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  • Cultivating Connections Travel Planners

Your Q&A Guide to Enjoying Your First River Cruise

Updated: Jan 26


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Europe's inland waterways and stunning seaside coasts are brimming with old-world treasures.

If enjoying a European river cruise is at the top of your bucket list, but you're not sure what to expect, check out Cultivating Connections Travel Planners' answers to top questions!


Just a quick note–you'll notice that we refer mainly to Ama Waterways in this article. That's because Ama is one of our *favorite* river cruising partners. Ama's luxurious ships offer plenty of personal space, innovative cuisine, and complimentary excursion experiences on the market.


Without further ado, let's hop into our River Cruise Q&A!



Q. I can get queasy on boats. Will I feel seasick on a river cruise?


A. Most likely not! A great benefit of river cruising is the calm waters you'll sail on. The only motion will be the momentum of the ship moving forward and possibly some very small wakes from passing boats. But they'll probably be so small you won't even notice! As someone who experiences motion sickness occasionally, I have never had an issue on a river cruise.


But if you're extremely worried about getting motion sickness, pack your favorite motion sickness medication (I always recommend Bonine). Another great option is the Relief Band, a drug-free, FDA-approved wearable device that treats nausea and vomiting with electrical pulses delivered through the wrist.


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Cruise nightlife is all about late-night cocktails, live music, karaoke, dancing, watching a movie on deck, or spending a couple of hours at a jazz supper club.

Q. What's included in my cruise fare?


A. Most river cruises include food, alcohol, onboard wi-fi, port taxes, and a selection of excursions.



Ama Waterways, one of our favorite luxury river cruise companies here at CCTP, includes the following:


  • all onboard meals (including all-day tapas, afternoon tea, specialty tastings, and more!)

  • unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner

  • complimentary Sip & Sail cocktail hour with wine, beer, spirits, and soft drinks

  • specialty on-shore meals (select sailings only)

  • complimentary Wi-Fi onboard

  • a menu of complimentary excursions

  • guided hiking tours

  • guided biking excursions



One of the top advantages of luxury river cruising is its all-inclusive approach. Guests traveling on one of these ships simply board their boutique river cruise vessel, unpack, and relax as the idyllic scenery of Europe passes by.



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For the most part, shore excursions on river cruises are more cultural or educational than you'll find on their ocean counterparts because they sail through in-land areas with historical or regional significance.

Q. I'm not a group-excursion kind of traveler. Do I have to do excursions with the group, or can I explore independently?


A. AmaWaterways prides itself on offering an extraordinary travel experience from beginning to end. This includes ensuring guests feel free to explore independently if desired. If that's your style, the ship concierge can provide you with a map of your port with city highlights marked. You can also get recommendations for restaurants, shops, museums, and bars to explore.


Just make sure you return to the ship before your scheduled departure!


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Pack casually for your journey, but smart casual. Ask your Travel Advisor for a packing list for additional ideas.

Q. What kind of clothing should I pack?


A dress code of generally comfortable, layered clothing that is adaptable to the possibility of changing weather conditions is always advisable for daytime excursions. And, don't forget comfortable shoes. Trust me on this. I've been on a river cruise where my feet were aching by day two. It's not fun.


Consider bringing a tote bag or backpack on your excursion so you will have somewhere to stash your extra layers as you remove them (as well as a place for the souvenirs you pick up along the way!). Temperatures can vary through climates and altitudes. You don't want to shiver on your morning excursion because you forgot to pack a sweater!


Dinners are slightly more upscale as "Smart Casual" - think of how you might dress for an evening at the theater.


From Masterclass.com: "Smart casual attire is a dress code that combines well-fitting, polished business wear with elements of casual attire—think blouses, polo shirts, button-downs, chinos, dress pants, dark-wash jeans, and polished, practical footwear. On the spectrum of formality, smart casual lies between dressy casual (jeans and blouses) and business casual (dress pants and pencil skirts). A common way to achieve a smart casual look is to pair pieces of slightly different formality levels, like a pencil skirt with a vibrant sweater or a refined blazer over a flirty blouse."


Bring a variety of shoes: sandals for going to the pool or spa, walking shoes for excursions, and a pair of dressy shoes for dinner and evening events onboard.


If you're unsure what to bring, ask me about a customized packing list for your destination!



Q. I love spending time in the water, not just on the water, while I'm on vacation. Is there an onboard pool?


Would it be a vacation without a little poolside relaxation? We think not! You'll find heated pools on all Ama Waterways ships except four–AmaCello, AmaDante, AmaDolce, and AmaLyra–which have hot tubs.



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Laundry services are typically available on board for a fee.


Q. Are there laundry facilities on board?


A. Yes! Ama Waterways offers onboard laundry service and ironing for an additional fee. This service is offered by many river cruise lines. Some have self-service facilities on board as well.



Q. I'm on a special diet. Can the chef accommodate me?


A. In most cases, yes. But you'll need to tell your Travel Advisor about your dietary requirements before your departure date. Ama Waterways can accommodate most special diets and food allergies except Kosher.



Are you wanderlusting after an authentic, luxurious European adventure on the water? Contact CCTP today to schedule a travel planning session.




To find out more check out my home page here.



Or you can just give me a call at 405.310.7588





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Booking your vacation through a travel advisor is the best way to ensure an amazing travel experience. Here at Cultivating Connections Travel Planners, I have a wealth of industry experience which I love channeling into crafting the ultimate travel adventures for my clients.


Destinations & Experiences on the Danube River

Set sail on a journey down the Danube River and explore all it has to offer, from incredible destinations to unforgettable experiences!

Download our extensive free guide below!




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Elevate your cruise experience with fun & unique shore excursions.

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