either.

7. River cruises offer first-class dining

Mealtimes may be informal aboard a river cruise. There’s no allocated seating or dress code in dining rooms, and small tables are for just four or six people. Despite the relaxed atmosphere, passengers still enjoy exceptional culinary experiences. From early risers’ breakfasts to delicious four-course dinners, menus feature international classics and regional specialities, all prepared by talented professional chefs.

8. Guests sleep in well-appointed cabins

River cruise accommodation can be every bit as luxurious as a room in a five-star boutique hotel. The elegantly decorated suites and cabins are remarkably spacious. Unlike ocean cruise ships, all rooms boast a window – or a sliding glass door to a balcony – so natural light shines in, and you can look out at the ever-changing scenery.

choosing river cruising luxury cabins

A Deluxe Balcony Suite onboard the MS Emily Brontë

9. River cruise ships have world-class facilities

Book a European cruise, and you’ll venture along rivers and waterways aboard some of the world’s most elegant ships. With air-conditioned decks, a panoramic observation lounge and a tranquil sun deck, all tastefully furnished, these vessels are hallmarks of distinction. Some ships also have a library, a beauty salon and a wellness area with a sauna, steam room and fitness equipment.

10. Immaculate service from an expert team

At the helm of every river cruise are a dedicated professional team – crew, tour managers and cruise directors who all provide a first-class service. And as the crew-to-passenger ratio is often one member of staff for every four guests, you’re guaranteed excellent personal attention. Relax in the knowledge you’re in safe hands – and enjoy a well-earned break.

11. River cruises are hassle-free

With convenient flights or rail travel arranged for you, and inspiring itineraries already tried and tested, a river cruise takes away any hassle of arranging a holiday for yourself. And unlike ocean cruises, river ships often dock in the heart of the cities you’re visiting so you don’t need to climb aboard a dingy to go ashore. You shouldn’t suffer from seasickness either.

12. There’s an itinerary to suit everyone

Choosing river cruising for the first time? You’re going to be spoilt for choice when you start looking at destinations and itineraries. From spring river cruises to see the Dutch bulb fields and June trips to Provence’s lavender fields to autumnal breaks in wine-making regions and merry Christmas market cruises, many wonderful holidays await.

choosing river cruising passau

A mooring point in Passau, Germany

13. River cruises are excellent value for money

It’s easy to budget for a river cruise as the price you pay covers almost everything. The cost usually includes return journeys and transfers, all meals and complimentary tea and coffee onboard, luxurious cabins, excursions with expert guides, free wi-fi as well as the service of a professional crew. You may need to pay for drinks with dinner or in the bar, and tipping on many river cruises is at your discretion. River cruises are great value for money, so your first river cruise will seldom be your last.

14. Gratuities are at your discretion

Going on your first river cruise and baffled by tipping etiquette? You’re not alone. If you’re concerned about tipping policies and anxious a set amount will be added daily, seek out a cruise company that lets you leave a gratuity at your discretion. Budget-conscious travellers may also want to purchase a drinks package before departure.

15. River cruises are for all ages

Gone are the days when cruises only appealed to the older traveller. Today, no one cares about the age of their cruising companions. River cruise passengers are all enjoying a special adventure, perhaps even celebrating a birthday or anniversary, a honeymoon or retirement. Whatever your reason for booking a river cruise for the first time, it’ll be a holiday to remember. And one you’ll choose to repeat time and again.

Choosing river cruising made easy

Are you considering a river cruise for the first time? There’s plenty of excellent river cruise information online, blogs to inspire you and Q&As that will answer any queries. And if you need a little more help, contact a reputable cruise company – experts who are passionate about travel will give you all the assistance you require.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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