Lifestyle & Parenting

I’m on a boat

July 4, 2013

While I’ve never thought a giant ocean cruise would, uh, float my boat,
I’ve always been curious about the smaller, more intimate river cruises
that ply the world’s waterways. So when I was invited by Avalon
to join the christening cruise from Frankfurt to Amsterdam
I jumped at the chance. Here are some things I learned about this
stylish mode of travel.


One major advantage of the cruise is, of course, that your hotel room
moves with you, saving the daily repacking that otherwise comes with
touring Europe. Take advantage by packing light and letting the crew
wash and press some of your clothes but make sure to bring along a few
nicer outfits to dress up for dinner. After all, it’s just down the hall.


Yes, your cruise director will have a daily itinerary typed up and ready
to go for you, but it’s worth planning ahead to make sure you don’t miss
any of your personal must-sees. Avalon makes it easy by sending a guide
book and other travel info to you ahead of time, so flip through and
make note of what you’d like to squeeze in. (We could have saved some
precious strudel-eating minutes by knowing ahead of time where to find
47 Euro Birkenstocks in Cologne, instead of wandering the streets the
long way around. Same goes for Frankfurt’s best black tights.)


Part of the point is to sit back and let the world go by, so don’t
stress about being busy the whole time. Our cruise had a gorgeous
sundeck strewn with chairs, your choice of sun or shade, and happy hours
were spent up there counting castles (52 on one day, to be precise).


One of the reasons river cruises are so enjoyable is they have to be
small. The Expression, for instance, is 11.5 m wide precisely because
the smallest lock it goes through is just 12 m meaning there are just 83
passenger cabins on the whole ship. And watching the crew navigate
through locks is a sight to behold, so don’t miss at least one trip
through from the top deck. You’ll see the ship enter the lock, hear the
door clang shut behind you, then watch the water level rise or lower
depending on your direction before the second door opens to let you out.
It’s especially cool and kind of eerie at night.


Some real talk for a moment? Yes, cruise passengers tend to skew a
little older. So if you’re in the younger set whether chronologically or
mentally feel free to skip some of the guided tours and make your own
way around your scheduled stops. Unlike on oceangoing vessels, it’s easy
to wander on and off your river cruise just make sure to bring a shore
pass so they don’t leave without you, and be back on board by sailing

Kat Tancock


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