The 10 Things you need to know before doing a European River Cruise!

I’m Gary Bembridge and I want to share
with you 10, that’s right ten things that you should expect if you
go on a European river cruise. Keep watching because of the end of this
video I have a very special bonus about river cruising for you. So let’s get
going on those ten things. Never having to pay for anything. Most of the cruise lines in Europe are
all-inclusive, that includes your drink, your excursions and gratuities. So you never have to pay
anything else once you bought your fare. The second thing to expect is never
having to make any more many decisions. It’s a very regimented schedule during
the day. Everything’s organized for you. You follow the program and
follow the flow and make no decisions. You just do what arranged. The
third thing to expect is a fairly small ship. River boats have to be restricted
by length, width and height based on the rivers – and so you will find a ship
that’s not very big. Maybe a hundred and fifty or maybe 200 passengers at most. It
will be quite a small ship with relatively cozy cabins – as you can probably see
behind me. Not lots of amenities, not lots of extra entertainment. You get to know
people really well. You get to recognize them, you go on tours with them and the
crew also get to know you, so it’s an intimate and very social experience. The
fourth thing you should expect is to be eating great food. River cruise lines are
renowned for having fantastic food despite the fact that they’re quite
small. Ss you pass through the region you’re likely to have local specialities and local
wines reflecting the region you’re passing through. Another key thing that
you should expect is the quirks of river cruising. Two things particularly that I
wanted to point out: first of all is that the ability to get up or down river
depends on the water levels. So if the water levels are too low or too high it
can disrupt your itinerary and you’ll find if you speak to people who have been on a river cruise quite a few people would have had incidents where the ship has been
unable to move around as so they often bus people to and from the ship and the
ship may not travel as far as planned. The other thing is when you dock in town
maybe a couple of ships are there and so they actually connect them to each other and you have to walk through other ships or over ships to get to the dock. The next thing you should expect is to
do a lot of walking. Most of the excursions (which will be included) are
walking tours through town, so you could be walking two or three hours a day. So
you need to be relatively fit and you need to be ready to walk. Most excursions will focus on the history the culture and perhaps the food and wine of the
region. The seventh thing to expect is that you’re probably going to be in an
adults-only environment. Although cruise lines are starting to attract more
families, it tends to be adults and the 50, 60 and above age group – so
that’s the kind of audience that you should expect. An adult environment
surrounded by people probably 50 plus. You should expect an informal
dress code and atmosphere on board, so the dress code is not very dressy.
Even for the captain’s welcome party farewell party. Some gents may wear long-sleeve
shirts and perhaps a jacket, but most people are going to wear something from the
gentleman side like open-neck shirts, you do have to wear long trousers and even
jeans are normally perfectly fine. Ladies wear casual dresses or slacks. So you don’t have to pack lots of
different kind of clothes – which also makes sense because
river cruise ships are small and there’s not much storage. So you do not have to bring lots of permutations of clothes. The atmosphere
as well is very relaxed, it’s very informal and very sociable. The ninth thing you should expect is to be docking in the heart of the town. River cruises
tend to be right in the heart of or wherever you’re going sightseeing – you can we just get off the ship and you’re right in the heart of the action. You can go to local
markets, you can go to local sites, local attractions and often you’ll be docked
overnight so you can also get out and enjoy the nightlife as well. The tenth
and last thing that you should expect is a fairly intensive and immersive
experience in a very specific part of the river you’re traveling along. River
cruise boats don’t travel very fare, in fact the distances they travel every day you
could probably cover in a bus in about two hours. They tend to stop
frequently and at lots of places along a stretch of river, so you get a really
good feel for the region you passing through. So there you have it – ten things
that you should expect if you’re heading out on a river cruise. I did promise you a
bonus if you stay to the end of the video. You can get a copy of my free
ebook which is about essential tips and tricks for river
cruising. Download a copy of that ebook with lots of tips lots of advice and
answers to questions. If you enjoyed this video, give it a “thumbs up” and please
subscribe to the channel and get more tips about river cruising and all sorts
of travel.

98 thoughts on “The 10 Things you need to know before doing a European River Cruise!

  1. Thanks Gary, very interesting, we have been thinking about a river cruise for some while and were looking at a number of the boats while we were in Rouen recently.

  2. Hey Gary…great video/tips! I've never been on a river cruise before, but have wanted check one out.

  3. Great video Gary and even better ebook! I've used your audio guides for cruises and destinations for years and we are going on our first River Cruise (Tulips in April 2017), so this was perfect. I knew 9 of your 10 things already but no suit or even sports jacket was really helpful. Now to read your book (and yes, I clicked "thumbs up"!

