River Cruise Lines

River cruises are increasing in popularity as a unique option for those who enjoy ships but want to explore further inland. As the summer approaches, why not think about taking a relaxing cruise in Europe? Accommodating between six and 200 plus people, river barges and ships will take you along the Rhine, the Danube and many more waterways.
MY TRAVEL AGENT’S top points of comparison for RIVER cruises:



1. SHIPS River cruise ships -- which rarely hold more than 200-plus passengers (and generally carry less) -- feel like smaller versions of cruise ships. Where they are limited is in onboard features and amenities, particularly in Europe where ships must be low-slung enough to sail under ancient (and low-lying) bridges.

2. PORTS Itineraries may incorporate major cities as cornerstones, but your experience will focus more on smaller towns and villages than a greatest-hits list of sprawling urban metropolises. River cruise operators typically include shore excursions in the overall cruise fare (double check though, as policies may vary).

3. PUBLIC AREAS - Beautiful panoramic lounges, full-service bars, cozy library/game rooms, and elegant restaurants. 


4. CABINS While balconies are pretty much out of the question for those ships plying the more narrow (in some places) European rivers, French doors are a fashionable new touch on some ships. Newer ships are including more contemporary technology in staterooms -- such as televisions.


5. DINING - Open seating for most all dining occasions, with a well trained culinary staff.  Menus frequently change, reflecting the best of the region and the season.  


6. SERVICE -  Gracious and accomodating, the staff is typically English speaking, and, at a staff to guest ratio of approx. 3:1, is among the highest in the cruise industry.


7. ENTERTAINMENT Entertainment onboard may be limited to shuffle-board or book-reading (we're serious). These ships carry no casinos and offer little in the way of evening entertainment (except perhaps a piano player).

8. ACTIVITIES - Most ships have an outdoor Sun deck with chess and shuffleboard.  Since most days are spent in port, there are generally fewer onboard activities planned than on the typical ocean cruise. 


9. SPA/FITNESS Not too much pampering going on here.  Many ships will have a small fitness center, but you'll get most of your exercise walking around enjoying the scenery while in port.


10. FAMILY/CHILDREN Uniworld – the pioneer in river cruising – brings another first to the river cruise experience with its new “Grand River Family Program” designed specifically to appeal to grandparents and parents who wish to share the gift of Europe with the special young people in their family.


11. FELLOW PASSENGERS Travelers who enjoy the comforts and variety of cruising, but want to see more of the heartland.



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