While we are all looking to indulge in the rivers of Europe, some of us aren’t sure which type of cruise we should take or which region we should discover and enjoy. European river cruises are not cheap, so why make the decision without all the facts?
Each type of river cruise has their merits but they may only fit a specific traveler. Whether you are looking for a quiet week or two among a few or an all-inclusive luxury cruise down a winding watery road, you’ll find what your heart desires along the banks of the European rivers.
Premium River Cruise Lines
When you think premium river cruise lines, you’re most likely thinking about Viking River Cruise. Don’t be fooled – there are several premium cruise lines to choose from. When you are deciding on the cruise line, you’ll want to look at what’s included for the price.
Most of the time premium cruise lines can be considered tour operators on water. Your hotel floats down the river, traveling close to 50-100 miles depending on the length of your trip. Typically, you’ll dock at port overnight, so you won’t miss the splendor of the landscape as you cruise. At each port you’ll know what activities are available at no additional cost.
Even though a lot of activities may be included, you may want to plan ahead. Research each of the ports on your trip and how long you will be staying there. You may find there are activities not included in the price of your cruise that you would be willing to add to your travel budget.
While almost everything is included in the price of your premium cruise, there will be exclusions. Top shelf liquor and alcohol outside of mealtimes or at the bars may not be part of your package. This could directly affect your travel budget too – keep that in mind.
All-Inclusive River Cruise Lines
Hate adding to your budget mid-trip or saying no to a great opportunity because you weren’t expecting the cost? An all-inclusive cruise line is probably the best bet for your river cruise experience. Albeit, the cost of an all-inclusive river cruise is generally higher than a premium, it may be worth it in the long run.
All-inclusive river cruise lines will go the extra mile to make sure you only pull out your wallet for souvenirs. While all of the beverages will be included in the cruise, these cruise lines take it one step further. Many onshore excursions, that wouldn’t be included on a premium cruise line, are included in your price. You won’t need to worry about gratuity at the end of the trip. And, in some cases, you won’t even need to worry about paying for public toilets while you are onshore.
If you want to sit back and enjoy your trip without worry about what excursions to plan, how to pay for that after dinner drink or how to get to and from the airport, you’ll probably be interested in investing in an all-inclusive cruise line.
Barge Cruise Lines
While classic river cruises carry 100 or more travelers, a barge cruise will typically only carry a couple dozen travelers during one voyage. The barge ships are slow moving, luxury vessels, but do hold less amenities than a classic river cruise ship. For instance, you wouldn’t typically find a deck pool on a barge cruise.
The barges will travel only about 50 miles during one journey, lasting about a week. They move so slow, that often times the travelers will bike or run on the side of the canal at a faster pace! There are many other activities (apart from the shore excursions) barge travelers can schedule along their trip down the canals, but they are typically additional costs.
Most barge cruises are all-inclusive when it comes to on board amenities. The food, drinks, lodging, shore excursions and transportation to and from the airport are typically included in these trips. If you are looking for luxury and cultural immersion, barge trips do give you that.