Ten River Cruising Features To Love And Hate


Cruise CompeteEuropean river cruising continues to grow in popularity for a number of reasons.  Right now, airfare from North America to where river cruises start in Europe is more reasonable that it has been in a number of years.  River cruising provides a distinctly different sailing experience while still holding on tight to core cruise qualities; unpack once and see multiple places, an inclusive travel experience by nature and a safe, secure way to see the world.  Still, some travelers will love river cruising while others might not.  Let’s see who will and who won’t, for specific reasons that deserve serious consideration.  To make that comparison easy, we took a look at what the most popular river cruise company in the world has to offer.  Looking at river cruising features, we have ten reasons to love and ten reasons to hate them.

Viking River Cruises has more ships that sail more itineraries than any other travel company out there.  Aimed at culturally curious travelers, one might think that to be an older demographic.  Indeed, we do find a lot of well-traveled individuals sailing along with us.  Interestingly, if a traveler likes or dislikes what Viking has to offer is becoming less age-based and more on the factors we have for you here today.

river cruising features
Photo – Chris Owen

River Cruising Features Travelers Will Love If …

  1. They are outgoing, social people who like to mingle.  Frankly, there is no place to hide on these small ships and being a part of it all is a big ingredient in the recipe for a successful river cruise experience. On the other hand, this is a good place to start as everyone already has something in common.
  2. They want everything on the ship to be within a minute’s walk- The small ships are easy to maneuver and remember where things are.
  3. They are heavy Internet users- Ship wide Wi-Fi is always available, free and has a strong signal.
  4. They are into history and seeing things they may have seen in movies, on TV or studied all their lives.  River cruises get up close and personal with iconic destinations every single day.
  5. They are tired of sailing with thousands of others- Viking River Cruises ships hold less than 200.
  6. They don’t like leaving luggage in the hallway on the last night- It’s not done that way on a Viking River Cruise. With 190 people, there is no luggage jungle to wade through after the sailing either.
  7. They are traveling solo- The single supplement is frequently waived and as a totally shared experience, meeting people is easy.
  8. They don’t want to pay for extra things. Wine and beer with meals- Both are included with a Viking River Cruise. Also included: a tour every day, although your participation is not required. Some travelers choose to wander around the destinations visited on their own. That’s fine too.
  9. They have brainiac kids- While there is little for kids to do on the ship, the ships do stop at the places they read about in history books.
  10. They have problems with motion discomfort- On a river cruise, there are no waves and you can always see the shoreline.  Motion discomfort is rare.
river cruising features
Photo- Chris Owen

River Cruising Features Travelers Will Hate if…

  1. They like long, lazy days at sea- there simply are none on most itineraries.
  2. They like lots of dining options- On a Viking river cruise there is one dining room and everyone eats at the same time.
  3. They love to tender- River cruises stop at shoreside always, there is no such thing as a tender on a river cruise
  4. They like foo foo drinks with umbrellas- This is not the scene here.  But your river cruise ship might stop close to a centuries-old winery or distillery.
  5. They were lousy at history in school or simply don’t care about it much- A great deal of the allure of a river cruise is getting up close and personal with those place that we studied as kids in school. If that bored you then, not all hope is lost but it’s a point against river cruising.
  6. They like gambling on board- Viking has no casino on their ships, although they do stop at some places on some itineraries that have casinos.
  7. They live for room service- Viking River Cruises does not offer it. 24 hour coffee drinks are available and delicious cookies are out in the afternoon for all to enjoy however.
  8. They like top deck extreme sports features- There are none, other than a small miniature golf course and I really don’t know why they have it.  Not many use it.
  9. They have regular kids- There is simply nothing for them to do on the ship. Off ship is another story (see above) but there is no children’s program
  10. They are looking for a “cheap” cruise- Discounted river cruises still run about twice price or more of a discounted ocean cruise.

River cruising is all about the destinations and the enduring focus, where the memories are made,  is off the ship.  That’s a big difference over ocean cruising, especially when comparing to huge mega ships.

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