Why you should consider a river cruise
Did you know that October is Plan a Cruise Month? Well, now you do, and we reckon this is the perfect time to start thinking about your first (or next) river cruise.
River cruising has been growing in popularity since 2012, when something of a boom began. And, with plenty of new ships launching (23 this year alone) and cruise lines expanding into Asia and the US, it's showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.
If you haven't already jumped on the river-cruising band wagon, here are a few reasons why you should.
For many, the beautiful non-stop scenery along the riverbanks is their top reason for going. With land never far away, there is always something to see, be it rolling vineyards, historic cities or jungle. Calling at a new port every day means the scenery is constantly changing.
"Most cruises will dock right in the heart of your location allowing you to explore at ease on foot or perhaps cycle into town as many of the cruise lines have bicycles on board", says Margaret McCorriston, River Cruise Product Manager, Iglu Cruise.
Even the new larger river vessels are still much smaller than most ocean ships, making river cruising ideal for anyone who prefers a more intimate experience. Passenger numbers are in the low hundreds (sometimes even less), rather than the thousands.
Sea sickness is a concern for some, but most waterways are extremely smooth and make for a very tranquil ride. The width of the rivers, the lack of waves, the flat bottomed design of the vessels and the relatively slow pace of the ship mean you barely feel you're moving.
More time in port
On most cruises, you'll visit one or more ports a day, and cover several countries in one trip, while only having to unpack once. Plus, with fewer passengers, getting off the boat is speedy, so no long queues holding up your exploring. Some cruises also stay overnight and offer evening excursions, giving you the chance to experience a city in a whole new way.
"On some of the days there are two or three ports in a row. You almost can’t keep up with everything that’s happening without recording it in a journal. Luckily though, at the end of each day, the welcoming lights and the wonderful culinary delights await you on board." Lucia Rowe, Head of A-ROSA UK.
While Europe continues to draw the biggest crowds, there are plenty of other options including the Amazon in Brazil and Peru, the Yangtze in China, the Mekong in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Mississippi in the US and the Irrawaddy in Myanmar (Burma).
The majority of river cruises pack in plenty, including drinks, tips, excursions and transfers. The passenger-to-staff ratios also mean service is excellent and very personal.
Margaret McCorriston, River Cruise Product Manager at Iglu Cruise, says: "Most river cruises include well planned excursions and drinks with lunch and dinner, and a host of little added extras, like free Wi-Fi for instance, making them extremely good value for money."
You might also consider a no-fly cruise from the UK.