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notamermaid

There are no "sea days" on river cruises, right? Wrong!

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We are all used to the idea that river cruises are reglemented, densely information packed, port-focused ways of travelling. Relaxing on a river day equivalent to a sea day does not happen.

 

Imagine my surprise when looking through the A-Rosa river cruises brochure I came across an itinerary that said "Flusstag". Let me explain here that I study all the German company as well as the CroisiEurope catalogues in German language as not all cruises on the Anglophone and German language market are the same. Intrigued by the fact that a "Flusstag", a river day exists, I looked at the itinerary more closely. From a North-American point of view this itinerary may sound a little unusual, perhaps odd even. Here it is: https://www.a-rosa.de/flusskreuzfahrten/rhein/flusskreuzfahrten/rhein-kurs-nord-und-mosel-select-premium2019.html

This cruise starts in Cologne and is a round trip. Cologne is ARosa's embarkation port of choice for most cruises on the Rhine. Incorporating the Northern Rhine with canal trip to Amsterdam and then the Moselle, to return to Cologne a few days later, means that you pass Cologne twice and do the stretches of the river twice. It makes a river day the best option to cover many kilometres in the days that are dedicated to this itinerary.

 

To be honest, I am not sure if this itinerary is so appealing, to me a river day does seem a bit long, I mean what do you do for a whole day on a relatively small boat, with a tiny library and a small pool? Would I want to look at scenery for 14 hours in a row? I am not convinced for myself, but if you like the idea of a river day, do have a look at A-Rosa's American website to see if they have the itinerary in their portfolio there.

 

A glance at other itineraries of A-Rosa revealed another river day - way down the Danube between Belgrade and Bukarest.

 

Likewise, nickocruises has a river day between Bukarest and Novi Sad on the return leg of their Passau to the Danube Delta and return itinerary.

 

While they are rare, river days do exist.

 

If you have come across one, or even had one on your cruise, please tell us about it.

 

notamermaid

 

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Cruised from Budapest to Nuremberg and had 1 full day on the river. What did we do? Took lots of pictures of the scenery, the fish houses, the cities we passed, the impressive buildings we passed. Drank, ate, and made friends while others were in the pool or walking laps to get their "steps" in. Relaxed and let the Captain drive the boat. Slept like a log that night

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Just returned from Viking's Passage to Eastern Europe-Bucharest to Budapest.  We had a "sea" day when cruising through the Iron Gates.  Departed Vidin at 5:45 pm on Wednesday, cruised all Thursday and arrived Belgrade at 6am on Friday

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We've never had a whole day of river cruising "at sea", but we've always appreciated the relaxing mornings on the river, or afternoons sailing past beautiful scenery while relaxing in the pool!

 

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I had quite a few "river days" on river cruise ships on my trips. Some days are only half days but some are full days cruising. It usually depends on the itinerary and how far the ports are away from each other. On the Rhine/Main/Danube rivers most ports are close to each other so there´s no longer cruising part (except for the Wachau and the Loreley area where they add half days of cruising for scenic reasons).

 

Never had a dull moment on the rivers. I enjoy river days to relax and watch the scenery. And usually the crew is making up a good program for those days.

 

steamboats

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11 hours ago, doverboy said:

Cruised from Budapest to Nuremberg and had 1 full day on the river. What did we do? Took lots of pictures of the scenery, the fish houses, the cities we passed, the impressive buildings we passed. Drank, ate, and made friends while others were in the pool or walking laps to get their "steps" in. Relaxed and let the Captain drive the boat. Slept like a log that night

Interesting! I would have thought that between Budapest and Nuremberg the sites are so close that one only does half-day sailing. I did about eight hours Wachau valley and beyond going upstream towards Passau but by then it was nightfall.

 

Walking along the sundeck, I think I would feel right silly, but it sure gets some exercise in!

 

Was the river day on your cruise planned or did you have an itinerary change?

 

Thank you.

 

notamermaid

 

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19 hours ago, notamermaid said:

mean what do you do for a whole day on a relatively small boat, with a tiny library

 

Get up late, enjoy leisurely breakfast reading that day's newspapers on Kindle, look at scenery, morning coffee, chat to people, look at scenery, leisurely lunch with a glass of white wine, then another, oh OK you can top me up again.