  4. What is your most favorite river criuse?! If you don't mind my asking so… Have you cruised the Nile?.. Or the Mono in Togo?..

  5. Thank you Gary, took my 1st Rhine cruise in the late 1970's and I think it is time to do it again…when is your latest ebook on River Cruises going to come out? I plan to introduce my new wife to European travel-

  6. He is not correct, by telling that in general it is all inclusive, this probably only is for the very expensive ships as Viking cruise, where you pay well over € 100,- pp per day, normally bottle water or wine at dinner, drinks from the minibar, drinks at the bar, all have to be extra paid for.

  7. This was very informative. I will be going on a Seine river cruise in Sept. Thanks

  8. What an informative video, many thanks.  Just about to go on our third river cruise, love them.  Plenty of organised outings but also plenty of free time – it's entirely up to you how much you do.  Floating 5* hotel when you're on board!  Looking forward to more videos from you, with thanks for your time and effort!

  9. Jeans? Too heavy and uncomfortable. Lets try to not be sloppy Americans.

  10. Went on one in Germany on the Rhine….You are exactly right about everything.

  11. THe link of the ebook is:

    Oops! That page can’t be found.
    It looks like nothing was found at this location. Maybe try one of the links below or a search?


  12. Never been on a River cruise but many Sea cruises, this would be great to experience As long as "One" does not have to participate in all excursions and Activities! ??

  13. Wow, very good information, I will have to make a video about these tips.

  14. thank you, helpful. I've ocean cruised a dozen times, tired of huge ships, don't care about beaches.

  15. Everything you have mention is true. However, after 3 river cruises, I do find that we are not always docked right near the center of town… And what cruise are the photos taken? Longing for another river cruise, because they are so effortless and so relaxing.

  16. hi gary amazing video. i really enjoy and i did not know. thanks for your knowledge in travells

  17. Great information. Thank you ! –I've been wondering about River cruises and they do appear very relaxed, however I am not 50…yet. LOL. –I am reading your ebook…and it is interesting and your life. Thank you for sharing your ebook ! 🙂 Also, you are soooo lucky to have the opportunity to travel Once per month for 25 years ! That right there IS AMAZING to me ! 😀

  18. Loved my river cruise from Amsterdam to Basel. First class cuisine, top shelf drinks, being able to see so much from the decks, and nightly entertainment in the lounge. A far, far cry from the ocean cruises with casinos on the way to the dining room and loud passengers. It's a relaxed, pleasant experience that I would love to repeat. Although tends to be expensive, in my estimation it's well worth it. The passengers get acquainted easily as it;s not a huge mega ship. I will add that it's mostly geared towards non singles. But the passengers will insist you join them for dinner. European river cruises should be at the top of your list. Because it;'s expensive, the passengers tend to be older, and have money. Makes for a generally upscale, educated convivial experience.

  19. Great video, we did Amsterdam to Budapest with APT/AMA. Loved it, the boat covered most distance at night, we had to change boats twice as the Danube was low and blocked by barges, so we had a couple of bus sectors. Make sure you liver function is good before you board, because it will not improve with the amount of booze consumed. We did have a choice of tours for most days. We often got off at one town eg Cologne and then bused it to the boarding point like Bonn.

  20. If you go on a two week cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest you will travel on the Rhine, the Main, the Main-Danube canal and the Danube and from the start of the Main river until you reach Budapest the ship will have to go through 66 river locks during the journey which is very noisy and time consuming but also quite interesting if you are a passenger. I know this because I used to work as a crew member on one of the river cruise ships. The water level in the rivers is very important because if the water level is too high the ship will not be able to get under the many low bridges on the route and if the water level is too low you run the risk of running aground. The food and drink is very good as are the excursions. There is not much to do entertainment wise but most passengers just want to sit in a deckchair and see the beautiful scenery as you sail along the rivers

  21. I always have thought that were I to take any sort of cruise, it'd be a European one and this video confirmed my thoughts. Sounds like the perfect type of cruise for me; I sure as heck wouldn't go on one of the much-publicized Carrribean Cruises; they don't sound like my thing at all. Thanks, Gary!

  22. I love his concise and info-packed delivery. There are NO "I means," "ums," "you knows," or "and stuff."

  23. 50 plus? Try 75 plus! My wife and I were 50 and 52 respectively and we were by far the "kids" on the ship!

