Posted by: travelrat | May 3, 2018

River Cruising

River Cruise 2

We’ve cruised on some of the world’s great rivers; the Nile, Australia’s Murray and China’s Yangtze … and, most recently, on the Danube and the Rhine. They’re as different to each other as river cruising is to ocean cruising; there’s just no comparison.

Even the boats are different. The Murray Princess was a stern-wheel paddle boat, the Egyptian boats have internal paddle wheels, and were reputed to be able to sail on a heavy dew. Our European boat had external, steerable pods; whether or not this is general, I can’t say.

One thing most of the European boats have in common is they’re mainly low, slim and long ships, carrying no more than 100-150 passengers. They’re restricted in height because of the bridges they have to negotiate, and in beam because of the locks they frequently encounter.

One main difference between the river and ocean cruises is that the river cruises are fairly port-intensive. There’s usually a stop every day, and often, the day’s excursion is included in your fare. Also, there’s plenty of time in which to do your own thing, or maybe take part in some of the ‘optional extra’ excursions on offer.

The rest of the time, you can just sit on the deck, or in the lounge, and watch the scenery glide past. You can even sit in your own cabin, for all cabins have windows.

Another difference is that it’s not such a disaster if you miss your ship. It might be possible to get a train or a bus to your next stop. Indeed, one guide told us how he’d once put his clients in a taxi, and they caught the ship at the next lock, only about 5 kilometres away.

Our cruise on the Travelmarvel Jewel started at Budapest, and sailed all the way to Amsterdam. Before 1992, this wouldn’t have been possible, for, on that date, the Rhine-Main-Danube canal was completed, and, for the first time, boats could sail over the watershed dividing the Danube from the Rhine/Main.

So, we’re going to see a lot of places, and experience a lot of things. I was expecting a sort of water-borne ‘If today is Tuesday, this must be Brussels’ coach tour. But, things happened at far too leisurely a pace for that.

River Cruise 1


  1. Wonderful post.

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