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FAQS for River Cruises

On the Ship

Food and Drink

Disabilities and Medical Conditions

Luggage

My Booking

General Information

Travel

On the Ship

How will I know what is planned on each day?

As well as the information you will receive with your travel documents, a daily programme will be placed in your cabin and displayed in the main reception area onboard. This will list the places you are due to visit and a timetable for the day that includes meal times.

To ensure the smooth running of the tour and the wellbeing of our passengers, your cruise director and cruise manager are available throughout the trip. We encourage you to go to them with any questions you might have. However, due to the nature of our cruises, the director and manager will not always join the coach journeys to and from the UK.

Is there a dress code onboard?

We want you to be comfortable throughout your river cruise, so we are happy for you to dress informally for the duration of the trip. Be sure to pack suitable clothing for the time of the year and the climate of your destination. We also advise you to take a sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes, especially for daytime activities or excursions, as some tours may involve walking over cobblestones or other uneven surfaces.

The only dress code we ask our guests to follow is for no denim or shorts to be worn in the ship’s restaurant in the evenings. And on one night of the cruise, there will be a captain’s party night for which some people do like to dress smartly.

What is the cruise ship entertainment like?

With our varied selection of entertainment, there is something to suit all tastes. Each of our vessels has an onboard musical entertainer, and we also host quizzes, bingo, sing-alongs and for those that want to indulge there’s a dance floor too. We will be sure to keep you updated with entertainment listings in your daily programme.

How can I pay for things onboard?

On your arrival at the ship, we will give you a cabin card which can be used to pay for extra items onboard, such as bar and shop purchases. Depending on your ship, the card can either be topped up at the beginning of the cruise or charged at the end. Payments to your card can be made in cash, with euros, or by credit or debit card.

What will my cabin be like?

All of the cabins on our ships are ideal for rest and relaxation after a day’s exploration. Our cabins come in a range of sizes to accommodate your party’s needs, although availability of certain cabin sizes will depend on which ship you are travelling on. All of our cabins are fully air conditioned to keep you comfortable, and our private bathrooms include a selection of toiletries and soaps for your convenience (please note that neither of these facilities are available on the African Queen). With fresh linens, a great view, and easy access to shower and toilet facilities, your cabin will feel like a home away from home.

Your cabin will be cleaned every day, and we are happy to resupply your bathroom with fresh towels and soap on request. The electric supply is 220V AC and a European two pin adaptor is required. Each cabin has a safety deposit box (standard hotel size of 30cm x 30cm x 25cm), and a hairdryer will either be included or available to hire from reception. Please note that our cabins do not have tea or coffee facilities, but refreshments are available from the bar.

To find out which cabin options and facilities are available on each of our vessels, visit our ships page.

Will my cabin be noisy?

Whichever cabin you are in, you can expect some level of noise when the ship is moving. The closer you are to the engine room, the more noise there will be in your cabin. However, the vast majority of sailing will be done during the mornings and early afternoons, which you will most likely spend in the lounge or dining room. On some itineraries, there may be the need to set off in the early hours of the morning to ensure we are able to share all of the excellent locations with you on your trip. We include sailing times on your daily programme onboard, keeping you informed every step of the way.

Will the ship sail at night?

The majority of our cruises ships arrive in the afternoon and do not set sail again until the following morning, though this can sometimes be in the early hours. Some itineraries, however, will require the ship to sail overnight, though this is not common. Please visit our cruises page of the website to find more detailed itineraries for each cruise. They are also available in our brochures which you can read or order here.

Should I tip on a river cruise?

We do not have a cruise tipping policy, and believe that any tips should be completely discretionary and reflect your satisfaction with the standard of service you have received. At the end of your trip, a questionnaire for the attention of the captain will be left in your cabin, along with an envelope where you can leave a tip for the crew, if you wish to acknowledge their service. A general guideline for tipping the crew is 7-10 euros per day. Please note that this tip does not include the cruise director, cruise manager and coach drivers, who you may wish to tip separately.

What type of power outlet do your ships provide?

Our European cruises supply a 220V AC current to your cabin, accessible through a two-pin euro plug. As such, European adapters will be necessary for UK appliances.

