We answer all your questions about Euro River Cruising
River cruising in Europe is hugely popular and it’s not hard to see why. There’s so much to see and experience in Europe with diverse cultures, spectacular castles and cathedrals and scenery that will take your breath away. There’s also a lot of distance to cover which can mean long periods of coach or car travel. When you’re cruising however, you’ll often cruise at night which means you can cover a lot more in a shorter time. And let’s face it, enjoying a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed is far preferable than a cramped seat in a coach or car! If you’re cruising during the day, you can relax on board, walk around, enjoy excellent food and wines and watch the scenery go by!
Today we’ve got some Frequently Asked Questions for river cruising in Europe.
What’s included in a river cruise?
This all depends on the cruise company you’re cruising with. All will include your meals, some will include beverages and some will include shore excursions and sightseeing. The all-inclusive cruises generally mean that once you’re on board, you won’t need to open your wallet for a thing (apart from personal spending of course). Cruise lines such as Riviera, Crystal, Scenic etc. will include everything. It pays to check as the all-inclusive cruise can be excellent value for money.
What extras will I have to pay for?
Again, this depends on your cruise line. If you’re doing an all-inclusive cruise, the only thing you’ll need to pay for is your own personal spending. Check if your cruise line includes gratuities – some will include them, others may be all-inclusive except gratuities. Also check if “included beverages” include top shelf – often the beverages will include your wines, beers, soft drinks, tea, coffee and spirits except the top shelf.
What side trips are offered?
In each port, the cruise company will offer some form of excursion. The all-inclusive cruises will outline what tour is included at each stop, whereas others may offer a selection that you will need to book ahead for. You don’t have to do what is on offer – you can do your own thing, have a wander or book your own sightseeing. You just have to make sure you get back in good time before your ship departs.
The benefits of the included excursions are:
a) They’re already paid for so you don’t have to worry about additional cost.
b) The cruise line has ongoing relationships with the service providers, so you can be guaranteed of reliable operators.
c) The cruise line has done extensive research into the best places to see and has tailored the tour around this.
d) You can usually skip any queues when going into places of interest.
e) If your tour gets delayed, the ship won’t leave without you.
How mobile do I have to be?
This is a tricky one as it comes down to each individual and each cruise. Generally, there will be a good amount of walking during the excursions so a fairly good level of mobility is needed. In saying that, the cruise line will often cater for differing mobility levels by taking two groups (one that can go at a faster pace and a slower one that caters for those who have mobility issues).
The other issue is that the river water levels sometimes drop which means it may be a pretty steep gangplank to get on and off. If you can walk up and down those, you should be fine. It’s not always conducive to wheelchairs, unfortunately.
Sometimes if a port is busy, the ships dock next to each other. If your ship is on the outside, you may have to cross from one ship to the next to the next in order to disembark. You need to be able to do this as well as negotiate stairs.
How long are river cruises?
River cruises are generally at least 3 days, but usually 7 days or longer. You may choose to cruise just a small section of a river or go from, for example, Budapest to Amsterdam.
When is the best time to travel?
The most popular time is during Europe’s summer months during the beautiful sunny weather. Pricewise you may find lower prices during November, December, March and April. The winter Christmas markets are super popular too.
Is river cruising suitable for kids?
River cruising is different to ocean cruising in that the ships generally don’t have child-specific activities or kids clubs. However, if the kids enjoy travelling and can entertain themselves during the down time, absolutely! Just check with us or the cruise line policy on whether they allow children and from what age.
Is river cruising good for solo travellers?
Most definitely – it’s a great option for solo travellers. Some ships have solo cabins available meaning that, while the cabin may be smaller than the regular cabins, you won’t have to pay a hefty single supplement. Some cruise lines also offer select cruises without any solo supplement ship wide, meaning you can choose whichever cabin and pay the regular twin price.
River cruising is also great for solo travellers because there are many other solo travellers cruising, so it’s easy to meet people. With included excursions, it also means you can travel with the group rather than having to source your own sightseeing.
If you have any other questions about river cruising in Europe, give our team at Ultimate Cruising a call. They will be only too happy to help and, if we don’t know the answer, we will find out for you! We have a range of Europe river cruises available and can package them for you as cruise only, cruise and accommodation, full package with airfares, back-to-back cruises or as part of a larger European adventure. Just give us a call discuss the options.