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River cruise (or similar)


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I'm giving some serious thought to a cruise. I've never been on a cruise of any sort and do not want to be on a ship with a 1000+ passengers. Less than 200 would be ideal. I'd also like to avoid a loud party atmosphere. The river cruises I see advertised look interesting. I'm also intrigued by some of the smaller, gay oriented cruises. I'll probably be traveling solo so I'd like an environment in which its fairly easy to make connections (social connections, not sexual).

 

For those who have gone on a river cruise or something similar, are most passengers traveling with a partner, or are there a reasonable numbers of solo travelers?

 

Any other feedback or experiences to share?

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Don’t know about cruise demographics. I suspect most people travel with partners since cruise rates are typically based on double occupancy room rates. However, there seems to be an increasing number of cruise vessels that offer single rooms.

 

Obviously your budget will matter. Here are some ideas to also consider that could minimize expenses.

 

Based on your profile location maybe a Great Lakes Cruise would be a good way to start.

 

Type “Great Lakes Cruises” into your search engine. Many choices and lengths.

Give preference to one that includes the “1000 Islands” region between Lake Ontario and Quebec City.

 

Other ideas involving smaller vessels:

Mississippi or Columbia River cruises.

 

Ferryboat transits between Seattle / Vancouver to Alaska.

http://www.dot.state.ak.us/amhs/

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I have not been on a river cruise (yet), but I have sailed on many ocean cruises. I highly recommend the small ship experience. Unless you book an Atlantis party cruise, it will be as quiet and relaxing as you want it to be. Most cruises I've been on are couples or groups, but there are some solo travelers. If you're looking to make social connections, seek out the Cruise Director or their staff, and mention it's your first cruise. They should help you navigate the ship's social scene. As a gay man, I've never felt out of place on board. There's a lot of information at https://www.cruisecritic.com/ . It's mostly about ocean cruising, but there's a lot of good info there. I would also recommend their message board. Like this board, it's a wealth of information from actual clients. Look at the forums for First Time Cruisers, River Cruising, and Gay and Lesbian Cruising.

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What about the Rhine, Danube or Nile?

 

I have been on the Viking Danube cruise and soon doing the Rhine one with them. Highly recommended. You get to see major cities on a small floating hotel; no packing and unpacking; no getting on and off trains; no checking into and out of hotels. The cities come to you. Primarily, the boats move at night so you wake up in a new city.

 

Meals, beer and wine are included as are most tours. Normally, the boats dock in the center of the city so you can get on and off easily. In Vienna, the subway was about a block away and they gave us a pass if we wanted to go off on our own.

 

Capacity on the boats are under 200 people. Nice and friendly fellow passengers and crew.

 

All price range cabins are available.

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I have been on the Viking Danube cruise and soon doing the Rhine one with them. Highly recommended. You get to see major cities on a small floating hotel; no packing and unpacking; no getting on and off trains; no checking into and out of hotels. The cities come to you. Primarily, the boats move at night so you wake up in a new city.

 

Meals, beer and wine are included as are most tours. Normally, the boats dock in the center of the city so you can get on and off easily. In Vienna, the subway was about a block away and they gave us a pass if we wanted to go off on our own.

 

Capacity on the boats are under 200 people. Nice and friendly fellow passengers and crew.

 

All price range cabins are available.

I've done 2 Viking cruises and would NOT consider anything but Viking. We usually chose the cheaper lower deck. The only time we're in the room is to sleep and spend lots of time on the spacious deck. Can't justify paying more for the cheapest room. Food is always fantastic (including wine) and the tours are spot on. They usually offer 2 tours in each city. One for "normal" people and another for "mobility challenged". I've done both and they are great.

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I keep thinking about doing a river cruise. I used to want to do one of the French barge cruises which move slowly, so that you can walk or bike along the canal paths, but I think I am past that phase. I get lots of literature from the companies that do European river cruises, and one of these days I will do one of them. My problem is that almost everywhere they stop is someplace I have already been, or someplace that doesn't interest me. The single friends I know who have taken them always go with a companion, and they have indicated that the passengers seem to be almost entirely couples.

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The European River Cruises are fabulous - off in places of interest every day - and the food is awesome. I also know of some amazing cruises in Asia - the Mekong River - from Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam to Siem Reap Cambodia - incredible - and amazing markets and villages of houseboats - for something totally different. Great gay venues in both cities and also in Phenom Penh

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Thanks for feedback so far! I've started searching through the cruisecritic site and forum (thanks for the links, @TXDav). There appears to be a lot of good info there. I just need to sift through it. The cruises in and around Europe and Asia look most interesting to me. I'd have to pay a single supplemental fee to stay in a nicer state room designed for 2 people, but I'm okay with that. It's just part of a traveling solo.

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I like do do a lot of hiking, biking and mountain biking in all parts of Europe, but would definitely consider a Viking cruise in the future. I often make my trips too strenuous, and it would be nice to move ar a more civilized pace. @OneFinger : your recommendation to book a cheaper space is great advice, especially if the boat travels at night.

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I have visited Dubrovnik and several prime cruise city.

 

Good idea but I enjoy the planning so would never consider a cruise of any kind.

 

And you see very little of Dubrovnik even in seven or eight hours -- much more true of Stockholm and St. Petersburg. Even a much week is too little time.

