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14th April 2015
4 Innovative River Ship Features
These innovative features mean that river vessels can make the most of the limited space they have whilst also attracting more travellers.

As the world of river cruising becomes more popular than ever before, operators are constantly coming up with new and innovative ideas that will encourage more people to travel in this way. Quirky and exciting ideas are a great way to persuade people that a river cruise is the perfect way to travel and even inspire them to swap the oceans for the world’s inland waterways.

Here are four inventive features that you’ll find on today’s state-of-the-art river vessels.

Open-Air Balconies


When designing a ship that has to navigate narrow and sometimes shallow waterways, space is often at a premium. Therefore operators need to come up with clever ways to include features that use the space which is already available. The best example of this is a new breed of balcony, known as the open-air balcony. These can be found on ten different Avalon Waterways ships, as well as some Uniworld and Emerald Waterways vessels, albeit in a different guise.

These balconies remove the need for you to step outside to enjoy the views and fresh air and, instead, bring those things inside. The large windows are usually retractable to the point that they almost disappear entirely, leaving your whole cabin to feel like it’s part of the outside.

Noise Reducing Paint

Paint Ceiling

In the smaller public areas of a river cruise vessel, things can get a bit noisy; especially if this happens to be a busy restaurant that seats all guests at once. However, this is not a problem when sailing on a ship such as Riviera’s MS William Shakespeare. To help reduce the noise created in the restaurant, the ceilings have been painted with remarkable sound absorbent paint. This also means that anyone staying in a stateroom at that end of the ship won’t be disturbed by what’s happening in the restaurant.

Indoor Swimming Pools

Century Legend Indoor Pool

As river ships don’t have the luxury of following the good weather (like ocean ships often do) many of them sail their routes for much of the year. This means that the weather can be unpredictable at times, especially in Europe, and so it may not be desirable to use the outside facilities.

This is where heated, indoor swimming pool comes into play, allowing guests to take a relaxing dip whatever the weather and adding to the feeling of luxury found on board. Century Legend and Century Paragon (used by Avalon Waterways and Uniworld) are two ships with heated indoor pools, whilst Emerald Waterways’ newest vessels have pools under retractable roofs.

Pop-up Cinemas


Continuing the theme of making the most of the restricted space available, pop-up facilities are becoming more and more common on river ships. This means that the area can be used for two different things at different times. The best examples of this are the pop-up cinemas found on Emerald Waterways’ newest ‘Star Ships’, launched in 2014. One moment the space is filled by an outside swimming pool and the next the roof is rolled into place, the water drained, the floor raised, and a screen lowered to create an intimate cinema environment.

These ingenious features are part of a new wave of ship that we are seeing more and more of in the river cruise industry, and it’s unlikely to end there. We can’t wait to see what the operators are going to come up with next.

If you would like to experience these facilities for yourself, please contact us today. We can tailor-make a holiday to suit you and our wide range of European river cruises can take you along some of the most famous rivers on the continent.

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