So you want to know if River Cruising is fun?
Updated: Oct 26, 2020
River cruising has become the hot trend and it seems like everyone is doing it, right? Well, if you're like me, it seemed like all the "older" people were doing it. So I was a little skeptical when my husband and I were looking at possible trips for our anniversary celebration and my father suggested a river cruise.
They had recently returned from cruising the Danube and were raving about how beautiful, relaxing, and just downright fun it was. I was worried that there would not be enough to do on such a small ship and everyone would be much older than us (like we're such spring chickens! Haha!) But I started doing a little more research and realized that it was just the kind of trip we were looking for. There are several cruise lines in the market now and it's easy to find just the right fit for your dream trip. We choose to sail with Emerald Waterways. It was a little less expensive than Scenic and Crystal, but still offered all the excursions we were interested in, and appeared to have a bit younger clientele. It was just the trip we had hoped for.
It was easy to learn the layout of the ship within the first few hours (although I still kept going to the wrong floor when I went to my cabin the entire cruise!) We could dine with other passengers by sitting at one of the larger tables, or if we wanted a nice lunch or dinner for two, choose one of the 2 tops.
We could do the included guided excursions, or head out to explore on our own (on foot or check out a couple bikes they have on board.) While sailing, we could lounge on the sun deck and take in the magnificent views, take a dip in the pool, sit in on a cooking demonstration, or my favorite, take a nap with the balcony window open and the breeze cooling the room. In the evenings, there was entertainment in the lounge after dinner, a cinema with current movies, cozy areas to grab a drink with new friends, or a fascinating way to spend the evening - sitting on the sun deck as we passed through the locks and marvel at the engineering wonder. We never missed having a casino or multiple dining rooms, wave pools, rock climbing walls or ice skating rinks. The small size of the ship also creates an intimacy you don't find on larger ships. You run into the same people often, greeting one another with polite small talk on the first day, then taking a tour together the second and third day, and before you know it, you recognize almost everyone on the ship and you've made some wonderful friends!
For someone who was a bit of a skeptic, it has changed my whole perspective about cruising. Although, I won't rule out going on one of the mega liners, (particularly if we're doing an extended family, multi-generational trip)...I think I've decided small ship cruising is more my speed!