 

Walk round sundeck, look at scenery, catch up on unread books on Kindle, have coffee, chat to other passengers, check dinner menu, read some more, get changed, have leisurely dinner with a glass of red wine, then another, oh OK you can top me up again. Have some coffee, head to lounge for that evenings entertainment, go down to bedroom to read next days agenda. Curse because there's an early start to go on some trip.

 

 

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On Scenic's "Romantic Rhine and Moselle" there's one day when the ship leaves Cochem early in the morning and arrives at Bernkastel about 7 pm, sailing slowly up the Moselle. I've been tracking the Scenic Jade on this voyage right now (we'll be sailing the same on July 31st) and it looks like she made a 1.5 hour stop in Traben-Trarbach in the middle of the afternoon, which is not documented in the itinerary, but my guess is for a wine tasting opportunity or maybe a quick tour of this small town's highlights. So maybe it doesn't really count as a true "sea day", but it's advertised as one at any rate. I think it sounds lovely and I can hardly wait!

 

Sterling

 

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pontac,

Thank you, really like that, going through a river day's activities ☺️. Sounds like one can get used to the easy life. Perhaps I need to wind down...

 

notamermaid

 

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Scenic's "Jewels of Europe" cruise (Amsterdam to Budapest) has a full day of cruising on the Main. I greatly enjoyed it last fall. We left Rudesheim in the evening, spent all of the next day cruising, and arrived in Wurzburg the following morning.

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A good book with some scenery sounds heavenly for a day on the river.  We will have at least one of those while we go from Budapest to Vienna on Vikings Grand European.  We are looking forward to a “boring” day to do nothing as this does not happen to us in real life. I’d prefer good weather to be up on top of the ship but we will take whatever we get.

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Our good friends were on a river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg and had a couple of full sea days which they did not enjoy because for the most part the scenery was the same ... not what they had experienced on other river cruises.    

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5 hours ago, OCruisers said:

Our good friends were on a river cruise from Moscow to St. Petersburg and had a couple of full sea days which they did not enjoy because for the most part the scenery was the same ... not what they had experienced on other river cruises.    

I actually looked at my Russian River Cruise as I swore we had sea days also when this topic came up. On mine we did not have any full sea days but we did sail a lot. We would stop for 3 hours or so at a variety of ports and then sail the rest of the day. I would agree with your friends that it was mostly boring scenery. There were a few highlights but few and far between.

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13 minutes ago, Coral said:

I actually looked at my Russian River Cruise as I swore we had sea days also when this topic came up. On mine we did not have any full sea days but we did sail a lot. We would stop for 3 hours or so at a variety of ports and then sail the rest of the day. I would agree with your friends that it was mostly boring scenery. There were a few highlights but few and far between.

Similar experience on our Russian cruise but we enjoyed the extended sailing time. There were a vodka/caviar tasting session, blini making session, lectures about Russian history and Russian language lessons when the scenery was forest after forest. We rather liked the relaxed pace, unlike the active European cruises, and spent a lot of time on the sundeck. 

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, jklc123 said:

Similar experience on our Russian cruise but we enjoyed the extended sailing time. There were a vodka/caviar tasting session, blini making session, lectures about Russian history and Russian language lessons when the scenery was forest after forest. We rather liked the relaxed pace, unlike the active European cruises, and spent a lot of time on the sundeck. 

We had those things also. I actually spoke some Russian back in the day and also had studied Russian history in college so these were very basic to me. I am guessing others enjoyed it.

 

I do like blinis (best food of the trip) and did enjoy the Matryoshka doll painting session.

 

Edited by Coral

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39 minutes ago, Coral said:

We had those things also. I actually spoke some Russian back in the day and also had studied Russian history in college so these were very basic to me. I am guessing others enjoyed it.

 

I do like blinis (best food of the trip) and did enjoy the Matryoshka doll painting session.

 

 

Yes, very basic! Were you on Uniworld?

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1 minute ago, jklc123 said:

 

Yes, very basic! Were you on Uniworld?

Amawaterways which was called Amadeus back then. They had to change their name due to there already being an Amadeus line out there.

