River Cruising: 5 Things to Know

One of the hottest trends in Europe travel today: River Cruising

Americans have been flocking to Europe in growing numbers to try traveling Europe in a whole new way: by river. More and more river cruise ships continue to be built and debuted every year as the popularity of river cruising continues to grow. And why not? River cruising allows travelers who have perhaps already been to Europe a whole new perspective of the continent, as well as a whole new way of traveling around it.

Need a reason to go? We have 5 for you:

  1. CONVENIENCE River cruising is the epitome of convenience. Like ocean cruising, you unpack just once; you’ll receive excellent services onboard; you’ll receive three included meals a day. However, unlike ocean cruising, river cruising also allows you to save time by avoiding transfers between the cruise port and main city— your ship will cruise up and dock either in the heart of each city, or close by. On most river cruises, as soon as you disembark, within minutes you’ve arrived at a noteworthy site. Plus, river cruise ships are small—usually carrying no more than 200 passengers—meaning you’ll rarely have to wait in line to disembark, be seated for dinner, or take a tour. Plus—river cruises are smooth, rarely rocking or relaying any sensation of movement, so kiss your motion sickness goodbye!


  1. INCLUSIVITY Most river cruises are very inclusive, which makes their value even higher than most ocean cruises. For example, on Viking River Cruises, you’ll enjoy all the following with your cruise fare: at minimum, a river view room (all cabins include at least a window or balcony); all meals; free tea, coffee and pastries, day or night; unlimited wine and beer at lunch and dinner; free walking tours in most major ports of call; free Wi-Fi onboard the ship; concierge services and assistance; Culture Curriculum®: sampling local wines, enjoying a folkloric music performance and more!


  1. UNIQUE ITINERARIES From wine country in Portugal to the ancient capitals of Eastern Europe, river cruises will take you to places ocean cruises and even many land tours don’t cover. Not only will you have access to unique places and experiences—touring an ancient abbey high in the Austrian mountains, learning how to make Rudesheim Coffee, attending a flamenco show, and more—but you’ll experience them in unique ways. In nearly every port, you’ll be provided with a local, English-speaking tour guide, who is an expert in the culture and history of the city you’re visiting, and you’ll tour in small groups, allowing you to get the most out of your experience, and not just be moved around as a big group. Admissions and any necessary tickets will be taken care of for you, as will transfers (when they’re required) to and from the ship.


  1. BEAUTIFUL, NEW SHIPS River cruise ships are well designed to maximize space onboard, from the dining room to your stateroom’s bathroom. As river cruise popularity is on the rise, more and more of the ships you’ll see cruising by are brand new, making for a lovely, modern and efficient experience onboard.


  1. NO SEA DAYS Unlike ocean cruises, river cruises normally journey only at night, or for a few hours during the day. This allows you to maximize your time in port, exploring the destination just beyond the gangplank. But don’t worry—if you’re a big fan of the relaxation provided by sea days, you can stay onboard as much as you choose, reclining on one of the public decks, in the library or in your stateroom.


Want to learn more? Check out the links below for information on cruise line inclusions, itineraries and other interesting details!