Have you ever heard someone say their going on a riverboat cruise and think, what’s that? How’s that different from a regular cruise? I recently got the opportunity to go on a riverboat cruise with Uniworld’s new sister company U River Cruises– it’s a fresh new approach to riverboat cruising and I loved it!
So for those of you that don’t know what a riverboat cruise is, it’s simply a cruise on the river in a riverboat! Now I know that sounds simple enough but I honestly didn’t fully understand the whole concept until I was on the ship. Anyways it’s much different than a traditional cruise ship; for starters the ship is a lot smaller and narrower in size than a traditional commercial cruise ship as it’s sailing down the river rather than out at sea. There are also a lot less passengers, most riverboats can only fit between 100- 300 people, U River ships hold 120 people including the staff so they’re a lot less crowded and cozier, which I personally preferred. It’s basically like a floating boutique hotel that sails from city to city. I loved being able to unpack my things and know I was set up for the week, without having to worry about packing and unpacking throughout the week. I honestly think it’s the best way to travel and if I could take a riverboat all over Europe I would…there’s just not enough rivers!
U River Cruises offers many different cruises, currently there’s Rolling on the Rhine – Amsterdam to Frankfurt, Germany’s Finest – Frankfurt to Regensburg, Dashing Through the Danube – Budapest to Regensburg (a winter cruise) and the one I did, The Danube Flow, cruising down the Danube River; starting in Budapest, Hungary and ending in Regensburg, Germany. Then debuting in April 2020 they have 3 new 7 night cruises, Amsterdam & Brussels Bound – Amsterdam to Brussels, Eastern Europe Escape – Vienna to Belgrade and Vienna Vibe – Vienna to Nuremberg. The cruises can be combined to create a 14-night super cruise without repeating ports. Seriously I want to do all 3, sign me up!
New offerings on the cruises include added overnight stays, complimentary happy hour every night for guests to socialize, and even more active excursions such as touring Bratislava in a Soviet-era vintage car and taking in the proud exuberance of Belgrade.
So let’s get to why I loved traveling by riverboat with U River Cruises so much and why it’s my new favorite way to travel;
- I didn’t get motion sickness! It’s not rocky like a regular big cruise ship, as mentioned above, it’s a lot smaller and closer to the water. Sailing down the river ended up being quite peaceful and relaxing. I’ve had motion sickness since I was a kid, to this day I still can’t sit in the back of someone’s car while they’re driving. So I was a bit nervous about the riverboat but I wasn’t sick or nauseous once!
- The cabins were much larger than I expected, which was really nice especially if you tend to get a bit claustrophobic.
- There are TVs in the rooms! Which okay I know when you’re traveling in Europe you probably really shouldn’t be watching TV BUT it’s nice to have the option. There were also a ton of new movies you were able to rent on the tv.
- Free WIFI!! Okay we all need wifi and it was great having that while I was sailing from city to city on the ship.
- There were tons of free optional activities, both on and off the boat like, guided walking tours of the cities we were visiting, local beer tastings, hikes to local ruins, bike rides, mixology classes, wine and painting classes, karaoke, trivia night and much more!
- That being said we had lots of free time both on and off the boat and you could really do anything at your own pace.
- There were also a lot of extra activities you could pay to do, my favorite was wine tasting in the Wachau Valley, in Austria.
- The food on the ship was really good! I can be a picky eater at times but there was something for everyone. If you have a strict diet, if you’re a vegetarian, lactose free, paleo, gluten free, whatever you normally eat they had you covered which is rare to find on a European cruise.
- The bar on the ship was great, it fully stocked. They had both high-end and mid-range spirits as well as a good wine list which I personally appreciated and they made a great Aperol Spritz, so I was a happy camper!
- You could do your laundry on the ship! This was very exciting for me because I really don’t like having to pack a lot if I don’t have to.
- The cabins are equipped with every outlet plug you can think of!! This was huge for me, no converter plug needed!
- U River Cruises has done a great job of making their cruises more affordable than other riverboat cruise companies without taking any of the necessary luxuries away.
- U River Cruises is great for a group of friends, families, couples and people traveling alone like myself!
- There was a good mix of ages on board, most passengers were anywhere between 24 to 55. Which was great because most riverboat cruises tend to have an older crowd usually 65+!
- Last but certainly not least I loved how the ship itself was designed and decorated, both the interior and exterior. It’s the only black riverboat on the river and from the top deck to the lobby and rooms everything was very modern and chic looking, it was all very instagrammable ; )
I truly had an amazing time with U River Cruises sailing down the Danube river exploring new places. I really think this will be the next millennial travel trend and I hope I can do it again soon!
As always thanks for reading and if you have any questions about U River Cruises feel free to leave a comment or DM me on IG @taraleydon.
Check out more photos below : )