• River Cruise Myths: Your Questions Answered

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    Historic, world-renowned cities one day, peaceful age-old towns the next. And in between the two: breathtaking landscapes taken straight from a canvas painting. The benefits of river cruising are plain to see, but some are a little cautious to hop on board without asking questions first – especially the seasoned ocean cruisers out there. But not to worry, we’ve tested the waters for you and we’re pretty confident we can put your mind at rest when it comes to cruising the world’s best waterways…

    I’m worried river cruising is too ‘old’ for me

    Sipping a glass of something bubbly as you sail along a scenic stretch of river sounds like a pastime that can be enjoyed by anyone at any age, don’t you think?

    River cruising is certainly a leisurely and more relaxing way to travel. While you’re unlikely to be surrounded by noisy children or sullen teenagers (perhaps more reason to book?), the average age of river cruise passengers has been falling over the last couple of years, so we think you’ll be pleased to meet a diverse range of people of different ages and walks of life. Regardless of age, one thing you’ll all have in common: a passion for exploring the world.

    River cruising is too sedate and there isn’t enough activity

    Unlike ocean cruises, you will rarely have a day of cruising without docking so there’s always somewhere new to explore. We think you’ll be surprised by how easily you rack up the steps on your Fitbit by exploration alone – especially on the days you dock in more than one destination in a day. But if you really want to get your sweat on, our exclusive charters MS Serenade 1 and MS Bellejour each have a mini gym equipped with some work out facilities.

    In terms of onboard entertainment, our exclusive charters will soon be introducing a flurry of specialist evening entertainers, including string quartets and local musicians, so watch this space…

    I want adventure; there isn’t enough independence on a river cruise

    There are a number of reasons why people choose to cruise. Spectacular scenery and top notch service aside, some people cruise for the ease. Some travellers aren’t quite confident enough to explore a new destination on their own, or they want a ‘taste’ of a city before returning independently on another holiday. For those people, included excursions and city tours are ideal.

    However, just because a tour is included, doesn’t mean you have to partake. Before you go ashore each day, your cruise director and tour managers will provide you with maps, recommendations, suggestions and directions for the destination of the day, so there’s really nothing stopping you from finding your own adventure if that’s your style. Use public transport. Try a local restaurant. Maybe even visit a neighbouring town, if there’s time.

    Remember – every destination has been selected for a reason. In cities, a myriad of sights, shops, markets and museums are waiting to be discovered. In smaller towns, hilltop castles, temples and vineyards beckon you.

    The ship and cabins are too small

    We like to use the term ‘intimate’, so no, you won’t find an ice-skating rink, casino or water park on board, but that’s part of the charm of river cruising.

    Yes, river ships are smaller than ocean liners – but that shouldn’t be seen as a negative. Smaller ships equals fewer passengers and a higher crew-to-passenger ratio, so you’ll enjoy a more personalised service from the crew (read: the barman will learn your favourite drink sooner). On a river cruise ship, there’s a beautiful scenic view from practically anywhere onboard and you’ll enjoy less crowded public areas, including the bar, top deck and restaurant. And yet, there’s always a quiet place to read or watch the world go by (literally).

    Our MS Serenade 1 boasts a fantastic use of space in its cabins, with a spacious wardrobe, desk and seating area plus a separate bath and shower in the en suite. Don’t say we never treat you.

    There’s no choice of restaurant onboard and the food is boring

    Does a six-course gala dinner with free-flowing wine sound boring to you? We kick off all our cruises in style with a lavish celebratory dinner onboard MS Serenade 1 and MS Bellejour. And on the other days, savour a not-too-shabby four-course lunch and dinner (and buffet breakfast with all the trimmings). There’s always a meat, fish and vegetarian option and a number of desserts to choose from. Ingredients are fresh and often brought in from wherever you’ve docked that day.

    Do you have any concerns about river cruising? Let us know in the comments below…

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    From the coffee-clad highlands of Colombia to getting up-close-and-personal with elephants in Thailand, Natalie is a wannabe-adventurer and finds it hard to pick favourites when it comes to travel destinations. She has a weakness for wildlife and good wine, so her escapades are usually in pursuit of one or the other.

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