River Cruising is on our Bucket List

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#1
563 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Glad to see how active this board is. A river cruise is a bucket list item for my husband and myself. The information you all provide is really helpful. Thanks

Quick question:
We are aware that river cruises tend to have older crowds than many of the ocean lines, but am wondering what the age range is? If things go as planned we will be in our early/mid-40s when we cruise. Will we be out of place?
#2
Santa Paula CA
3,415 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Age is a number, attitude is what counts. I have seen people old at 50 and young at 70! In general, river cruising attracts a more mature demographic, but these folks are usually very active.
You will not see the walkers, canes and scooters that are many ocean cruise lines. Many of the cities are not ADA friendly, as they are old and many of the streets are cobblestone.
Please go to our website to read about our river cruises. We are always happy to answer any questions.
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It serves no purpose to list all the cruises I have been on chronologically. Many of the lines or ships do not exist any more, or have been renamed. I have sailed on NCL,Bermuda Star, Regency, Royal, Silverseas, Mississippi Queen, Vantage, Marco Polo, Scottish Highlander, Princess, Victoria, Hebridean Princess, Paul Gauguin, Regent, Oceania, Cunard, Rembrandt, and Lev Tolstoy.
#3
208 Posts
Joined May 2013
I would not worry about ages of the other passengers. They are just people with the same thoughts as you wanting to go on a river cruise in the same area as you do. Granted the demographic seems to favour a more 'mature ' clientele that has the funds (or saved up the funds) to travel this way.

We have met young twenty-somethings on their honeymoon to those with grandchildren in their twenties. Everyone has interesting stories to share, and if you were not impressed with the stories then don't sit with them again and pick a different walking group.

This will be your vacation and it is up to you to have fun and enjoy it. And you will!
#4
FL
14,123 Posts
Joined Jul 2003
We are young for river cruises and have had our best experiences to date on our two AMA cruises. The demographic was significantly younger than our other 4 river cruises and that was reflected in the entertainment, excursions and onboard ambiance. And we love the attention to detail and excellent food and service on AMA.

We choose itineraries that skew younger as well - wine theme cruises, Christmas market cruises, nothing longer than a week, always off season.

AMA IMO and IME has an energetic vibe and a younger staff than we experienced on our 4 river cruises. We take advantage of the active level tours and my husband enjoys the escorted bike tours.

We had great fun in the evenings, dancing past midnight most nights with other like minded guests. That also was not the case on our previous river cruises. We are not ready to go to bed after dinner and enjoy a bit of nightlife.

We are also following A-Rosa as they are marketing specifically to younger cruisers and we plan to check them out, when they offer an itinerary that appeals.

We look for overnight stays and less time cruising and more in port.

Both of our AMA cruises had at least 40% of the guests under 50, while the others had about 5%. I do think that has something to do with when we choose to travel, the theme cruises we enjoy and the fact that we do not choose longer cruises.

We first tried river cruising because we thought it would be an easier and more enjoyable way to travel with my mom, who is 83, and it was. Now we also enjoy it when we travel as a couple or with friends.

We have a Christmas cruise booked this year and a wine cruise for 2014 and look forward to both. We really don't consider other lines at this point as I doubt we would have continued to take river cruises - unless traveling with my mom - if we had not discovered AMA. I know that many say the lines are more alike than different but for us the devil is in the details and it is the intangibles that make the difference.
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142 cruises since 1964, 14 on the river.

