River cruising is one of the breakout stars in travel for 2016 and there are more ways than ever to experience rivers around the world onboard any number of ships. However, there are a few tried and true tricks to making your river cruise experience a success and to fall in love with this mode of travel that can take you around the world.
Here are five ways to enjoy the journey.
Pick your passion
There are so many river cruises from which to choose, pick one that focuses on something you love such as castles on the Rhine, a wine-themed cruise or bring the kids on a family-friendly Christmas markets sailing. You will love your cruise that much more when you are combining it with something that you are passionate about.
Prepare your appetite
River cruising is not about all-you-can-eat buffets and gorge-yourself dining — but there is a lot of eating. From five-course meals to cultural cuisine to tasting all of the different varieties of wine in a region — you should come prepared to enjoy the food. Don’t worry about the calories. You are sure to walk those off later on.
For those with special dining needs, onboard chefs on every cruise line are happy to accommodate with special meals to make dining a relaxing and fun experience for everyone.
Immerse yourself in local culture
The beauty of river cruising is that you get to see smaller towns and destinations that offer a glimpse into the everyday lives of local people in each of the countries that you visit during your cruise. If the ship docks in a small, river-side town that is used as a jumping-off place to explore a larger more popular destination, make some time to stroll the streets of the smaller towns and get to know what life in the country is really like.
Get ready to relax
The beauty of river cruising is that there is a lot on offer to keep you busy but one goal should be to clear some time to enjoy the cruise as well. Ditch a tour and stroll through town on your own. Spend some time on people-watching on the sun deck or swimming in the pool. Clear a few hours to play games in the lounge or enjoy a cocktail. Book a spa appointment instead of doing a walking tour.
While it is tempting, there’s no need to do all of the activities that are available or to over schedule yourself. Sit down with the cruise director and let them help you customize the cruise to be perfect for you. After all, that’s what they are there for.
Get to know the crew
These are the people who are secret experts in every destination. They know local hangouts, the coolest shops and the best restaurants. Chat with your bartender, stateroom attendant and servers at dinner and you will find that the secrets of each destination will come alive.
— By Janeen Christoff, Cruiseable news services