River cruising is a great way to travel, but what should you consider before you float in a boat?
River cruising is a big travel trend, with 2015 seeing newer ships and better itineraries than ever before. With so many options, it’s important to start your research early, try to book at least four months in advance and, where possible, book a year ahead for the best discounts. Though river cruising is mostly all-inclusive (except in the USA), be aware there will be additional costs such as flights, drinks and tipping.
It’s worthwhile taking your time to consider your destination. The Danube and Rhine rivers are the traditional heartland of river cruising, but Europe offers many alternatives, such as the Douro in Portugal, the Rhône in France and the Main in Germany, Russia, Myanmar, Vietnam, China, the USA and even our own Murray River provide alternatives for those trying to find something a little bit different to Europe.
The variety of special interest cruises is on the rise, such as gastronomy in Normandy (APT), Dutch tulip season (Scenic), child-friendly tours (Uniworld) and WWII history (Avalon). If these pique your interest or if wine, Christmas markets, art or even Jewish history are more your cup of tea, then there’s a cruise for you.
Cruise lines differ in levels of luxury, ambience and clientele. For example, Scenic Tours is an Australian-owned company, so there are often many Aussies on board, and its newest ships offer nearly all private-balcony suites. Tauck’s ships are small yet offer large suites. Uniworld is elegant and somewhat formal and Viking is highly organised, and tends to emphasise an educational experience.
For more information, visit www.rivercruiseinsight.com.