Tips & Trivia
Push the Easy Button for Planning Group Trips
Just Say “River Cruise”
What could be easier than planning a cruise on a river for your group? If you are thinking about it, you are traveling on safe ground – or floating in safe waters.
River cruises have become very popular. In fact, river cruise companies have the highest repeat rates in the cruise industry as reported by Cruise Critic. Further, they say most cruisers can’t wait to sail on the next river. While groups may enjoy any type of cruise, river cruises have special features that are beneficial to group trips.
The size and capacity of ships cruising rivers are inherently limited. The overall height, width and length of the ships are determined by the requirements of cruising through locks and under bridges. So most ships have an average capacity of 130-200 guests depending how close to maximum specs the ship is, the size of cabins and overall layout.
With fewer passengers, individuals from the group won’t get lost in the masses. Group members can easily find seating areas together during leisure time or meals. Overall, lines are short or non-existent on river cruises.
Cruises are convenient. Guests check into their stateroom and world comes to them. Typically, river ships sail during the night, and guests wake to a new city ready to explore. No packing and unpacking involved. Plan to sit back, relax and enjoy the cruise.
River cruise lines around the world offer many different itineraries filled with so much to see and do. They are sure to entice all members of the group to join this trip – from the experienced travel enthusiast to the reluctant traveler.
For hundreds of years, rivers have been the inland transportation corridors moving produce from fertile farmlands and goods from factories to places around the world. As settlements along the rivers prospered, they grew into beautiful cities with intriguing histories and cultures.
Today, river cruise guests see the river and experience its history, its people and the fruits of its prosperity. They glide by scenic landscapes, riverbank vineyards, rolling farmland, medieval castles or storybook villages. They stop and visit a river’s cultural and historic hubs with guided excursions hearing stories from the past and seeing iconic sites like museums, homes, churches, markets and gardens.
River cruising is a good value. Cruise lines’ use all-inclusive pricing which covers accommodations, meals, airport transfers, port charges, lectures, activities, shore excursions, entertainment and Wi-Fi. Optional excursions are available at a variety of prices, but guests are thoroughly entertained without this extra cost. Most river cruises have unlimited beverages including wine and beer with dinner; some offer beverage packages.
All-inclusive pricing is great for groups as they plan and budget for their trip. Also, groups as small as 8 people may be eligible for great savings. Be sure to check with the cruise line.
The cost of transportation to the embarking port city affects the cost of the cruise. Group planners have the flexibility of pairing a group with a river that is within the group’s budget range. Groups don’t have to travel far to have a unique river experience, but they may travel great distances for exotic cultures and sites when desired.
There is great news about the food aboard a river cruise. First, no one in the group has to be concerned about who plans meals, who prepares meals or who pays for meals. That is all taken care of – breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. All group members need to do is make their way to the casual yet well-appointed dining room and get ready for excellent food.
Second, the onboard chef and staff specialize in making every meal a memorable experience. Meals include a variety of well-prepared regional dishes using locally grown, fresh ingredients so that guests get the full experience of the area they are traveling. More familiar dishes are also available with every meal. Everyone leaves the table happy!
The service on a river cruise is attentive. Crew members have usually had significant hospitality experience before becoming involved with the river cruise line. The lines also provide extensive training programs to promote service to their passengers. Crew members outside of the United States also speak English fluently.
A rule of thumb for measuring service on cruises is the staff to passenger ratio since passengers get better service when more crew are available. Guests benefit from the attractive ratio of staff to passengers on river cruises.
Another measure of service on cruises is the space ratio. The greater the space ratio – meaning more room onboard for each passenger – the easier a passenger can find a seat at dinner, in the lounge area, on sky deck or just find an empty space to relax. Groups enjoy this feature on river cruises as they find space for their special time together.
Pictures are important. Everyone wants to have a special picture of the group during their special time together. Opportunities abound for great candid shots of the group together and individually during tours and onboard the ship. Professional photographers are frequently available during special onboard events and during shore excursions to capture other memorable moments.
Start planning that trip for your group today. Let us know which river your group decides to travel on next. We look forward to hearing about it and seeing your pictures!