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Why Are American River Cruises So Expensive

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Tour The Bridge And The Galley

6 Best European River Cruise Lines. Which One Is Right For You?

Courtesy of Viking Cruises

If youre on an ocean cruise, you can actually take a tour of the bridge and galley, but youll need to act quickly in order to get a spot.

At least once during your sailing, the ship will offer behind-the-scenes tours of the bridge, where the captain and crew manage the direction and speed of the ship, and the galley, the kitchen, a Viking representative says.

These are limited capacity and can only be booked once onboard, so talk to the guest services team once you arrive and watch your Viking Daily newsletter to make sure you can secure your spot.

That might not interest every traveler, but if youre interested in the inner workings of a major cruise vessel, its well worth the time.

Why Are River Cruises Expensive The Truth Behind The Price

If you are considering your first river cruise you might be wondering what you actually get for your money.

Ive been on two river cruises to date and was incredibly impressed with the value for money that river cruises offer.

During this article, we will look into everything that a river cruise fare includes.

River Cruises Include Daily Walks

In addition to the included excursions, there may be the opportunity to go on other included activities like guided walks or hikes.

During our Emerald Waterways river cruise, we tried to take part in as many activities as we could and ended up with at least one tour, or usually two tours, per day.

The daily walks were a great opportunity to get to know the other guests. Im not sure why but the people on the river cruises are just so friendly.

Its one of the main reasons why its almost impossible to get bored on a river cruise, to find out why river cruises definitely arent boring, and to learn what you can expect to get up to onboard, check out this post:

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They Are Made In The Usa And Staffed Here:

  • Youre fully supporting American workers because U.S. law requires that all vessels sailing wholly within the United States must:

o Be built in the U.S. Youre supporting American shipyards.

o Be staffed by Americans.

  • Logistically, the ships need to buy provisions nearby. Therefore they are supporting American workers, including farmers and manufacturers.

River Cruise Ships Centrally Dock In Ports

Mississippi River Cruise

Can you imagine docking in the center of a city with this historic bridge as the view from your cabin? It’s possible with river cruises!

Because of the mere size of ocean cruise ships, they often have to dock far away from the action. But river cruises usually dock steps away from the city center.

With Danube River cruises, for example you’ll be steps from Bratislava’s town center in Slovakia. Or just a short walk to many of the beautiful buildings that line the Danube riverbanks in Budapest, Hungary.

Imagine docking in Passau during a Christmas Markets river cruise and you’re just a five to ten minute walk from the charming holiday markets!

This luxury is already included in the trip. Which means you won’t see additional port fees and taxes on your final bill it’s already accounted for in the price of your river cruise.

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River Cruises Are Not Boring

European river cruises offer so much to do. There are a variety of excursions to choose from, including the free city tour that most cruise lines offer, or you can choose to wander the streets and alleys of the beautiful European cities. Some even have bikes on the ships that you can take for a ride in the city. Whether you consider yourself active or more laid-back, there are many options for you.

Relatively High Daily Costs

Ocean-going cruise prices usually are compared on the basis of daily costs. It’s still possible to find bargains that come in under $150/day per person, although they are becoming scarce.

River cruises tend to cost quite a bit more than ocean-going trips. But making the cost comparisons between these two products usually is rather pointless. You’ll enjoy different benefits in each excursion. Approach your attitude about price with that in mind.

As previously mentioned, port tours often are included in the price of a river trip. Ground transportation between port and airport typically is covered in the basic price. For European river cruises, rates below $250/day per person are becoming more difficult to find.

Tipping is an added cost for which you should budget. Remember that cruise workers usually derive their incomes from gratuities. If they serve you well, they deserve to be rewarded. On river cruises, you’ll be asked to tip your program director separately from the crew. The crew receives a lump sum that you’ll determine with guidance from the line.

Traveling alone? Expect to pay a single supplement that will add as much as 50 percent to the cost of your trip. While this is an industry standard, it can vary by line, and some offer incentives for solo travelers.

River cruise cabins are rather small, but interior cabins are rare. The views are nice, and rooms with a balcony often are smaller and come at a higher rate. Twin beds are common.

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Get To Your Dream River Cruise Now

In the end, your decision to have a river cruise will depend on factors that are unique to you. Such as your destination, your planned activities, and your budget. There are pros and cons to every adventure youre bound to take, but a river cruise will surely not leave you disappointed.

If you want to have an elevated experience with quality connection to the other passengers and the staff, be near the central location, and have a satisfying and relaxed journey, then a river cruise is the way to go.

Why Are River Cruises More Expensive Than Ocean Cruises

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Dont panic when you compare prices. River cruises are actually only a bit more, because river cruise fares include many of the things that are extras on ocean cruises. And these days, almost everything is extra on an ocean cruise, unless youre traveling on one of the super-luxury lines.

