A Perfect River Cruise for Seniors

By now you have heard of the popularity of river cruising among seniors. As a senior myself, I can attest that it is a wonderful, relaxing  way to see the world. Here are six reasons why a river cruise is a perfect way for seniors to travel Europe and beyond. And, if you are accustomed to ocean cruises, you’ll find river cruising to be even more relaxing.

Watching the world go by while on your Europe River cruise. for seniors

Watching the world go by while on your Europe River cruise. This is Uniworld’s River Beatrice.

Why a River Cruise for Seniors Makes for a Perfect Vacation

Great access to cities

River cruising brings international cities and small villages to a wide range of destinations. No need to unpack and re-pack each time you visit a new city. Your floating hotel takes you there. In most cases, you can step right off the boat and explore beautiful cities and towns built beside the river; cities as magnificent as Vienna, and Amsterdam and towns as charming and quaint as Regensburg and Strasbourg.

Regensburg , a stop along a river cruise for seniors

Regensburg , a stop along a Rhine river cruise

No Crowds

River cruise ships can accommodate up to 190 passengers, but most welcome between 126 to 168 passengers. Compare that with the thousands aboard ocean-going cruises. Consequently, there is never a long wait to board or leave your ship. And, the small number of passengers as well as the open seating policy when dining makes it easy to get to know your fellow travelers. Open seating at dinner makes meeting new friends a breeze.

Smooth Sailings

The AmaVerde cruising ta river cruise for seniors

The AmaVerde cruising the rivers of Europe

River cruising 0ffers a very different experience from ocean cruising in so many ways, and one of the best parts is that there is no seasickness to worry about. On the river, you are always in sight from the shore and there are simply no waves or rough waters to cause the ship to jostle you. I love to open my french balcony window or step out on my balcony and watch beautiful swans gliding by on the smooth-as-glass surface of the river.

Excursions and tours are included

Tours can be taken at your own pace on river cruise for seniors

Tours can be taken at your own pace

Every cruise line offers at least one  or more tours a day; with some offering a variety of tours that you can choose from. Usually they are morning tours, but some companies offer afternoon tours as well. Unlike ocean cruises, these excursions are included in the original pricing. And, most companies offer tours that cater to different ability levels. There are walking tours for active participants and as well as gentle walkers, who may take a little more time to get around. But, be assured, you can  always find a group with an ability level that is comparable to your own.

Food, Wonderful Food

Captain's dinner on a senior river cruise

Bill and me at the Scenic Amber Captain’s dinner

Prepare to be pampered when it comes to the food on river cruises. The breakfast buffet offers a myriad of choices and that usually includes made-on-the-spot omelets.

When you get back from your morning excursion, your fabulous lunch will be awaiting you. Most cruise lines offer a hearty buffet lunch with the option of ordering off the menu.

Every river cruise for seniors has a coffee and tea station

Every river cruise ship has a coffee and tea station

Dinner is ordered from the menu and usually includes a choice from two appetizer options as well as a choice of soups  and about three or four entrees and desserts to choose from. There are also staples on the dinner menu such as a hamburger and fries, salads and a more, so…lots of choices. And wine and beer is included with lunch and dinner. If you have any food allergies, you will most likely be accommodated. (Check with Saga or your travel agent, because different cruise lines have different policies.) Oh, and if you are like me, you might want an afternoon pick-me-up. Just help yourself to complimentary coffee/tea station available 24/7 on most river cruise ships.


Relax in the evening with entertainment on your river cruise for seniors

Relax in the evening with entertainment

Forget the fancy dress, forget the suit or tux; river cruises are casual. Some men don’t even bring a sport coat, and that is OK. There is the captain’s dinner where most people get a little dressy, but not to the degree as on the ocean-going  cruise ships. And, be sure to bring your walking shoes; as you will want to take those fabulous walking tours and excursions. And, don’t forget that river cruises give you lots of time to relax. In the afternoon, after lunch you may want to sit on the sun deck and watch the world go by or simply take a nap! In the evening, join others in the lounge for conversation, music, and other special entertainment of the evening.

Yes, river cruises are great for people of all ages, but in my opinion, perfection is a river cruise for seniors!

Written by Terri Fogarty in cooperation with Saga for EuropeUpClose.com

Share on StumbleUponDigg thisShare on RedditShare on Google+Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on YummlyEmail this to someonePrint this page


  1. Donna Manz says

    You failed to address one of the most significant components of the river cruise experience: the ship is your “neighborhood,” your community. Unlike a deep-water vessel, the intimacy of a river ship inspires congeniality, friendships between passengers AND crew. That intimacy makes river cruising a fun, a safe, an engaging resource for solo travelers, particularly women who appreciate the security of a supervised ship and reception area. I have done 12 river cruises – all paid for by myself, never gratis – and have repeated the same itinerary on different ships, different lines, to compare the personalities of the ships and brands. Each river has its own “character,” as well, which indicates that river cruises are not “been there, done that” since each river offers a unique and distinctive experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *