Have you ever gone on a river cruise? I had never been on one until our first trip to Europe in 2009 when we sailed along the Seine River in France, from Paris to Normandy. I remember having zero expectations when we boarded the boat; it was small and definitely catered to an older audience (there were 8 of us under the age of 50!). Ageism aside, it was an amazing cruise. We quietly passed through the beautiful French countryside and stopped in small villages along the way. I have distinct memories of reading my book on the top deck, and taking breaks to watch cows grazing on rolling hills and medieval castles coast by. Since that trip, I've been interested in taking another river cruise in Europe.
One minor detail: Rob refuses. He thinks I'm crazy for wanting to party with the elderly for a week in Europe. In fairness to him, it is a pretty geriatric scene. There's no late night entertainment, they resist daring food choices, and his tats draw some pretty solid stares. Even still, I love the fact that the ships are drastically smaller than regular cruise lines, so they feel much more personal and way less crowded.
As we were preparing for our last trip, and even since we've been back, European river cruises have been nestled in the back of my mind. I think it's because I receive deal updates from Viking River Cruises (the cruise line we used in 2009) every week (kudos Viking marketing, kudos). It seems like they are in the midst of a major campaign to book up the rest of their available cruises before the year ends, and they are offering some seriously sweet deals. I'm talking a stateroom with a view PLUS business class airfare for $2,495! I didn't think you could even get business class tickets for that cheap (I have never actually purchased business class tickets, so I don't know for certain). It has been tempting me to pack me wool socks and sign-up for the Christmas cruise on the Rhine!
Have you every taken a river cruise? What was your experience?
(Photos: 1&2 - taken in 2009, 3 - via Viking River Cruises)