I’ve had the opportunity to take a number of river cruises. From a summertime cruise through the south of France to a Christmas market cruise to kick off the holiday season and even I’m surprised at how much I enjoy the river cruise experience. Many people think that river cruising isn’t for them but I can say from personal experience that it’s a charming and unique way to travel that has so many benefits. Here are 10 reasons to take a river cruise in 2017:
1. There’s something for everyone
I used to think that river cruising was only for older folks but as this form of travel grows in popularity, it’s casting a broader net and attracting a wider and more diverse kind of traveler. Because of this, many river cruises offer all kinds of options based on your preferred level of activity. While you’re not likely to find any extreme adventure activities, you can still do bike tours and hikes if you’re looking for something active or simply stay in and enjoy the ship’s amenities like lounging on the sun deck.
2. River cruises are educational
Travel always provides great learning experiences but especially European river cruises. There’s such rich history at every turn. Each itinerary will have great shore excursions led by highly informed and educated tour guides who can really bring a destination to life and transport you back to a time long gone by. And the cruise director on your ship will also offer up a wealth of information during the daily briefings where passengers learn about the destination they’re sailing to.
Vantage River Cruise suggestion: Normandy and the D-Day Beaches
3. You can leave your worries at home
A lot of people worry about all kinds of things when they travel. When it comes to river cruising, I know people worry about getting seasick, feeling claustrophobic and even the ship sinking. I can tell you that you can leave all of these worries at home. On a river cruise, the water is so still that you usually can’t even tell when the ship is moving. The ships are long and much more spacious than you might think so there’s no way you’ll feel claustrophobic (plus, you’ll be off the ship exploring for much of the day anyway!) And the river water you’re sailing on is so shallow that you don’t have to worry about sinking. And besides, land is never more than 100 yards away, usually.
4. You’ll enjoy local cuisine
On a river cruise, you’ll really get a chance to taste local tastes and flavors, whether on the ship or in your actual destination. One thing I love about river cruising is that you’re usually sailing into smaller ports than the big cruise ships and this often means getting a more authentic, more local experience – and that can be found, among other things, in the food you’re eating. Plus, the ship’s chef will usually create meals based on your ports of call so there will be plenty of opportunities to taste local cuisines.
Vantage River Cruise suggestion: Rhine Culinary Discovery
5. It’s an easy way to meet people
I love meeting new people when I travel and a river cruise offers a great setting for that. I took a Vantage river cruise last March and each night at dinner, my wife and I sat with new people, making new friends. I love learning about other people and their travels and the intimate setting on a river cruise ship makes it easy to connect with fellow travelers.
6. Incredible photo opportunities
Whether you’re on Instagram or not, everyone loves coming home from their travels with amazing photos to share with friends and family. And you’ll get incredible shots of some of the most on a river cruise, especially in Europe where rivers like the Rhine are lined with castles that look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale.
Vantage River Cruise suggestion: Majestic Rivers of Europe – Castles, Cathedrals + Fairy Tales
7. You can walk from the ship into town
Most river cruise ships are able to dock very close to the town you’re visiting so it’s easy to walk into town at your leisure. I love this because sometimes, depending on how long we’re docked in a particular port for, I like to walk into town in the early morning, return to the ship for lunch and then head back out in the afternoon. Being close to town gives you more flexibility than on bigger cruise ships where you sometimes have to take a tender to land and then a bus into town.
8. Great guided tours
For many river cruise passengers, the guided tours are the best part of the trip. You can almost always count on super-knowledgeable tour guides to lead the way on shore excursions that take you to see the highlights of your destination, like the tulip gardens in Holland, the Cathedral in Cologne and the markets in Budapest, for example. You’ll love this access to guides who can
Vantage River Cruise suggestion: Essential Holland Tulips in Spring
9. A river cruise offers great value
Let’s face it: Travel can be expensive, especially by the time you add up flights and accommodations and everything else in between. Most, if not all, river cruise companies offer accommodations, meals and sightseeing tours all included in your price so you don’t need to worry about additional spending on these things while you’re traveling. That can be a huge relief on your wallet.
10. Enjoy wine tasting
If you’re an oenophile or even just a lover of wine, many of Europe’s river cruises will appeal to you! Many ships offer great wines on-board to accompany your meals and various shore excursions include the opportunity to explore wineries and enjoy wine tastings.
Vantage River Cruise suggestion: Switzerland and the Heart of the Rhine & Moselle
WIN A RIVER CRUISE
Ready to hop on a river cruise? You could win a free deluxe river cruise from Vantage for you and a friend with a value of up to $10,000! You’ll enjoy the rivers, culture and cuisine of Europe on an unforgettable trip. Click here for full sweepstakes details, terms and conditions. Good luck!
This is a sponsored post but all opinions expressed within are my own.
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Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.