A River Cruise in Europe

Ever Considered Taking A River Cruise?

River Cruise… don’t those 2 words bring about some nice thoughts & images!! 🙂
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A River Cruise in Europe.
Since Shawn started offering his services as a Cruise Consultant 6 years ago, one thing he’s noticed is a recent dramatic increase in the amount of people inquiring about taking a River Cruise!

How about You… have you ever considered taking a River Cruise?

If not, today we’ll cover why the River Cruise industry is booming and so popular these days and who knows, maybe next thing you know you’ll be sailing down one of the World’s famous Rivers! 🙂
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Why Taking a River Cruise is so Popular
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So, what’s the draw to taking a River Cruise?

Well, it depends on who you’re talking to.

If you’re talking to “Ocean Cruise” lovers like us, (we’ve been on 28 of them and on 1 River Cruise… you can see pics of all of our Cruises, including our River Cruise here) **Update as of August, 2015 is 35 Oceans and 7 Rivers** it has to do with wanting a little more variety, seeing some new unique places and overall taking the pace down a notch.

Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing more exciting then being at Sea with thousands of others and having non-stop action in a floating city.  But now and then it’s nice to sit back, relax and enjoy some great food & great wine while you watch some amazing cities & towns float by.

Now the other type of person who loves River Cruises are “non-cruisers”.

They have no interest in sailing anywhere with thousands of people and the idea of flashy entertainment, casinos, etc. doesn’t interest them at all. But the idea of unpacking once and seeing multiple places in a week or two and immersing themselves into a culture definitely appeals to them…

…and a River Cruise is the perfect way to do just that!

Now, let’s go ahead and talk about…

What’s unique about a River Cruise that you don’t experience on a “big ship” Ocean Cruise?
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  • You sail with a lot less people… In Europe, the average River Cruise Ship holds just 150 people… usually the most you’ll have onboard is around 200 people or so in markets like China & Russia… and sometimes it’s much smaller… in Africa for instance, on a Chobe River Cruise, just 24 people
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    What do those #s above mean for you?  No lineups, smaller groups on your excursions and overall a more intimate, personal experience
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  • On a River Cruise for the most part you dock right in town.  This means less time spent commuting and more time exploring… and $0 transportation costs for you! 🙂
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  • No motion sickness worries. There are lots of people out there who simply won’t take a big ship Cruise as they’re afraid of getting motion sick.  Now we can tell you with 100% confidence, that worry should never stop you from taking any Cruise as almost everyone with those worries comes back saying it was a non-issue… remember, these are floating cities with state-of-the-art stabilizers, they’re not sailboats!
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    But on a River Cruise, even the motion sick worriers aren’t concerned as you’re, for the most part, on extremely calm rivers that are nowhere near open water where wind, storms, etc. take place. When we did our “Yangtze River Cruise” in China, we felt zero motion… there are more bumps on city streets! 🙂
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  • You get to see some really unique, “off the beaten path” places. When sailing on a big ship, they’re a little more limited to where they can take you.  When there’s 6,000 people onboard a ship for instance, even if a town of 500 people had the facilities to dock you, they could never handle having 6,000 people exploring town… but on a River Cruise you can visit almost anywhere.
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    Here's a picture of Nancy & Shawn visiting a school in China during their Yangtze River CruiseAnd those small towns are some of the best experiences, mixing & mingling with locals.  On our “Yangtze River Cruise” for instance, yes, we visited the big cities in Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing & Xi’an.  But some of our most memorable stops were along the Yangtze River visiting small towns… in one place we even got to visit a school that the Cruise Line built and we visited with the kids for a couple of hours and saw how they lived… amazing!!
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  • A River Cruise is extremely inclusive!  When you buy your River Cruise you really are paying for the majority of your trip up front.  Yes, there are “all-inclusive” Ocean Cruise lines out there but if you know the industry at all you’ll know they’re the “Luxury” lines and are very, very expensive.  With a River Cruise though it’s the standard to have lots of items included in your fare.
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    Excursions are a big thing!  When you go to the different towns and cities on your journey there’s always something included like a walking tour or bus tour or Museum visit or winery tour for example.  At lunch and dinner many River Cruise lines include wine, beer & soda.  Some include those things throughout the whole day, not just at dinner.  On a Europe River Cruise, almost always these days they provide Free Internet… many people spend hundreds of dollars on an item like that on a Big Ship. Complimentary bikes are popular on many River Cruise lines these days and are a great way to check out a new town… especially in Europe where there are bike lanes everywhere and it’s totally safe to ride there!
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    What’s included varies from River Cruise line to River Cruise line but the point is, you get GREAT value for your dollar when taking a River Cruise!!
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  • You get extremely immersed into a region’s history & culture when on a River Cruise!  This in part is due to the fact that excursions are included.  Many people on the big ship Cruises “get cheap” after they pay for their Cruise and instead of checking out the places they visit in depth, they simply walk around town and shop a little and learn zero about where they’re visiting.  “Why pay for the Cruiseline’s overpriced excursions?”, they think to themselves, when they can check it out on their own?
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    Now if it seems we’re being critical above, no worries, we’re just describing what our early Cruises personally looked like! 🙂  We used to do nothing but explore on our own when in Port and thought we weren’t missing a thing.  After doing some excursions for the first time after taking a bunch of Cruises though, we realized there’s so much more to see, do & learn besides what’s around the port and in the main town in each place.
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    And that’s the great part about a River Cruise.  Once you’ve booked you’ve paid for the tours so you take them all, LOVE them, and get totally immersed into the region you’re visiting.  Between our visits to the “Great Wall”, the “Forbidden City”, the “Summer Palace”, “Tiananmen Square”, the “Terra Cotta Warriors”, the “Beijing Opera”, the “Shanghai Chinese Acrobats” and much, much more, which was all INCLUDED on our “Yangtze River Cruise” in China, it turned out to be one of the BEST Vacations of our lives and is the reason why we’ll be doing a LOT more River Cruise Vacations in the Future!! (As of August, 2015 we’ve done 7 River Cruises which you can see here have 2 more booked and they’ve all been great!)

So there you have it, a look into why taking a River Cruise Vacation is so popular these days.

Now of course, we want to tell you about some of the “World’s Most Scenic Waterways” that you can visit while taking a River Cruise and want to tell you which River Cruise lines are the most popular but you’ve already done a lot of reading for today so stay tuned and we’ll publish “Part 2” of our River Cruise lesson in our next blog post. 🙂

We appreciate You!

Nancy & Shawn
Your Trusted Cruise Experts!

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