Discover if River Cruising is Right for You

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go on a river cruise, or if river cruising is right for you?  I recently had the pleasure of experiencing a Christmas Markets on the Rhine River Cruise firsthand with Viking Cruises.  I shared my experience on social media during my travels and many of my clients reached out to me afterwards to discuss if river cruising was right for them.  If you’re still wondering if it’s right for you, I’d like to share some of the top reasons why I wholeheartedly recommend them to my clients!

Aquavit Terrace onboard the Viking Hlin river cruise
Aquavit Terrace onboard the Viking Hlin in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley in Germany

First and foremost, a river cruise takes the guesswork out of international travel.  The cruise lines take care of even the smallest details so that all you need to do is show up and enjoy your stress-free vacation.  It’s a fantastic way for someone who has never traveled internationally (and who may be intimidated by the process) to book a trip abroad with confidence.

Relax in the comfort of a luxurious stateroom, savor gourmet cuisine, and enjoy onboard entertainment.”

There are usually no “sea days” on a river cruise.  You often cruise at night and wake up each morning to a new destination.  River cruises typically dock in the heart of the cities, so you can walk from your ship right into the area you want to explore.  In the rare event where you are docked a bit further away, there’s usually a complimentary motorcoach to transport you into town.  This means you aren’t docking miles outside the city like you would with many ocean cruise ships.   There’s just nothing like waking up each morning, having breakfast on the ship, then heading off to explore a charming new city or village that looks like it’s straight from a postcard!    

The amount of ground you can cover while on a river cruise would be difficult to achieve on a land tour or while traveling independently.  A river cruise gives you a bit more access to so many of the things that make exploring Europe so exciting, such as quaint cities/villages, castles, cathedrals, and more!  You also have the opportunity to visit multiple countries, even with a one-week cruise.  For example, the 8-day cruise I took visited four different countries and many more cities!   

Christmas Market in Basel, Switzerland
Christmas Market in Basel, Switzerland

Most river cruise ships hold less than 200 passengers, and some destinations are closer to the 120-guest range.  Smaller ships with fewer passengers mean more attentive service and a more personalized and intimate experience.  Another plus….if you’re prone to sea sickness (like me), this will not be an issue with a river cruise.  You often can’t even tell the river cruise ships are moving except when going through a lock, and even then, it’s barely noticeable.   

A river cruise can be as active or as laid back as you want it to be.  There are daily excursions available, and you can sometimes combine two in one day if you’re feeling really adventurous; or you can opt to have a relaxing day on the ship….it’s totally up to you!  If you really want to immerse yourself in the destinations, you can explore on your own, and even enjoy lunches or dinners ashore versus on the ship when possible.  You will sometimes have the opportunity for free time to explore more in the destination after an excursion, or you may opt to return to the ship.

River cruise lines are now offering more active and immersive itineraries, which are attracting a younger demographic.  They are becoming more popular for young honeymooners, family reunions, and girls’ trips.  River cruise passengers tend to be well-traveled, and they are some of the most unique and interesting people I have met during all my travels.  The smaller number of passengers also means you will get to know some of your fellow passengers better and develop lasting friendships with them.

Socializing on a river cruise
Relaxing in the Lounge

Unlike some larger ocean cruise lines, you do not have assigned tables for meals, so you have the opportunity to socialize in a more intimate setting with the people you meet onboard.  The smaller vessels mean the chefs will focus on more regional dishes from each destination you’re visiting, and you will have multiple options to choose from at meals.  There are standard dishes that are always available if you don’t see something on the regional or daily special menu that appeals to you.  They also cater to passengers with food allergies or intolerances if you notify them of your preferences.  River cruise lines include house beer and wine with lunch and dinner, or you sometimes have the option to purchase a premium drink package if you wish.

“Unpack once and settle in and enjoy your unforgettable journey!”

On a river cruise, there are no formal nights, and the dress code is casual to smart casual, so it’s easier to pack.  You can also choose to pack light and have laundry done on the ship at a reasonable rate.  And my favorite part of a river cruise–you unpack once and can settle in and enjoy your unforgettable journey!         

So, if you’re looking for hassle-free travel and a cultural-rich, educational experience with beautiful scenery, then I bet river cruising is right for you! For more in-depth information about river cruising, check out my free Guide to River Cruising.

When you’re ready to explore river cruise options, you can sign up here for a complimentary discovery call with me.

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Hi, I'm Wendy Tipton

I believe well-planned travel adds deep meaning to your life; as you explore different cultures and awe-inspiring landscapes, it makes you feel alive. And as you forge connections across borders and barriers, it makes you a better human.

That’s exactly how travel has enriched my own life—and I want it to do the same for you. With my expert guidance, exclusive industry connections, and eagle-eye for detail, I’ll send you off on that enrichening adventure you’ve always dreamt of, so you can start living a more fulfilling and thrilling life now.

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River Cruising Guide