LIFE IN BALANCE:

Is a River Cruise for You?

Learn more about this leisurely alternative to ocean voyages.

If you like the idea of cruising but the expanse of the ocean or your propensity for seasickness has deterred you, consider a river cruise. The slow pace of river cruising offers charms of its own, and there are a variety of tantalizing destinations. Like any vacation, whether river cruising will work for you or not will depend on your tastes. Here are some of the hallmarks of a river cruise. See if they call you aboard.

• The itinerary is set. On a river cruise, the itinerary is decided ahead of time, and there is no altering it. That can be a great thing in that there are no worries about what you’re going to do next, but it can be frustrating if you fall in love with a certain port or area and want to stay. The boat presses on!

• Time spent at each stop is limited. If you want to see a variety of destinations within a small scope of time, river cruising can be a real treat. If you’d like to explore an area in-depth, however, another type of vacation might serve you better.

• Low-key. They don’t call them lazy rivers for nothing. While many river cruises offer outings and excursions on bike and foot at the various ports, the essence of river cruising is moving at a slow pace along a river, and seeing what there is to see.

• Land ho! River cruises have land within easy reach at all times, and tend to make stops at least once a day. This can be great for those who want to see a lot of the area, and who might feel more confined on an ocean cruise. River ports are also generally closer to cities and towns. Often you can walk right to the port city’s center, along with its best restaurants and interesting culture, from where you disembark.

• Fear factor. A lot of people avoid ocean cruises because of the threat of both seasickness and sinking. On a river cruise, these aren’t as much of an issue, so you can bring family members who might otherwise have balked.

Think of the great rivers of the world — the Danube, the Mississippi, the Amazon — and consider where you might want to explore the next time you take a break from work. You might be surprised at what you can see.

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