In recent years the popularity of river cruising has soared with more than 5.7 million travellers taking a river cruise between 2015 and 2018. The number of ships sailing Europe’s rivers have nearly doubled in the last ten years, and there are now more than 350 ships plying the Danube, Rhine, Moselle and Douro Rivers, among others. But what makes this method of travel so alluring? Our travel experts have compiled a list of the top-five reasons why river cruising is the ideal way to explore your next destination.
Just like an ocean cruise, a river cruise allows you to see multiple destinations, sometimes multiple countries, without having to pack and unpack your suitcase in each. River cruise ships are essentially floating hotels, acting as a home base for the duration of your trip. Venture off the ship and explore each port before returning to the familiar comfort of your beautifully appointed stateroom each night.
Which river cruise is right for you? Read more.
Because they navigate the narrow, often shallow waters of European waterways, river cruise ships are by necessity much smaller than their ocean-going cousins. Most ships can accommodate fewer than 200 guests, giving the river cruise experience a decidedly intimate feel. Fewer guests means that the guest-to-staff ratio on river cruise ships is much higher than on ocean vessels, so you can expect a more personalized service.
Travelling inland waterways means you can get much closer to each destination. Even as you sail, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of historic castles, vineyards and bustling cities from your stateroom and the ship’s deck. Many river cruise lines also offer immersive cultural excursions – some included in the cruise fare – allowing you to interact with the communities you visit and engage in local customs.
Some travellers avoid cruises out of fear of seasickness. While ocean-going vessels are susceptible to nausea-inducing waves while sailing between ports, rivers produce very few waves and the slow pace of a river cruise ship makes for a mostly smooth ride. Plus, the banks of the river are almost always within view, making it easier to orient yourself and offering the reassurance that land is never very far away.
Many cruise lines now offer interest-based itineraries, so you can explore Europe while engaging in your favourite activities. Wine cruises continue to be a popular choice for travellers who enjoy a nice glass (or two) of vino, offering onboard wine seminars and excursions to wineries along the river. Other speciality cruises include Jewish cultural itineraries, beer and culinary experiences, garden and nature tours and celebrity-hosted trips.
The popularity for river cruising shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. And with incredible itineraries to choose from and CAA Member exclusive savings with many river cruise suppliers, there’s never been a better time to try it out.
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