For every type of traveler out there, there's a different type of river cruise to suit their unique taste. You see, river cruises are all vastly different -- and we're not just talking about the location.
Choosing to go on a river cruise instead of an ocean cruise is just the first step in planning your getaway. After that, you get to move onto the fun part and decide which river cruise is right for you.
You need a cruise that moves at your pace, fits in your timeline, caters to your interests, and exceeds your expectations. As you've heard before, it's not always about where you're going, but how you get there.
Before you buy your tickets and put your vacation on the calendar, follow our top tips for choosing the perfect river cruise for you.
Ideal port locations
One of the greatest things about river cruises is that you're not choosing just one location. Instead, you're stopping at several. Once you know what region you want to be cruising through, do your research on which cities the ship will be porting at.
Because they're smaller, river cruise ships can port much closer to a city's main destinations than ocean cruise ships can. Instead of seeking out transportation the moment you get to shore, as a river cruiser, you'll find yourself a walkable distance from numerous activity hubs.
When you're looking for your next river cruise, take a close look at where the captain will be docking and you might have an easier time narrowing down your options.
One of the unique things about river cruises is that travelers spend more time on land than they do the ship. That's why when you're choosing a river cruise, it's very important to look beyond the ship and consider what types of activities you want to do during shore excursions.
Are you typically the traditional touring type, or do you like to search for hole-in-the wall cafes that only the locals know about? Whatever you like to do, make sure your river cruise company and destinations cater to your preferences.
Better yet, find a river cruise that doesn't tie you down to one specific plan. How many times have you carefully mapped out your vacation itinerary only to find yourself wishing you had made space in your schedule to do something different or spontaneous? Don't make that mistake with your next river cruise. Choose a cruise that gives you plenty of options and also the freedom to switch up the plan on a whim.
Here are some typical river cruise activities to keep an eye out for:
- Tours. Explore all of those must-see places with professional tour guides who will blow your mind with historical facts and offer a cultural perspective.
- Adventurous excursions. Define adventurous however you choose. For some, it's mountain biking or cliff diving, and for others it's tasting a new wine or asking where the bathroom is in a new language.
- Shopping. We know you usually get your souvenirs at the airport, but don't do that this time around. Instead, browse the markets and boutiques you never knew existed and take home new gifts and accessories that nobody else has.
- Food. If you're a foodie, then vacations are just as much about the local cuisine as they are about the sites. And we support that! Embrace the many flavors and famous delicacies that your river cruise destinations have to offer.
The right amenities
It's true, you won't be spending as much time on the cruise ship as you will on land, but you will be on the ship long enough to appreciate the amenities on board. Think about the amenities you can't live without and don't be afraid to splurge on the ones that you really want.
Here are some options to consider:
- Complimentary WiFi
- Self-serve snack and beverage stations
- Fitness centers
- Sun-deck pools with swim-up bars
- In-room massages
- Higher staff-to-guest ratios
- Daily cocktail hours
- Private butler service
- Rental bicycles for on-shore excursions
The right things included
When you're searching for a river cruise, make sure you understand exactly what's included and what's not. Find out what "all" means in an all-inclusive trip. Does "all" include only the amenities on the ship, or does it also include select activities at the various port cities? These are things you need to take into account as you budget for your trip and make your final decision on a cruise company.
If you'd like to learn more about river cruising, check out our other articles here:
- What to Expect on a River Cruise
- Understanding the Different River Cruise Boats
- Why YOU Will Fall in Love with River Cruising
- How to Make the Most of a River Cruise
- River Cruise Price Comparisons
- Comparing Popular River Cruise Lines
Want more river cruising tips? We can help with that! Just schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (864) 979-0610 and we'll share our expert insight and answer all your lingering questions.
Still trying to figure out if river cruising is for you? If you're looking for some guidance, just click the banner below to download our guide to discovering your cruise style!