Booking a river cruise is an exciting experience and with river cruise operators creating more possibilities tailored to the cruiser, it can be easy to jump in head first. But, wait – not so fast. Like any vacation, it’s best to do your research before booking. So, if you are thinking about booking a river cruise, here are some things to consider.
When can I go?
Depending on when you can take a river cruise, you might have different options available. For example, you can opt for tulip time cruises through Amsterdam in the spring, jump onboard Oktoberfest cruises in the fall or take to the water for Christmas Market cruises in the winter. Many travelers might even prefer these trending cruises because they offer an authentic experience and a glimpse into what life is like during a particular season.
And, don’t forget: river cruises are super popular right now, so you will want to book far in advance. River boats have limited occupancy, so if you are are thinking of booking, try to plan 12 months out. Fall is a popular time to book, as well as at the start of the New Year. These times typically offer new itineraries and promotions.
Who’s all going?
This is an important question to know the answer to because the standard on many river cruise lines is double occupancy. That means that if you’re traveling with a family, you may need to book multiple rooms to accommodate everyone. But, no worries! With a little research, you will find there are plenty of river cruise operators that offer rooms that cater to families like AmaWaterways, Viking, and Uniworld. That being said, another important consideration is if you need accessible cabins. Some popular river cruise operators don’t currently accommodate to those with limited mobility, but there are many others that do – like Scenic, Emerald Waterways and Vantage.
All-inclusive or sticking to the basics?
Do you prefer luxury to value? Do you want to pay more to have finer amenities and all-inclusive service, or would you prefer to stick to the basics? If you want an upscale, all-inclusive experience then Uniworld, Scenic or Tauck might be good options. If you prefer value and just want a soft place to rest their heads after a long day of exploring, then Emerald Waterways, which continues to win the Cruise Critic Editor’s Pick for Value, might be for you.
Did you read the fine print?
One of the best things about a river cruise is that there tends to be fewer additional fees than ocean cruises. And, if you are seeking an all-inclusive experience with excursions, tips and amenities covered, you can trust that you will receive that when you choose to book through an all-inclusive river cruise operator. But, if the river cruise isn’t all-inclusive, you will have to pay to take part in some of the unique experiences offered. Make sure you are aware of this before heading down the river to your dream destinations.
Considering these questions is just a part of helping you book the best possible river cruise. Let us help plan – contact us here for your amazing river cruise experience!