Why do I enjoy river cruising?
For one thing, it is a vacation "on the water". Similarities to ocean cruising include the fact that they are floating hotels with great amenities, unpacking/packing once, waking up in a new destination just about every day and no worries about having to find a hotel and restaurant every night.. No driving, no wrong turns, no second guessing GPS directions, no stress. Cruising - river and ocean - is simply a fantastic way to travel.
For starters, the ships are far more intimate, with less than 190 passengers. You can really get to know your fellow passengers and make new, lifelong friends. It happens on bigger ships, but it is more difficult.
Fewer crowds and security lines are also very noticeable. Mind you , there is no lack of security (you just can't see it) and being able to walk a few feet down the gangplank and be off or on the ship in a minute or two (without having to go through security scanners) is just wonderful. And with fewer people on board, tour groups are smaller and a lot more interactive.
River cruises take you where big ships can't go. Into the heart of the country. Quite often you dock a short distance from the city center - an easy walk to start a tour or simply explore the area on your own (maybe on a bike!)
I remember walking through this little alley in Regensburg on our Danube cruise when our guide stopped in front of a non-descript apartment entrance. Nothing really notable until we heard the explanation that this was Oskar Schindler's former residence. Even though I had seen Schindler's List several times, listening to the guide's perspective is something that has stayed with me.
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