River cruises are known to be more inclusive than their ocean counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room to upgrade your experience if you want to. Whatever your budget is, there are some great ways to make your holiday even more special, leaving you with some wonderful memories that will stick with you long after you’ve finished your peaceful journey along your river of choice. So, here are four great ways to upgrade your river cruising experience.
Even the least inclusive river cruises will often include more as part of the price than when sailing on the oceans. There are few speciality restaurants so all onboard meals will be free, Wi-Fi is generally included, at least one complimentary shore excursion in each port is typically offered and alcoholic drinks with meals come as standard. However, some river cruise lines are more inclusive than others. So, if you want to upgrade your experience before you even book, choose a line that includes more from the start.
Scenic and Tauck include gratuities and a larger selection of shore excursions in their all-inclusive offering, whilst Uniworld offers this and the addition of your own personal butler. Fares for these lines may be slightly more expensive than others but this usually comes with a more luxurious service on board.
Splash Out On A Suite
River cabins are always outside facing and so you’ll have a view of the wonderful scenery whatever you choose. However, there is still plenty of room to upgrade your accommodation to offer more room, extra amenities and an outside space. River cruise operators have developed innovative ways to make their cabins and suites more appealing and so your upgrade could leave you with a unique balcony concept. There are twin balconies (like on AmaWaterways), open-air balconies that are activated at the touch of a button (like on Amadeus) and wrap-around balconies which are usually found at the front and back of the ship. For more on balconies, check out this previous blog post.
Of course, the most luxurious way to enhance your accommodation is by booking a suite. Besides the extra space you’ll gain, some of the best options on the river include additions such as heated bathroom floors (Uniworld), separate baths and showers (AmaWaterways) and beds that face the window (Avalon Waterways).
Extend Your Stay
Not everything that will improve your holiday takes place on the ship, as proved by the option to add a pre or post-cruise stay in the city where your journey starts or finishes. Although you’re likely to arrive hours before your ship departs, there’s rarely any time to properly explore your departure point. This is especially the case in cities where the ship is docked outside of the city centre. And so adding one or two nights will give you much more time to relax and discover the main attractions. Popular destinations where river cruises begin include Amsterdam, Porto, Paris and New Orleans – all great places to investigate.
Travel First Class
Living in the UK means that every river cruise involves a flight or rail connection in order to get to your embarkation point. Although this is often a stressful and uncomfortable part of the holiday, it doesn’t have to be. Upgrading to business/first class flights or Premier seating on the Eurostar will afford you more legroom and extra comforts, giving you a stress-free journey and allowing the holiday to start as soon as you leave the house. Some operators also offer chauffeured airport transfers as part of their all-inclusive fares.
Bonus: Look Out For Special Deals
The good news for river cruisers is that there are often ways to take advantage of these upgrades as part of a deal or special offer. Many operators will advertise complimentary hotel stays and free cabin or flight upgrades during a campaign, so it’s worth keeping an eye out for these or at least checking for any deals before you book.
Our team of specialists will be happy to help you enhance your trip in whatever way you like. Call free on 0800 0213 172 to talk about our range of European river cruises and itineraries elsewhere around the world.