Still, they are a bit more, and heres why:

Perhaps the biggest reason is economy of scale. On an ocean cruise, there may be anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 passengers which you generally notice while waiting in line for food. Or the bathroom. Or the lifeboat.

On a river cruise, there are usually between 100 and 200. Since river ships arent buying cucumbers by the cargo container, costs like food and drink are higher. Of course, on a river cruise, the food is almost always locally sourced . So youre not getting tomatoes from South America in Prague.

Another reason is staffing costs. River cruise companies, as a whole, pay their staffs better than their ocean-going counterparts, the staff of whom tend to hand you a napkin with Help written on it. Paying a living wage adds a bit to the cost.

But FOR that higher river cruise fare, heres what you get:

And finally you make friends. Quickly and easily. This is one of the biggest surprises to most Brand g guests. By the end of their cruise, even the shyest guests find themselves in the middle of a group hug. Lifelong friendships are formed. Weve even had some marriages!

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Consider Stateroom Options Carefully

Courtesy of Viking Cruises

If youve got money to burn, you wont be disappointed by the premium suites on a Viking cruise. That doesnt necessarily make them a great value.

For example, each river cruise has two 445-sq.-foot Explorer suites with private wraparound verandas, floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors, individual climate controls, and a roomy wardrobe. Veranda suites are smaller , but feature large private bathrooms, climate controls, 40-inch flat-panel TVs, and various other amenities. Ocean cruises have similar options, though exact room sizes and features will vary.

However, if youre looking to save money, think about whether youll actually spend much time in your suite. If youre an active person , a less expensive stateroom could save you a tremendous amount of money.

Standard staterooms are much less expensive, and while theyre not exactly roomy, that doesnt matter if youre just using them as a sort of home base. You wont have much of a view, but youll still get the 24/7 room service, and if youre feeling claustrophobic, you can always head to a different part of the ship.

River Cruise Prices And Fees

River cruises are typically all-inclusive, meaning Wi-Fi is usually free, along with regular meals and sometimes alcohol. How much and the type of alcohol and the times of day or night served may depend on the details of your booking. If drinks are an expected part of your vacation, make sure your upfront fee includes unlimited, premium alcohol. Your river cruise package price may or may not include tips, so be sure to confirm the tipping policy before going on board.


River cruises tend to be booked well in advance. If you are planning a trip for next summer, a good time to book is in the fall when the most deals are to be found, according to travel experts. On the other hand, some cruises may offer last-minute deals closer to the booking cut off. A travel agent may help you find the best price, or you could contact each cruise line directly for help.

River cruises arent for the budget traveler. Its a sound financial practice to protect the amount youve paid for your trip with travel insurance to cover trip cancellations for any reason, delays, lost luggage, illness or injury while traveling and more. You will pay from $120 to $250 for travel insurance, depending on your age and the trip being insured. It is recommended that you check with your credit card company to see if they include travel insurance as a perk.

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River Cruise Lines Have High Crew Costs Due To High Standards Of Service

River cruise ships typically only have around 100-150 passengers.

For a ship of this size, there will be around 50 crew members which mean that the crew are able to give a very high standard of service to all guests.

On some of the most luxurious river cruise lines, each cabin will have a butler who is on call for guests whenever they need anything.

On a river cruise, the same crew members may have multiple jobs to complete.

For example, the waiters in the main bar may also work as waiters in the dining rooms during dinner. This is one of the reasons why you really do get to know the crew on board, you see them all day every day!

I Thought River Cruises Were All

Why is river cruising so expensive? [Armenian]

Be careful when you read full-board or even all-inclusive because the list above is the most common description of what is included in a river cruise!

HOWEVER .. YES you can book an all-inclusive river cruise, but of course for a slightly higher price. Tauck or Scenic River Cruises are the best options for an all-inclusive river cruise there isnt a single thing they ask you to pay for, they even challenge you to leave your wallet at home!

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Frequently Asked Questions About River Cruises

What is river cruising?

Its a form of leisure boat travel along inland waterways most popularly along the worlds major rivers, including the Mississippi, Danube, Rhine, Volga and Yangtze. River cruise boats are smaller than ocean liners to maneuver smaller waterways and can carry up to 250 guests. This reduced capacity makes the whole experience of river cruising more intimate than typical ocean cruising.

Are river ships different from other cruise ships?

River ships are much smaller in size compared to giant ocean liners, so they cater to fewer guests. It is easier to get to know some of the other travelers on a river ship. Also, because rivers are shallow, river cruises tend to be smoother sailing than ocean liners.

How long does a typical river cruise last?

River cruises are typically just over a week in length and include several port stops during each passage. Instead of spending many days at sea, you will spend less time sailing on a river cruise and can expect to awaken each day in a new port.

