There are so many different river cruise operators, how do I make sure I choose the right one?
Deciding who to travel with is not an easy task. If you've travelled with a particular river cruise Operator before, and you loved the trip then it's not such a hard decision, and most of them have a special 'frequent traveller discounts' for repeat clients. When pricing your quote we'll take this into account. To help you compare River Cruise operators we have provided you with a quick guide which you can find here: Compare River Cruise Operators.
I want to do a European river cruise, what's the best time of year to go?
The most popular time to visit Europe is early summer, especially June and July. Part or all of August is often considered part of the low season in many cities (except for Paris, where it's July). Europeans go on vacation at this time, which means the beaches are packed, but the cities are devoid of locals and replaced by travellers. From August 15 to 31, most European cities either close down entirely (Rome is the most notorious) or go on severely shortened hours. From mid or late November through Easter (except for Christmas week) is low season in most places. However there are some great river cruises which allow you to take in Christmas time in Europe, something very unique. The Shoulder Season usually includes Spring (Easter through mid June) and Autumn/Fall (late September to mid or late November). Global Journeys have included a weather guide for each month of the year - you can find this on each itinerary page.
I'm a solo traveller, do river cruises cater for me?
For a single traveller who prefers the privacy of their own room, single accommodation can be requested. A single supplement normally applies (unless there is a special on) on normal twin-share rooms.
I'm thinking of joining a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, should I try to secure the port or starboard side of the ship?
Because most of Europe's historic towns and cities are often located on or close to the main rivers, it makes no difference which side of the ship you choose. There's always plenty to see along both sides of the river. Remember that Europe is very compact - you only have short distances to travel between towns (and even between countries).
I have special food requirements, will I be catered for?
All meals onboard are prepared by accomplished chefs and consist of local food adjusted to suit the tastes of international passengers. Generally that will include a buffet breakfast, and in Europe a buffet lunch. On the Yangtze, a mix of Western and Chinese dishes are generally offered. Dinner is generally a multi-course meal. If your vegetarian, on the first day of the cruise you need to make the Tour/Cruise Director aware of this so they can advise any chefs onboard the ships. However if you need gluten free meals you'll need to let us know beforehand so we can advise the Operator. Gluten intolerant passengers will also need to make the Tour/Cruise Director aware of your requirments, on the first day of the cruise.
Should I arrive a day or two ahead of the departure date?
Flying in on the same day as your river cruise departure does reduce your holiday expense, however flying in a day early lowers your stress level and is recommended. If you are cutting it close, a flight delay or cancellation could be a disaster. It is your responsibility to meet the ship, and a last-minute flight/transfer to the ship's next port won't be cheap. A night in a hotel before your cruise can also help you unwind and enjoy your first day on the ship.
When should I book shore excursions?
Your river cruise will stop at several ports. When it does, you are free to do what you like. You can go exploring on your own arouund town or join go on an organised excursion. Many of the Operators on our site offer various options (and mostly at no additional charge). These options could include walking tours at night, cycling tours, historical walks and gastronomic discoveries.
If this is your first river cruise we would recommend that you orgnaise any shore excursions while onboard with the cruise operator. Besides the convenience you can also rely on the transport provided & there's no chance that you will miss the ships' departure. (They will not wait for you if you are delayed on a private tour).
What happens in the evening, are we cruising during the night?
River cruises journey during the night and day. Some evenings local entertainment is provided onboard after which they disembark and the ship usually leaves the port, while you are dining, socialising and sleeping.
At each stop, am I able to wander on my own or do I have to join the guided tours?
You can do your own thing or join one of the groups to do a personalised walking tour. There is time to wonder on your own, go back to the ship for lunch or enjoy lunch at one of the local cafes. Sometimes included day trips take most of the day.
I've heard there is an option to buy a type of 'deposit cancellation protection' when we make a booking? What's that all about?
Most of the river cruise operators provide an option where you can pay an extra non-refundable amount when you deposit your river cruise which gives you additional protection if you have to cancel your cruise before or during your holiday. Each operators policy is different, read about them below. If you wish for us to include this in your quote then please let us know before making your deposit.
I have trouble with sea sickness on ocean cruising, am I likely to have the same problem with river cruising?
Sea sickness is not a problem on a river cruise as the ships are designed to virtually glide along & so you hardly realise you are moving. (Typically 12-15 mph cruising speed). The fact that you can see both banks of the river also means sea sickness is a rarity as there is no sense of a moving horizon.
I will be cruising during the Summer, do the ship's have swimming pools on board?
Because the ships are restricted in size to enable them to navigate the rivers and locks, there is not sufficient space for full size pools, but some have spa pools and internal pools available.