Will we like European river cruises?

Apr 2nd, 2014, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,451
Our travel is centered on the 'destination' rather than the 'vehicle' by which we arrive/depart. Oh yes, cruising is easy, unpack once, show up in the same restaurant for dinner every night (and breakfast and lunch too). But to what depth can one experience the local culture, and how much can that vary when there are multiple cities along one river in one country (Danube)? I totally agree with Wilhem and Dave-Ohio above who said: cruises are especially useful to get to locations otherwise difficult to reach. We have done Europe 12 times -- all independent except for one Baltic cruise, and one land tour in Italy that featured 6 nts in Amalfi and 6 nts in Tuscany. Otherwise, we take trains or rent cars. Lots of friends our age is taking river cruises; while we have the bodies and brains to do our own thing, we shall (at ages 67 & 71 thanks). Nothing is more fun than trip planning!
aliced is offline  
Apr 17th, 2014, 08:59 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6
Interesting comments. We are booked for June 2015 with Scenic Cruises for an 8 day trip from Basel to Amsterdam with pre tour extra days.

This is our first time on a River Cruise. As most of the other posters, we traveled independently, also have taken a large Cruise ship and bus tours in Europe. We were younger then. We are 68 and 70 years old now. We don't feel "old" and we do not "look" old, so if you younger ones happen to get us in one of your "group" selfies, you will not be embarrassed to be seen with us. If you are worried about the 55+ crowd slowing you down, do not choose any tour that could possibly include them.

Our Scenic Cruise tour is also all inclusive. Tips, entrance fees if required, all liquor, wine and beer included all day and night while on board.

We are excited about our 2015 trip and we also like to hear more opinions about all experiences on River tours.
flamingo is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,873
We have been on 4 or 5 ocean cruises(which DH enjoys--for the no packing, no driving aspects--and which I generally dislake due to the timeframes at most stops and the artificial glitziness) and 3 River Cruises. In general I have found the River Cruises far superior in meeting my needs and interests.

When I travel I like to be able to decide for myself how long I want to spend in a city/region to be able to see all I want to see. I also like to explore the cuisine of an area during a leisurely dinner--not have to return to a ship each night for dinner no matter how good the food. So I'm not a big fan of cruises in general and of ocean/big ship cruises in particular.

I am, however, more willing to do a cruise if it affords us an opportunity to get to destinations that might otherwise be very difficult to arrange independently. For us that's where River cruising has been useful. We took a Viking River cruise and land package between Beijing and Shanghai to which we affixed some independent travel on both ends. Did the same with a Viking cruise from Odessa to Kiev to which we added Istanbul before and Moscow after on our own.

Increasingly some cruiselines (generally smaller--and more costly--ocean ships like Oceania and Azamara) offer two and three days in a particularly interesting port, rather than just chugging along with a set pattern of off the boat at 9 and back on by 4 or 5 to cruise to the next port. So I think more thought is being given to having the stay fit the amount of sights. Ocean liners seem, however to be getting glitzier and glitzier--something that kind of turns me off. River ships seem to be going in the other direction, becoming more comfortable but with a decidedly understated vibe which I really like.

Overall, I agree with the many people who have suggested you continue independent travel given your age but think that if you want to explore some exotic destination that would be hard to arrange independently you would do well to consider a River Cruise and to do so increasingly as you age.
JulieVikmanis is offline  

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