Cruising in a vessel along a slow moving river can be more relaxing and enjoyable than out on a vast ocean, especially for those who might be frightened by the idea of being tossed around by gigantic waves. On the river, civilization is much closer.
A riverboat holds a substantially smaller number of people, thus allowing you the opportunity to get to know fellow passengers and the crew on a more personal level. However the size isn’t too small and there are plenty of chances to enjoy quiet solitude and relaxation.
It is almost as if you have the best of both worlds. The breathtaking scenery and serene atmosphere will make you dream of your next trip before ending your first. The key to a good river cruise is knowing the type of experience you crave.
American Cruise Line Riverboats
These riverboats accommodate between 100 and 150 passengers. Their spacious staterooms are the largest in the small cruise ship industry.
The cruise line navigates waterways located on the East Coast, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, and the Mississippi.
American Queen Steamboat Company
This company has won many distinguished awards for excellence. The most recent award being a part of the Couriers Distinguished Dozen: 2016 Gold Favorite River Cruising Company.
The American Queen is one of the two boats available for the voyage, and it is the largest steamboat ever built. The other vessel, The American Express, is the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River.
Blount Small Ship Adventures
Blount Small Ship Adventures promises to take you on a cruise unlike any other. The boats travel rivers that no other ships can voyage including the Erie Canal, a waterway many thought couldn’t be navigated by a cruise ship. Their boats accommodate up to 88 passengers.
The smaller, sleeker size grants travelers a unique experience that offers a small town feel. Many people walk away with a number of new friends.
How long do you want to vacation?
The average length of a voyage offered by cruise lines is a week, give or take a day. However, the duration on the rivers varies depending on what scenic route interests you. Also, you can find many trips as short as five days and others as long as a month.
It is advisable to do a little research to figure out which time of year has the best weather for the trip you’re partial to. Make sure to check out the places where you’ll be docking too.
What activities interest you?
Entertainment on a river cruise is more laid back and relaxed than an ocean journey. Historians, entertainers and musicians will create a memorable experience.
Be sure to check your itinerary for a better idea of what sort of activities are available on board, the shore excursions and tours along the way, and the special events that take place at night.
What do the fares include?
American Cruise Lines: A fare includes passage, dining service, snacks, complimentary cocktail parties, and entertainment aboard the ship.
American Queen Steamboat Company: According to their terms and conditions, a guest can expect a one-night hotel stay and transfers before your voyage, bottled water and soft drinks, select wine and beer at dinner, all meals onboard, and regular shore excursions.
Blount: Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are provided aboard with menus posted daily. Wine and beer are included during lunch and dinner. They recommend BYOB, thus allowing you more control of what you’d like to drink.
Peak Seasons vs. Non-Peak Seasons
One would think peak season for cruising would depend on where the voyage is headed, but in reality, summer is the time that most families like to vacation. Be sure to plan your trip far in advance and take advantage of any sale rates.
A slow river cruise is a perfect vacation to spend with your family, or as a romantic getaway for you and your significant other. These are some great options to get started on finding the perfect riverboat vacation.
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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