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So you’ve decided to book your first river cruise – that’s wonderful! River cruises are a fun and unique way to explore a distant location, and with the endless amenities and events they offer, they can easily be one of the most memorable trips of your life.
For those who have never scheduled a river cruise before, the process of it can be a little intimidating. But don’t worry. We at Dynamite Travel are here to help you cruise through your travel plans.
Here is how to plan the perfect river cruise for families and groups.
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1. Establish Your Priorities
It can be easy to lose yourself to the stress of booking a cruise. With so many ships, destinations, services, rooms, events, and specialties, finding your perfect cruise can quickly become an overwhelming task. But before you get caught up in the stress, take a step back and figure out what’s most important to you. Sorting out your priorities can help you avoid any unwanted stress.
Before you do any research, we recommend you decide on these things first:
- Decide your budget. Having a set number for your budget is the key to spending your spare cash on your trip wisely. Several components could change the price of your trip (your destination, your cabin, unique amenities, etc.). By deciding on a set amount to spend, you can ensure every dollar adds value to your fantastic cruise.
- Think about what you want your cruise to look like. Cruises offer endless experiences, from relaxing and luxurious, to simple and family-friendly, to vibrant and exciting. Before you set sail, think about the things you hope to see while traveling.
- Decide the duration of your trip: How long do you want to be sailing? Most river cruises range between seven to fourteen nights long, depending on the locations included. Cruises might also offer pre- and post-cruise extensions, such as additional guided tours, exclusive events, and other unique opportunities.
Getting your priorities sorted may seem like a silly step, but it can help you get the head start you need for booking your cruise. Have a chat with your cruising group and figure out what your shared priorities are. That way, you can all relax and enjoy the perfect cruise together.
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2. Choose Your Travel Destination
Now that your priorities are sorted out, it’s time to get to the fun part: deciding your destination! But with so many places to go, things to see, and your group to please, how can you know which site is perfect for you?
The answer to this question lies in the group you’re traveling with. There are endless possibilities for your river cruise, so consider what you want to see on your vacation.
For groups of young adults, we recommend traveling to adventurous and cultural places. Historical monuments, riverside towns, and cities with vibrant nightlife are excellent choices that provide unforgettable experiences. Specific destinations we recommend that meet these criteria include cruises through European rivers, including the Seine and Douro Rivers. For those seeking adventure in Southeast Asia, the Mekong River is a popular choice.
There are plenty of river cruise destinations that are also perfect for entertaining children. The Danube River, the Mississippi River, and the Rhine River are filled with interactive activities for your children. Museums, amusement parks, festivals, and more are vibrant along these rivers. These attractions are perfect for keeping adults and children alike entertained on vacation.
There really is no wrong decision when picking your river cruise destination. Still, the location of your river cruise can elevate your cruising experience to a whole new level.
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3. Research Your Cruising Company
Now that you’ve settled on a cruise destination, it’s time to research cruise lines. Different cruise lines offer a variety of amenities, events, accommodations, and specialties, so it’s essential to choose your cruise line wisely.
There are several river cruise lines available to travelers, each fit with its own particular perks and events. They all share the value of providing travelers with an unforgettable experience, but there are several minor differences that certain cruise lines offer that may better meet your needs. Be sure to research your favorite river cruise lines carefully, and don’t be afraid to ask your group for their insight.
Need help deciding which cruise line to pick? You can check out our top six picks for river cruise lines to help you out. This article takes a deep dive into some of the cruising companies you may be considering, so check it out before you make your final decision.
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4. Pick the Perfect Cabin
River cruises are perfect for groups of travelers wanting to share an intimate space. Because of their small size, they provide a cozy atmosphere that leaves groups with plenty of chances to spend time together. Still, it’s important to note that you might not be able to get a single cabin to fit everyone in your group. Choosing similar types of cabins for your group can help you stay connected while on vacation.
First, it’s important to decide which kinds of cabins you want to share with your group. Four types of cabins are typically available on river cruises: window cabins, French balcony cabins, balcony cabins, and suites. Window cabins are the cheapest, but the view the windows offer is limited, often leaving travelers unsatisfied with their experience. French balcony cabins (also known as Juliet cabins) are a fantastic upgrade from window cabins. They offer a large glass door with an open view of the world, so you and your roommate can still enjoy the experience of a balcony from the comfort of your room.
For those looking for a little more luxury, balcony cabins would suit you better. They offer an extended balcony platform, perfect for those early mornings to watch the sunrise over the river with a warm cup of coffee. The final type of cabin, the suites, are the most luxurious option available. Suites can include a cabin with a separate living space and balcony. Some suites are directly attached to another suite, making them perfect for keeping your travel group connected.
Staying connected is one of the most essential parts of group travel. No matter what kind of cabin you and your group want, be sure to coordinate your location and preferences with each other. This can help you stay connected and experience group travel in a personal and enlightening way.
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5. Clear Your Schedules
This step may look like another small, pointless step, but it is one of the most vital parts of group travel. When you’re planning any vacation with a group, be sure to carefully consider your and your travel group’s schedules.
During this step, you should also think about when you want to take your river cruise. Review your list of priorities and try to find some common themes. If you wish to explore natural scenery or spend time outdoors, research when your destination reaches your perfect temperature. We also advise you to research the water levels of the destinations you want to travel to. Though water levels cannot be predicted perfectly, studying the estimations can help you ensure you travel safely.
After that, you’ll have to consider work and school schedules for your travel group. If you can, schedule a time together that everyone can easily fit. Trying to make your trip fit into your children’s school breaks or using vacation breaks around days you already have off (weekends, holidays, etc.)
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6. Use a Professional Travel Advisor
With all your priorities arranged and your schedules cleared, it’s time to finally book your cruise! But before you click on any final “buy here” buttons flashing brightly, we advise you to take a step back and book your trip through a travel advisor.
Booking your cruise through a travel advisor is much more beneficial than you may realize. First, it’s a great way to save money. Travel advisors can have access to exclusive amenities that aren’t available to the public. Advisors are also great for helping you decide which cruising company to use. They know all about the special perks, benefits, and inclusions cruising lines can have, so if you’re stressed about which cruise line to book through, travel advisors are great for helping you decide.
Using a travel advisor is a great way to ensure your vacation goes smoothly. Are you ready to speak with a travel advisor about your river cruising plans? You can schedule a consultation with one of our advisors anytime. They’ll be happy to help you book the cruise of your dreams.