One of the best ways to see as much of the beauty of Europe as possible is to take a river cruise.

But you have to do it right.

Done incorrectly, river cruising can be a frustrating experience.

Like most cruisers, though, you’ll find that with a plan, a positive attitude, and some helpful river cruise tips, this type of trip through Europe will truly be the vacation of a lifetime.

4 River Cruise Tips – What You Need to Know to Make Your Trip Even Better

What does it take to have an unbelievable trip to your European destination of choice?

First, it takes knowing what you’re getting into. Then, it takes good planning.

Here are just a few river cruise tips to help you make the most of your river cruise.

1. Understand That There Might Be Some Challenges

When planning a trip, most people just think about all of the fun experiences they’re going to have and all the wonderful scenery they’re going to take in.

While this is definitely something to look forward to, it behooves everyone to realize that no trip is 100% challenge-free.

River cruise challenges range from limited wheel chair access and inadequate water levels to physically challenging tour terrain and politically volatile situations.

This is why it’s best to do as much research ahead of time.

Find out what challenges tourists face in certain cities and countries. Then, plan your itinerary accordingly.

2. Pack Wisely – the Dress Code

River cruise lines are rather informal when it comes to the dress code. Passengers can dress up for dinner if they choose, but it’s not required.

What you will want to pack for, though, is the weather.

The weather can, at times, be unpredictable. Therefore, it’s best to not only pack clothes suited for the season, but also a few extras just in case it rains, there’s a temperature drop, or a heat wave.

3. If You’re Looking for Entertainment – Try an Ocean Cruise

A lot of people expect the same amount of entertainment from a river cruise that they’d get on an ocean liner.

Unfortunately, due to the space constraints, the entertainment is limited. Oftentimes, you have to entertain yourself.

This may or may not suit some people.

If you’re the type of person who can be entertained by good conversation with fellow passengers and lovely scenery – then a river cruise is for you.

Remember, too, that even though you might not get the same amount of entertainment on a river cruise that you would get on an ocean cruise, there are plenty of entertainment opportunities in port cities.

4. Take Charge of Your Port Itinerary

A common mistake many river boat passengers make is following the boat’s tour itinerary.

For many people, joining the tours of the port cities provided by the river cruise line is ideal. They don’t have to plan anything and they get to safely tour their destination city.

This type of exploration isn’t for everyone, though.

Rest assured, if you’re the type of person that likes adventure and likes to make your own way through the world – you don’t have to follow the river cruise’s port itinerary.

If there’s a place you’ve always wanted to visit – by all means, go there.

How often do people get to go to Europe? Do whatever you can to make this trip the best one ever.

There are a couple of ways to do that.

  • Research the Port Cities: Find out about concerts, shows, tours, and festivals that occur during your time in the city.
  • Find Your Own Transportation: Don’t rely on the tour bus. Take public transport or hire a taxi to take you wherever you want to go.
  • Eat at Local Restaurants: You don’t always have to eat dinner on the river boat with other passengers. In many cases, the river boat doesn’t leave port until the evening, giving you ample time to eat at a local restaurant where you can really soak up the local atmosphere.

Bonus River Boat Cruise Tip – Travel with a Positive Attitude 

The river cruise tips above will definitely help you have a good trip.

But a river boat cruise has the potential to be the vacation you’ll never forget – so long as you have the right attitude.

Many travelers have felt that they have to “go along with the crowd” while on the boat or in a port city. Therefore, they don’t always get to explore the area at their own pace or see things that they really want to see.

The result: they get discouraged, bored, and maybe even a bit cranky.

The problem here isn’t with the cruise, though.

The issue is attitude and expectations.

When river cruisers take charge of their itinerary and do the things they want to do in each port city, they end up making the most of their river cruise. And in turn, the trip becomes the one they had hoped it would be: the trip of a lifetime.

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