Quirky Cruise
June 5, 2017

River Cruise Overview: What is a River Cruise All About?

RIVER CRUISES are one of the five types of small-ship cruises covered by

Easy to identify, they offer a hugely popular means to get into the interior of a country or continent. As a matter of course, river boats may also ply canals and cross bays and lakes, often to cover many hundreds of island water miles. Europe, Asia, and North America offer the most diverse opportunities for river cruising, while South America brings to mind the Amazon and its numerous tributaries, and in Africa, it’s the Nile but not much else of any great popularity.

  • The majority of river cruises are about a week long, but there are 3- and 4-night options as well as longer 10- to 14-night river cruises.
  • There is more diversity in river cruise options than ever before — some are high-end with suites and balconies and all-inclusive pricing covering drinks, spirits, tips and excursions, while others offer less and cost less. The most affordable river cruises start at about $150-$200 USD per person a day.
  • While river cruises have been traditionally adults-only affairs, in the past few years many lines, especially in Europe, are offering special family sailings in the summer with curated kids’ activities, menus and active shore excursions, making Europe river cruises great options for families. Cycling excursions are especially popular.
  • European and North American river cruises tend to be scenery- and culture-focused and attract a lot of seniors who appreciate the ease and convenience of this form of travel. Usually the boats slide right up to a dock often near the center of town, and getting on and off merely requires a short walk across a gangway.
  • Many river cruises in Asia and South America require a degree of fitness to get into local skiffs, navigate narrow gangways between the boat and shore, and trek around temple sites and at times, along jungle paths.


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