What are some amenities found on river cruises?

Ocean liners often sail with amenities such as pools, fitness centers, casinos, entertainment venues and so on. River ships tend to have fewer onboard amenities and instead offer educational, cultural or culinary experiences to keep things lively on board.

What can I expect a river cruise to include?

Whats the best season for a river cruise?

What should I pack for a river cruise?

What type of person enjoys a river cruise?

River Cruises Have A Lower Guest Capacity Than Big Cruise Ships

There is less occupancy on river cruise ships due to the size of the boats. They have to be small to fit on most rivers and often max out at 180 guests or less. On some river cruise ships, there’s a maximum occupancy around 100 guests. And of course the smaller the ship, like with yacht cruises, the small the capacity.

It is simple supply and demand: when supply is low but demand is high, prices go up. River cruises are popular vacations. And even though there are a lot of river cruise ships out there, and tons of river cruise companies from AmaWaterways, to Emerald Cruises, to Viking, A-Rosa, Uniworld and more, the amount of cabins onboard when you combine all those ships likely doesn’t amount to the stateroom count on ocean cruise ships.

A lower guest capacity on river cruise ships also means you’ll encounter less crowds than on big cruise ships. Meaning, you won’t have to wait forever to disembark your ship in a new port and get to the fun part of exploring the destination.

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What Are The Best River Cruises For Families With Kids

Adventures by Disney is the best option for families since they curate their onboard and onshore activities with kids and teens in mind. Uniworld is also a good choice with an array of added perks for kids of all ages.

Otherwise, most welcome children but don’t offer extra programming for them, and Viking doesn’t allow children at all.

Concluding Thoughts On River Cruises

10 Things You Shouldnt Do On A European River Cruise. And Why

Bottom Line:River cruising is a great option for culture-hungry travelers. Pay attention to the travel package details to get the best value for your money.

River cruise lines make researching their adventures fun, with video tours and details to suit the needs of many different types of travelers. Our three river cruise lines, for example, have well over 100 river ships between them and offer destinations around the globe. Consumers who dive into this research and understand the details of the packages they consider will get the most out of the experience. It also helps to get input from friends, family and acquaintances who have taken part in a river cruise experience. Look for feedback on travel websites and customer review forums. Finally, working with a travel agent can help you understand your options, and get you started on the voyage thats right for you.

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What Is The Cheapest River Cruise Line


The cheapest river cruise line is often CroisiEurope.

However, this is because CroisiEurope is one of the few river cruise lines which dont always include flights in their pricing.

So, if you see a cheap deal, be careful to check if flights are included or not, as this could make a huge difference..

Whatre The Top Attractions To Visit Through A Nile Cruise

The Nile River is located between the two ends of heaven of Luxor and Aswan where you will visit and explore all the famous immortal wonders such as the Holy Valley of the kings, the divine Karnak temple, the mesmerizing Hatshepsut temple, the majestic Philae temple, the glorious Edfu temple, the unique Kom Ombo temple, the unfinished obelisk and many more.

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Get Your Timing Right

Courtesy of Viking Cruises

When booking your cruise, youll have an easier time finding staterooms during certain months of the year. For the best possible time, youll want to be flexible.

Guests sailing the rivers in December can experience the traditional European Christmas markets and see the cities in a new way while enjoying local holiday treats and hot mulled wine, our source notes.

If youre taking a river cruise, do a bit of research on the cities youll be visiting. Find out whats happening, then plan your itinerary appropriately. An easy approach is to sign up for the Viking Weekly, an online newsletter with recommendations, itinerary spotlights, videos, and more. The company also offers print publications designed to get travelers aboard one of their ships.

With ocean cruise, timing is less of an issue, but youll still want to plan as far in advance as is possible. Viking cruises can be booked several years in advance, and for some travelers, that extra planning time can ensure a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

How Much Do Viking River Cruises Cost

Mississippi River Cruises

The beauty of Viking River Cruises is that you can sail right into the very heart of your destination, even if its located far inland. If theres a major river running through or near it, youll be able to get there. Viking Longships are essentially floating luxury hotels, offering the same amenities as stationary accommodation but with the obvious perk of bringing you to your next destinations. Its brilliant.

Prices vary according to the cruise duration and destinations, but typically, they fall within the $1,699-$4,999 range. Note that there are many Viking River Cruises in Europe that fall under the $2,000 price point, which makes them surprisingly affordable. Their Asia, Egypt and Russia cruises are generally a bit pricier, starting from $3,224.

Of course, the longer the cruise, the higher the price. Its a pretty straightforward setup, making basically every cruise with Viking worth every penny. Check out this page for a detailed overview of all available Viking River Cruises.

So, now that you know how much Viking Cruises cost, you can decide which one suits your budget best. Whichever concept you go for, rest assured that it will be a trip to remember.

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