River Cruising is the fastest growing segment of the cruise market. Many people have experienced ocean cruises and are ready to try something different. River cruises allow time to explore the cities that the ocean cruises cannot reach and offer more opportunities to interact with the locals. Whereas part of the reason to cruise on a large ship is the ship experience and activities on board, river cruising is more focused on the destination experience.
Multiple restaurant choices, extensive spa treatments, and large entertainment productions are not the norm. However, you will never experience the sights, sounds and smells of the French or German countryside aboard a large cruise ship!
River cruise boats carry fewer passengers and the passenger complement is mostly adult. This smaller size creates a more intimate environment that fosters getting to know other passengers or desire to do so and requires a smaller, sometimes more personalized cruise staff focused on your needs.
There are many cruise lines to choose from. Tauck and Uniworld offer some cruises specifically for families, and occasionally Disney will charter a riverboat.
There are a few lines – Uniworld, Crystal, Tauck, and Scenic that are All Inclusive. These lines include transfers, extensive excursion options, gratuities and all beverages in their pricing. Other lines such as Avalon, AMA, Viking, and Emerald offer beer and wine with lunch and dinner and a daily excursion. These other lines also have alternate excursions at a per person price, and there is a charge for transfers and gratuities and all beverages except coffee and tea between meals.