luggageBetween waking up in a new city every day, immersive itineraries, and a small enough guest list that everyone on board feels like family, river cruising is unlike any vacation you’ve ever been on (unless of course, you’ve taken a river cruise before).

We’re glad you stopped by to find tips for maximizing your river cruise vacation—for many, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and we want to make sure you get your money’s worth in experiences and memories.

Without further ado, here are our tips for making the most of your river cruise:

Know What to Pack

Packing for a river cruise vacation is an art. You don’t want to over-pack because the staterooms are only so big, but you don’t want to under-pack because the trip is quite long. So while you know you need your passport and your camera, we also suggest you bring these must-haves:

  • A European outlet adapter
  • Comfortable shoes for days full of walking and exploring (leave your heels at home, ladies)
  • An umbrella, poncho, or raincoat
  • A tote bag to carry your rain gear, camera, and/or souvenirs
  • Sunglasses
  • Neutral clothing that can be mixed-and-matched
  • Your medications
  • Business cards (after all, you never know who you might connect with!)

When in Port, Join an Expert-Guided Tour

One of the greatest things about river cruises is that they’re all-inclusive, right down to the tours and excursions built into the cruise itinerary. River cruises partner with the best-of-the-best tour guides, so you’ll be able to wander through the city and learn about all of the miraculous sights around you from true experts. These guides also know all the best stops and must-see attractions, so you’re sure to get a thrilling and fulfilling experience at each port.

Research the Areas You’ll be Stopping At

While the tours are incredible, they may not always be exactly what you’re looking for. Do your own research on your ports-of-call and see if there are any points of interest you want to explore on your own. Maybe there’s a coffee shop you saw on the Food Network that you’d love to try. Maybe there’s a figure drawing class that speaks to your inner artist. Maybe there’s a special event or festival being hosted in town while you’re docked.

The pre-planned tours are exceptional, but this is your vacation and you should spend it exactly how you’d like.

Pay Close Attention to Departure Times

It’s easy to get lost in the sights and sounds of a new city and country, but you probably don’t want to get left there. If you strike out on your own, be sure to set an alarm for yourself to make sure you make it back to the ship on time before it sets sail for the next stop on the itinerary.

Give Advanced Notice of Dietary Restrictions

The food on a river cruise is to die for, but we don’t want it to come to that. If you have a food allergy, the chefs onboard are more than happy to accommodate your needs, but they can’t help you if you don’t let them know. Be sure to share any dietary restrictions when you book your cruise, whether you book on your own or via a travel agent.

If you’d like to learn more about river cruising, check out our other articles here:

Want more river cruising tips? We can help with that! Just schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (864) 979-0610 and we’ll share our expert insight and answer all your lingering questions.

Still trying to figure out if river cruising is for you? If you’re looking for some guidance, just click the banner below to download our guide to discovering your cruise style!