What do you need to know about River Cruising?
Are you leaving for a River Cruise soon? Not sure what you can expect? Here are some ‘Know Before You Go’ tips that will help you prepare for your cruise.
1. Food is generally better than Ocean Cruise menus:
Local produce will be picked up every day, if you’re lucky the Chef may invite you to come along to help! Unlike Ocean Cruising, River Cruise menus are fresh, vibrant and reflect the countries they’re visiting.
2. Shore Excursions are dependent on water levels:
Since river cruises are often going through rivers or canals, low water levels may mean that sometimes the ships are not able to stop or get to a destination. Consequently, shore excursions can be cancelled at short notice.
3. Don’t miss the first night’s Orientation session:
Try not to be late for that first night information (orientation) session – this is where you’ll learn about everything that’s happening onboard, the excursions that are planned for the week and all destination information.
4. Reserve times to dine in the Specialty or Al Fresco dining restaurants:
Specialty restaurants often sell out quick as they have specific dining times, so if there’s one that takes your fancy then make your reservation early. These restaurants will often be more intimate and upscale than the main dining hall – so are well worth the reservation!
5. Safety drill: Make sure you still attend the safety drill:
Just like ocean cruising, this is a must-do and will make you feel at ease on the ship.
6. Smart-casual dress:
The dress code is usually pretty casual for river cruising, but you can bring your finery for the farewell dinner!
7. French balconies:
Unlike ocean cruising, river cruise ships will often have French balconies. This means that while they act like a regular balcony, they do not have a section where you can step out onto a verandah. French balconies are open-air balconies, often with large, sometimes panoramic windows, that essentially let the outside in. A seating area will often be placed near the French balcony so that you can enjoy the view. However, they do not have an external area in which you can sit.
8. Not necessarily wheelchair friendly:
Due to the shape and nature of the river cruise vessels, the facilities for wheelchair or mobility impaired users may be limited. Elevators won’t necessarily go to all floors, which may mean no access to the higher decks. These facilities vary by river cruise company, so be sure to check this out if this is something you, or one of your party, needs.
9. Open seated dining:
Though there are set times for breakfast, lunch and dinner, River Cruise ships offer open dining. You are not allocated to the same table for the whole cruise. You will be seated at one table one night; a different one the next. This makes for a more sociable experience and means that you interact with more passengers.
10. Cater to different levels of ability:
Most river cruises come with a variety of options for their shore excursions, meaning that whether you are a hiker, bike-rider or walker, there will be something suitable for you! This is great as guests will often be in groups with those that are of a similar fitness level to themselves.
River Cruising is definitely different to Ocean Cruising, so we hope that you’ve found these handy tips helpful! If you have questions about River Cruising, or would like to book a cruise, please contact Deborah@lloydstravel.com or your favourite Lloyds Travel Agent!
Written by Hannah Poaros