  24. River cruising was a great experience except I found out when I got home I had a broken foot and needed surgery. Consequently, I didn't get around as well as I would have liked. I guess I'll just have to go again. I would only add that it's imperative to read all the pamphlets offered by the cruise company and attend all the night before docking discussions with the cruise staff so you'll know all about the town/sites you will visit the next day. We weren't prepared on several places early in the cruise, because we didn't do that, and missed a lot of interesting things. We wised up by the last couple of days but we missed all the other things. I much prefer river cruising to the large ships as I like to get to know people, staff, and the boat more intimately.

  25. Small ships to American standards. What do you want ? What a comment – lol ! At least Europeans are less "superficial" than you Sir.

  26. I'm starting my research for a European river cruise for 2022. This video is super helpful, thank you Gary!

  27. Gary, thanks for the free cruising info. Here's some free on-camera info: Please smile a little (you're talking about a fun cruise not giving a deposition) and raise the camera slightly so it's more level with your eyes — right now it's too low and causing us to focus on your chin. The lighting is good and your advice is great.

  28. do you have the contact address of where to apply to work on board these boats ? I Am keen to work aboard but don't know where to start and cruising around Europe would be awesome…I live in New Zealand so it would be quite a trip to get on board in the first place Apparently. …Sincerely Phillip

  29. Be sure to check the weather. If it’s been raining before you go, the river could be too high to get under the bridges.

  30. Just got back from a river cruise in Europe (Viking) and you nailed it.

  31. a friend of mine took a viking cruise and said it was the only cruise that absolutely lived up to his exceptions and their advertisements- BUT eh said you HAD to be in his demographic with was VERY wealthy.

  32. The food looks good but its cheap, the wines are from the region but also cheap…. The workes live under very bad condition…

  33. Could barely understand him. One of the worst speakers I have ever heard

  34. Thanks for the info, according to your description I would hate a river cruise holiday.

  35. Idiots paying money for stupid shit. I worked on cruises and passengers have no freaking clue. We all see them as fucking stupid idiots.

  36. This is extremely helpful in me aware that a river cruise might be a big mistake for me, and it's much better to get a warning ahead of time than learn the hard (and expensive way). I'm in my 60s and very mobile with no need for special assistance, but I have COPD and use a portable oxygen device much of the time. Even moderately hilly terrain, inclines and stairs pose a challenge that will slow me down, particularly in humid environments. Thanks for pointing out that one should expect considerable walking, and I'm guessing at least some of that won't be on smooth and level surfaces. If I may, I'd suggest that you put a lot of emphasis on who should/shouldn't consider this or that cruise, excursion, etc. I'm still adjusting to the fact that I can't do everything I could do 30 years ago and I'll bet others are too. Thanks as always for a valuable and entertaining presentation!

  37. What to except on a European River Cruise.
    1. Unless you work really hard, you will not be immersed in the local people. River Cruises are tribal.
    2. Because you are part of a tour, expect to visit places where tourists congregate.
    3. You will eat the local tourist food.
    4. Expect your fellow travelers to have an entitlement mentality, that the culture you come from will follow you on your river cruise.
    5. There will be very limited inconveniences. Everything will be served to you on a platter. If this sort of smooth, non-cultural immersion is your thing, then go on a river cruise.

  38. Как в этой коробке можно отдыхать ,нет прогулочной палубы вдоль борта

  39. Many, if not most, river cruises are NOT all inclusive. Some give wine, beer, soft drinks with meals only. Many expect gratuities. The top end cruises are inclusive, and worth the extra (IMHO) with top shelf spirits included.

  40. Im going on a river cruise in a few weeks so i decided to watch this

  41. thank you so mucth. very informative video. i am following your tips. thank you. OBRIGADO

  42. Enjoyed the video tips as we are going on the Serenade 2 … a Shearings cruise, 1st August for our golden wedding anniversary 3rd August. This is our first river cruise so was feeling a bit apprehensive about what to wear etc. So this was very helpful.

  43. I'm probably going to be the only black person under 40 on the river cruise 😁

  44. Something I really like about your style is you keep a concise procedure on your message and don't dilly dally with personal anecdotes and unnecessary chatter. You are someone who delivers a clear message…THANK YOU!!

