01 October, 2012

Just cruising around

Despite travelling all over the world I have to admit, I've never been on a cruise. I have lots of family and friends that have been on cruise holidays and loved them, but for some reason I've just never done it. I'm not really sure that the idea of a full on two week holiday where you're relatively confined to a ship appeals to me, but when friends come back raving about them, I do wonder if I'm missing out!

Photo courtesy of AMA Waterways
One prospect I am intrigued by is a river cruise. They are becoming increasingly popular and there's growing interest in this market, especially from experienced ocean cruisers who are looking for a way to visit new regions and so called 'bucket list' destinations. You may be surprised at the options available - you can do anything from cruising around the popular European rivers and Nile trips, to exotic cruises along the Mekong and Yangtze rivers.

Photo courtesy of AMA Waterways
So is one river ship the same as another? Apparently not - according to website Cruise Critic, most ships look similar, because of the bridges and locks they have to navigate, but there can be significant differences onboard. Some cruise lines opt for a minimalist style to create more space, but others fill every inch with sumptuous furnishings and decor. Money is a big consideration with any holiday, but river cruises are typically one of the most inclusive options of any such holiday, which can make them excellent value. In most cases your accommodation; transportation; excursions, meals and some drinks are all included.

Photo courtesy of AMA Waterways
It's still a holiday I'm not sure is right for me, but perhaps I just haven't found the right option for me yet!  It can be quite daunting looking at cruise itineraries where you're at sea for days on end, but a river cruise that is perhaps a little shorter, or where the itinerary means you can spend a bit more time 'on land' may appeal to some.  If you're thinking of planning your own river cruise, then you may want to have a look at Cruise Critic, a website which enables you to compare ships; cruise lines and itineraries, to suit you preferences.

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