Europe is an amazing place with many different cultures in close proximity. But European travel can be intimidating to those without a lot of experience. When I first became an agent our first river cruise was something that changed my life forever. Being able to see the beautiful countryside of Europe with the availability of expert guides, the amazing food, and seeing the scenery from the boat is something that you will never forget. Every day you port in a new destination with fun and exciting possibilities. It is truly a life changing experience and something I recommend to all of my clients. Here are 5 reasons why I believe river cruising is the BEST way to see Europe and why you should consider river boating for your next trip.
1. One of a Kind Travel
When you embark on a river cruise you visit the small towns that make up the heart of Europe. Each cruise generally begins and ends in a major city, like Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest, so you get to see the larger cities in Europe, however the best part about these itineraries are the charming towns and villages you experience along the river. For example, on the Danube you have multiple itinerary options but one such option takes you from Vienna to Austria and to Nuremberg, Germany. Along the way you pass through the beautiful Wachau Valley with wineries galore and castles nestled along the river bank. You’ll visit places like Melk, Austria, which is home to an 11th century Benedictine Abbey and you’ll pass through Regensburg, where you can enjoy some excellent German beer and sausages!
On the Rhine you could begin your cruise in Switzerland and end up passing through the black forest in Germany, Eastern France, and wind up in the Netherlands. You’ll get to see towns like Strausbourg, which is magical at Christmas time, and Riquewihr which looks like the untouched set of Beauty and the Beast.
To put the beauty of the countryside and the architecture into words is an impossible task. But when you see it with your own eyes you realize just how priceless the experience really is.
2. The Food and People
You get to meet so many wonderful people. When you board your river cruise there are generally no more than 150 passengers on the ship. You have most meals on board where there is open seating and usually you will share a table with a fellow travelers. If you’re like me, and you’re a creature of habit, you will find yourself eating meals with the same people and you learn so much about each other. With a common love of travel it is hard not to enjoy time with your fellow cruisers. Each meal is amazing with a host of options to meet any taste. The entire dining experience including food, the company at your table, and the staff make it a truly rich experience.
3. The Tours
On almost every river cruise itinerary you will have included tours and sightseeing. This is a huge value! Some of the cruise companies even give you multiple tours to choose from and activity levels ranging from slow-walkers to bike riding city tours to hiking. These tours are planned and arranged for your specific ship, so you’re getting to enjoy the tours with the same people you’re sharing life with on your river cruise. The tour guides are usually from that town or area nearby so they’re extremely knowledgeable, and they all speak English. There are also specialty river cruises, like the Christmas Markets or wine-themed itineraries where you’re not only seeing these wonderful places but you are getting to experience them on another level. Imagine being on a river boat in Bordeaux and visiting wineries that the general public doesn’t have access to. It’s truly a remarkable experience. The best part about the ships and tours, is that on the river you’re right by these towns, so you’re pulling up to a pier and hopping right off and you’re there! There is no long disembarkation process or waiting for boats to take you on-shore. You go right from the ship to your tour.
4. An Amazing Value
When you purchase your river cruise you’re getting a fantastic value. On cruise lines such as AmaWaterways they include Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. Beer and wine are included with Lunch and Dinner, you get the tours that are offered, tour director, internet access, gym access, and more. Some of the newer ships have spas as well, for an additional cost. Most of the itineraries have onboard evening entertainment ranging from classical piano players to karaoke. Many cruise companies will also offer discounted, or even included, airfare as well. If you’re wanting to spend more time in Europe before and after your cruise we can even arrange hotel stays and tours outside the cruise for you!
5. The Crew
These people are amazing. The crew are from all over the world and they take such good care of the cruisers. They will get to know your name and how you take your coffee or tea in the morning. They will leave you chocolates on your bed at night and bring you anything you need. They love their jobs and it enriches the experience tenfold. You leave the ship missing these people. You won’t get an experience like that on a ship with 2,000 plus people.
Life is short and these trips are not only an amazing experience but the memories you make will last a lifetime. There is no better way to see Europe, in my opinion, than on a river cruise. Ready to book your dream trip today?
Get info today! I’d love to talk with you about your next trip.
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