Just as with a regular deep-ocean cruise, there are several things you can do to enhance your enjoyment of your river cruise, regardless of whether it takes you along the storied banks of the Mississippi or the historic waterways of Europe. After all, the prepared cruiser is frequently the happy cruiser.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to prepare for the journey ahead:
Google StreetView is increasingly becoming our “go-to” tool for preliminary planning. Curious to know how far that museum is from the river cruise berths, or the location of that café you’ve always wanted to visit? In most cities, you can virtually “walk” there using Google StreetView.
Not only is it handy for determining directions, but also for orienting yourself with a city or place you may have never visited before. To try to use this tool before your next trip, simply Google a landmark or city and then drag the “little yellow man” around. If StreetView is available, it will highlight yellow. Before you know it, you’ll be virtually strolling through the cities of the world.
It’s not available for every city yet, but most major cities are represented.
Research, Research, Research!
The task that sounds boring, but isn’t: research. Today, a wealth of information is available at your fingertips about every conceivable location in the world. Go to Wikipedia for broad information on a particular place, or browse through photo-sharing groups like Flickr or Picasa.
The benefits of thorough research before your river cruise are manifold: You won’t feel overwhelmed by major cities like Vienna or Amsterdam, and instead will be able to plan your time ashore by visiting the places you know you want to visit.
Purchase Travel Medical Insurance
For many of us, this is a de-facto purchase, but the fact remains that many travellers go abroad with inadequate or no insurance. Sure, chances are you’ll travel without ever having so much as a paper cut, but we guarantee that the one time the ugly arm of fate swings your way, it will leave you with a hefty bill if you’re not covered. So don’t risk it.
One of the greatest joys of river cruising is the amazing opportunity it provides to fully immerse yourself in the local customs, culture and cuisine. So try everything. Do as the Viennese do and have coffee at a proper café in Vienna. Enjoy bratwurst with sauerkraut alongside a pint of German lager in Regensburg. And don’t forget to stop and smell the tulips in Amsterdam. Wait, are tulips fragrant? Flower lovers, please report back to us.
Here at River Cruise Advisor, we’re constantly fine-tuning how we prepare for our river cruise experiences. But what about you? What are some of your favorite ways to “gear up” for your upcoming trip?
Be sure to let us know.