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  • Cultivating Connections Travel Planners

Would You Rather Go TO a Country, or THROUGH One? River Cruises are PERFECT for you!

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

European river cruises travel planning ocean cruising wine-focused christmas markets Erin Smith ~ Affinity Group Travel Advisor
River Cruises - Going through a country

Unless you have had your head buried in the sand for the past couple of years, you

are probably aware that Ocean Cruising, with its bellyflop contests and buckets of

beer, is slowly giving way to a more “civil” mode of travel –River Cruising. Most

commonly thought of in Europe, on the Rhine, Danube, Seine, Douro and even Po

rivers, River Cruising is also extending itself to Russia, China, Vietnam & Cambodia

and – yes...even the United States (although US River Cruising is a whole different

animal). Many of the voyages are “themed”, for special interests such as “wine

immersion/focused”, “Tulip Time”, “Jewish Heritage”, a popular “beer tasting cruise” along the

Rhine, and the ever-popular “Christmas Markets” cruises during the time of Advent, in the months of November and December. Here are several reasons why so many travelers are

switching to River cruising...and very few of them will ever go back to the oceans!

1. The boats are smaller and more intimate (120-170 passengers) so you can

actually get to know your fellow guests and not feel like you are being herded

along like cattle...You may eat with whom you choose each evening and have

a choice of a few onboard dining venues for variety.

2. It is as close to hassle-free as you can get. There are no lines to get on or off

the boat and, when you arrive at your next stop, you can usually walk right off

and be immersed in your destination. Europe grew up along its rivers, so there

are some very charming and interesting small towns and big cities to explore.

Very few ports require bus transfers, which makes it easy to come and go at

your leisure.

3. The trip can be totally all-inclusive, depending on the cruise line and ship you

have chosen. For example, you may have the great pleasure to experience a 7-day cruise on the Danube River and your bill at check-out could be only $50, to cover a massage you splurged on. Those couple of glasses of wine and a few cocktails during the week (Ahem!) are included! Many river cruises even includes shore excursions in every port, airport transfers, Wi-Fi and all gratuities. You were not even allowed to tip your butler at the end of the cruise...and he certainly deserves it after having to look after you, delivering fresh coffee every morning to wake you up!

4. Being on the river, there are no waves, so seasickness is not an issue. Also,

most cruises include transferring through a series of “locks” to accommodate

the changes in elevation, which most people find super interesting to watch.

You can literally touch the walls of the locks from your balcony as you pass

through! Evening entertainment can be a little sparse, but there is always live

music in the lounge, lots of movies and entertainment on your in-cabin TVs

and most cruise lines bring on local entertainers in some ports, such as an

OomPah band in Passau Germany or Gypsy dancers in Budapest. Plus, there

are informative talks on the ports-of-call and cocktails with your newly-made

friends from around the world.

The price tag of a River Cruise can cause a little bit of “sticker shock”, but when you

figure out everything you are getting for the cost, it becomes much more

manageable, and quite a good value. Viking River Cruises is the most well-known of

the River Cruise lines because they spend boatloads (literally) of money on television

and print advertising, and they have done a lot to introduce travelers to the River

Cruise concept. However, there are many other River Cruise lines with higher

customer satisfaction rates and more complimentary inclusions just waiting to show

you the time of your lives as well.

A travel agent who specializes in European River cruising (like me!) and has relationships with the sales reps from all the different lines can be incredibly valuable in helping you sort through all of the options and find the perfect fit! River cruising is also a great option for small groups of friends, family or even work colleagues who would like to travel together ....whenever I book a River Cruise, I always ask if there is anyone who might want to join you on the trip....most times at least 1 or 2 additional couples come forward! Who would you

like to sip champagne with as you cruise through the incredible Wachau Valley in

Austria’s wine country?

So, if you think you are finished with the hairy chest contests and waiting in line with

3998 of your new best friends on the Ocean cruise mega-ships, why not give River

Cruising a try? 96% of first-time River Cruisers say they would recommend the

experience to a friend! Cultivating Connections Travel Planners is travel partners with several trusted and preferred lines and I would love to help match you (and your friends) to the perfect experience! Get on board the “civilized” River Cruise movement! I know I am planning one!

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