One of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry, river cruising is now more popular than a traditional Mediterranean cruise, and many ships fill up far in advance. If you’re considering a river cruise, you won’t want to miss this list.
1. Why a river cruise? River cruises are far more intimate than the mega-ships that hit the high seas. They also get you closer to the sights and allow you to reach destinations you’d never see on an ocean cruise. Subscribe to the River Cruise Advisor to immerse yourself in all the options.
2. Unique offerings: Another great reason to choose a river cruise is the singular experiences. For example, you can cruise the Mississippi on a genuine steamboat, enjoy a private concert in Vienna’s Palais Liechtenstein, or see up to 200 species of birds along the St. Johns in Florida, as well as many other opportunities you can’t get anywhere else.
3. Where to cruise: These days, you can enjoy river cruising all over the world. For example, you can see Egypt’s pyramids and cruise the Nile, float the Yangtze River in China, ride the Seine from Paris to Normandy, embark down the Amazon in South America, see Victoria Falls in Africa and so much more. Click on the Resources links at the bottom of this article for more great itineraries.
4. How to find a deal: Unlike larger sea cruises, where sometimes you can find last-minute deals, with river cruising it’s better to book early. To save money, consider going in the off-season and watch for two-for-one deals. Also investigate what’s included in your cruise and how much extras will run. Visit AARP’s Travel Center for more information on top destinations , book your vacation and stay connected via email to be first to know about new deals and coupon codes. For even more tips, read “Ask Trip Coach: River Cruises” on BudgetTravel.com.
5. What to pack: Pack comfortable clothing in layers to meet any changing weather needs. Comfortable shoes for walking on off-ship excursions are a must. A slightly dressier outfit is a good idea depending on the dining, entertainment and excursion options. If you plan on visiting religious sites, make sure your clothing is appropriate. Check any airline luggage restrictions if you’ll be flying to your departure point. Make a copy of all key documents to carry in a separate location from the originals. Bring a plug adapter when traveling internationally. Also bring all your toiletries, including medications in their original containers. Most cruise lines will have additional information on what to pack, so make sure to check your cruise line’s site or ask a representative.
With all the options before you, it’s time to let the adventure begin.