8 Things to Know About River Cruises

Viking River Cruises - Viking Astrild

Viking Astrild, Viking River Cruises

Thinking about a river boat cruise? If you haven’t gone on one before, you’re in for an experience of a life-time. In fact, once you’ve gone, there’s a good chance you’ll be ready to book your next cruise the minute you step off the boat.

While with both river cruising and ocean cruising you embark once and only have to unpack once, there are differences. We’ve compiled a list of helpful things you should know before you embark on your first river cruise.

1  You’ll Dock in the Heart of Town

River boats are able to dock in the heart of historic towns and less-visited sites. You’ll step off the ship and likely be in the center of town.

2  You’ll Have a Front Row Seat

The views are constant and changing. You’ll view communities, woodlands and farmlands, historic architecture and more from the comfort of your stateroom or on the top deck of the ship. You might even hear snippets of conversation happening on shore!

3  When Privacy is Important

Because multiple river boats travel the same river, you’ll find several docked at the same time and place as your ship. You may be able to look into someone else’s stateroom window, so while docked, it is a good idea to close your curtains.

4  Tour the Area By Bike

One of the many amenities for passengers are bicycles so that you can explore every port you visit. The concierge onboard your ship can provide you with recommendations for local pubs and attractions. Because of the slower travel speed of the boat, you can sometimes bike to the next port of call and arrive before your ship does!

5  Unique Shore Excursions

While you can tour on your own, most cruise lines offer an extensive array of onshore tours and activities. These small and private group tours are an ideal way to get an exclusive and behind-the-scenes look at an area. If you do prefer to tour on your own, you’ll find self-guided tours available on many of the cruise lines.

6  Enjoy a Low Key Experience

Because river cruises are small, then naturally tend to be more intimate and the pace is relaxed. You’ll make friends easily with other passengers as you join together for drinks on deck, dinners, or during onshore excursions.

7  Passenger Demographics

While it is changing, you’ll find few children onboard. There are some family-friendly cruises, but you’ll find most passengers are older.

8  It’s All-Inclusive

In general, everything you might do, eat, or drink while onboard is included in the price. WiFi access is free (if available) and some cruise lines offer complimentary shore excursions.

See the World by River Cruise

Mekong River cruise on AmaWaterways

AmaLotus, AmaWaterways, Vietnam

River boat cruises are a great way to see the more intimate side of the world. There are excellent river cruise itineraries on the rivers of Europe (Danube, Rhine, Seine, etc.), and also on (but not limited to) the Mekong River in Vietnam and Cambodia, the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar, the Chobe River in Africa, and the Amazon River in South America.

Does a river cruise interest you? If so, we’re glad to be of assistance. We can answer any questions you might have and suggest the perfect river cruise itinerary for you. As well, check out Viking River Cruise Destinations for destination ideas and itineraries.

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