European river cruising: What do the experts think?
But don’t just take our word for it. We wanted to see if some of the UK’s top travel experts also agree. Which is why I sat down with Teresa Machan, former cruise editor of The Telegraph, Jeannine Williamson, award winning travel writer and cruising expert, and Lynn Borthwick, a Titan tour manager and a river cruise director, to find out why they love river cruising so much, and which European destinations are their favourites.
Why do you all love river cruising?
Lynn: You can see so many destinations within the confines of one holiday. And it gives the guests a taster of some of those wonderful ports of call and the opportunity to perhaps think about coming back again, which is just great.
Jeannine: I just love river cruising waking up somewhere new every day and to be able to see the panoramic scenery every day. It doesn’t really matter which side of the ship you've got your cabin on, you always get to see something. You also only have to unpack once and you don't do anything until the end of the week.
Teresa: A river cruise is really the embodiment of a floating hotel and it’s carrying you along. And it’s luxurious. But it’s almost like a two for one because you might be sat in a lounge or in your room, or on the balcony or having dinner, and you've still got the scenery. So, you know, you've got the fantastic touring options ashore, but you've also got this rolling film, if you like, of incredible scenery. And that’s the beauty of river cruising. It really does take you places.
Let’s talk about the food…
Jeannine: Well, I think one of the joys of going to river cruising is that the food is fantastic. And on Titan river cruises, you get wine included with lunch and dinner, too, which makes it very cost effective when you know it’s included in the fare. One of the things I love is that while travelling on the ships they will have western dishes that we love and know but will feature regional dishes from the areas that you travel through. And you get the chance to try out all these different dishes, as well as table service so it makes it feel very special, too.
Lynn: It's very good quality food, with an excellent choice. And the chef will try and cater for all special dietary requirements, too. The Titan team alongside the catering team always try to provide authentic dishes from a particular region. So if we are in Vienna, for example, we'd ask chef to make an apple strudel or schnitzel.
Jeannine: One of the fun things that Titan river cruises do is they will have cookery demonstration to show passengers how to create something like apple strudel, which, of course, you then get to try afterwards which is a necessity, of course. And that’s a fun thing to do and the chefs always interact with the passengers. It's just a really nice atmosphere. You also get the recipes too so you can try them out at home.
Which are your favourite European river cruises?
Jeannine: It’s very, very hard to make a choice. So I'll probably pick two, which are the Rhine and the Danube. The Rhine is just spectacular. When you're going through the Rhine gorge, they're all castles everywhere. Beautiful fairytale castles perched on each side. And then there’s the Wachau Valley on the Danube. It’s really really pretty. So they are probably my top two choices for the superb scenery. But every river cruise you go on, there is always something to see.
Teresa: I'd echo Jeannine's views about the Rhine. I mean, it's absolutely spectacular. If you want a stereotypical picture of a river cruise, then the Rhine is probably going to fit that. You're going to feel like you've achieved what you came to see and plenty else besides.
Lynn: This is hard to answer, I love them all. The Danube and the Rhine are also firm favourites for me but I also really like the Douro. The scenery is amazing across the vineyards. And if you’re a guest who enjoys drinking wine, then this river cruise really is for you. And the Portuguese themselves, they always welcome us with open arms and make our customers feel so special.
Do you love river cruising as much as our experts? For the full river cruise expert talk which includes top tips, you can watch the video here.
Article published on: 15th September, 2020
Ting has a serious case of wanderlust. Having travelled to over 40 countries, it’s her mission in life to make her way through her ever-growing list. Her two young sons have also caught the travel bug, and recent trips have seen them making snow angels in Iceland while watching the Northern Lights, as well as walking alongside elephants in South Africa.