River Cruising 101

First Time Cruisers

River cruising has become popular with discerning travelers who enjoy the intimate experience of cruising within the heart of the globe's most quaint regions. Cities were historically built around rivers, especially in certain regions' of Europe. Experience the river cruising phenomenon, and discover 5-star service, exquisitely designed staterooms, delectable cuisine, and masterfully planned shore excursions – all included!

With river cruises you can enjoy exceptional all-inclusive value. Also, guests can enjoy added amenities such as the use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks to explore destinations at their own pace. Shore excursions are not only included with your cruise, but are also hosted by expert English speaking local guides who enthusiastically share their passion and insight. When onboard, you can relax in your comfortable surroundings, dine al fresco, or enjoy a glass of regional wine or beer as you take in the divine scenery.

River cruise lines are not just intimate because they're smaller ships, but also because they voyage through the heart of quaint towns where you can experience a slice of history, gaze at castles, or truly experience insightful encounters with local cultures and heritage. Most of the fine cuisine onboard is prepared with local ingredients, as well as regional specialties that are often featured. You can enjoy enriching experiences with local talent featured every night, as well as shore excursions that take you to the region's finest vineyards, patisseries, markets, or iconic venues.

Step back in time and make your way on an unforgettable journey. River cruise lines can take you into the heart of towns and ancient marketplaces. There are extensive itineraries available in regions such as Europe, Asia, Egypt, Africa and more, with special attention to detail and exclusive access to ports that large cruise lines cannot reach. Navigate historic byways and waters, as you experience truly authentic cultures; and make lasting friendships, both onboard and on shore, with the vacation of a life.

All Inclusive Value

River cruise line's offer exceptional all-inclusive value, so that you can enjoy a relaxing vacation. Whether you choose Viking River Cruises, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, or AmaWaterways, you'll be taken care of with gracious service. Not only do you save time by porting in the heart of towns, markets, on the steps of historical landmarks, and among the bustling city squares, but onboard you can relax knowing it's all included.

Take the trip of a lifetime and experience cruising at its finest, with ships that set an unparalleled standard for offering the most intimate and comfortable vacations. Rest assured that you can enjoy unlimited beverages onboard, including fine wine, beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffees, tea, and bottled water. Aside from the award-winning fine cuisine, guests can also relish in complimentary culinary experiences on select itineraries. Guests can also retreat to their Riverview staterooms, most with French balconies or verandas, as well as unwind with premium amenities, pillow menus, and designer bath products. Keep yourself informed and up to date with complimentary wifi and internet access.

On shore you can expect to partake in enriching shore excursion hosted by English speaking guides, as well as immerse yourself in each destination knowing that your transfers are taken care of. River cruise lines also offer Enrichment Experiences onboard that extend to local entertainment, guest speakers, and informative sessions.

There are some amenities that certain river cruise lines vary in. Many river cruise lines also include all gratuities onboard, some specialty restaurants in port, complimentary use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks, and also hotel accommodations pre- and post-cruise, as well as airfare.

The all-inclusive experience of river cruising allows guests to focus on what makes a vacation so wonderful: enjoying the moment. Knowing that every detail is taken care of allows you to experience the best of each destination, whether your visit Viking River Cruises' ancient castle, or a medieval city center with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, or a visit to traditional manyattas settlements of the Amboseli Maasai with AmaWaterways.

Service/Experience

River cruise lines excel in onboard hospitality, with added touches like turn down service every night. River cruise lines have a shared passion for delivering caring and gracious service to all guests. Travelers consistently praise the level of genuine service received aboard river cruise lines. Plus, river cruise lines often engage local guides for their shore excursions who provide insight and unique perspectives to destinations visited. It's reassuring to know you'll only have to unpack only once, and with simple details such as a hot towel delivered to you after a long day spent exploring or remembering your favorite tea can distinguish the river cruise line service.

River cruise lines go above and beyond to ensure that they include unique experiences as part of their shore excursion itineraries, and it's all included! With English speaking local guides they'll take you on an adventure in each port, ensuring you delve deeper into the culture, history, and art of each destination. Whether it's a night at the opera, or a stroll through an exclusive vineyard, they've got you covered. Some cruise lines even allow you to experience a day in the life of the locals, with visits to villages and homes for a truly enriching experience. Plus, concierge services are available aboard most ships if you'd like to explore on your own. Make the most of each moment on your trip, indulge in enriching experiences, enlightening excursions, and choose the pace that suits you.

Some of the most celebrated chefs create their renowned dishes to complete the indulging onboard experience of a river cruise. From delicious entrees to divine desserts, a river cruise line provides the epitome of fine dining. Plus, the benefit of having a sun deck means you can enjoy al fresco dining – imagine combining your morning breakfast with the views of a majestic castle.

Each dining experience is a special occasion made that much better with exceptional service. In the evening expect to enjoy a 5-course dinner, complete with masterfully created dishes and exquisite desserts. Chefs can also take in dietary needs with lighter choices, vegetarian options, and more.

