If you have never been on a river cruise before, you may be wondering what makes them such a great way to see the world. Both frequent ocean cruisers and those who have primarily traveled on land vacations find that a river cruise offers a unique and special way to experience a destination. On a river cruise you get to see the world from a brand-new vantage point which is sure to get you hooked on this type of travel.

With this in mind, here are my top five reasons that you will love a river cruise:

1. You Get Up Close and Personal with Destinations

The rivers of the world were the original highways between cities, towns, and countries. Many cultural and economic hubs were built with an orientation to the river, since waterways were the primary way that they connected to the wider world. So when you travel on the world’s rivers, you are not merely sailing to the destinations you are visiting – you are sailing through them. In addition, in many places the ships are able to dock right in the center of town. This means that you will be able to stroll right off the ship and immediately begin exploring.

2. Small, Intimate Ships

In order to navigate rivers, river cruise ships need to be small. Most river cruise ships carry only 150-200 passengers while others hold just 50 people. Even the largest ships (such as those on the Mississippi) have a maximum of 400 passengers. This makes the river cruise experience intimate and personal. You will not encounter lines or wait-times for meals or excursions, and you will get to personally know the staff on board, which allows them to cater to your specific likes, dislikes, and preferences. On a river cruise you are not a face in the crowd, but a valued guest.

3. Fresh, Locally-Sourced Food

On a river cruise, the ship is intimately connected with the place it is sailing through. This extends to the dining as well. In each destination, the onboard chefs use local ingredients to create meals inspired by the cuisine of the area. They gather their ingredients daily from markets and suppliers at the stops along the way, so the food on board is incredibly fresh. In this way, river cruise travelers are also supporting local communities and economies.

4. The Views – Water and Nature and Culture, Oh My!

Whether you are looking out from your cabin, sitting in the main lounge, or relaxing in the open air of the upper deck, there will always be something incredible to see. River cruisers are privy to an ever-changing landscape always framed by the beauty of the waterway itself. Sometimes you will be sailing by magnificent natural vistas, such as the Rhine Gorge or the Iron Gates on the lower Danube River. At other times it will be a small town or a large modern city. On many journeys you will also have the fascinating experience of going through river locks! Whatever view you are passing by, you will want to keep eyes peeled to take it all in.

5. The Opportunity to Craft Community and Connections

Whether you are traveling alone, as a couple, or with a group, a river cruise is a great way to meet people. There are numerous opportunities to connect with people on board and during excursions, and many people walk away from their river cruise having made brand new life-long friends.

Are you ready to book your river cruise? Or do you have more questions? Whatever you need, please feel free to reach out to me and schedule a complimentary consultation.

Contact Kira

Kira GartnerKira Gartner is the owner of Blue Sky Destinations, a boutique travel agency specializing in river cruises, luxury expedition cruises and customized European vacations. For years she has helped curious travelers plan vacations that allow them to unwind, reconnect, and immerse themselves fully in a destination. Reach out to her for a free consultation - and let her start designing your dream vacation!