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Are River Cruises Expensive? Exploring the Value of the Experience

River Cruising

Imagine yourself gliding along gentle waters, passing picturesque landscapes and stepping ashore in grand capitals and charming cities. Welcome to the enchanting world of river cruising.


Value in vacationing is measured by the quality of the experiences and benefits you gain from your time away. River cruises are increasingly becoming a favorite among those who seek adventure and cultural immersion. Let's delve into the various factors that make river cruises a sought after choice for travelers.


The all-inclusive nature of river cruises allows you to travel worry-free. Accommodation, food, wine and beer at lunch and dinner, guided excursions, WIFI, entertainment and sometimes even onboard gratuities are included in the price. Only personal expenses such as spa treatments and optional excursions are an additional cost.


Let’s take a closer look at the value of these included features:


The Immersive Destinations

Rivers run through the heart of a country so when you travel on a river cruise, you have a front-row seat to the world’s most breathtaking rivers through landscapes that might otherwise remain hidden from view.


This method of travel offers you the chance to wake up to ever-changing scenery each day. River cruise is often associated with Europe but can also be done in Asia, Africa, North and South America. This style allows you to have the unique opportunity to be on water and see land every day. It provides a more intimate and culturally immersive experience in the country/countries you are visiting unveiling their historical significance, cultural heritage and natural wonders.


Most itineraries conduct the travel at night to maximize your time in port. River ships move slow enough that you can read the nautical mile marker signs along the river banks.


And with the shoreline always in sight, there’s always something to watch. You sit back and let the sights come to you!


Boutique hotel-like Accommodations

River cruises staterooms are all outside cabins so you won’t pay extra to face the water. Your cabin is your accommodation for the duration of the trip which means you can unpack once and make yourself comfortable to enjoy the amenities of your home away from home.


Choosing a river cruise is similar to choosing a hotel style. There are Deluxe (4 Star), Luxury (5 Star) and Premium (5+ Star) river cruise companies available to meet your needs. Each ship offers various stateroom categories, catering to your individual preferences and ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable experience throughout your journey.


Delicious Local-Inspired Meals

River cruises include all meals onboard with no specialty dining fees. They use fresh, local ingredients to create destination-inspired menus as well as classic dishes paired with regional wine or beer.


Destination-focused dining allows you to taste your way through the country/countries you are visiting and explore the culture through food so that the dining becomes part of your journey.


Entertainment is provided after dinner to add to the cultural experience and immerse you in the destination.


A Variety of Curated Excursions & Special Events

River cruise ships dock close to city centers with quick and easy embarkation and disembarkation which means you can step right off the ship and explore.


Some river cruises include all guided excursions for travelers who don’t want to miss any of the “must-see” and “must-do” experiences. Other companies include a main guided tour in each port and offer optional excursions which allows travelers to opt for leisure time to explore on their own.


You can also choose your own pace and activity level for your excursions from walking tours to hiking or biking. There are full & half-day excursions and sometimes evening events, such as concerts. Never underestimate the value that a local guide will add to your trip, especially if it is your first time in a destination.

The Personalized Service

River cruise ships are smaller than ocean cruise ships which means a more intimate experience. With an average of only 150 passengers that means more “to dos” not crowds and queues.


Each cruise has a Cruise Director who manages daily activities, holds embarkation and disembarkation briefings and informative talks and is your main point of contact to ensure you make the most of your journey.


Worry-Free Travel

With a river cruise, you will travel between grand capitals and charming villages without the need for multiple forms of transportation and hotels. Some companies also have flights and ground transportation from airport to ship and ship to airport available in the price.


TIP: Extend your cruise!


Many river cruise companies offer pre and post tours so that you can bundle your vacation together with a land package. You are flying a long way when taking a river cruise in Europe, Asia or Africa. So why not enjoy the cities where your cruise begins and ends by adding a minimum of one extra night.


  • You will get to see more of the destinations while you are there

  • Recover from any jetlag before your cruise begins

  • A great buffer in case your inbound flight is delayed or your luggage gets misdirected


River cruises

When you look at all of the inclusions of river cruises, you will find that the daily cost is a great value compared to other travel styles.


In conclusion, river cruising offers a unique and enriching travel experience, blending the comfort of luxury accommodation with the thrill of cultural exploration. It's a journey where each day brings new landscapes, intimate encounters with local cultures, and the ease of all-inclusive travel. From savoring local cuisines to enjoying onboard entertainment that deepens your connection to the destinations, river cruising caters to a range of interests and preferences. The convenience of docking in the heart of cities, the expertise of local guides, and the option to customize your excursions make every moment count. Moreover, the intimacy of smaller ships creates a personalized and relaxed atmosphere, allowing for meaningful interactions and an escape from the crowds. And with the opportunity to extend your stay in fascinating cities, you can immerse yourself even deeper into the essence of your destinations. Ultimately, the value of a river cruise lies not just in its comprehensive amenities and services, but in the unforgettable memories and experiences it offers, making it a remarkable choice for those seeking a unique and fulfilling way to travel.


For a cruise experience that matches your individual travel preferences, Contact your MLS Custom Travel Advisor. We are experts in selecting a cruise line that complements your unique tastes, ensuring a memorable journey and exceptional value.

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