And Why These Two Millennials are Excited for Their Second River Cruise!

River cruise on Danube

You’ve probably seen a lot of commercials for river cruises, and you may have seen one on the most recent season of ABC’s “The Bachelor.” But, what is a river cruise, and what are they all about? What should you know as you consider one?

Unleashed is a big fan of river cruises (they make our Hot List!), and we’re about to embark on our second one in a year’s time. So, are river cruises what you think they are? Before we go aboard our next cruise, we thought it would help to dispel some of the river cruising myths we’ve heard.

  1. It’s for an “older” crowd: We’ve been there – before our first river cruise, we thought we were going to be on a geriatric cruise ship, full of people with canes and walkers. Boy were we wrong! Yes, we were some of the youngest aboard. But, the rest of the gang was definitely not geriatric. They’re people who like to travel and explore, just like us! There’s no reason Millennials or Gen Xers shouldn’t go on a river cruise.
  2. The food will be boring: Sure, there may not be as many restaurants as a mega-ship from an ocean cruise. But, that doesn’t mean it’s boring, or not good. In fact, the food we’ve had has been amazing – far exceeding our expectations. On top of that, because we’re at a new port each day, the kitchen can get the freshest ingredients, all local to each area we visit. Some river cruise lines possess world-class culinary acumen (such as AmaWaterways, which has been inducted into La Confrérie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, a prestigious international gastronomic society dedicated to fine cuisine).
  3. The trip will be boring: In our experience, much of the sailing time is either when you’re sleeping, or during a meal. A lot of the day can be spent ashore, save for those parts of the journey you want to see the sights from the top deck (think Wachau Valley in Austria). A river cruise is like a sailing hotel that allows you to go from place to place without unpacking in each new place. But, you also get the bonus of river sightseeing along the way. And, you can be as active (or inactive) as you want. Activities range from taking a bike for the day to explore, to hopping on a coach to see local sights with a bit more ease. How you spend your day is up to you!
  4. The ships are smaller – I won’t have room for everything in my cabin! Yes, because a river cruise ship is smaller than an ocean ship (generally 200 or fewer passengers vs. 3,000 or so), cabins tend to be a bit smaller. But, to ease any fears, it’s not a problem (and they’re not that much smaller). Cabins are designed well to provide for ample storage (for your items and your suitcases). And, you probably won’t need to pack as much anyway. You won’t find yourself needing a wardrobe of formal attire for dinners, as you may find on some ocean cruises. Bring what you would if you were staying at hotels in each city – clothing to sightsee during the day, and some classy casual attire for dinner. Plus, a smaller ship means no crowds and a better chance to make new friends. And, some of the staff will probably get to know you by name.

Our time spent on the Danube last summer gave us a great idea of what a river cruise was all about! But, in a few weeks, we’ll be trying something a little different than your average river cruise. We’ll be aboard the stylish U by Uniworld, designed with the younger traveler in mind. Similar to The Bachelor, we’ll be sailing on the Seine and enjoying the sights of Paris. We expect to enjoy the benefits of river cruising as we have in the past. But, we’re also excited to see Uniworld’s fresh take on river cruising aboard The B on one of its first voyages, especially now that Alicia is a Uniworld River Cruise Specialist! Keep your eyes out on our social media pages for some highlights from our trip (@unleashedltc). And of course, we’ll post a recap after!

Certified River Cruise Specialist