Why River Cruising Is A Great Value

river cruising

I wanted to explain to some clients why River Cruising can be a fantastic value for your vacation.  So I set off to do my own research and to compare the price of an Ocean Cruise, a DIY land trip, and River Cruising.  Below are the results of my search.

Obviously,  prices do fluctuate,  although the prices below were accurate at the time of my search – there was a wonderful promotion for 2018 Avalon Cruises.   The information below should not be taken as a current promotion,  but it should serve to help you see how sometimes what seems like an “upscale” trip is actual quite value-driven and allows you to upgrade your experience for either less or similar to what you would spend anyway!


Sample: 7 Day Trip

  Ocean cruise DIY Trip River cruise
Base fare for 7 day trip $1165 per person

Ocean view cabin category on RCCL Greece Island cruise, October 2017. BOGO sale.

n/a $1549 per person

2018 Avalon Waterways – Tulips in Amsterdam sailing

Excursions $100 per day – $700 per person $700 for excursions, small tours, and/or sightseeing entrances Included – a minimum of at least one free excursion per day, if not more. Plenty of free time is also provided for independent travelers.
Soft drinks, coffee, specialty drinks See below Not included Included
Wine, beer, cocktails Typical ocean cruise drinks package is $55 per day. ($385 total) Not included Included at minimum with lunch and dinner – often will be included during the day as well.
­­Tips and gratuities Typical mandatory staff gratuities are $14/day. Total $98 $100 Included
Hotel Included $200/night ($1,400 for the week) Included
Transportation Ship goes from port to port. However, if you dock at a port far from the town, you are often responsible for the cost of getting to town unless you take one of the ship’s excursions. $100 in train tickets, bus fares, taxis Included – ship goes from town to town. Additionally,   you can walk right of the river boat into the center of the town.
Meals Included, but often an upcharge to eat at “specialty restaurants” $75 per day ($525) All meals included
TOTAL $2,348 per person $2825 $1549 per person

*The above numbers are estimates. Actual inclusions will vary based on the specific river cruise company.   Your travel agent will provide you with the exact list of inclusions

Additional costs to think about:

  • Did you know many river cruise brands include the flights either free or at reduced cost in their fare?  This can add another $1000-$2000 of savings to your total investment! 

And here is more information on the trip that caught my eye!

Tulips in Amsterdam

(Beer Themed Specialty Sailing)

Day 1 Amsterdam (Embarkation): onboard welcome reception

Day 2 Rotterdam. Excursion to Keukenhof: Rotterdam harbor cruise; choice of half-day or extended visit to Keukenhof Gardens; onboard beer lecture and tasting

Day 3 Antwerp: guided sightseeing

Day 4 Ghent: guided sightseeing, visit St. Baaf’s Cathedral

Day 5 Excursion to Middelburg & Delta Works: guided walk in Middelburg; guided visit of the Delta Works; special onboard food and beer pairing dinner

Day 6 Willemstad: time at leisure; onboard beer lecture and tasting

Day 7 Amsterdam: canal cruise; visit the Heineken Beer Brewery

Day 8 Amsterdam (Disembarkation): your vacation ends this morning


  • Captain’s welcome & farewell receptions with sparkling wine and canapés
  • Welcome dinner
  • Farewell dinner
  • Daily full buffet breakfast with made-to-order egg station, hot and cold menu items
  • Early and Late Riser breakfast
  • Daily lunch buffet with pasta or carving stations
  • Alternative light lunch or (weather permitting) grill fare at the Sky Bistro on the Sky Deck
  • Daily four-course à la carte dinner in the main dining room
  • Alternative dinner of petite portions or regional specialties with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Daily Afternoon Tea
  • Daily Night Fare
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel

This scenic river cruise gets underway from Holland’s popular, modern capital of Amsterdam. This 700-year-old city offers an abundance of classic architecture, cafés, and restaurants to explore before you embark on your river cruise through Holland and Belgium.

Sail through Rotterdam’s harbor, said to be the world’s busiest port. Garden enthusiasts will delight in a visit to see the breathtaking colors of Keukenhof, also known as the “Garden of Europe.” With 70 acres of parkland and lakes, it’s one of the world’s largest flower gardens. Alternatively, an excursion to the city of Gouda, famous for its cheese, is available. Next, sail to Antwerp, Belgium’s second-largest city, combining ancient buildings and monuments with modern architecture. A medieval port city, it offers many chic shops, museums and galleries, and classic cafés. The Grote Markt is located in the heart of the old city quarter and includes the splendid City Hall and beautiful homes from the 16th century. In Ghent, Belgium, join a local expert for a guided tour of the city, including a visit to St. Baaf’s Cathedral, housing important works of Flemish art. Back in Holland, Middelburg was formerly an important trading city and you still get a sense of its wealth today with its impressive structures like the gothic Town Hall, Abbey Tower, and bustling Market Square. No trip to Holland is complete without a visit to the technical miracle that is the Delta Works, a storm flood barrier almost six miles long, constructed after the floods of 1953 during which more than 1,800 people drowned in one night.

This beautiful and historic springtime river cruise vacation concludes with more time to explore the wonderful city of Amsterdam offering historical 17th-century buildings, sculptures, and museums—combined with a an exciting and modern feel. See the most fascinating areas of the city on a canal cruise along the elegant grachten lined with homes dating back to the city’s “Golden Age.”


  • Wall-to-Wall Panoramic Windows
  • Sky Deck with shade awnings
  • Non-smoking interior
  • Elegant, contemporary design
  • Headsets for all guided shore excursions in Europe
  • Sightseeing with Certified Local Guides
  • Onboard lectures, activities & nightly entertainment
  • Room service for Continental breakfast & beverages (service fee applies)
  • Complimentary computer use in public areas
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access
  • Biking excursions available in Amsterdam and Durnstein
  • Alternate light lunch and dinner in the Panorama Bistro
  • Choice of Leisurely, Traditional or Independent sightseeing options
  • Local Favorites onboard experiences with local chefs, entertainers, artisans & experts
  • Onboard assistance is available to recommend, reserve and further personalize your cruise
  • Sky Deck game area
  • Well-stocked library
  • Fresh fruit available throughout the day
  • Sky Deck with premium lounge chairs
  • Expanded Fitness Center
  • Elevator
  • Outside viewing deck
  • Friendly, English-speaking crew
  • Cruise Director
  • Revolutionary engineering
  • Sky Deck whirlpool
  • Hair salon (manicures available)
  • Onboard movie nights
  • Bicycles you can check out and use around many port towns for free
  • Behind-the-scenes ship tour
  • Use of Nordic walking sticks
  • English-speaking TV channels with over 100 free movie options
  • Delectable petite portions of regional specialties, with wines, in the Panorama Bistro
  • Self-serve beverage station with complimentary tea, hot chocolate & premium coffees
  • Complimentary maps
  • Selection of Local Favorites to bring the customs, cultures, and tastes of your destination to life

If you’d like to go on a river cruise in Europe, Asia, or Africa, just let me know!  You can send me a message and I’ll use my expertise to match you with the perfect itinerary for your budget and travel style!