Cabins on larger river vessels vary in size from 90 square feet on older ships to over 200 square feet on newer. Most rooms are outside cabins, meaning they have windows for optimal sightseeing. The least expensive cabins are lower in the boat, while passengers pay more for higher rooms with better views. Cabins come with basic amenities, such as hair dryers and televisions, and are often very nicely furnished. The larger river cruise vessels have telephones and even Internet service.
Many first time river cruisers are delighted to discover that, unlike ocean cruising, there is very little boat motion. The mandated slow speeds and flat waters of the rivers ensure a quiet, placid voyage. It is often difficult when not on deck to even know the vessel is underway!
On longer trips, 7 days or more, the typical river cruise passenger is a well-traveled individual often over the age of 60. Shorter cruises typically attract a younger crowd. River cruises on the larger vessels do not always allow children under 12 as passengers, so make sure to check on any restrictions for families. The passenger manifest will be a mix of European and North American travelers, but most crews speak at least some English, and many are fluent. Individuals who require physical assistance when traveling should check with their travel consultant to determine the accessibility of any particular vessel for disabled passengers.
Meals have always been a special part of cruising, and river cruises have maintained that tradition. On river cruise vessels, food is a key part of the experience, prepared by a dedicated chef, the ship"s captain, or a restaurateur in a small village. Europeans take great pride in their culinary skills, and practically everyone who has ever cruised along the rivers and canals of Europe has at least one story about an unforgettable meal or food experience. Special dietary considerations can often be accommodated if requested early in the booking process.