One of the best reasons to plan a European river cruise soon is the reduced price of airfare. After a series of terrorist attacks at a number of iconic European landmarks, many North American travelers put planning on hold. That’s the short term thinking justification for booking now, those reduced airfares will not last forever. Taking a long game look at European river cruising, there are some other reasons to take a European river cruise.
The Competition Is Fierce
If it seems that river cruising is a hot topic all of the sudden, it is. About a dozen cruise lines dominate the field of choices for your European river cruise, a number of them offer that reduced price airfare too. Three of those are worth getting to know.
- Crystal Cruises - mainly because you know the name from the world of ocean cruising. The Crystal name is strongly associated with luxury too. It makes sense to bring your ocean cruise experience along for the ride. Unique to Crystal; double wide Crystal Mozart teases first timers with ocean-like features other river cruise ships don’t have space for. Down side: Crystal Mozart can not sail beyond the wider locks of the river Danube between Passau and Budapest.
- AMA Waterways gives us a family-friendly river cruise line via partnering with Adventures By Disney. AMA also has a nice variety of unique features on their ships including specialty restaurants which really don’t make a lot of sense on a river cruise but hey; ocean cruise travelers want them so here they are. Sort of like balconies that make far less sense on river ships than on their oceanic counterparts.
- Viking River Cruises has the largest fleet of identical river cruise ships on the planet. That distinction brings more than bragging rights; the massive Viking Longships fleet may just be the reason your river cruise happened in the first place. When river levels are high ships can’t sail under bridges. When river levels are low, they can’t sail at all. On most river cruise lines, that means your cruise was canceled. On Viking it means moving you to the other side of the bridge and onto a Viking ship identical to yours.
The Planning Process Alone Is Worth It
First time travelers via any mode of travel take more time in the planning process. Smart move: first-timers have not done it before so spending the time to learn before doing makes sense.
Very quickly, travelers find out there is a whole lot more to the planning process than a swing through the Caribbean. Three big differences make for good reason to take a European river cruise and highlight the value of the planning process, by itself a good reason to travel.
- Flights - While many of the same booking rules exist, International Air is far more complicated than Domestic Air. The experience of international air, however, can be one of the best parts of the trip. After all, you will be flying ¼ of the way around the planet.
- Currency – Unlike the Caribbean, European countries do not accept the US$- there is a learning curve there on how to source, protect and use foreign currency.
- Language – First to know, odds are that most ‘foreigners’ we will meet on a European river cruise will speak their own language and English too.
It’s Cruising, But An Entirely Different Experience Travelers commonly take a river cruise after successfully navigating the world of ocean cruising. It’s rarely the other way around. They like that river cruising brings benefits similar to those they fell in love with in the oceans of the world.
Compared to visiting the same places by land or air, cruise travel comes out about as far ahead on a river cruise as it does on an ocean cruise, maybe more. On a Caribbean cruise, we compare what the cruise line offers to a short list of options, mainly all-inclusive land resorts. A European river cruises opens the door to travel in an area of nearly 4 million square miles. The Caribbean brings less than half that geographic space to explore.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com.