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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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