Another extraordinary experience to expect of a river cruise is the addition of local culture and cuisine to dining experiences. Viking River Cruises chefs will create local delights, around the evening's festivities which feature local performers and entertainers. Plus, you can take in culinary classes where chefs will pass on their knowledge of regional and international bites.

Amenities & Onboard Activities

Designed to meet your every need, many of the river vessels provide added bonuses for their passengers that enhance the experience of ultra-comfort and luxury. Enjoy onboard spa services, or sip a glass of wine as you gaze at ancient landmarks from the bar and lounge. Some cruise lines, such as Uniworld also offer their own library onboard, so that you can relax with a book and take in the scenery.

River cruise lines offer travelers the advantage of experiencing local customs and cultures, in a contemporary chic setting by allowing cruisers the freedom to create their own adventure. For example, travelers can receive concierge services and explore on their own, or take a tour with an expert guide. You can also take enrichment classes onboard and gain a unique perspective of each port visited, including the city's customs, culture, history and more. Master Chefs also hold culinary classes, such as food and wine pairings in vineyards that were first planted by the Romans in Saint-Émilion, or savoring the unique culinary history of southwest France including its frois gras.

To optimize a cruiser's exploration of major hubs in port destinations, some river cruise lines provide travelers with complimentary bicycles and safety helmets, so that they can roam through the city with complete freedom at their own pace or with a guided bike tour. Guests also have the opportunity to use Nordic walking sticks, which can be used onboard as well.

Plus, you can enhance your state of peaceful relaxation with plush robes and exquisite towels from the oldest towel makers in the world such as those from Christy's of England. Further, staterooms are furnished with French balconies, verandas, or Savoir beds draped with lavish linens and European duvets that exude richness. Premium products are an essential aspect of the river cruise experience.

Dining

Step into dining venues where the elegant décor and exquisite service match the delectable cuisine. River cruises offer some of the most elegant dining experience, with fine foods that are fresh, local, and authentic, taking gourmet dining experiences to a whole other level. Many river cruise lines go as far as incorporating local farm market vegetables and fruits, along with local specialties in their everyday menus.

Variety along with local flavors is key part of the dining experience, and many river cruise lines offer lighter choices, vegetarian specialties, and a selection of balanced options. Plus, you can enjoy special culinary voyages both onboard and in port, join the chef on a shopping trip to the farmers' market, or learn how to make the perfect soufflé or which wine pairings are best.

Start your day off right with a freshly brewed coffee, specialty espresso drinks, or choose from a selection of signature teas. Enjoy fine wine with lunch and dinner, or choose from a selection of beer, spirits, soft drinks, specialty coffee and tea – it's all included!

Along with the culinary delights, guests never miss a visual treat due to the al fresco dining style provided by the distinctive layout of river vessels. Guests can expect nothing but the best in mouth-watering cuisine and exceptional entertainment with the Captain's Welcome Galas and Farewell Dinners. Enjoy your delectable meal as you relax with the ever changing surroundings with views of ancient castles, charming market squares, or breathtaking landscapes.

Destinations

Since river cruise ships are not as limited in terms of space, destination possibilities are limitless as well. Many river cruise lines offer itineraries to the most celebrated cities and regions of our time, plus, are continually adding new and unique itineraries to their repertoire.

Africa

Some river cruise lines offer the ultimate African safari cruising experience with sailings along the Chobe River. A combined land and river adventure with a relaxing sanctuary on water, this is bound to be one of the most fascinating voyages, which is accentuated by the diverse backdrop of Africa. The itinerary and ships are exclusively designed to capitalize on animal sightings. Guests can wake up to views of elephants, lions, zebras, and hippos basking in the sun, take shore excursions that journey into the wine regions of Cape Town, or visit traditional manyattas settlements of the Amboseli Maasai.

We're your river cruise experts; contact us at any time to experience an African safari like no other.

Asia

It may be hard to imagine gliding past an exotic village among the lush climate of the Mekong River, until one experience it. The Mekong is preserved in serenity as one of the few unspoiled regions in the world, rich with old age charm and thriving of natural prosperity. With many river cruises embarking on this tranquil journey, sailing through Vietnam and Cambodia has become a popular trend in river cruising. The Mekong River cruising experience offers guests the opportunity to entice their cultural curiosity, awaken their spirituality, and experience the beauty of villages that seem suspended in time; all the while aboard a luxury vessel with unparalleled service and amenities.

You can also experience a unique river cruise along the Yangtze in China. Explore hidden treasures, imperial monuments, and modern architecture. China is a unique blend of history, culture, and cosmopolitan cities. Soak up the energetic vibes of the modern hub Shanghai or Hong Kong, or make friends with a Panda at the Chongqing Zoo. One of the most unique ports along the Yangtze River cruise is the chance to visit Lhasa the capital city of Tibet, marvel at the colorful monasteries and get in touch with your spirituality as you take in the tranquil journey. Explore the history or ancient imperial monuments in Beijing, or simply enjoy exploring the culture, cuisine, and heritage of this majestic region of the world.

