I’m going to tell you things that I think you need to know about river cruising that are watch outs or things you need to know before you go that the cruise lines probably won’t tell you, and certainly the brochures won’t warn you about. Hi, I’m Gary Bembridge and this is another of my tips for travellers. The goal of this is not to put you off river cruising, but it is a very different way of travelling and there’s a whole bunch of things that I think you need to know to make sure that if you decide to go you’re going to you make the most of it.
First of all, you can only cruise a relatively limited part of the year. The season runs normally from April through to October in Europe, and although there might be some Christmas cruises or New Year’s cruises like Christmas market cruises, the ships are normally put into harbour and basically retired for at least the first three months of the year. So, there’s only a relatively limited period of time that you can go cruising. The second, and really important thing to note, is that it’s very possible (and sometimes almost likely) that your itineraries will get adjusted because of water levels – so either to high water levels or too low water levels. You might often find on a cruise that quite close at the time you booked to go that the itinerary might get changed, or even when you’re on the cruise you might find that you end up staying in one place and getting bused to excursions. What’s very important on river cruises is you don’t actually travel that far, so you might only be traveling maybe 20 miles or 30 miles, so it is relatively easy for the river cruise lines to then just bus you on the different excursions. In some seasons that can be pretty bad, so for example, in 2018 there were big problems particularly on the Danube and itineraries were constantly being changed. River cruising ships are basically all the same, because they have to be a certain length, width and height to be able to cruise the rivers of Europe, so seen from the outside you’ll find that all river cruising ships look the same. Therefore, if you really want to understand the differences you need to look inside and so that’s why video sites are really important so you get a chance to look inside the ship.