I recently came across this article on river cruise myths which I found interesting. The article describes 4 myths about river cruises. I’d like to comment on each one.
Myth: River cruising is Expensive
Ok so everything is relative. There’s lots of ways to make a river cruise less expensive. First is timing. September tends to be more expensive while cruises during late November and December tend to be less expensive. Second is cabin type. You can pay a lot for a top floor suite or you can pay a lot less for a lower floor fixed window. Finally there’s promotions – occasionally there are promotions which you can get 20 – 50% off the typical price.
Of course you could also opt for a lower quality cruise line. Our experience however suggests that if money is really an issue, you’ll be better off playing with timing, cabin and promotions with a quality cruise line than getting a lower quality experience.
Myth: River Cruises are Boring
These are destination intensive vacations and so if you think the destinations are boring, then the cruise probably will be as well. But after all the cruises we’ve been on (see the list here), I’ve yet to even come close to boring. For a complete run down, check out this blog.
Myth: River Cruises Aren’t Social
This one is pretty funny because I’ve never heard this myth. And as the article states, nothing could be further from the truth. Just check out the last evening when everyone is getting emails and phone numbers from their new found friends. The small size of the ships really facilitates getting to know people. But it’s more than that – it’s the crowd they attract. We’ve found that AmaWaterways attracts such an interesting clientele. And we know not only from our on personal experience but because we book hundreds of people on AmaWaterways a year. Truly fascinating people.
Myth: Cruise Ships Are at the Mercy of the River
The article really downplays the water level. I disagree. You are definitely at the mercy of the river. Water levels get too high and they get too low. And those are two conditions that the river cruises don’t operate. And while many rivers are managed by locks, we’ve seen our share of unhappy customers because the river did not cooperate. The result ranges from outright cancellation (rare) to transport by bus (common) to moving from one ship to another on the other side of a bridge (pretty common).
The real myth here is that you shouldn’t consider it when choosing your river cruise. One of the reasons we like AmaWaterways so much is that their ships are designed differently than other lines. They are designed to have shallow drafts and lower heights so that they are more flexible. This this is just marketing hype? A few years ago, I had passengers on Viking, Uniworld and AmaWaterways when the rivers were very low. Only my AmaWaterways passengers were unaffected. There’s many other examples I could tell you about.
Think there’s a reason why there’s only a few river cruise lines on the Elbe River? It’s because the water level on the river is so low so often that river cruising becomes closer to a bus tour.
River Cruise myths
The article does debunk some common myths. There’s lots of ways to make river cruises less expensive. River cruises are anything but boring. And river cruises are extremely social. But I think the article is ill informed when it comes to river water levels. This is a real issue which can be mitigated in several ways including by choice of river cruise line.
While river cruises are not for anyone, they are a great way to vacation and certainly have become extremely popular. And the choices are constantly expanding – there’s many ways to visit Europe, but there’s also Africa, India and SouthEast Asia.
Have any other myths you want debunked? Give us a call.