We live in a modern era of jet setting and thrifty air travel. How often have you asked after a friend's trip to receive a positive reply but that they could use a holiday from their holiday? Most of us have precious few weeks a year of vacation time and it's natural to want to pack an itinerary to the brim. However, filling a schedule with many highlights often involves increased local travel time. Trains, buses and hopper flights can lead to increased stress and traveller fatigue. What if we told you that you could see the capitals of Europe without even changing rooms, let alone hotels?
Although a growing travel trend worldwide, many travellers still end up passing on river cruises and it's hard to understand why. The rivers that snake through city centres allow unique (and often the best) views. These vantage points are unobstructed and uncongested. The journey only continues as boats float through a country's rural hinterlands, a special experience reserved for those who cruise. In a modern age when more people are in a hurry, river cruising is the fine dining of travel; slowly consumed and always rich in taste and experience.
Explore the World
What do cities like Paris, St. Petersburg and Budapest all have in common? They are all located on riverbanks and have been shaped into the eclectic cities they are today because of it. Water is life in this world and rivers are veins that run through the land, historically powering the most prosperous and thriving settlements. By choosing to explore a country via its rivers, visitors will be able to check off a bucket list of places at their leisure. Cruises along the Danube and Rhine continue to be the most popular routes in the industry, but those lengthy European rivers are just the beginning of the places you can go. Full service travel agencies like Collette, cruise the Yangtze River in China, floating through dramatic scenery in a combination of ancient and modern.
River cruising is usually advertised as a great way to see multiple cities in a country, though travellers can certainly do that on land. But let's face it, extended road travel can be weary. While bus travellers may have to squeeze into a seat next to a stranger, river boat passengers can lounge on decks and swap travel lore with newly made friends. They also have the luxury of a private bathroom and options for upgrading cabin size and balconies which certainly beats elbowing over an armrest! Even those who opt for a more simplified and economical cabin still enjoy a welcome amount of privacy. Over and above cabin comfort, is the bonus of not having to wrestle luggage through multiple countries and various modes of transportation. Simply unpack and done.
Culture Comes On Board
It doesn't matter whether visitors are cruising past German castles, colorful Dutch tulip fields or charming Chinese villages, river boat cruises always bring the culture on board at each port of call. There is no whitewashed culinary and cultural experience aboard a river cruise, if there was, there would be no point in visiting the country. If travellers are sailing through the rivers of Bordeaux, France, they'll be enjoying Bordeaux wine. If they are enjoying the scenery of Germany, they'll have beer and wurst awaiting them for dinner. Unlike some guided travel experiences, the culture always finds itself a welcomed stowaway onboard river cruises.
Time to Explore
Those who haven't taken the time to enjoy river cruising are likely put off because they believe it to be a guided travel experience. Once the ship calls port, they imagine being forced to participate in guided tours they never wanted. That is simply not the case. Most cruise operators are completely à la carte, allowing passengers to design and dictate their daily itinerary. Very few specialize in what would best be described as 'organized fun.' Tours stay varying lengths at destinations depending on their schedule and in some cases it's a simple pleasure to follow the expert guidance of a day trip tour. For those who prefer independent travel, ports are typically central and well connected to city transportation.
It may go without saying, but boats often travel during the evening hours, arriving in port in the morning. Travelling long distances while asleep means more time 'being there' than 'getting there.' Since river cruises never do anything in a hurry, travellers will also have the time they desire to explore the city in full. It varies from company to company, but because no river cruise is ever in a rush, it is a travel option worth exploring.
Ready to plan a river cruise vacation? Find inspiration and itineraries at GoCollette.com