Our river cruising history:

Avalon Luminary B2B- Christmas Markets, 2009
Avalon Affinity - Christmas Markets 2010
Avalon Panorama - Danube New Years Cruise, 2011
AmaDante -Vineyards of the Rhine and Moselle 2012
AmaCerto - Budapest to Nuremburg, 2013
AmaBella - Tulip Time, 2014
AmaDagio - Provence, 2014
AmaReina - Holiday on the Rhine 2014
SS Catherine - Provence 2015
AmaSerena Christmas on the Rhine, 2015
Scenic Diamond, Bordeaux, April 2016
AmaVida, Douro, August. 2016
AmaSonata, Romantic Danube - Oct. 2016

Looking forward to:
Joie de Vivre, Paris and Normany - April 2017
Le Lyral, The Adriatic, September 2017
Amadeus Silver II - Magic of Advent, December 2017
Oceania Marina, South Pacific, March 2018
AmaKristina, Christmas Markets, December 2018

#7
1,815 Posts
Joined Jul 2008
And besides, except for dinner, you don't really have to be with older passengers if you don't want to. River cruising lends itself to independent sight-seeing so if you want to be with just your guy it should be no problem.

The best dinner companions we had were passengers who were a generation older than we and had the most wonderful and heartbreaking stories of WWII...born in Europe and immigrated to Australia. We ate dinner with them almost every night.
#8
USA
10 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
If its on your bucket list then do it! I know too many people who said they would do things "later" and later never came.

We are planning our first river cruise and we are in our early 30's. I'm going with Viking because it has the dates/ports I want for this trip and I've decided if I'm the youngest person on the cruise so be it! And if everyone goes to bed after dinner and my husband and I have the ship to ourselves--that is fine too. Like a private yacht

When are you going? Looking forward to hearing about your trip!
#9
563 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Thanks once again. I do want to clarify, we have no problem with elderly people, not at all. We just would like to be able to spend some time with people from our generation too.
Our first cruise ever was our honeymoon on Star Clippers. We were the youngest couple there, with the next youngest being a decade older. It was fine, we loved it and can't wait to sail with them again.


We are thinking of doing a river cruise in about 3 years.
We already have 2 cruises planned for the next year, but the biggest issue is that we have a young child. We know he can't go on a river cruise, so are waiting for him to mature enough to be left with family or friends while we are gone.
#10
new orleans
1,544 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
We did a river cruise to the South of France on German owned Peter Deilmann (no longer in business) in 2009 and not only were we the youngest ( mid 50's) but there were only 10 Americans (rest were Germans who were retired and in a group), but the only African Americans...this was our first river cruise, vessel held 136

We LOVED it!!! Almost all of our fellow German cruisers spoke English as a second language (no Americans spoke German) so they practiced on us...when they found out we were from New Orleans, they wanted to find out about Hurricane Katrina and Louis Armstrong..the chef fried Catfish in our honor

It's a very slow pace which allows you to really enjoy the incredible scenery...each village that we visited was beautiful, and we were treated to a firework show at night where the Rhine meeys the Rhone..each night we were entertained by local artists who boarded just for the event

I always encourage younger cruisers to try different types of cruising experiences as opposed to multiple caribbean mega ship sameness

Next on our agenda is a barge cruise out of Venice
#11
Parkland, Florida
706 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Originally posted by npphotog
Don't worry about the age issue....Go before your "bucket" springs a leak.
Never have I heard truer words!! You made my day!

Robin
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When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money. ~Susan Heller

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2016 Celebrity Silhouette British Isles Cruise
2014 Viking Guillveig Rhine Getaway Amsterdam to Basel River Cruise
2012 Celebrity Silhouette Adriatic/Italy Cruise
2009 Celebrity Solstice Mediterranean Cruise
1999 Seabourn Legend Mediterranean Cruise
Too many RCL Caribbean cruises to remember--we live in South Florida!
#12
Louisiana
182 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Hattack....we're from up in Monroe, although I was born in New Orleans and still have some cousins there.
We did a river cruise in 2009 (Bruge to Amsterdam on Tauck). Next April, we're cruising AmaLyra, Prague to Budapest. We really like the unique intimacy of river cruising. We'll be celebrating our 46th anniversary.
#13
new orleans
1,544 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
There were 17 lockes each way on our journey, and I have pics of going thru all 34....

