Ready for the Rivers? How to Know a River Cruise is for You!

Follow the Waterways through Countries

Why River?

 – A river cruise ship averages 150 – 250 guests providing a floating luxury hotel  transporting guests down historic rivers starting and ending in famous cities.

 – Scenic travel through countries with stops offering opportunities for exploring regions with limited unpacking and numerous options for immersing in her amazing cities, towns and villages. Visit multiple destinations with one price. 

 – The all inclusivity of your experience includes food and beverage and often multiple excursions to take the stress out of planning and budgeting for your visit to a region.

 – Each day of your journey brings you to a new and memorable destination offering you both opportunity and time to immerse yourself in the destination you are currently visiting.

 – Unique locations and sometimes hard to get to locations are available with half or full day excursions or on your own to visit the historic sites and enjoy new cultures.

– Plenty of opportunity for spending free time relaxing and absorbing the intimacy of the small ship amenities while you enjoy a river cruise.

 – Onboard the immersion into the local culture is incorporated into the culinary experience. Sample foods and recipes from the region while also enjoying some of your traditional favorites.

Where Can you Cruise?

Traveling along some of the most explorable waterways in France, Portugal and central Europe from Amsterdam to Switzerland or Germany to Romania with itineraries on the some of the most scenic rivers while exploring as you river cruise Europe.

Portugal – the beautiful Douro river transports you to or from the historic city of Porto. The home to Port wine production offers round trip or one way cruise itineraries through Portugal’s ancient wine route and important inner waterway.

France – embarking in cities like Paris, Lyon, Arles, Chalon-sur-Saone or Bordeaux with itineraries that take you round trip or one way along the Seine river, Rhone, Saone or Garonne rivers highlight the essence of the French experience.

Dutch Region – experience the best of Holland and Belgium with visits to some of it’s most beautiful medieval towns. Starting and ending in Amsterdam some of the cities on the itinerary include Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Rotterdam to round out your “Low Countries” encounter.

Rhine River – starting in the canal city of Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands and flowing down to Basel Switzerland on a journey of castles, abbey’s and scenic alpine beauty.

Main & Moselle Rivers – tributaries of the Rhine will transport you through the lesser regions of Germany, France and Luxembourg to beautiful charming medieval towns.

Danube River – the second longest river in Europe flows through central and eastern European countries from Germany through Romania. 7 – 14 night itineraries that flow through some of the best cities that Europe has to offer. Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and easy access to others like Prague & Bucharest.

For the more adventurous traveler – explore itineraries in far off regions: 

Southeast Asia  – cruising along the Mekong river known as the “Nine Dragon’s River” for its nine tributaries is an important trade route. Travel from Siem Reap in Cambodia to Ha Long Bay in Vietnam on a 7 – 15 night itinerary taking in the sites both scenic and cultural in nature interacting with the friendly people and the historic regions.

Egypt – the Nile river is the world’s longest river flowing south to north through 11 countries including Egypt. Your adventure begins in Cairo, capital of Egypt, before heading south to historic Luxor on the east or left bank of the Nile. During your 11 day cruise you will visit some of the most important cities in ancient civilization.

Africa –   perhaps a visit to a location diverse in culture, landscape and wildlife experiences is on your bucket list. An Africa itinerary will offer you world heritage sites such as Victoria Fall’s, the infamous Kruger National Park and access to the Serengeti. The opportunities for wild-life viewing of the big five along  both land and the Chobe river are numerous.


What to Enjoy?

City tours are located in every port, so the relaxed traveler can sit back and enjoy being transported for visits of the highlights and landmarks of the cities you arrive at.

For active travel enjoy the port cities and surrounding countryside by bike or optional hiking tours to explore the regions to the fullest.

Wine cruises allow you to immerse deeper in local traditions and savor palate-pleasing flavors as you cruise thorough Europe’s world renowned wine regions.

With a wine host onboard, enjoy unique wine tastings, cuisine pairings and special excursions to further expand your wine knowledge and river experience. Enhanced excursions will include local vineyards, lectures, exclusive private cellar tours and participating in guided tastings, wine pairings and conversations with winery owners and hosts.

