Saturday, June 22, 2013

Taking a River Cruise

A growing section of the travel market, river cruises are a great opportunity for exploring the inland regions of Europe and Asia, as well as North and South America and even Africa. Although similar to its oceanic counterparts, such a trip differs in a few aspects and opens up the chances of exploring new areas, cultures, cuisines, and historical sites.


The back-and-forth motion of a ship on the ocean is eliminated on board one of these smaller ships. Additionally, engine sounds are significantly muted.

Another aspect of traveling on board a river cruise is the proximity to land. While the ship moves at a slower speed, it is always within sight of a shoreline, be it that of a bucolic rural area or the banks of a centuries' old European city.


Centuries ago, many of the world's well-known cities were built along rivers, where they continue to remain. Yet, as many of these inland areas are not along the coast of a continent, accessing them by a standard cruise is not possible. River cruises, on the other hand, allow multiple cities and towns to be visited in a single trip. In the case of a French, German, or Eastern European river tour, itineraries encompass multiple, diverse locations.

In addition to visiting a variety of cities, these cruises tend to offer more exploration time in each port. Travelers, then, have ample time to experience the local cuisine and culture, see museums and historical sites, or go off on an adventure.

The options are numerous and growing. The European market, which includes travels along the Danube, Seine, and Rhine rivers, as well as in the Adriatic and parts of Russia and the Ukraine, has seen a four-fold increase since the late 1990s. Additionally, river cruises are an option for seeing parts of China and Southeast Asia along the Mekong, Yangtze, or Irrawaddy rivers; the Amazon; or the Nile.

Ship Size and Feature

The most marked difference between a river and a standard cruise is size. Typically, a contemporary cruise holds 1,000 or more travelers. River cruises, on the other hand, hold up to 250 passengers on average, although some ships may be large enough for 1,000. Barges additionally offer more intimate opportunities for such travels, holding no more than 10 passengers.


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