I recently went on my first River Cruise. I took my own questions, combined with my clients and made a list of common questions. Whether you're a seasoned traveler or a first-time adventurer, this blog post is here to answer all your burning questions about embarking on the ultimate River Cruise experience. From understanding your stateroom to what to expect on excursions, keep reading for answers to the most common River Cruise Questions.
Are there headsets, and if so, how do they work?
The good news is that you don't need to bring your own headsets, as most tour companies provide them for their passengers. When I went on a river cruise aboard the AMAviola, the headphones were already in our room when we arrived. We were able to use them on each of our excursions and simply plugged them in to recharge each night. The headphones provided us with clear and informative audio for our tours, and made it easy to hear everything our guides had to say.
For those with hearing aids, you can loop the earpiece over the ear to rest comfortably on top of the hearing aids. I don't recommend removing your hearing aids, I know too many people who have lost one this way!
How do I choose my tours on a river cruise?
Choosing the right tours for your river cruise trip can greatly enhance your travel experience. It's recommended that you plan and choose your tours ahead of time to ensure availability. However, most river cruise companies allow for last-minute changes if necessary. One great thing about river cruise tours is that they offer activities for all levels - from easy to active excursions, there's something for everyone. Some companies, such as Avalon and Uniworld, allow passengers to book additional-fee excursions online in advance. Clients I recently booked onboard the Viking Buri ship booked their excursions in advance, but they can also be booked on the ship based on availability. Also, many river cruise lines now offer bikes onboard to allow passengers to take them out in port on their own without an organized tour.
Will the stateroom be noisy?
Noise and vibrations are a common concern for travelers. Fortunately, most river cruise ships are designed to minimize noise and vibrations as much as possible. If you're someone who is sensitive to noise, consider choosing a cabin on the upper decks or away from high-traffic areas that may be prone to noise. And if you encounter vibrations, you can always place a towel in the offending space to stop the rattling!
What type of outlets are in the staterooms?
Most ships will have at least one outlet that can accommodate a US plug (110-120V) along with a USB outlet. However, staterooms have a limited number of outlets available, so it's a good idea to bring a travel adapter and/or converter with you on an international trip. (If you have a pre/post stay at a hotel, you’ll also need the appropriate adapter for that particular country.)
What is the layout of the stateroom?
Stateroom layouts can vary quite a bit from company to company and from ship to ship, so it's important to research the specific ship you'll be on to get a sense of what to expect. Travel advisors who specialize in river cruising have a vast knowledge of all the options and can help pair your interest and style with the right itinerary and ship. Most staterooms on a river cruise ship are designed to be efficient, maximizing available space while providing comfortable accommodations.
The deck you choose may impact your experience on a river cruise. Lower decks tend to be quieter and more stable, while upper decks may offer more scenic views. There may also be variations depending on the type of ship, so it's a good idea to look at deck plans before selecting your cabin.
You won't find metal walls on the river cruise ships, so those of you who are used to Ocean Cruising and usually bring magnetic hooks for extra storage space, you can leave those at home for this trip!
You will likely find an umbrella in your stateroom, or at the gangway, for use on excursions. It's a good idea to confirm with your travel advisor or check with the specific river cruise line you will be sailing to be sure.
Should I take a Pre/Post Cruise option?
A pre-cruise land package is highly recommended as it can help ensure you arrive at your ship on time and avoid any stress or unexpected delays. Arriving early also gives you the chance to acclimate to your new surroundings, a new time zone and potentially explore the city before embarking on your cruise. As for post-cruise land stays, they can be an excellent idea if you want to take more time to explore the last stop on your cruise or any other nearby cities. Since you're already in a new destination, taking extra time to explore can help you make the most of your trip.
Is the pre/post hotel stays included in the cruise price?
No, the pre/post cruise stay is an additional fee, however, many river cruise lines offer promotions toward land stays, so be sure to ask about your options.
I love working with seniors! I thoroughly enjoy guiding clients through the planning process, from finding the right destination to organizing the logistics to hearing about the trip upon their return. I am a strong advocate for my clients when it comes to price, quality and service. Trust and building lasting relationships along with continuing education are all extremely important to my business.