Go with the flow and discover the magic
River cruising is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to travel, with river-cruise companies expanding to more exotic parts of the world every year. Blurring the lines between outside and in, and blending luxury with adventure even for the most seasoned of travellers, river cruising offers you a view of the world you might never have seen before.
Alan is so well-travelled, he feels like he’s done it all – big cruise ships, coach tours, river cruises. Some of his most treasured travel memories are from the river cruises he embarked on – and he’s here to share why.
Forget lugging heavy suitcases up streets that resemble Mount Everest. With river cruising, you only unpack once – at the start of your trip. If you want to jump ship for a day excursion, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your belongings are safe and secure onboard.
“You can nip on and off without having to pack up for the day,” Alan adds.
River cruises can dock close to a destination, dropping you off right in the heart of town so you can make the most of your time on land. Got sore feet? Retreat to your ship, which won’t be far away. Good river-cruise experiences will include staying overnight in some places along the way, so you can explore day and night.
“With riverboats, you’re pulling right up to the town or city, and you’re getting off and walking into the thick of things. In the smaller places, it’s magnificent to be there, and be part of the town,” says Alan.
No sea or car sickness!
For those who suffer from motion sickness, travelling anywhere without Sealegs is unfathomable. But without the swaying of the ocean or the twisty turns of travelling by car, river cruising is a great option for those travellers susceptible to the onslaught of motion-induced nausea.
“It’s never been a problem. It’s not like being on a bigger boat where I’ve taken medication and skipped dinner. And you can read!” Alan exclaims.
Imagine slipping past sun-drenched vineyards and majestic castles, while relaxing on a deck chair with a good book in one hand and champagne in the other. Bliss! Onboard river cruises, you won’t find a casino or a huge Broadway show. What you will find is plenty of outdoor spaces to relax in and enjoy the view. It’s about the destinations and having your luxurious hotel move with you from place to place.
Avalon Waterways design their ships to maximise guest space, from room design to extra common areas so they have fewer people on board their cruises (no more than 166 depending on the size of the ship). They have multiple dining areas to accommodate all tastes and preferences. Every meal is prepared with the freshest of local ingredients by talented chefs – but when and where you eat is up to you. Dine early, late, inside, outside – the world is your oyster.
“It’s all there and it’s not your usual mass-produced food – it’s all themed to where you are. You can have a quiet dinner or join a group – great for meeting new friends. You can get a lighter meal upstairs, all your standard drinks are included – so you’re not coughing up for that, and when you’re peckish, there are the biscuits in the back lounge,” says Alan.
Value for money
While there are cheaper ways to travel, Alan says river cruising is great value for money – and as an accountant, he’s in a position to know. Often, it’s the excursions and experiences money can’t buy that make river cruising with a good travel company such incredible value for money.
“There were so many excursions included, things we couldn’t have done on our own. The last trip we did [in Germany], we went into an opera house in a little village, where we had a pianist and singer perform for us. The chance of stumbling across that is zero! It’s that sort of thing you wouldn’t experience just driving around Germany.”
A river cruise with a good view? How about a suite view? With wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows, it’s like you’re sleeping under the stars. From the minute you open your eyes, right up until your head hits the pillow, you’ll never miss an opportunity to see the world outside.
Riverboats can only be so wide and high, so make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. Good river-cruise companies will make clever use of their space and won’t compromise on the size of rooms or beds.
“You can sit right up the front as you sail down the river. When we were going through the Rhine Gorge, we could see all the castles and villages as we went by – some of the most spectacular scenery in the world,” Alan reminisces.
Get the best of both worlds with itinerary options to suit all types of travellers.
Avalon Waterways’ exclusive Active & Discovery river cruises have been thoughtfully crafted for the doers – canoe along legendary riverbanks, perfect your brushstrokes in a local art studio, or cycle through scenic countryside. Perhaps a more classic tour to the world’s most famous sights is more your style. When adventure takes over and you’re ready to go off on your own, onboard Adventure Hosts are always available to help you find what you need to create the perfect outing.
“There are so many options and they’re all part of the deal. Some of our friends did a cooking experience – and they were still talking about it at the end of the cruise! We went on a cycling excursion. I’m not a particularly active person, and they got me an eBike.”
Avalon offers an exciting selection of special-interest cruises that allow you to bring your hobbies and pastimes with you on holiday. You might be wild for the outdoors, want to try every local delicacy or fill your head with the tales of those who came before us – take your pick.
“Our trip through Cambodia and Vietnam was a special trip – one of the best. It combined river and coach. They’d pull up on the side of the riverbank, and hammer in sticks to tie the boat to. On one experience we were interacting with school children, helping to teach them English – you really felt immersed in the culture,” says Alan.
Possibilities as wide as the views
Ready to glide away down the world’s most spectacular rivers, enjoying a unique vantage point from your private oasis? Decide on what your perfect cruise looks like, choose a destination – then get in touch by calling 0800 267 672 or visit Avalon Waterways’ website.