I LOVE river cruising. Depending on the ship, there are between 50 and 200 passengers. With the smaller numbers, you get more personal attention. And, you get to know your fellow travelers at the open-seating meals and on the daily tours. If you have food sensitivities, you can work directly with the maitre’d to plan your menu for each meal. For example, at lunch each day, the maitre’d met with me each day after lunch to go over the evening’s menu and to modify it for my gluten sensitivities, if needed. (On a recent Avalon river cruise, I and another passenger had gluten issues, so staff brought gluten-free bread aboard the ship for our use. I also like the flexibility of daily stops with included tours as well as the ability to explore on my own. Some of the river cruise companies allow single travelers to cruise without having to pay double as if there were two in the room.
One important thing to note about river cruising. These ships don’t have the glitzy extras like Broadway-style shows, a casino, and a variety of bars and restaurants. And, there are no “at-sea” days. If you don’t want to participate in the daily tours, that’s OK. But, you won’t be entertained by a staff of entertainers during that time. There’s also no “kids club” and staterooms that will hold a family of three or more.
Next question is where you want to explore on that river cruise. Castles of Germany? Austria and the Sound of Music? Food and wine of France, Spain and Portugal? Windmills, flowers, cheese and chocolate of Belgium and the Netherlands? Eastern Europe, with Croatia and the Black Sea? Jazz, food and Civil War history on the Mississippi River? Clams, lobster and history along the coastal Eastern U.S.? Tracing the route of Lewis & Clark in the Northwestern U.S.? Culture and foods of Southeast Asia? Many areas of the U.S. and the world are open with river cruising.
Let us know where YOU want to go.