  45. Hello! Thanks for all the great info you provide in your videos! I realize this is an older video, but I hope you see this and can respond 🙂 My partner and I are younger (I'm in my 30s and he's in his 20s), but our style of vacationing is more in line with what you've described for the river cruise excursions and what I understand is common when sailing the ocean with lines such as Celebrity and Holland America. We usually spend a lot of time doing guided tours at museums and other cultural attractions, as well as enjoying local foods. We also love experiencing symphonies and other such events. Because of that, something like a European river cruise sounds like a good fit for us. I'm concerned, though, with two things: (1) we're a same-sex couple and I wonder if these smaller river cruises are as queer-friendly as the larger ocean cruises, both in terms of crew and guests, (2) my partner has issues with motion sickness and I wonder if these smaller river cruises are going to be more problematic on this front than the larger ocean cruises. If you're able, I'd love a response to this post. Thanks again, and be well! -JosuéMR

  46. Olá sou marinheiro de rio dos bArcos no rio Douro trabalhei no quen Isabel se tiver trabalho para mim ok tak you

  47. I went on one from Amsterdam to Basel. He's 100 percent right. Normally no children aboard – none on my trip, but they do have separate family cruises. No walking through a casino for meals. Limited on board entertainment. BUT! The food was 5 star, the trip was fantastic in all senses. I would do another in a heartbeat. Sure, more expensive, but sure beats an ocean cruise on so many, many fronts. Nice advice video

  48. Disappointed in RIver cruise we took last year. Drinks were only available during lunch and dinner and didn't enjoy food. 2 weeks on little boat too long

  49. I returned recently from a river cruise and it very much like you said in your video. We were on the Main-Danube canal and the Rhine and Main river . The food was excellent. The scenery was beautiful. Excursions were led by people local to each area. We went to several UNESCO sites. We met almost everyone on the ship and enjoyed the company of many. I hope to go on another river cruise next year.

  50. I took a Scenic River Cruise from Budapest to Amsterdam.  It is expensive – but you absolutely get what you pay for!  Compared to other river cruise companies the value that Scenic provides is unmatched.  There were mainly Australians, a few Kiwi's a few Brits, 6 Canadians and 4 Americans – only 169 passengers on ship.  My father and I were 50% of the Americans.  What I loved most is that my fellow travelers didn't complain – So refreshing to travel without with whiny, entitle-minded Americans!  The food was wonderful & well prepared although it was geared to non-American tastes (cool with me!), the excursions were INCLUDED in the price, varied and allowed for choices of different activity levels.  Cesky Krumlov, Durnstein, Reichsberg Castle, riding e-bikes along the Danube – I just can't say enough about this cruise and the great excursions.  Alcoholic drinks included and are available all day – even outside of meal times.  The dining options are great – casual, light fare to exquisite upscale fine dining.  I just booked another cruise with Scenic – I can't wait to go!!!  I totally disagree with the negative comments.  IMHO Scenic is the way to go, great value for money spent, food & drink fantastic, wonderful excursions, excellent & attentive staff!

  51. Ship stacking, reminds me of US Navy destroyers lined up at the pier. You may have to cross 3 or 4 to get to the dock.

  52. Thing 11 a friend just returned early from an ATP cruise they flew to Budapest for a trip to Amsterdam the ship was in veina

  53. Pressed wrong button below I’ll continue they were put in a hotel for the first night not all inclusive as it would have been on the boat the following day coached to Vienna to board ship the ship was moored in the middle of three and the balcony view was of another balcony,they then took in a trip and dinned on the boat in the evening the following day the boat moved to its next destination and that was as far as it got.They was offered coach trips and excursions and told that they would charter an aircraft to Amsterdam to get on a different boat to cruse

  54. Thanks for your pertinent information, we're doing a 10 day AMA Waterways tour Amsterdam to Basel.

  55. Thanks. Looks fun. I don't love the big ocean cruise ships, so this looks like a great alternative.

  56. We went on a short river cruise to Amsterdam and the Keukenhof Gardens. We chose a line that catered for wheelchairs because my wife has limited walking. Rafting of the boat meant she couldn't leave the boat at all but one stop as the ship at the quayside insisted on passengers climbing up to the panorama deck, crossing then down even though at a lower level we could see that it would be possible to pass through the other ship at gangplank level. In all other respects the cruise was enjoyable.

  57. Just returned two weeks ago, this video is exactly what I experienced on Avalon river cruise line. We had a great time, adults only (!) no kids running around, great food, good wine, good tours, we are going back soon.

  58. My husband and i really like your tips. You cover everything without over explaining. You get to the point, and share what’s important.

  59. Just came off a Travelmarvel Sapphire Amsterdam to Budapest cruise. One complaint we had was the engine vibration coming through the bed at night, especially passing through locks which was interrupting our sleep. The cruise director basically told us that we were imagining it. Other travellers near our cabin agreed with us.

  60. any river cruises visit taj mahal? also do video comparing river cruise vs bus train tours, destinations. please suggestion

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