What has a mouth but does not eat, has a bed but does not sleep, always runs but never walks?
I’ll give you a hint. It has something to do with the top travel trend of 2014.
As you probably guessed from the title, the latter is river cruising and the former is a river. Your kids and grandkids will enjoy that riddle, I am certain. Meanwhile, you will love a river cruise (also certain.)
River cruises are forecast to continue as one of travel’s hottest niches in the coming year. River cruise lines like Avalon Waterways, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld and Scenic have increased their excellent selection of itineraries for the 2015 season to meet growing demand, focusing largely on Europe’s great rivers.
European river cruising currently corners the river cruise market. It’s hard to think of a more pleasant way to visit the renowned cities of this beautiful and beloved continent.
Now I’ll skip the riddles and instead give you facts about river cruises to riddle you with excitement!
Top 10 Reasons to Choose a River Cruise
1. You’ll see the world’s greatest cities
The vast majority of Europe’s famous cities were built upon rivers. Upon docking, you’ll be steps from your destination’s main and must-see attractions.
2. You’ll cover more territory on a boat cruise
Waterway travel increases efficiency and ease. You’ll avoid the hassles of car rentals, traffic, driving in foreign places with different rules and navigating unknown terrain on your own. Plus you won’t have to pack and unpack at each new destination.
3. Enjoy an intimate experience
While a cruise on massive ocean liner is something to be experienced, a riverboat’s smaller scale means fewer passengers, offering a more personalized touch and attentive service.
4. Scenery is constantly changing
Although sweeping views of the ocean are breathtaking, there can be an element of visual monotony. Sailing close to coastlines, the scenery on a river boat is ever-changing and is just that—scenic.
5. Local onboard dining and entertainment
Cuisine and music are an integral part of a culture’s identity, so your knowledge of the places you visit will be enhanced. Chefs buy fresh produce from the local port market and local entertainers perform in the evenings. You will get to savour regional specialties you may not ever get a chance to enjoy elsewhere. Menus on river cruises appeal to the most discriminating palates, prepared by skilled international chefs.
6. Shore excursions are usually included
River cruise off-shore itineraries are brimming with exciting and eminent ports, featuring lively markets, must-see attractions and famed galleries, museums and more, led by knowledgeable tour guides. Local guides and expert cruise staff will tour and teach you about everything from famous landmarks to regional wines. If you prefer some independent exploration, bicycles are usually found onboard at no additional cost to rent.
7. Visually-appealing vessels
While not all river cruises are a luxury price point, river cruise boats promise a luxurious experience. Sophistication and elegance are the hallmarks of river cruise interiors. Staterooms are stylishly appointed and common areas are designed to be inviting.
8. Comfort is king
River boats offer space to move around, restful staterooms and a relaxing environment. Amenities are aplenty—a classroom with enriching lectures, a nightclub with music, a library for a quiet retreat, a health spa for treatments and maintaining your exercise regime.
9. Meet new friends
The intimate scale mentioned earlier also fosters a warm atmosphere that promotes guest interactions. Some itineraries are two weeks long or more and forging new relationships inevitable. You’ll meet like-minded people who love to travel, and it’s always a travel bonus to have new friends in different countries.
10. Bragging rights
Yes, we said that! While it’s likely many of your friends have been on an ocean cruise vacation, river cruises are still more unusual. As a travel trend, river cruising is forecast to become more popular, so why not be a pioneer in your peer group and embark on one soon? Of course, if you prefer to keep quiet, your photos of majestic architecture and snaps of your exquisite culinary experiences, will say it all for you.
So it’s not only the Danube and Rhine that gush; it’s the travellers on them that gush about their river cruise holidays. As the cruise industry’s fastest growing niche, river cruising involves a fleet, but it definitely isn’t fleeting. Hop on board this exciting and enriching way to see Europe. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Contact a Flight Centre cruise expert to book your Europe river cruise today. We’ll also help you make the most of your vacation, perhaps by adding a few days in your departure port? Save money by bundling your airfare, cruise and hotel in one low price. We look forward to helping you!