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  • Writer's pictureDonna Zabel

Top 10 Things to Know About River Cruising

Updated: Aug 23, 2021

Top 10 Things to Know About River Cruising.

What could be more inviting than a relaxing sojourn down the idyllic waters of the world’s most beautiful rivers on a vessel outfitted with every luxury befitting royalty? The intimate, relaxed setting of river cruising has been gaining in popularity over the years. And due to travel restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, interest in these opulent expeditions down the world’s most renowned rivers has increased dramatically. And it’s no wonder. Here are the top 10 things to know about river cruising that will have you itching to set sail.

River cruising is much different from ocean cruising.

River cruise boat floats along countryside.

River cruising and ocean cruising both require water. Other than that, there is little in common. On a river cruise there is no need to worry about portside vs. starboard, no Titanic induced need to check the lifeboats. On a river cruise you are always in sight of land no matter where your cabin is located. If the ship ever started sinking, you can just run to the top deck—the ship is likely taller than the river is deep.

River cruise ships are small, but grand.

River cruise ships are small, but grand. Palatial interior of river cruise cabin.

On river cruises the ships are small and the cabins large. Many have less than 150 passengers. Cabins can be 25-50% larger than standard cabins on large ocean vessels. Except for suites, cabins on a ship will be the same size and all look out on the same wonderful scenery.

On a river cruise, you are steps from the destination.

River cruise ship floating alongside architecture in city.

Docking is often in the middle of town. Just walk off the ship and explore, or take a bicycle, or join a tour. Depending on the strength of your throwing arm, you are literally a stone’s throw from your destination. The easy accessibility means more time for sightseeing, lingering in museums, or joining the fun in a local pub.

River cruises are all-inclusive.

River cruises are all-inclusive.

That means you can relax, enjoy, and not worry about some big bill at the end. In addition to three meals a day, you have unlimited local wine at dinner. Want to bring your own beverage on board to enjoy? No problem—and no charge.

Local excursions are the highlight of river cruises.

Local excursions on river cruises.

River cruises offer a choice of carefully curated shore excursions, also included. Your shore excursions are with local guides, using state of the art technology to keep everyone informed.

The river cruising atmosphere is more relaxed.

Relaxed river cruise atmosphere

You will get to know your cruise director who will readily offer sightseeing tips, arrange tours, help you with requests without waiting in long lines for an appointment. You will get to know your friendly and always helpful crew.

Packing for a river cruise is easy.

Packing for river cruise. Old luggage stacked on top of each other.

Leave the formal clothes at home—the dress code is casual and comfortable. Dress for dinner as you would going to your favorite restaurant at home. After all, this is your home—or it will feel like it by the end of the cruise.

Where there is a river, there is likely a river cruise.

View from a river cruise deck overlooking the water at dusk.

River cruises can take you through many countries in Europe, Asia and Africa. River cruises traverse the Seine, the Rhone, the Rhine—both the Main and Moselle, and the magnificent Danube. Cruise the Saone, the Garonne, Dordogne, and Gironde estuary. Discover the Douro through the Iberia Peninsula, or the Dutch and Belgian waterways. Cruise the meandering Mekong through the cultures of Vietnam and Cambodia. Experience wildlife along the Chobe River in southern Africa.

River cruises are often themed.

River cruises are often themed.

Many departures are themed cruises where you meet and mingle with like-minded individuals. Join a group of wine enthusiasts on one of the many wine cruises, often hosting an expert and special tasting. Join a group of literary enthusiasts with a famous author. Shop at Europe’s Christmas Markets and enjoy holidays treats and drinks. Discover the multi-colored carpets of tulips in April. Join a heritage cruise—or create your own with friends and family.

River cruises can be active adventures.

Bicycle leaning against railing on a path that runs along the river.

Grab one of the onboard bicycles or join a hike outside of town. With the ship docked all day and no tenders or timetable to worry about, it is easy to make your river cruise your perfect trip.


Do you feel the call of the sea (or the world’s most Edenic rivers)? DreamMaker Destinations is here to make your river cruising dreams a reality. We work together with you to create a personalized journey that will expand your horizons and create a travel experience of a lifetime. Contact us today to bring your river cruising dreams to life.

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