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I have cruised substantially 30+ cruises but always on bigger ships.   I’m having difficulty finding information I need to know, and the more I read it appears that river cruising is for rest and relaxation.  

What is the average age of the passengers?
Is there any kind of get togethers for single people on AQ ships?

Do you decide traditional dining time prior to the cruise?  And if so,are you able to share table with other passengers and continue at same table throughout the cruise?
Exactly how does the hop off work at ports.   I am accustomed to walking 9 or 10 miles per day, but would not want to spend time waiting long periods for tge transportation.  
On river days with no port, exactly what are the activities offered.   I do not enjoy spending time in my room, and would want to be active.


Any input would greatly be appreciated.    Thanks in advance.   


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I can't speak to US river cruises, but European river cruises are definitely NOT for rest and relaxation.  Up early every morning for an included tour, back on board most days for lunch then an afternoon tour or free time in town, leisurely dinner with your new friends, maybe a short stay after dinner listening to the piano player in the bar, then to bed because it's up early the next day to do it again – no 'sea days' on a river cruise.


If you don't find what you're looking for on the US itineraries, come over to the River Cruising forum and explore river cruising in Europe (and other parts of the world)!

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Posted (edited)

I did Columbia and Snake Rivers with a different line about 10 years ago. I recall it being very port-intensive. I looked at some of the HoHo bus tours for the Columbia-Snake itinerary, and the sites they include are some distance apart. I'm on a Great Lakes cruise this summer, and some of the HoHo bus routes are not worth waiting for the bus, they're so walkable. But your ports will be small towns, and the places to see are a ride away. Highlights I remember from my trip were the Pendleton Underground tour, Bonneville Dam tour, and Multnoma Falls. Don't miss meeting the floozies at the Dalles!


I don't know how AQV does for daytime activities. But for cruising days, just sit on deck and watch the scenery. River cruising is more about the river, the passing coastline, and the places you visit than the ship.

Edited by 3rdGenCunarder
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Agree with all of the above.  I would add that the demographic aboard US river cruises is probably the oldest of all cruises, not many below ‘70’s, and many higher.😉


IIRC, you do have to choose an early(most popular), or late dining time at booking.  The tables are not pre-assigned, and you can request to share with others.  You may be able to keep the same table, on request.


The Hop On, Hop Off buses are included in the fare.  The buses are contracted to AQV, for the season.  After the days tours are done, they drive to the next port, the drivers stay at a hotel, and are there to start the next days tours.  These same buses also bring you to the boat from your pre cruise hotel.  In addition, in some ports one of the buses will do a special extra fee tour that is not included.  The

 HoHo buses will usually do a circuit of four to six  attractions, perhaps 20 to 30 minutes apart.  Each will carry a local guide from the port that will provide commentary between stops, as well as other information for passengers.


As mentioned, the riverboat cruise is all about sightseeing, not about activities on board , but there is entertainment each evening in the showroom.  In addition, the cruise director, who doubles as one of the entertainers, conducts a “name that tune” contest in a lounge during cocktail hour, with a logo item to the winner.

There is also a “Riverlorian” that provides commentary on the sights along the river as they pass, as well as info about the boat, including visits to the pilot house and engine room for those interested.


One thing for those”active”… the boat carries several bicycles on board, which you may borrow to explore the ports on your own.😎

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To add a bit more.  The busses run more frequently in the mornings.  There are fewer of them making the circuit in the afternoons.  I sometimes take the bus to tour in the morning and perhaps save one stop to go to in the afternoon and walk back from that.  On this itinerary there are a number of the towns with nice riverfront trails that you can either walk or bike after doing the tour loop in the morning.  The river days are generally along the most scenic parts of the river.  While there are some planned activities, the main attraction is being out on deck watching the scenery.  I can do 10,000 steps just roaming the boat from place to place and taking in the sights.

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I’ve done 3 AQ river cruises and as others have said it’s all about the ports. From my experience, the demographics were mostly over 70 with a few younger people sprinkled in, one time even a family with two young boys! Depending on the ship, some do habe a very small pool and a small gym. Lots of people walk the decks and I enjoyed just getting off the ship at the small towns and wandering. Meeting others was very easy as the ships are small. And yes, you will be paired with others to make a larger table. I was at one that seated 4 but I was solo so we found two more that were seated at a larger table and we joined them for more fun conversation! 
It is nothing like cruising on a large ocean going ship, but there was always good music, someone to play cards with, and fun entertainment at night. If you want to be active, I would suggest going on an ocean liner instead of a small river ship. 

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