That being said you will not have the opportunity to go back to something you have missed, you may find that you will not have enough time to see all that you want or eat dinner at local restaurants. You will be able to eat lunch at local restaurants on some days, shop where the locals shop and do your own sightseeing if you wish to. I had a wonderful time and saw many beautiful places that I probably would not have if I hadn't done my river cruise.
My suggestion would be to do a short river cruise of seven days or less and not feel that you have to do the included tours. Combine this with some independent travelling before or after the cruise so you can have the best of both worlds. You may also like a river cruise in Asia, India or the Amazon if you haven't been there previously. Otherwise as previously suggested a self cruise on a barge or cruiser could be great. Last year while in Carcassone I met two couples who were cruising the Canal du Midi in a rented cruiser who were having a wonderful time. Canal cruises in the UK are also very popular. There are canal cruises that provide a skipper and crew so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery or you can also self cruise.
Like most travelling a river cruise is what you make if it. Good luck and happy travels.
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