10 Factors to Consider When Choosing a River Cruise

A river cruise is a wonderful vacation option for people from all walks of life. Whether traveling solo, with family, or in a large group, each destination offers a variety of food, sightseeing, and adventure that is sure to accommodate everyone in your party.

All this variety, however, is precisely what makes choosing your river destination so challenging. Below are 10 tips to help you decide which river you should choose for your next cruise.

1. Choosing your destination cities
What are the cities and countries that top your vacation bucket list? Chances are at least one of these places will be a river cruise port of call. One of the best things about a cruise is it offers a chance to see several places without committing a long period of time to any of them. This means you can decide whether it’s worth taking a longer trip there in the future.

2. What do you like to do?
The activities and excursions offered at each port of call are important factors when choosing your river cruise destination, especially when you have specific tastes and interests. Are you a wine connoisseur? A shopaholic? A daredevil? There is a river cruise that is perfect for you!

3. Who are you traveling with?
Some river cruises are more family-friendly, while others are designed for couples on a romantic getaway, or large groups looking for a party. Know your group’s interests ahead of time, and consider choosing a destination that offers a variety of activities if you have a larger group.

4. Local cuisine
One of the most charming elements of a river cruise is the chance to sample the local cuisine, both on and off the ship. As such, avoid specific destinations if you cannot tolerate their local cuisine. You’ll have a difficult time enjoying yourself if you spend the entire trip hungry!

5. Weather and timing
While you will never be able to guarantee perfect weather for your trip, it is important to consider what you want to do on your cruise, then choose a location and time of year to accommodate your wishes. Traveling during an area’s off-peak months is a great way to save money, so long as you don’t mind a higher potential for cooler or inclement weather.

6. Your travel experience
Are you new to cruising, or nervous about traveling too far from home? Many countries around the world offer spectacular trips throughout the year. Those who do not wish to leave their home countries can likely still enjoy a memorable trip without the hassle, or expense, of international travel.

7. Travel expenses
Speaking of expenses, when choosing your river cruise destination, remember to include airfare or other travel expenses when choosing your destination. Remember that an extra day or two in a hotel may be necessary at either end of your trip to accommodate flight and cruise schedules.

8. Budgeting for your river cruise
Many river cruises include high priced items, such as food, beverages, and excursions, into your overall costs so you know exactly how much you are spending ahead of time. You’ll still want to bring extra spending money for any add-ons and souvenirs, but you’ll be far less likely to experience sticker shock or buyer’s remorse since all costs will be covered up front.

9. Ship amenities
Many of the more popular river destinations accommodate multiple cruise lines. Some are more luxurious than others in terms of ship and stateroom accommodations, including pool and spa areas, alternative dining options, personal butler service, and so on. Remember, VIP treatment comes with VIP costs, so make sure you prioritize the items that are most important, and choose the ship and travel package that will work for you.

10. On-board activities
River cruises are great for those who want to spend the bulk of their time exploring different cities. Others, however, may want to spend more time on the ship, so understanding what types of activities are available on board will be important factors when choosing your destination. This is also important if you are traveling with children, as you will need to have kid- and family-friendly activities available as well.

For questions about river cruising or suggestions based on your answers to the questions raised in this blog, please email veronica@makingtraveleffortless.com.



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