Over the last few years the number of people choosing to go on river cruises has substantially increased. As a result there are so many different European river cruises to select from. So finding one that not only suits your tastes but also your budget isn’t going to prove all that hard.
Up until the average age of those taking such trips are in their 60’s. Things are changing. Many cruise operators use tactics to entice younger people to book them. They have done this through providing shorter cruises as well as including a lot more activities. This is because they realise that younger people don’t have a great deal of time on their hands.
If you intend to book yourself such a vacation then here are a few tips to help ensure you get the most from these European river cruises.
Tip 1 – Find Out Beforehand, Which Stretches Of The River Are The Most Scenic
For most people the biggest reason for going on such a vacation, is it allows them to absorb more of the regions life and history. It allows them to see it from a completely different perspective, one that you won’t enjoy when traveling by car or train.
The view from your cabin window is constantly changing, except when it is docked or passing through a lock. This way you are ensuring that you don’t miss out on anything. After boarding make sure you speak to the cruise director to find out when the cruise is going to pass through the most interesting and picturesque parts. Allowing you plenty of time to find a location on board where these can be observed from by you. You have a choice of going up on deck, but if you want to stay warm then head for the observation lounge. If going outside remember to wrap up well.
Tip 2 – Find Out What’s Happening At Each Port The Day You Dock There
When the ships docks you’ll often find most people choose to take off on one of the cruises pre organised tours. But to really get a feel for the place why not head off on your own. This is easy to do on European river cruises. So it helps to know before you arrive what events are taking place in the town or city where the ship docks.
Also if you are going to head off on your own make sure you know what time you need to be back on board. What you don’t want to happen is you head off only to come back to find the ship has already left. To avoid any such issues arising make sure that you set an alarm on your phone to tell you that its time to head back to port.
Tip 3 – Pack Some Rain Wear
It doesn’t matter the time of year you intend to take such cruises the weather can be somewhat inclement at times. You’ll only have a few hours available to explore the towns where the ship docks. It is important that you are able to make the most of your time there no matter what the weather is like.
So make sure that you put some rain wear or an umbrella in your backpack or handbag. This means that nothing is going to stop you from exploring your surroundings once the ship has docked.
Tip 4 – Pack Some Shoes You Just Slip On
Put in a pair of shoes that you can put on quickly should you find yourself need to rush up to the observation deck suddenly. As the cruise wends it way along the river the views you enjoy will constantly be changing. So there is always going to be something new for you to see and take photos of.
There are going to be plenty of stretches of the river that even if your cabin has a balcony the views aren’t the same. But being up on the top deck allows you to enjoy the scenery that you pass on both banks of the river. So pack a pair of shoes in your case that you can just slip on, but not flip-flops. Then you can race up on deck and spot some amazing sights such as castles that you may not see from your cabin.
Tip 5 – Find Passengers You Like And Suggest Dining Together
When you take European river cruises meals are served at set times. On a few ships they often allow you to enjoy a quick breakfast or lunch from a buffet. But when it comes to dinner in the evening this is a more formal affair. It is often arranged for around 2 hours but can often go on for much longer as they don’t like it to be rushed.
If you happen to like other passengers on the cruise then dinner will be a lot of fun. But if you don’t it can become quite tedious. If you happen to come across other passengers who you like then don’t be afraid to ask them to dine with you. They will help to make the whole time on board just that little more palatable. Plus at least you’ll have something to talk about.
Tip 6 – Be Ready For Spotty Wi-Fi
There are going to be certain stretches on a river cruise where you won’t be able to get access to the Internet. This is especially true when the ship is going through any locks. Plus there are also going to be times when the connection is slow, as everyone else on board has decided to use it.
Okay the Wi-Fi may not be all that great on board but at least it is provided to you free of charge. This isn’t the case on ocean cruise liners. As well as being much slower it is also extremely expensive. If you do need access to a good Internet connection, wait until the ship docks. Then find a local cafe where they offer Wi-Fi that you can use whilst enjoy some local fayre. You may even find somewhere you don’t need to use your own laptop or tablet, that have computers you can use instead.
Tip 7 – Forget About Room Service
When it comes to eating on board such ships many of them don’t have room service facilities. So if you want to skip dinner in the evening be prepared to arrange something else beforehand. This is something important to remember if you happen to be traveling with children. They can get hungry at really strange times.
You may find that some ships have snacks being served in the lounge. Others may offer light teas in the afternoon or late at night, but not when dinner is being served. One thing that you often find is available through out the day are drinks including tea and coffee and fruit.
There are going to be some days when you been busy exploring that you don’t feel up to sitting down to dinner. It is a great idea when on shore to pick up some snacks that you can eat later on in your cabin.