How much luggage can I bring onboard?
As a general guidline you can bring with you what you would normally take on the plane. So one suitcase, one carry-on bag, and one personal bag (handbag, computer case, etc.) per person. However allowances do vary between Operators, so we've detailed their baggage policies under the FAQ section on each Operator page.
What should I be wearing on board?
The type of clothing of course depends on the time of year you are travelling, but generally dress aboard and on shore is "casual & comfortable". Shorts should not be worn in the restaurant or lounge in the evenings. Bathing suits are not appropriate in the lounge or restaurant at any time. You may wish to wear something a little dressier for the Captains Dinner. We recommend that for shore excursions you wear comfortable shoes & don't forget a sun hat.
Is laundry service available?
Most ships have either a self-serve laundrette (with ironing board) or laundry service for an additional fee.
Do I need a Visa for a European river cruise?
Firstly a valid passport is required to travel and must be valid for at least six (6) months after the scheduled return date of your trip. Check it now.
Secondly, and this a only general advice - you probably wont need any Visa's on a European river cruise, and you will on a river cruise to Russia or around Asia. Of course that varies depending on the nationality of your passport. We've got more specific advice here - Visa Info Guide
What should I consider before I go on my river cruise?
First and foremost, please taking out some form of travel insurance. Through us (great savings!) or any company - just do it. Along with providing coverage in case you need medical assistance it can also cover trip interruption and we recommend it to everyone when undertaking a multi-day journey.
To prepare for your river cruise don't just consider your clothing and camera. Take your driver's license, passport and we recommend that you make two sets of photocopies of your airline tickets (including e-tickets) and the first page of your passport. Leave one set at home with a friend or relative; bring the other set with you, keeping it separate from the original documents. For more information visit our section on Passports & Visas.
It is important that you prepare enough money to last you the whole trip. It is recommended that you add around 300 to 500 dollars on top of your budget that would act as a "buffer" for your wallet. Some cruises accept dollars or other national currency, but there are some that do not accept any other currency but Euros. It would be frustrating to have all that money, and yet not be able to buy a souvenir or local food. Be sure to check the required currency to avoid this inconvenience.
You should also take whatever medications or prescriptions that you take to counter the usual ailments. A small medicine bottle or container should be enough to bring all that you need for the duration of the trip. In some circumstances, you might also need to get medical clearance from the doctor. Any medical equipment such as reading glasses, hearing aides, pacemakers and such should also be included in the things to bring.
Finally, make sure that you have the gadgets that you will need to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. Bring extra batteries and storage cards for your camera so that you don't run out of space for your photos. These are generally priced higher in the places where you'll be travelling.
Will my cabin be heated/air-conditioned?
All rooms on the ships are air conditioned and heated. All ships have individual controls in the staterooms.
Are alcoholic & other drinks available on board?
Wine, beer & soft drink are included with all onboard dinners. In Europe, regular coffee, tea & iced tea are available free of charge throughout the day from the self service coffee stations. On the Yangtze and Galapagos - coffee, tea & soft drinks are included at lunch and dinner.
I need to keep in touch with my family & office back home, what facilities are available?
Internet service is available onboard. The service works via satellite and there is an hourly charge. On the Yangtze River Cruises the internet is a flat rate charge. Internet cafes can be found in many towns along the way in Western Europe and charges are generally very reasonable. Faxes can be sent and received via reception; there is a charge for both outgoing and incoming faxes. Stamps and postcards are available for purchase on board. Mail is sent from each major port. Each stateroom has it's own telephone. This may be used to call room to room or to any of the ship's offices, in Europe calls can be made from ship-to-shore. In Egypt & China, ship-to-shore calls must be made from reception. Any charges are placed on your shipboard account. In the Galapagos, there are two satellite-linked phones available for use in the reception lounge.
What currency will I need & am I able to use my credit card on tour?
If you are travelling in Europe, most of the countries you will be visiting use the Euro. Exceptions are Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia and Switzerland; they all have their own currencies but the euro is accepted in many establishments. Many locations accept major credit cards; however in small towns they are not widely accepted. In these cases and for incidentals or small vendors, you will need some local currency. ATM machines are located on shore at some stops. Prior to your departure, confirm with your bank that your ATM or credit card and PIN number will work abroad.
All purchases on board your ship are charged to your room account. The onboard currency is the Euro. Traveller's cheques may be exchanged for Euros. For payment of shipboard accounts, Euros and U.S. dollars are accepted as well as American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Diner's Club. A fee is charged for the use of traveller's cheques. Personal cheques cannot be cashed on board.
If you are travelling in China, U.S. dollars are widely accepted on shore. The local currency is the Yuan. ATM machines will dispense Yuan or they can be purchased on board the ship using U.S. dollars. The currency on board is the Yuan. Shipboard accounts can be settled in cash, traveller's cheques or most major credit cards.
If you are travelling in Ecuador, the U.S. dollar is the official currency. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. In smaller towns cash is recommended. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card, cash or travellers cheques.
If you are travelling in Egypt, the official currency is the Egyptian pound, but Euros and U.S. dollars are widely accepted. In small towns it is recommended to carry small amounts of local currency, but vendors in tourist areas are likely to accept U.S. dollars. Credit cards are usually accepted in larger towns. ATMs are available in most larger cities. Shipboard accounts can be settled by credit card or with cash. Traveller's cheques are not accepted.