River cruise

Top 10 Tips for Luxury River Cruising

At Panache Cruises, we’re the experts on luxury cruising. Our team of experts has extensive experience not only selling luxury cruises, but sailing on them too. From cruising around the Mediterranean to journeying deep into the Arctic, we really know the ins and outs of every aspect of a cruise holiday.

River cruising is no exception. Some of our experts are specialists in luxury river cruises and know the intricate river systems and waterways of the world like the back of their hand.

Whether you fancy a summer sojourn down the delightful river Danube, an epic adventure down the iconic Mekong, or a journey through time sailing down the river Nile, we can help you plan the most incredible luxury river cruise.

Rhine river cruise Cologne

Not only do we possess unrivalled destination knowledge and experience - we also partner with the best river cruise lines in the world.

Our close relationships with the likes of Uniworld, Avalon, AmaWaterways, Scenic River Cruises, and more mean that when you book a luxury river cruise with Panache Cruises, you access some of the best (and sometimes exclusive) deals and offers on the market.

So, before we help you find your ideal river cruise, there are a few crucial things to consider. Take a look at our ‘top 10 tips’ for deciding on the perfect river cruise holiday…


1. What part of the world do you want to explore?

Start off with the basics. What region do you want to explore? River cruises really take you through the heart of a destination and give you the chance to become fully immersed in the landscapes, history, culture, and more. Perhaps you’d like a river cruise close to home with opportunities to learn about history or architecture. A European river cruise, such as the Danube or Rhine, would be ideal for you. 

Maybe you’re a foodie and love the idea of relaxing on a river cruise and sampling local dishes and wine. A sailing in the South of France or Portugal would suit those preferences. Or perhaps you would rather something more exotic where you can get lost in the culture shock of a place. The Nile, Mekong, or Ganges could be a better choice for you.

2. Consider how much you want to spend

Ah yes, the all-important budget consideration. If you want an out-of-this-world, all-inclusive, ultra-luxury river cruise, we can recommend an AmaWaterways, Scenic or Uniworld cruise which would tick all of your boxes. If you’re not a big drinker or you’d rather take yourself off to explore each port on your own (instead of arranged tours and guides), then a premium cruise line like Avalon Waterways or Riviera Travel might be a more reasonable choice. That’s what our team is here to help you with.

3. Think about how active you want your holiday to be

Another important tip before booking your river cruise holiday is to consider how active you want it to be. Do you want to be taking part in walking tours, bicycle tours, kayaking, fitness classes, and generally active excursions throughout your river cruise? Or would you prefer to have a guided tour with a driver and a choice of shorter duration, low-level activities?

It’s also important to note that river cruises require a decent level of mobility as you will need to be able to move across other ships’ decks if they are anchored side by side. You may not have access to a lift to the top deck so being able to take the stairs is necessary. Each cruise line is slightly different, so if you have any concerns about this, please just get in touch with the team and we will do our best to give you sound advice.

River cruise bicycle tour

4. What are your holiday priorities?

…leading on from that previous tip, thinking about your priorities and what you wish you gain from your river cruise holiday is super important. If you’re a sporty person and want to explore landscapes and terrain on foot or bicycle, a river cruise which offers plenty of outdoor activities will be perfect for you. If your priorities are learning about culture, food and drink, there will be something available to suit those interests, too.

5. Remember river cruising is not ocean cruising

Some people who have cruised before on the open ocean go into their first river cruise expecting the same experience. This will not be the case, so set your expectations! Ocean cruises are great to get a feel for multiple countries or places. You wake up in a new port every day and have time to check off a few of the main highlights. 

However, as we mentioned before, river cruises travel through a country or region and therefore explore it in much more depth. Rather than just getting a flavour for Cambodia, for example, you will travel down the Mekong and stop at multiple towns and villages en route, getting a more varied taste of local and rural life.

Mekong river cruise

6. Don’t over pack

Another major difference between river and ocean cruising will be your packing! Ocean cruises might require formal wear and fancy evening attire, but river cruises generally don’t require that sort of dress code. It is much more laidback and you therefore only need to bring casual, comfortable clothing for your daily activities and some smarter evening wear. To start you off, we have a handy river cruise packing guide that you can read on our blog.

7. Research your destination ahead of time

You may think that this one is unnecessary, but trust us, you’ll want to go into your river cruise with ideas of what to see and do. The luxury river cruise lines we work with at Panache offer incredible and immersive excursions, so of course you can leave it in their capable hands, but we find that there’s nothing better than doing some pre-holiday research and getting excited for certain activities, monuments, viewpoints, food, and drink.

8. Bring local currency with you

On a river cruise, the likelihood is you’ll be spending a lot of time off the ship exploring local towns and villages. As such, you never know if you might fancy popping into a bar to sample a local German beer, for example. You might want to go ‘off-piste’ and linger in town for an evening operatic performance in Austria. Or you might stumble across a little roadside stall in Vietnam and want to support the locals by sampling some street food. Do some research about the average cost of visiting your chosen destination and take some cash with you just in case.

River cruise couple

9. Prepare for all weathers

Ok, we did say not to overpack, but we do recommend making sure you’re prepared for any eventualities with the weather. Research the time of year that you’re heading on your river cruise and pack appropriately. That might mean taking a raincoat, closed-toed (or waterproof) shoes, sun hat, sunglasses, and sun cream.

10. Stay a day or two before or after your cruise

We really recommend arriving a day early for your river cruise so that you can adjust to your destination and enjoy seeing more of the sights! If you’re flying to a more exotic destination around the world, this is especially important in case any flight delays or transport issues arise, plus it also gives you time to adjust to a new time zone and get over any jet lag. 

Depending on your itinerary, you might also wish to extend your stay and book a post-cruise hotel for a few nights to relax after an active river cruise holiday. Let your personal cruise connoisseur know if this is something you’d like to add to your holiday and they will give you the best recommendations.


What do you think of our top 10 tips for river cruising?

Nothing is too much trouble here at Panache Cruises; give the team a call today on 0161 513 8200 and we’ll get your luxury river cruise in the diary.

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