River Cruises: Everything You Need To KnowNovember 4, 2019
When it comes to enjoying your vacation on a massive cruise ship, many people envision a large ship going across the open ocean, only stopping at the occasional tropical paradise, and not Mekong river cruises. However, river cruises do have a certain charm, and prioritize cultural experiences and excursions over onboard activities.
If you opt for a river cruise, you get to spend a bit more time in actual cities, you’ll get a chance to see the sights, and interact with the locals quite a bit. If an active vacation is what you’re after, a river cruise is actually perfect for you. So, if this is what you’ll be going for, what are some things you need to know before you book it, or before you head out?
Choosing the perfect time isn’t easy
You may find many people recommending one period of the year over another one, but things actually depend quite a bit on the specific cruise itself. When you’re booking a river cruise, you have a few things to consider – tolerance for cold, risk of drought and flooding, and price. You’ll find many cruise lines that book cruises year-round, leaving it up to you to decide what the best time is for your trip.
Now, again depending on the cruise itself, you’ll find that many cruises tend to be cheaper when it isn’t peak season. It might be colder, for example, and you’ll need to grab a few extra layers of clothing.
There’s another thing that you should consider – your tolerance for crowds. You can choose a time that isn’t as busy, but you won’t be able to avoid face time with your fellow travelers. Unlike a massive open ocean cruise ship, river cruise ships tend to be a bit smaller, and you’ll interact with others on a regular basis.
Cruising by yourself is all but complicated
If you’re a solo traveler, you might think that a river cruise is tricky, but you’re far from the truth. There are plenty of excursion options and onboard amenities for people traveling by themselves, and you will even find cruise lines that have bookings specifically for solo travelers. All you’ll need to know is whether or not the ship includes single cabins. If it does, you won’t need to pay for two.
A thing to note is that if you’re traveling solo, you should always do your research on what the most solo-friendly cruise lines are. Then, sign up on your favorite lines’ email lists, and wait for good deals. You’ll want to be quick with booking, because solo spots tend to get filed quickly.
We did mention tolerance for crowds, and if you’ve got it, you’ll have quite a lot of fun by yourself on a solo cruise. Most of them have quite a lot of events that are designed to make people interact with each other, and this also applies for the daily meals. You’ll have quite a lot of opportunities to meet new people – or just grab a plate and head back to your room.
River cruises are the best when it comes to customization
When you try to compare a river cruise to one on the open sea, you may think that they’re similar. However, aside from the boat itself, things couldn’t be more different. With rivers, you’re always close to the land, and you’ll have a lot of options of an open city every time you stop somewhere, as we mentioned.
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Now, while companies will give you quite a lot of options when it comes to shore excursions, they’re always optional. If you don’t want to join your fellow travelers on a safari, you can check out the city’s architecture, go shopping, or even take a nap onboard. When you’re on a river cruise, there’s basically no wrong way of spending your time.
Wrapping things up
As we mentioned, a river cruise is an excellent way to get to know a lot of the cities that are on the coast of large rivers. Whether you choose the Amazon, or Mekong, or anything else for that matter, you’ll be able to explore cities as you wish.
If you’d rather spend your vacation on the ground, and use the boat as a means of transportation and accommodation only, a river cruise is actually perfect for you. All that’s left is to choose the one that works best for you, and of course, you’ll want to keep the things above in mind.
At the end of the day, you’ll have quite a lot of fun on a river cruise, just make sure you’re well prepared, and enjoy it!