The New Luxury: River Cruising
We’ve all heard about the luxuries of an ocean cruise – swimming pools, gyms, casinos, cabaret – but anyone who’s been river cruising can tell you that the real luxuries aren’t mass-produced, cookie-cutter experiences. A river cruise is a much more intimate affair, but still a lot of fun and, for some, infinitely more satisfying.
An Exclusive Experience
Nothing says luxury like exclusivity. Unlike a seafaring cruise, where passenger numbers are in the thousands, a river cruising vessel rarely exceeds a capacity of a few hundred people.
With fewer people comes a more relaxing atmosphere; it’s easier to make friends and talk, and there are fewer queues and crowds. That’s not to say a river cruise will leave you feeling cramped and boxed in; far from it.
Some river cruise ships feature panoramic shore-facing views in their suites, and you’ll be hard-pressed to feel any sense of claustrophobia out on deck. River cruise ships vary in size, but even the smallest are very roomy once you’re on board.
Still, in all that space and comfort, you’ll find the intimacy and swift service that come with a small passenger base give you a real “VIP” feeling. There’s no feeling of being “boxed in” or herded around in big groups. Crowd management might be in full swing at big resorts, but not on a relaxing river cruise.
Everything You Need
Even if you’re not travelling on an all-inclusive package, the latest river cruise offerings tend to include an awful lot for the basic ticket price. River cruise operators seem to be in a never-ending battle to offer more and more to their non-all-inclusive passengers.
Most provide expertly cooked meals made from fresh local produce, drinks with lunch and dinner, expert guided tours and an on-board cruise director – all as standard.
So, while you will have to pay for the odd thing here and there, you’ll certainly feel well looked after. It’s an attractive feature of modern river cruises, and one that seems to be spreading.
All-inclusive, luxury river cruises are another level of decadence altogether, with every conceivable whim catered to – as if they can read minds. Some cruise lines have personal butlers (you read that correctly) that are on hand to cater to your every need.
Now that’s cruising with style!