Why River Cruise in Europe?
Travel by river is one of the best ways to venture out in Europe and take in the heart of the continent. This guide allows you to look at the options available to travelers wishing to take a trip through Europe from a river's perspective, easing through the countryside at a pace that allows you to explore the best cultural elements there. Travelers who return from river cruises carry pleasant memories of the countryside, local people, and fellow passengers. River cruise and barging travelers inevitably become true enthusiasts for the experience.
Longer and shorter trips
On longer trips, 10 days or more, the typical river cruise passenger is a well-traveled individual often over the age of 60. Shorter cruises typically attract a younger crowd. River cruises on the larger vessels do not always allow children under 12 as passengers, so make sure to check on any restrictions for families. The passenger manifest will be a mix of European and North American travelers, but most crews speak at least some English, and many are fluent. Individuals who require physical assistance when traveling should check with their travel consultant to determine the accessibility of any particular vessel for disabled passengers.
Peak Season for Cruising
The peak season for river cruising is much the same as European travel in general, late spring through mid-fall and early November. The shoulder season, a real value, ranges from early March through mid-May. The autumn months coincide with grape season, and several cruise lines are fully booked during this time by wine connoisseurs. Finally, April is tulip season and cruises in and around the Netherlands are particularly popular then.
What to pack for Cruising?
As always, pack as lightly as possible, as space on the smaller barges can be at a premium. Your cruise operator will no doubt provide you with a list of recommended items to bring, but the usual recommendations of hats, sunscreen and sunglasses are often overlooked but very important, because so much of your time will be spent outdoors. The smaller barges and self-drive options require good deck shoes and weather gear.
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