Edited by WilliamM
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Not River, but you may want to look at Windstar. Most of their ships are in the 150 pax range and they're very low key. Always a mix of people, some gay couples who are fully welcomed and a few single pax. At meals you can opt to be along or join another table, and everyone is totally cool.

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I have visited Dubrovnik and several prime cruise city.

 

Good idea but I enjoy the planning so would never consider a cruise of any kind.

 

And you see very little of Dubrovnik even in seven or eight hours -- much more true of Stockholm and St. Petersburg. Even a much week is too little time.

 

Did you visit Diocletian's Palace at Split?

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocletian%27s_Palace

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" ["Animal Farm"]

 

" ... my library was dukedom large enough" [Prospero - "The Tempest" Act 1, Scene 2]

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I don't know if @WilliamM did, but I was there many years ago, when it was still Yugoslavia. I actually liked Split better than Dubrovnik, because it seemed more like a real city than a museum piece.

 

Did you see any cabbages? ;-))) Diocletian said that when he retired that he wanted to grow cabbages. ;-)))

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" ["Animal Farm"]

 

" ... my library was dukedom large enough" [Prospero - "The Tempest" Act 1, Scene 2]

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Did you visit Diocletian's Palace at Split?

 

I was wondering if anyone had been to Rijeka?

 

Yes but only briefly. The only long stop in the drive from Zagreb to Dubrovnik was the island of Hvar. The focus of the three-week trip was Bosnia rather then Slovenia and Croatia.

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I've never had a lot of interest in cruises, but have been thinking more about a river cruise lately as have many of my friends.

 

I did do a short 2 night Mekong cruise in Laos a couple of years ago which I really enjoyed for the most part. It was me and about a 15 elderly Japanese people plus their perky tour guide. Very laid back. We only sailed during the day and tied up at night. Incredible sunsets and sunrises. But that was such a small boat that I don't think it really compares to a European river cruise.

 

When it comes to Europe I tend to prefer to spend more time in one place.

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When it comes to Europe I tend to prefer to spend more time in one place.

 

interesting history behind this song I didn't know....Donovan wrote it and appeared in the movie....and some Indian background, too.....if interested, read the comments of the various youtube clips

 

.

Some Of My Daddy's Reviews (updated link coming soon-ish)

Pronouns: me, me, me

 

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Ok, I'll throw a left-field suggestion. The reason I thought of it and considered posting it is that the company in the past has offered Amazon River cruises. I looked at their site and it appears that they don't at the moment, but what the heck!

https://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/

They are an Australian company and run Arctic and Antarctic (that's what I did) cruises, and others as their site indicates. They are more adventure cruises than 'classic cruises' and have staff on board who are expert in the areas to which they travel. My trip to the Antarctic Peninsula (14 days from Ushuaia) was on the Polar Pioneer, an ice-hardened Russian ship (with Russian ship's crew). It carried about 60 passengers in double and triple cabins and you could book as a single and they would try to put you with another single passenger if they could. We had the run of the main areas of the ship, including the bridge. The expedition staff were mainly Australians and New Zealanders. The food was excellent and plentiful, but it was served on large platters at shared tables, not at individual tables. There was a reasonably priced bar (no drinks included in the price) that ran a bar tab for each passenger or couple etc that you paid at the end. My credit card was billed in Cypriot pounds. On my trip we were out on zodiacs two or three time a day when we were near land, and you needed to be fit enough to scramble on and off them; higher levels of fitness were helpful but not essential. (They provided detailed advice on that and what you needed to take, and required you to have your doctor complete a health form.)

 

I know this doesn't answer the OP's question, but it's a type of small group cruising.

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Ok, I'll throw a left-field suggestion. The reason I thought of it and considered posting it is that the company in the past has offered Amazon River cruises. I looked at their site and it appears that they don't at the moment, but what the heck!

https://www.auroraexpeditions.com.au/

They are an Australian company and run Arctic and Antarctic (that's what I did) cruises, and others as their site indicates. They are more adventure cruises than 'classic cruises' and have staff on board who are expert in the areas to which they travel. My trip to the Antarctic Peninsula (14 days from Ushuaia) was on the Polar Pioneer, an ice-hardened Russian ship (with Russian ship's crew). It carried about 60 passengers in double and triple cabins and you could book as a single and they would try to put you with another single passenger if they could. We had the run of the main areas of the ship, including the bridge. The expedition staff were mainly Australians and New Zealanders. The food was excellent and plentiful, but it was served on large platters at shared tables, not at individual tables. There was a reasonably priced bar (no drinks included in the price) that ran a bar tab for each passenger or couple etc that you paid at the end. My credit card was billed in Cypriot pounds. On my trip we were out on zodiacs two or three time a day when we were near land, and you needed to be fit enough to scramble on and off them; higher levels of fitness were helpful but not essential. (They provided detailed advice on that and what you needed to take, and required you to have your doctor complete a health form.)

 

I know this doesn't answer the OP's question, but it's a type of small group cruising.

 

I like that this company has a focus on adventure and education. Their excursions to Scotland and the Galapagos Islands look especially interesting. Although they'll pair you with another single passenger to stay in a double room, they offer the option of having a room to yourself for more money (which is what I would do). Definitely something to consider.

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