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River Cruise FAQ

Find the answers to our frequently asked questions below

Do the excursions require a high level of mobility?

Excursions are available at differing activity levels to suit most travellers. Some ships even include bicycles for guests to use. However on the luxury river cruises which we sell, customer who are slow walkers are accommodated and coaches will be available for city tours. Check individual cruise itineraries for details and get in touch if you would like further guidance.

Are additional tours available throughout the river cruise?

Most operators will offer some additional tours that can be paid for onboard. For example, it maybe a private concert is available and this will be charged additionally. However, the ultra luxury river cruises do offer all inclusive tours. Please see individual itineraries for specific details,

Are any on-board salon and spa services available?

Although river ships are restricted in size, on Europe and Asia’s rivers most river ships will have a small spa area offering onboard treatments such as facials and massage. Please check individual ships and operators for details of what each offers.

Are lifts present on the ship?

Most river cruise ships on Europe’s waterways have lifts that access the main accommodation and public decks. Very few vessels have lifts that reach the sun-deck – please ask for details. Some smaller ships will have lifts that may not go all the way down to the lowest level of cabins. This is however rare on luxury ships, but maybe the case on some older ships or ships with only two decks. Please check individual ships for details.

Are laundry facilities provided on the ships?

All ships will offer laundry cleaning services akin to hotels. This is where you will put items that you would like cleaning in a bag that is provided that can be found in the wardrobe. There will be a price list per item. Some river cruise ships do have self service laundries with washing machines and tumble dryers available and washing powder for guests to use. We can advise as to which ships have these facilities.

Are tables for two available?

Tables for two are available on specific ships and operators. However, they cannot generally be reserved for the evening meal. Meals outside evening meals are free seating.

Do the operators cater for vegans on board?

Yes – all operators cater for vegans and vegetarians at every meal. If you would like something more specific we always recommend that you speak to the Restaurant Manager at the start of your cruise.

How do I request the use of one of the complimentary bicycles?

Complimentary bicycles can be requested by asking at the ship’s reception desk. There is no need to book in advance but if you know that would like to go out at a certain time, then that can be arranged. However the ship will need to docked somewhere suitable that the bikes can be used on the quayside, so this is at the Captain’s discretion for safety reasons.

Is smoking permitted on-board the ship?

River cruise ships do not permit smoking or vaping anywhere inside including cabins. Some river cruise ships are completely non smoking. However, most will have a small area at the back of the sundeck where smoking is permitted outside, away from other guests.

Is Wi-Fi provided on-board the ship?

Yes – all ships will have access to a wi-fi service. Some operators may charge for this. However, whilst data roaming is still free within the EU, you may well find the reliability of the wi-fi better through your phone. Ship wi-fi is improving but is usually better in public areas than in the cabins. If the ship is moving or going through locks, then connection will be sporadic. Just enjoy the downtime.

Are pets allowed on-board?

No – as yet there is not a river cruise line that accepts pets onboard ship, unfortunately.

What is the river cruise ship entertainment like?

Most river cruise ship entertainment is a mixture of low key music and songs from a onboard duet who the passengers get to know. There will also be local entertainment which will capture the spirit of the area you are passing through. Cruise Managers will also organise quizzes and competitions in the evening. If a ship is docked, there is the opportunity to go on shore and experience the local areas cafes and bars if you would like more variety.

Do the ships provide mobility/wheelchair access?

River cruise ships do not work as well for wheelchair passengers as ocean cruise ships do. There will often be a gange plank access and also at times the need to walk up and over other ships when docked. Permanent wheel chairs users will find river cruising difficult due to the hardware of the ship not having widened doors or adapted bathroom facilities. Wheelchairs when used for excursions are welcomed if a person cannot walk more than short distances.

Is River Cruising suitable for solo travellers?

Absolutely! Solo travellers will make friends easily in the small, sociable atmosphere of a river cruise ship of around 150 people. Solo travellers can be put off by having to pay the full cabin price rather than the price per person that someone who is sharing a cabin pays. However, there are lots of river cruises which are offered with no or low supplements for solo use of a cabin. There are also river cruises which are specifically for solo travellers. To get the best fares, we do encourage solo travellers to book early as these offers are always popular.

What is the standard baggage allowance?

Most river cruise cabins will accommodate a large hold suitcase per person. These will usually fit under the bed. Cruise lines discourage more than one large suitcase per guest due to storage restrictions in the cabin. You will then need to take into account the weight allowance of the airline you have booked with.

What safety requirements should I be aware of?

There is nothing specific that you should worry about. You will be given a full safety and nautical briefing by the Cruise Director in the comfort of the lounge when you have settled onto your ship. If you have further questions, they will be answered for you onboard.

When will we receive our final travel documents?

Each river cruise operator aims to get your documents to you at least 7-10 days before travel. In experience, it is usually much earlier than this. You can choose to have documents sent via email or through the post. If you have specific requirements such as you will be out of the country when your documents are due, then just let us know and we can make alternative arrangements for you.

What validity do I need on my passport?

You will need at least 6 months validity on your passport on the day of the start of your river cruise holiday and leaving the UK. Travel arrangements between the UK and the countries within the European Union may change over time once the UK has exited but this is unlikely to change.

Will Brexit affect my holiday?

The biggest issue you will encounter if you are visiting a country which uses the Euro as its currency is that you will need to judge carefully when to change sterling into Euros. The sterling exchange rate is leading to higher costs for travellers to the Eurozone from the UK. However, as you will have paid for your river cruise in £sterling in advance, you will have few onboard or on land costs to budget for. Regarding logistics, we do not foresee any issues with flights or actual travel to and from the continent

Will I need a visa to enter Europe post Brexit?

At present there are no requirements for visas to visit mainland Europe post Brexit.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, you should have travel insurance to meet your personal needs, many operators make this a requirement to travel.

Could changing water levels affect my cruise?

Rivers are governed by the weather and at the extremes, too much water or too little water can affect your exact itinerary. It is rare for a river cruise to be completely cancelled because a ship can’t sail at all and operators strive to limit inconvenience to guests.
The nautical team and the Cruise Manager are planning all the time around what conditions are on the river but 99% of the time you will be blissfully unaware that their experience is being used to change details and plans.