We're your Asia journey experts; contact us at any time to discuss an exotic voyage along the majestic rivers of this great region.

Egypt

As a part of the exclusivity in terms of destinations, river cruises can travel the paths of Egyptian Pharaohs and follow in the sailing footsteps of Napoleon, without forsaking luxury and comfort. With its deeply rooted history and unequivocally rich culture, the Nile River is quite possibly the most famous waterway in the world; and many river cruise lines can take you there! Let more than 5,000 years of history unfold in front of your eyes and experience the gems of Egypt with expert guided tours by Egyptologists, and uncover the significance and beauty of Egyptian landmarks first hand.

There's nothing like experiencing Egypt for yourself, it's truly a breathtaking experience. We're here to help you plan the ultimate getaway, contact us at any time and we'll use our expertise to ensure you can take advantage of the best prices and itineraries.

Europe

Among the many exciting itineraries in Europe are destinations that include Burgundy and Provence, Italy's Po River and the Venice Lagoon, Budapest to Bucharest, and so much more! European river cruises travel some of the most historic waterways including: Gironde, Saône, Moselle, Elbe, Danube, Dordgone, among others. Europe river cruises provide vacationers with the chance to delve deeper in to the fascinating history and culture of this region! With so much to see and discover, there's no better way to experience Europe, and the best part is shore excursions are included.

Take an epic journey to Germany's impressive castles, visit the small towns of Croatia, or escape to the vineyards of Austria's Wachua Valley! Walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh and relax among the scent of lavender, taste local delights in Côtes du Rhône, or discover why Lyon is dubbed the culinary capital of France. Stroll past Romanesque churches along the Rhine in cities such as Alsace, Strasbourg, Cologne, and Basel.

River cruises allow exclusivity to guests in terms of access to unique ports of call, due to the fact that they're smaller more intimate ships that can make their way through smaller canals and waterways. Consider a cruise along the Danube and discover the best of Austria and Czech Republic, including cities such as Vienna, Passau, Regensburg, and Prague. Imagine gazing at cliffs rise above the river, with Baroque villages settled alongside the banks. Take in the regal castles and ancient monasteries. Enjoy the orchards and vineyards along the Danube, where vintners use centuries old methods combined the latest techniques to making delicious white wines from ancient vines.

Perhaps one of the most unique destinations, known as Europe's longest river, the Volga invites travelers to explore the unique architecture that is so pertinent to Russia. While flowing along the Volga-Baltic waterways, guests get the chance to explore the bustling and intricate Moscow metro system, revel in the romantic beauty of St. Petersburg, or take in history through WWII monuments, museums, art galleries, and other historic sites. Russia encompasses some of the most artful landscapes that are unique to their history and culture such as the "Russian Versailles" or Peterhof, St. Isaacs Cathedral and the Chambers of Prince Dimitry.

There are a plethora of Europe itineraries and destinations to choose from, and each is exquisite in its own way. Europe has some of the most majestic waterways, and what better way to experience this part of the world then with an intimate river cruise. We're here to help and provide a complete vacation, contact us at any time to plan the perfect river cruise to Europe.

Holiday Season River Cruises

Experience the ultimate winter wonderland aboard the luxury of your river cruise. River cruise lines offer exceptional holiday itineraries that take you to the heart of Europe's most exquisite holiday markets. Enjoy the musical talents of Strauss and Mozart in the city where the composers once lived, or enjoy a cocktail with a princess at Artstetten Castle. Taste authentic pastries in Art Deco cages of Slovakia, or bundle up for a stroll through Nuremberg's Old Town's Main Market Square. Holiday cruising with river cruise lines is a picturesque experience of the ultimate European holiday.

There are so many destination throughout Europe to choose from, and most cruise lines offer specific holiday cruises that offer a unique once in a life time experience. Pack your mittens and scarves, and wonder at the magic of the holidays with a new winter wonderland every day – we're your holiday river cruise experts, contact us any time to plan the perfect winter getaway.

Spain & Portugal

Among the unique destinations exclusive to river cruises, are sailings in Spain and Portugal along the designated UNESCO World Heritage Site: the Douro River, an unspoiled region that still holds its centuries old charm and natural beauty. Guests can step into centuries old wine regions and UNESCO-listed medieval city centers. You'll be able to take in views of quaint vineyards, with ports of call that feature baroque mansions, centuries old market squares, dramatic castles and extraordinary monasteries. Once you reach the Spanish border you can take a picturesque ride in to Spain to visit the medieval city of Salamanca. See pristine vistas and sample Portuguese specialties like salt cod and taste-test robust wines exclusive to this region of the world.

We're your Spain and Portugal experts, and we're here to ensure you get to experience the best itineraries available to this majestic region – contact us today.