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  • Alicia at Evening Star Travel

Decoding Luxury: Exploring the Inclusions of Your Exclusive River Cruise Experience

Not all river cruise lines are equal!

Thinking about going on a river cruise? It's like stepping into a world of luxury, exploration, and pure enjoyment. If you're an empty nester looking for your next big adventure, a river cruise might just be the perfect fit. But with so many options out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Did you know there are at least ten different river cruise lines that serve the North American market? Other European lines may be a good fit as well. On an ocean cruise it's extremely difficult to leave the cruise without a big bill. But that's not the case with river cruising. Let's break it down and explore what inclusions there may be with river cruise packages.

Delicious Dining and Bottomless Drinks: One of the best parts of a river cruise? The food! Picture this: mouthwatering meals prepared by talented chefs using fresh, local ingredients, all while you're cruising along stunning rivers. All river cruises include all your meals onboard, from fancy dinners to casual snacks. And don't forget about the drinks – many cruises include wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks with lunch and dinner, and some even have an open bar all day. Some include room service (imagine enjoying a coffee and croissant while sailing the rivers in France), and some don't (self service coffee is available on most river cruise lines).

Comfortable Rooms: After a day of exploring, you'll want a cozy place to rest your head. Luckily, river cruise ships are known for their great rooms with amazing views. Whether you are just looking for a place to sleep or a fancy suite with a balcony, there's something for everyone. Plus, some cruises even offer butler service to make your stay extra special.

Exciting Excursions: One of the best parts of a river cruise is getting to explore new places. Instead of just big cities and large ports, you'll also stop in charming towns and historic sites. Most cruises include a guided tour so you can learn all about the local culture and history. Some river cruise lines will include multiple options to choose from in each port so you can pick and choose were and what you want to do without worrying about a bill at the end of the cruise. From wine tastings to castle tours, there's always something fun to do on shore.

Onboard Activities: When you're not exploring, there's plenty to keep you entertained onboard. Think live music, cooking classes, yoga, and even spa days. Whether you want to relax or stay active, there's something for everyone. Plus, the crew is always there to make sure you're having a great time. While the entertainment, and wellness programs onboard are included, spa and salon services are at an additional cost.

Amazing Service: The service on all the river cruise lines is top-notch, though some bring it above and beyond. From the moment you step onboard, the crew is there to make sure you have the best experience possible. They'll take care of everything, from remembering your favorite drink to planning special celebrations.

Extras: Depending on the river cruise line you pick, sometimes laundry can be included. Some river cruise lines will have many meals off

Choosing Your Cruise: So, how do you pick the perfect river cruise? Think about what's important to you. Do you want lots of included activities, or do you prefer to pick and choose? Are you all about the food, or is it more about the destinations? Typically the lines that include more are more expensive, with the lines that are more a la carte are more affordable - but that's not always the case. It's important to consider the overall value and what's important to you when sailing.

River Cruise Lines that are more All-Inclusive:





River Cruise Lines that are moderately All-Inclusive:


Avalon Waterways

River Cruise Lines that are somewhat All-Inclusive:




River Cruise Lines that are more A La Carte (but still have a lot of inclusions):


However, just because a river cruise line has a lot of inclusions doesn't always equal how luxurious the line is.

The Role of a Travel Advisor: Navigating the sea of options for river cruises can be overwhelming, which is where a travel agent comes in handy. A knowledgeable travel advisor can help you navigate the intricacies of different cruise lines, matching you with the perfect itinerary based on your preferences and budget. We can provide insider tips, access to exclusive deals, and handle all the booking details, saving you time and ensuring a stress-free planning experience, and can help you have no bill when you depart the cruise!

A river cruise is more than just a vacation – it's an adventure you'll never forget. Whether you're a foodie, a history buff, or just looking for some relaxation, there's a river cruise out there for you. By understanding what's included and finding the right fit for your preferences, with the assistance of a travel advisor, you'll be on your way to the trip of a lifetime.


To book your next dream vacation - when the time is right to travel - reach out to me through email at, or by calling 587 772 2525. I am located in Sherwood Park, Alberta (a suburb of Edmonton), and am a Travel Advisor specializing in River Cruising. I am the owner/operator of Evening Star Travel, and I book travel for clients all across Canada.

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