Posted by: travelrat | January 9, 2018

River Cruising


With our Danube/Rhine river cruise coming up in a couple of months, I thought I’d look back, and check over some rivers we’ve sailed on in the past. The Nile (twice), the Murray and the Yangtze.

Only recently, I was asked ‘Haven’t you sailed on the Rhine before?’

I have; back in the 70s, but that was a day trip, on the old KD line. However, if we’re counting day trips, we can add the Nepean, China’s Li River, the Elbe and the Gambia River to the list.

I was a bit disappointed with the Elbe, for our press visit to Dresden took place in winter, and the lovely old paddle steamers weren’t operating yet, so we sailed on a more modern boat.

We don’t know which boat we’re sailing on yet, but they differ from cruise ships in that all staterooms and suites (they don’t seem to have anything as vulgar as ‘cabins’) have windows, and there are only, at most, three decks so you don’t spend most of your first day finding your way around. Of course, they’re much more ‘port intensive’ than cruise ships … on this particular itinerary, there’s no equivalent of an ‘At Sea’ day, and, even if there was, you can see a lot more from the deck than just the sea.

And, if you’re unfortunate enough to ‘miss your ship’, a bus or train to the next port of call probably won’t break the bank.

A great advantage most river cruises have is that they’re all-in; your fare covers drinks, excursions and free wifi. These are all ‘additions’ you have to factor in on an ocean cruise … in fact, I never use their wifi; it’s rarely much good and costs an arm and a leg, anyway.

Another thing is, on the last two ocean cruises, we never saw the Captain. On the ‘Murray Princess’, we ‘ate at the Captain’s table’ almost every night …and, on the ‘Edward Elgar’, the Captain helped to serve our meals!

(Apologies if some of the pictures are a bit ropey … some of them are scans of transparencies from way back)

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  1. I’m a fan of river cruising but not a fan of ocean cruising – if you don’t count cargo ship cruising. We came up the Elbe on one of our cargo-ships, with the very interesting pilot who joined us for coffee, but that’s my only experience of it. I’ve cruised the Mekong (the Thai & Burmese part of it), the Shannon and some of the French canals, the Rhine and part of the Danube and would do them all again. Meantime, I’m surviving the winter and thinking of somewhere warm asap.

    • I think the best ‘ocean cruises’ are those which offer something to see between pots; our last two cruises. Inside Passage and Patagonia, did just this … as did our Norway Fjords cruise in 2013 (if you discount the somewhat sporting passage around the Pentland Firth)

      Yes, I’m thinking of somewhere warm, too … I believe this is the time of year when travel agents do the most business?

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