What is your idea of the perfect vacation experience? Does small, intimate and complete immersion in local culture sound like your cup of tea? If so, definitely consider river cruising. I loved the authentic bepoke experiences. I also loved that I had the opportunity to see so many towns in the Provence area without packing and unpacking, racing to the train, checking in and out of hotels. The cruise along the Rhone River appealed to me for many reasons besides the destination (which was amazing). The service was amazing, the views and experiences were priceless, but my fondest memories are the special moments with my son, the fabulous friends we made, and sharing authentic experiences with them!! Now, don't get me wrong, I love independent travel, but for certain areas, river cruising is the perfect answer for me, here's four reasons why:
River Cruising is a great way to get a little taste of many cities and countries while your hotel travels with you. I felt like we experienced the local culture with the help of our local tour guides and also had free time to bike or walk around the charming little regions. They highlighting the icons, gave us the back story--the unique local culture, the authenticity of the experiences, I just can't say enough about it. Especially the limited edition tours--these were amazing (more on that later). I loved that we used all of our senses, not just SIGHTseeing, we experienced cooking classes, wine tastings, olive oil tastings, baking or some stayed on the ship and watched the scenery slip by as we sailed to the next destination.
I loved the size of the small ship. Typically, the average size of river cruise is 150 passengers, and even less if you cruise earlier in the season. You will never wait in a long line to board and disembark.
Meal time was always a special treat that we looked forward to . . . Don't you agree that we all bond over good meals? Five star service, beautiful presentation with a local flair and panoramic views. The open seating allowed us to eat alone or share meals with our favorite friends, and we actually couldn't wait to see the dining staff each day. The staff was remarkable, anything we wanted, they delivered before we could even ask. Many times it was a small gesture, but that is what was so special . . . they noticed the little things.
And the absolute best part of any vacation is expanding my circle of friends. And this trip was no exception. Due to the small and intimate environment, we really had time to meet and visit with everyone on the ship. My son and I made friends that we surely hope will last a really long time. Near the end of the cruise we were already sad about leaving each other & making plans for a river cruise reunion.