Life certainly moves at a slower pace on a river cruise and with so many wonderful options such as cruising the Mekong, the Peruvian Amazon, The Irrawaddy River in Burma, the Douro Valley in Portugal, European Christmas Markets it is easy to see why it is booming.
This year saw me take my very first river cruise, just a short one from Amsterdam to Antwerp but given the huge rise in the popularity of river cruising, I thought I would try it for myself.
River cruising is a fast growing industry and with so many options available one must ask a lot of questions, apart from the when and where, to ensure the product meets the client.
For example, when cruising in cooler weather, is a balcony a must? Not all cruise ships have cabins with a balcony, so you have already narrowed your choices.
Do you have 5 star expectations? Is fine dining one of your favourite parts of the trip? Do you expect your crew to speak multiple languages? Most crew are international but some lines only operate in English. Do you need a pool? How much time you plan to spend in your cabin will certainly dictate the size of cabin you require, as will the amount of luggage that you have. My twin bedded cabin was certainly comfortable and adequate but if I was travelling with a companion and more luggage, we would have been on top of each other. Are you happy with portholes or do you really want floor to ceiling windows? What do you expect in the way of evening entertainment? Do you like to listen to guest speakers or just gaze out a peaceful lounge window and watch the scenery?
The benefits of river cruising are many – one of the top reasons is not having to unpack and pack each day. Another is that one can see a lot in a short amount of time. Smaller ships can get into city harbours – although again one should check exactly how far you will dock from the city centre, in some cases it is a short walk into town and others a 5/10 minute taxi ride.
There is something for everyone, so why not take some time out and try it for yourself, the only problem is deciding which!