 

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While taking a look at a ship tracking site today, it occurred to me that river cruises, unlike ocean cruises, may have *optional* "sea days." In some cases, on some itineraries, even though a day is labelled as a port day, the ship doesn't stay docked in the port. Instead, it pulls over at some point to unload passengers to tour buses, then resumes cruising. The buses go to the "port," passengers do various tours, and then the buses meet up with the ship further along the river. In these cases, if passengers are willing to forgo the port, they can instead enjoy a day of cruising. As best I know, that's not an option on ocean cruises; if passengers opt out of a port, they just sit on a stationary (docked or anchored) boat.

 

I've only taken one river cruise thus far, and I don't think this was an option on that itinerary (or maybe I just overlooked it). But I think it might be an option on the next cruise I've booked for next year, and I can see the appeal; although sightseeing in ports is nice, I also greatly enjoy just sitting on the ship and watching passing scenery.

 

Has anybody chosen to do this? Did you know in advance which "ports" were going to be accessed only by bus while the ship went on cruising, or did you just find out that day (or the night before)?

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11 hours ago, DougK said:

As best I know, that's not an option on ocean cruises; if passengers opt out of a port, they just sit on a stationary (docked or anchored) boat.

 

I have had this option on ocean cruises. Last summer I went to Norway. The ship lets passenger with tours off in Hellesylt and those who don't have tours sail on to Geriangerfjord. Our tour returned us to Geriangerfjord. BTW - the sail into Geringerfjord is an amazing scenery sail in. I have seen this option on other trips but this is the first that I did experience it.

 

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12 hours ago, DougK said:

In these cases, if passengers are willing to forgo the port, they can instead enjoy a day of cruising.... Has anybody chosen to do this? 

I haven't done it myself, but I have seen some folks who were not feeling well stay on board. Apparently often those stretches of sailing are through territory that is industrial or otherwise uninteresting to most cruisers, and/or going through several locks (including possibly waiting hours in a queue). I'd rather explore a European town, but if I had a sprained ankle or something I can imagine far worse ways to spend time than being waited on while reading a good book aboard a river cruise ship.

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River ships don't schedule 'sea day' activities for those staying on board.  If you want a quiet day enjoying the sun deck or the lounge, that's what you'll get.

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On ‎6‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 9:06 PM, DougK said:

Has anybody chosen to do this? Did you know in advance which "ports" were going to be accessed only by bus while the ship went on cruising, or did you just find out that day (or the night before)?

 

We will be staying on board between Passau and Linz (Danube). We will be missing the excursion to Salzburg, a city we will visit on our way back by car.  The excursion description for Salzburg says that the bus will leave Passau and rejoin the ship downriver in Linz. 

 

The lower Mekong goes through flat country, but you can watch life on shore: water buffalo, children, villages, a ferry or two, small boats, fishermen. We had only one bus excursion while the ship changed positions. No port missed. 

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On June 15, 2019 at 1:27 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

River ships don't schedule 'sea day' activities for those staying on board.  If you want a quiet day enjoying the sun deck or the lounge, that's what you'll get.

 

I assume you mean days when one chooses to stay on the ship rather than participate in the scheduled shore activity.

 

We have been on several river cruises which included a day, or most of a day, that was cruising. When not on the scenic portion of the river that had commentary there were a number of scheduled "sea day" activities. Galley tours, discussions, lectures, cooking demonstration, painting instruction, and tastings (wine, cheese and meats, as well as a variety of local alcoholic beverages). BTW not all these on one cruise.

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On the Danube, if you chose not to go to Saltzberg, you have a wonderful day "at sea" through the Waccau Valley.  I think it is the most beautiful stretch in Europe.  I have fond memories of watching the scenery as my mom and I played Scrabble. 

On the Rhine, you have a half day "at sea" watching the castles.  That was also very enjoyable.

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4 hours ago, hcross888 said:

On the Danube, if you chose not to go to Saltzberg, you have a wonderful day "at sea" through the Waccau Valley.  I think it is the most beautiful stretch in Europe.  I have fond memories of watching the scenery as my mom and I played Scrabble. 

On the Rhine, you have a half day "at sea" watching the castles.  That was also very enjoyable.

 

We chose not to do the full day trips to Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov, instead staying on board to cruise through the beautiful  Walchau Valley. 

 

We arrived in Passau around 2pm and were taken on a walking tour around this pretty town with its magnificent cathedral.  We then had free time till the day tours returned around 5pm, when we left to return to our mooring downstream at Aschach  (during the low water event September 2018).  

 

So not really a “sea day”. 

 

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