River cruising is a LOVELY way to experience Europe! It has become extremely popular over the last decade and even more so in the last five years. Things have changed quite a lot in that time as well. Some aspects have presented challenges. However, most change have been great for the industry and for travel enthusiasts!
Recent changes include innovations in ship design, amenities and unique product offerings. But the biggest change is simply the unprecedented growth of the market. Demand has increased significantly and in response to the demand, the cruise lines are building new ships each year. As an example, a single company arguably flooded the market by releasing 12 new ships into the European river cruise market in 2015.
The positive result of increased product supply and competition is better service, amenities and sightseeing options for the travelers. This requires the cruise lines to handle challenges with ingenuity, innovation and stellar management strategies. Behind the scenes staff and management have been forced to adapt to larger operations. Most of this is good news for the guests enjoying the rivers!
Here is some insider info, tips, what to expect & ways to maximize your European river cruise experience:
Thanks for reading! HAPPY CRUISING!
Traveling soon? This post was originally written for traveling to Europe but most of this can be applied to worldwide travel! Packing and planning can get a little overwhelming but don't worry because here are some great tips, lists and packing advice! Here is a handy checklist too, CLICK HERE!
For cash you can bring US dollars and exchange at a money exchange office OR bring local currency from your bank. However, the most convenient option (and best exchange rates) is to bring a debit card and take out cash from ATM machines at your destination. Usually you will find an ATM machine at the airport when you arrive or right near your first hotel. Some people prefer to have a little bit of local currency prior to arrival but please note that most European airport money exchange counters are notorious for having horrendous exchange rates. When you use your debit card to withdraw cash from the ATM there will be fees (usually 1-2% for international transactions plus outside bank ATM fees, check with your bank). Even with the fees, the exchange rates are so good that it ends up being a better deal than exchanging money at a bank or a money exchange office. Try to estimate how much money you'll need for a few days, perhaps withdraw $100-$200 each time. You do not want to be carrying too much cash at one time but you do want to minimize the number of ATM withdrawals so you don't end up with a lot of fees. Always bring at least two cards and keep them in separate places in case you lose one. Credit cards are great too for larger purchases like shopping, excursions and nice dinners. Make sure your cards have chip technology. Be sure to know what is expected as far as tipping and gratuities on your trip.