6 Reasons Why A River Cruise Is The Best Way To See Europe.
From April's tulips to December's Christmas markets, hundreds of riverboats and barges glide along Europe's historic rivers and canals, which span thousands of miles of Continental waterways, connecting North Sea to Black Sea.
A Europe river cruise is one of the best ways we know to explore inland Europe, visiting cities, towns and villages that traditional big ships usually can't access.
The boats are built long, sleek and low-slung, designed out of the necessity to squeeze under stout ancient and medieval bridges and through narrow canal locks. Typically the ships, carrying as few as 100 and as many as 200 passengers, each feature one restaurant (where all passengers dine at the same time), few onboard activities (save for daytime enrichment) and evening entertainment that's inspired by the cultures of the ports visited.
Here are 6 reasons why you should book yours:
1. Intimate Size. The intimate sizes of the ships and the cosiness of the staterooms and the quietness of the morning cannot be matched with ocean going cruise ships. There are few things in life that are better than waking up and stepping out onto your private balcony to feel the cool river air as the morning mist lifts to reveal a landscape that takes the breath away.
2. Unpack only once. You’ve probably heard this many times before, but let's set the scene for you. You embark the ship, follow your escort to your stateroom, unpack and relax, knowing that you will not need to look at your suitcase again until the end of the cruise. Each day you’ll wake up in a different city, unless, of course, the boat is staying overnight. In Lyon, Paris, Bordeaux, Budapest, Vienna and Amsterdam river cruisers often remain overnight so that guests can enjoy the nightlife of these vibrant and culturally endowed cities. River cruising offers hassle-free travel (airlines, take note). Can you imagine trying to visit Europe’s marquee cities by motorcoach? Or driving? If so, be sure to pack light.
3.Variety. One of the beautiful things about river cruising is that no two cruises are alike. Even if you’ve cruised the Danube two or three times, you can return and have a new experience. Maybe you visit different cities, or instead of the city tour, you straddle a saddle and pedal along the river. The range of experiences that river cruising offers is vast and no matter what your passion, you can likely find a river cruise that complements your lifestyle and interests.
4.Activity. River cruises can be extremely active. You can pedal along the old river towpaths, many of them now paved for pedestrians and bicycles, or stretch your legs on activities that range from gentle walks to rigorous hikes. Ocean cruising has sea days where entire days are spent with no land in sight; river cruising has no such equivalent. You’ll enjoy hours of scenic cruising during the day, but each day you’ll also stop at a destination where you can stretch your legs during a walk or a hike, or pedal a bicycle for a few miles or for many miles.
5.Engagement. The fact that river cruises take traveler's through the heart of Europe is like "the icing on the cake". It adds an essential flavor to an already amazing experience. During a river cruise, you’re engaged not only with the landscape but also with the local life and culture. Often while ocean cruising, you’re too far offshore to see much of anything while in transit, but riverbanks are only yards away. Unlike some shore side ports, where culture has been compromised by vendors selling their mass-produced wares, river cruises deliver you to capital cities and country villages alike, where you’ll witness the local daily life and be able to intermingle with people beyond the confines of the tourism industry.
6.Accessibility. During your river cruise, you often dock just steps away from downtown or major attractions. Most times, the only barrier that stands between your ship and the shore is a gangway of no longer than 30 feet. In fact, all you have to do is step out onto your balcony—or open the doors to your French balcony—and you are in Europe. You typically fly into a major European city, and with a short transfer you arrive at your floating boutique hotel. Boarding is a breeze, as there are no long lines at the terminal, none of the frustrating waiting and waiting to get on board and settled into your stateroom.