Ten things you need to know about European river cruising

Cruise expert Gary Bembridge reveals 10 things you should know about river cruising.

Ten things you should know about European river cruising

A European river cruise is one of the most common top-of-list holidays for older Australians. And why not? Imagine seeing France from the inside out?

But what does a river cruise entail? Is it the same as a regular ocean cruise? Is everything included in the price? What will you get to see? Which type of traveller takes a river cruise?

Cruise expert Gary Bembridge has kindly done our work for us and listed 10 things you should know before you go.

Have you ever taken a river cruise? Do you have any advice for our members?



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    3rd Mar 2018
    I agree with almost every comment on the video, but on the two river cruises that I have done, there were always optional tours available in the afternoon. Unlike the optionals on ocean cruising, these were very reasonably priced and I took every one available.
    I have also done two ocean cruises, give me the river cruises every time!
    pedro the swift
    3rd Mar 2018
    Have done river cruises and looking forward to another one. Partner does not want to go on ocean cruise and from what I have seen/heard neither do I. Had a great time on each cruise and would recommend.
    3rd Mar 2018
    I would like to make some contrary views regarding European river cruising. We have lived in one of the key cruising ports (Budapest) for four years and travelled along the length of both the Rheine and Danube rivers from the North Sea to the Black Sea. We have also travelled quite extensively in France.

    The video mentions there may be two boats in port at the same place. Last year we rented an apartment in Cochem, (population 5000) Germany on the River Mosel where it was not uncommon for eight cruise boats to be tied up at any one time. The small town was overrun with boat people who would stay 30-60 minutes, spend very little but change the nature and character of the town completely. The locals hate it because they have lost their town, need to drive and shop elsewhere because all the 'practical' shops now sell only over priced souvenirs, the town makes little revenue but has huge clean-up costs and it has destroyed the local community. We would sometimes be sitting in a in a small river village café when suddenly 500 people would be disgorged from boats and outnumber the locals 3 to 1. It is of course different in the larger towns but don't think you will be experiencing the real culture of these smaller places. For example, how many boat people have even had the chance to browse in a French, German or Hungarian supermarket to see the incredible range of food the locals enjoy and so how they live?
    Remember that what you see in the TV ads in 30 seconds is what you will see in a week or ten days on your cruise.
    Its easy, far cheaper and more interesting to hire a car and drive along the interesting parts of the rivers; stop where you like for as long as you like, experience places as individuals rather than a crowd, avoid the quite long boring parts of the rivers and divert to some of the untouched beautiful locations. You can always get on a day boat and experience many of the highlights you see on the ads.
    If you see countless river cruise ads on your TV and remember the same ads are appearing around the world, so don't be surprised if you see numerous boats and thousands of boat people at the quaint little towns you visit.
    3rd Mar 2018
    I have never gone on an ocean cruise because I would likely be sea sick the whole time. Are river cruises likely to have the same effect? Can anyone tell me.
    3rd Mar 2018
    River cruising from my limited experience are pretty flat, but nowadays cruise ships especially the larger ones have got great stabilisers, we have been in swells of up to 11 metres and haven't had a problem, but others on our cruises have been sick, you can take medicines to help, but I used to take ginger and I've heard of people having a green apple, as I mentioned in an earlier post we have done many cruises, I used ginger on the first 3 cruises but haven't used anything for years and have never been sick, I do get very sick if I go on a small boat like a fishing boat.
    3rd Mar 2018
    Thanks Jim I appreciate that. I couldn't do an ocean cruise I would be throwing up before I left the harbour. My sea sickness almost requires hospitalisation. If I try to read a map in a car I normally need to lay in the dark for a couple of hours before the sickness passes.
    3rd Mar 2018
    Never been on a river cruise but have been on about 40 ocean cruises, I know cruising is not everyone's cup of tea, it's great that we are all different, I have never been able to justify the cost of river cruising which works out to be about $800 per day for a couple, ocean cruising works out to be about $300 per day per couple depending on who you cruise with. The river cruises do look great and you can visit some nice places, my wife and I like to go to a particular area in Europe or the Baltics and stay for between 5-10 days at the same hotel and just travel to other areas/countries from our base hotel, we often use local transport and sometimes take organised tours, we never travel 5 star usually somewhere that is comfortable and friendly and within our budget, we are often pleasantly surprised.
    Lethal Leigh
    3rd Mar 2018
    Tib I have done the River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. There is no way you will ever get seasick on this cruise. It is so smooth sailing. I suggest you go for it.
    3rd Mar 2018
    Lethal Leigh, I agree. When you are on a river boat a strange thing happens - you remain stationery, as if in a room on the ground, the scenery glides past.
    Cosmo reminded me of something I had forgotten - you do get ripped off by the locals, so the answer is to purchase as little as possible. It is easy not to annoy the locals by not using their restaurants. Simply go back to the ship on the shuttle provided, eat an excellent meal at no cost, then shuttle back to the city, or, better still, take an optional bus tour into the country.
    Fair Go
    9th Apr 2018
    Having been on the river cruise Prague to Paris, struck none of the problems Cosmo pointed out, although I can believe it along the Mosel, which I have travelled in another trip to Germany by car. Didn't strike any problems there either. Only once on the Prague to Paris trip was there any more than 1 boat moored at any of the river ports, and it was only 1 and we just walked from our boat, across the other one and onto the shore. Have only done 1 ocean cruise, to NZ, it was not for me, too many people on board. Give me river cruises any time.

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