If you're thinking about booking a river cruise, but aren't sure whether the stereotype is true or not, an expert busts a few common myths.
River cruises are very different to big ship adventures. Here, Ellen Bettridge, CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises and U River Cruises, debunks five things that you may have heard about this type of cruise.
"One of the biggest myths is the type of guests you’ll meet onboard – the clientele is varied," Ellen says. Now, there are cruises that cater to all walks of life and ages.
"Brands like U River Cruises has pioneered the way and opened up to the Gen Z, millennials and young at heart - targeting them with mixology classes, soft adventures, local DJs, silent discos, paint and wine classes," she tells.
While you may think a constant buffet is a nightmare, Ellen assures that it's not all about a basic range of cold and hot dishes.
"Often there is more than one dining option with locally sourced cuisines, healthy farm-to-table meals, catered to all allergies," she explains. "Particularly appealing to foodies, river cruising allows the chef to step off the ship in each port to purchase fresh food from the markets. Guests may also have the opportunity to go to a farmer’s market with our chef, helping pick the ingredients for that night’s culinary creation and learning all the chef’s tips and tricks along the way."
The cruising difference
Ellen reveals that you can't even compare river and ocean cruising because they're such different experiences.
"It's different: 120-150 travellers versus 2500+. The level of service and care is of a different nature," she says.
One of the biggest obstacles is that some travellers think they will be bored, Ellen says. However, there's actually a lot to tick off the to-do list.
"There are so many active options such as hiking to the highest sand dune in Bordeaux, cycling along with the ship, yoga on the deck, and the wellness centre if you wish to get your steps up on the treadmill. In port, it’s all about local culture," she tells. "Guests can squeeze in a lot of sightseeing, plus an array of activities like hikes, golf, kayaking, cooking classes, art seminars, and visits to the ballet or opera."
The environmental factor
Depending on which cruise you choose, there are plenty of eco-friendly options.
"All of our European ships are built with special paint for the hull of the ship that creates less drag caused by bio-fuelling, specially designed ship propellers that increase performance and efficiency, energy-efficient LED light fixtures, automatic air conditioning controls to optimise cooling resources, water cooled air-conditioning systems that save energy, and state of the art wastewater treatment plants onboard," Ellen explains.
"All onboard garbage is separated and recycled. Additionally, our newer Super Ships including S.S. Joie de Vivre and S.S. Catherine, feature modern and efficient diesel electric propulsion systems that reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
Ellen adds that they also have a commitment to eliminating unnecessary single-use plastics.