Tulip Season celebrates the annual tulip festival in the Netherlands and Belgium. Embark on a spring voyage round-trip from Amsterdam to the most colorful and manicured tulip fields honoring the arrival of spring. Visit some of the beautiful Belgium cities of Ghent, Bruges and Antwerp with time at the beautiful Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam. 

Christmas Markets bring you  into Europe’s holiday traditions dating back to the middle ages. The annual street markets are held in the center of the town squares offering seasonal local foods, drink and artisans offering seasonal crafts and local souvenirs. Coinciding with Advent and lasting approximately 4 weeks up until Christmas Eve.

When to Visit?

Itineraries are available almost year round.

Europe cruises early spring – late fall with Christmas Market itineraries offered in late November to late December on the Rhine and Danube.

Asia options are January – April and August – December skipping the Monsoon season period.

Africa itineraries can be enjoyed March – November and Egypt is offered January – May & September – December avoiding the hottest months in the region.

Most F.A.Q. about river cruising?

What is the best itinerary for a first time river experience? A 7 day Rhine  or Danube itinerary are both great options to visit multiple countries. The Douro river in Portugal is a great option for your first single country cruising experience. All itineraries journey through the best of what Europe has to offer as you get the feel and unique experience of river cruising under your belt.

I have done a river cruise in Europe in the past and want to try something different.  Feeling a bit more venturesome, choose a specialty itinerary like Tulip season in Belgium & the Netherlands in the spring or a Christmas Markets itinerary in the winter or perhaps a wine cruise and focus on a wine experience offered in the spring and late fall.

Are meals included? Yes, meals are generally included in your fare with gourmet restaurant style dining and changing menu’s influenced by the local regions.

If the ships are like floating hotels, what are the amenities onboard? Each river supplier will vary slightly but generally they will offer a reception area, multiple dining options, lounge and bars, fitness centers, walking decks, some have pools or hot tubs, massage and salon services and laundry service.

I have dietary restrictions can they be accommodated? Yes, the suppliers that we work with can assist you with options for allergies and/or dietary requests. Note that with the limited size of their kitchen’s they can not guarantee cross-contamination won’t occur.

Is there a dress code and formal nights like on ocean cruises? Generally river passengers are comfortably dressed for daytime excursions and in “country club” attire for the evenings onboard.

Are excursions included in the fare? With various options for suppliers, each has their own unique focus on excursions. Some include a featured city tour excursion with additional purchase options and some include many included choices for you to match your interests.

I would like to take my family. Are kids allowed and can cabins accommodate us? Exploring along the river is a great option for families who would like to visit the historical and cultural sites along her banks. Some suppliers can accommodate families with children in a single or connecting cabins depending on ship and number of guests. There are minimum age requirements, depending on the itinerary, and the ships are not equipped with child based activities or programs. 

What are high and low water levels and how will it effect the rivers? In general the water levels will not be something that you notice while enjoying the rivers. Occasionally due to too much rain or lack of rain Mother Nature can have an effect on the river levels. With modern technology, today’s ships have been designed to accommodate for minor fluctuations so your itinerary will not be effected. During extreme situations, adjustments will be made to allow you to enjoy your planned itinerary. Water levels are not a seasonal condition and can not be predicted based on travel month or time of year.

Is river cruising safe? With the small size of the ships and limited number of passengers, full attention is given on a daily basis to the needs of the passengers who are aboard. You always see land while on the river and the high standards of our suppliers will provide you with the safest experience for an comfortable and enjoyable travel experience. Additionally, with easy access to multiple locations along the river, medical assistance is easily attainable and available as needed.

Traveling by river is an outstanding experience! It feels so luxurious, staying at a deluxe hotel while sailing on the calm waters.

The staff is there to make your voyage extraordinary, attending to your needs, remembering your preferences, and making you feel special.

You can enjoy your trip to the fullest, as most of the expenses are already covered.

If you are thinking about planning a river cruise, BucketList Travel Advisors  can provide top-notch assistance.

Download the river comparison guide and discover the perfect river for you and talk to Sandee, who is always available to answer any questions you may have!

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