I fell in love with river cruising almost 2 years ago. At first, I thought I was too young for this, I mean only older people sailed on River Cruises. Boy, was I wrong!
What people don’t tell you is river cruising is unlike anything else. It allows you to get deeper into a country, and visit small towns and cities often based on the river without having to pack/unpack your suitcase more than once. It’s also a very intimate and luxurious experience. That’s the part I like. On most river cruise boats you will have no more than 190 guests. Some, like AmaWaterways and Uniworld have 78 staterooms or less with impeccable decor, attention to detail, and excellent service. You really get to know each other, the staff, and even the captain.
It’s so much easier to get on and off the ship. You basically walk right on and walk right off. It literally takes less than a minute. If that isn’t a plus, how about the fact that there are many inclusions like all restaurants, tours, drinks both alcoholic and nonalcoholic, and Wi-Fi. Plus different boats have different options, such as 2 to 5 dining options, heated pools, Jacuzzis, spa, gym, running track, and even a theater. Between all of the above and the daily activities when not on shore you really don’t run out of anything to do. The best part of a river cruise is sailing along riverbanks filled with quaint towns and bustling cities.
This past December, I hosted a small group of friends on the new Amalea for a Danube Christmas markets sailing. We had an amazing time! We toured together and many times did our own thing. All of us are in our late 30s to 40s and no one felt out of place. In fact, there were several families with children on board. It was a great mix of ages and made for very interesting conversations. We drank way too much fabulous regional wine and ate way too many wonderful multi-course meals while dancing the night away. Of course, until the late night snack was put out at 10, lol. Almost every night we didn’t head in until midnight. I don’t know about you but for me, nowadays midnight is late. We didn’t have a bunch of early mornings and if you’ve been on ocean cruises then you know what I’m talking about. Typically most tours started sometime between 9 and 9:30, and that’s if you were even taking a tour. Then there are tours which start in the afternoon so you can really sleep in.
We all love that they celebrated Christmas with different things to do onboard. Each night was something different. We decorated Christmas trees, Christmas cookies, Santa came and gave us gifts, we sang Christmas carols, and put our shoes outside the stateroom to see if we’ve been naughty or nice. Between this and the Christmas markets in the cities we visited I can truly say this is been my most magical Christmas ever. Without fail, we’d all definitely recommend river cruising at Christmas time and are returning on AmaWaterways for different sailings next year.
Bottom line is river cruising is intimate, entertaining, out of the ordinary, cultural, comforting, inviting, and one of the best ways to travel. Have you been on a river cruise? If not, what’s stopping you?
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