We were Blessed with great weather during Easter week in April...the slow pace was perfect to reconnect with my GF, the lack of "busy activities" (casino, shows, bingo) etc enhanced sitting on the top deck (#3) and enjoying the view, reading, actually engaging in conversation with your fellow cruisers for hours at a time was amazing

We flew into Paris and took the 200 mph high speed train (first class) to Lyon and statyed at an incredible B&B and attend a Good Friday reenactment all in French ...listen to Jazz underneath the Eiffel Tower on a Sunday with a picnic lunch with great French wine

If it's on your bucket list and even if you have to "stretch" do it while you can...I would suggest to select a river line that has guests from different Countries (most speak English) as opposed to one that caters to Americans
#14
houston
100 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
A river cruise is on my bucket list. When I started looking into a Loire Valley river cruise, I had more Barge cruises come up. Now that style of cruising is really on my bucket list. Now if I can just recruit some friends for a charter!!
This forum was helpful. Thanks everyone for sharing!
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Rene (and George!)
Houston, Tx


Carnival Sunshine - September 2013
Carnival Dream - January 2010
Carnival Glory - March 2009
Carnival Conquest - July 2008
S.S. President Wilson 1967
#15
Louisiana
182 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Rene, you'll love the Loire Valley. My husband and I and 10 others from here did a bicycling tour through the Loire in 2009. Myself and one other lady were the 2 non-bikers. Everyone else were members of the local bicycling club here. So, I 'trained' for about 3 months on my neighbor's bike. The scenery, especially all the chateaus, is beautiful. We stayed in little country inns and B & B's, which were contracted by the biking tour company to transport our luggage to the next night's destination. I had been told by friends, who did this same tour 2 yrs previously and who coordinated this particular trip, that it was 'relatively flat.' NOT!!! Well, for the experienced bikers it was relatively flat. But, I pushed that d*mn bike up more d*mn hills than I care to remember. And, there were a lot more ups than downs!! But, on the last biking day, on the very last hill...everyone of them were off the bikes, pushing!! But, it really was a great trip and I'd do it again. We ate 4-5 course meals each night, along with several bottles of wine. But, we knew we'd be biking it off the next morning. We picnicked on the lawn of Chateau Chambord and Chateau Dusee'. We toured Chateau Azay le Rideau and Chateau Villandry with its beautiful gardens. After the biking, we went back to Paris and spent 2 days. I have two 12x12 albums full of the photos I took during this 7 day trip. I hope you get to take that Loire Valley cruise.

Originally posted by pastamom2011
A river cruise is on my bucket list. When I started looking into a Loire Valley river cruise, I had more Barge cruises come up. Now that style of cruising is really on my bucket list. Now if I can just recruit some friends for a charter!!
This forum was helpful. Thanks everyone for sharing!
#16
northeast
10 Posts
Joined Aug 2013
My husband and I have been on 3 Viking Riverboat Cruises: China, Eastern Germany, and Russia. I think the demographic in terms of ages depends on the cruise. On the China and Russia cruises we had a range of ages from late 20's to 80's. The Eastern Germany cruise had a more 40 - 70 age group, and it was at a slower pace. I would not be concerned with age. Age is all about how you feel and your attitude. You will meet wonderful people from all over the world, and because it is a smaller venue, you will have the opportunity to make friends more easily. We still keep in touch with couples we met over 5 years ago.
What you must realize is that overall, riverboat cruising is more culturally oriented.
The beauty and serenity of cruising down a river, watching people walk, bike, or run on trails along the banks was wonderful. Where else can you get pictures of a sheepherder and dog tending to a flock or a close up of a full moon rising over church steeples. It is a totally different experience from ocean cruising.
Jan :>)
#17
houston
100 Posts
Joined Aug 2008
jojocmla- That sounds like a wonderful trip. Thanks so much for sharing your information. Sounds as nice as a barge trip and you get to burn some calories from those awesome meals!
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Rene (and George!)
Houston, Tx


Carnival Sunshine - September 2013
Carnival Dream - January 2010
Carnival Glory - March 2009
Carnival Conquest - July 2008
S.S. President Wilson 1967