River cruise lines are trying to attract more families and you’ll find in the key school holiday periods some cruise lines have more family or multi-generational cruises, where they try and build in more activities and features for kids. In my view, river cruising is much more of a baby boomer product and a much more of a baby boomer way of traveling, because those are who most of the people on board are going to be and a lot of the tours and excursions are going to historical places or have a historical or sightseeing bend to them. The whole structure, the facilities and the way of dining is a more adult experience and certainly a slightly older adult experience. Solo travelers are one of the traveler groups that are very drawn to river cruising. However it can be a very expensive way for solo travelers to cruise because you’ll find most cruise lines, certainly in the peak season, will charge double to occupy a cabin. Increasingly cruise lines are offering in the shoulder periods out of season is more solo deals.
If you’re a solo traveller and want to go river cruising it is a very social way to travel, because of small groups and you can get to know people very easy, making it a great way of traveling as a solo traveler. It is a relatively expensive option so look at the beginning and the end of the season when Cruise Lines find it slightly harder or more challenging to fill and will do more solo deals. A couple of cruise lines are introducing smaller cabins and more solo cabins but again this still tends to be a premium on those. The other thing to bear in mind is when you’re cruising down the rivers, and particularly on the places like the Danube, is you’re going to go through a lot of locks and you find as you cruise along, and you might be sleeping, there will be noise and bumping as you go through the locks. Personally I love locks and find fascinating their technology, but it’s one things that people don’t really think of. They think they will be sailing up rivers for miles and miles and miles, but you will find you go through a lot of locks. It can be slightly odd when in your cabin because suddenly you might find you have a big concrete wall up against your window.
The other thing I would say with River Cruises is they are slightly noisier than ocean cruising. In terms of people walking around and talking. More noise because they’re much smaller vessels and there’s less ambient noise of the ocean. When I go on a river cruise I always take ear plugs with me as I find that much easier to sleep. It is a little bit noisier and I have had some experiences where I can hear the people in the room next door snoring for example or televisions or whatever, so if your are a light sleeper take some earplugs.These are the things that I think you need to know and aren’t going to be told about river cruising. It is not to put you off river cruising but to ensure you better understand the process of river cruising so that when you go you know what to expect. There are some surprises and some differences.