River Cruising is becoming one of the most popular vacation options. The industry has seen dramatic increase in passengers. More river boats are being built that ocean ships. Cruise Lines International Association announced that member cruise lines will invest more than $4 billion in 22 new ships this year — 16 of which are river boats. So what is all the excitement? Here are 6 reasons from a recent article in US News and World Report:
6. Because river cruises elevate the all-inclusive concept
While many cruise lines offer all-inclusive rates that cover onboard expenses such as meals, lodging and activities, river cruises up the ante by bundling the cost of shore excursions, onboard entertainment and drinks into their fares, eliminating unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. “River cruising is a fantastic value for both time and money,” explained Richard Marnell, senior vice president of marketing at Viking Cruises. Marnell, emphasizes that many cruise companies tend to offer an excellent lead-in price, but then tack on extra fees for everything from soft drinks to meals at specialty dining venues. Viking also offers complimentary Internet access (in private cabins and public spaces) and airport transfers. Other operators, like Uniworld and AmaWaterways, cover the cost of shore excursions, premium beverages and Wi-Fi capabilities in their all-inclusive rates.
5. Because you’ll enjoy slow-paced exploration
On a river cruise, travelers have the chance to steep themselves in off-the-grid destinations. While larger megaships typically require travelers to tender to shore, riverboats dock in town, making land-based exploration easier. And according to Marnell, guests stay stimulated every day with cultural, culinary and history-driven tours and activities. These experiences allow travelers to “experience something authentic to the region,” he added. ” Other shore activities can include anything from an after-hours visit at a world-renowned museum to exploring a colorful market with a local. And if you’d rather branch off and explore on your own, you have plenty of free time in port.
4. Because you’ll find cultural immersion on board, too
Much like many luxury ocean liners, river cruises aim to connect passengers with local cultures both on and off the ship, with onboard lecture series and destination-inspired meals. But for travelers looking to embrace their surroundings, river cruises offer culturally influenced onboard enrichment activities like interactive cooking lessons and tastings based on the region visited that day. On a cruise through the Rhine Valley, passengers can be invited to attend expert-led talks highlighting the history of the French impressionists and famous castles of the region. And on journeys along the Nile, guests are offered onboard lecture series that provide historical and cultural context for Egypt’s 5,000-year-old dynasties and artifacts. Meanwhile, AmaWaterways serves regionally inspired dishes and provides onboard entertainment from local performers.
3. Because you’ll unwind in a spacious cabin
For most of us, lodging can make or break a vacation. River cruise companies are taking note, rolling out large suite category staterooms featuring open-air balconies with sliding glass doors and other bells and whistles for guests.
2. Because you’ll encounter fewer crowds
A main allure of river cruising is the intimate atmosphere. Carrying fewer than 200 passengers, river cruises allow for a higher level of personalization than what’s experienced on the 3,000-plus passenger megaships sailing today. On a riverboat, you don’t have to worry about wait times at meals, nor do you have to stand in long lines when embarking or disembarking from different ports.
1. Because it’s hassle-free
On a river cruise, you don’t have to sweat the details: Once you choose your itinerary and cabin, everything is mapped out for you, eliminating the need to plan shore excursions, make reservations at specialty dining venues or stress over additional expenses since everything is covered in the all-inclusive rate. Plus, you don’t have to be concerned about transportation expenses or whether you’ll have enough time to absorb each destination. Another bonus: you can spot the shoreline at all times, and you never have to worry about a choppy passage — a top selling point for cruisers prone to sea sickness. “At the end of the day, it’s for anyone who’s seeking enrichment, education and immersion in their travel experiences,” Marnell summed up.
Why travel with Stitch?
When you travel with Stitch, you never travel alone. You are in a group of like-minded travel companions who want to enjoy life and explore the world. You will immediately feel welcomed. I will be traveling with the group to be sure everything goes smoothly and everyone feels included. You will have the opportunity to meet other Stitchers who may share similar interests and meet others who will introduce you to new things.
That “nasty” single supplement?? Stitch can suggest cabin mates for you. You can save money and make a new acquaintance.
The Danube River has been selected as one of the top 5 river cruises itineraries, which is why we chose this itinerary. So come along, join Stitch for a great adventure on the Danube River aboard AmaWaterways
I look forward to sailing with you on the Danube.
This post was written by Stitch Travel Expert Sandy Lipkowitz. If you have travel questions for Sandy, ask them in the comments section below and she will respond in her next post!
Sandy Lipkowitz is a travel expert and consultant. She has traveled to nearly every continent and was voted Reader’s Choice: Best Travel Agent (in San Francisco) by the “J” Weekly. While Sandy currently resides in San Francisco, she is very eager to help any and all travelers across the globe.
Stitch readers can submit their travel questions to Sandy in the comments section of our blogs. She will try to answer as many as possible in an upcoming ‘Dear Sandy’ post!
To read Sandy’s last travel blog, click here.