How can I stay connected on my river cruise?

All of our ships offer Wi-Fi services onboard that you can connect to. This service is chargeable and fees will vary from ship to ship. Please note that our Wi-Fi service may not always be available due to satellite connections being affected by sailing conditions.

Can I smoke during my river cruise?

Smoking is only permitted in the designated smoking areas onboard; the rest of the ship is designated as strictly non-smoking, including the use of e-cigarettes. Please ask your cruise manager where the smoking area can be found on your ship.

How can I celebrate a special occasion onboard?

If your cruise is for a special occasion, there are a few extra things that we offer to help you celebrate. We offer three packages that you can purchase to make your cruise as memorable as possible:

Our birthday celebration package is priced at £20 and includes a birthday cake and a bottle of red or white wine.

Our anniversary celebration package is priced at £38 and includes a bottle of sparkling wine and flowers.

If you would like to order one of these packages for your cruise, or you would like more information, give our holiday advisors a call on 01858 438 490.

Do you offer a laundry service onboard your vessels?

Most of our ships are unable to offer this service, but the ms Serenity, has an onboard laundry service that is chargeable to your cabin card. Please note that none of our ships are able to offer a dry-cleaning service.

What kind of items does the onboard shop stock?

The shops onboard our vessels stock a variety of souvenirs such as postcards, pens, keyrings, glasses, mugs, scarves, jewellery, and local biscuits/sweets. They also stock a small range of everyday essentials such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and combs.

Can river cruises make me seasick?

Probably not. As river cruises don’t tend to sail on open water, they are not exposed to waves in the same way that an ocean cruise ship is. The only wave motion to be found on a river is probably the wave from a passing ship, which wouldn’t cause much turbulence. If for some reason you do find yourself on choppier waters, there are a few things you can do to combat the condition. The NHS has detailed information on seasickness and how you can alleviate its symptoms.

Will my passport be held when I board my cruise ship?

Yes, on many of our cruises it is common for passengers' passports to be held on embarkation for passport/visa purposes when crossing borders. Passports are usually returned to passengers the following day.

Food and Drink

What is the food and drink like onboard?

Time and time again our guests comment on the exceptional quality of the meals served onboard our cruises. All of our ships offer full board (every meal is included), with delicious cuisine served in one of our beautiful restaurants. Meal times will be included in your daily programme, together with the day’s menu.

Breakfast is buffet style, providing you with a choice of cereal, fruit, yoghurt, cold meats, cheeses, or a traditional cooked breakfast. Lunch and dinner are either a set menu with waiter service, or a buffet with a fine selection of hot dishes.

Do you offer tea and coffee onboard?

Yes, we are pleased to offer tea and coffee as part of your lunch and evening meal, as well as part of our early risers and mid-morning gatherings in the lounge. Tea and coffee is also available throughout the day, but is chargeable to your cabin card.

Are you able to cater for my dietary requirements?

We are more than happy to accommodate any dietary requirements you may have. Simply let us know at the time of your booking and the crew will try to make the necessary preparations.

Disabilities and Medical Conditions

What if I have a medical condition or a disability?

Please advise us of any medical conditions or disabilities when you book your river cruise. It is vital that we know this in advance, so we can ensure that your needs can be met. Mention any special requirements to one of our holiday advisors and they will be happy to pass this information on to one of our dedicated mobility team members. We will do our utmost to prioritise your special request; however, we cannot guarantee that all needs can be met.
 
If you have purchased our insurance, please read the policy carefully to ensure it meets your personal requirements. We also suggest that you make yourself and your special requirements known to the cruise director, the cruise manager and the crew.
 

Are your ships suitable for wheelchairs, rollators, or walking frames?

When booking your cruise, please inform us of any passengers with the need for a wheelchair, rollator, or walking frame. There are several considerations you should keep in mind when planning a cruise with one of the aforementioned items.
 
Luggage for each guest is taken on and off the river cruise ship by the crew, however it is not possible for the crew to be available to personally attend to passengers with reduced mobility therefore a travelling companion would need to be able to help with any physical needs.
 
We cannot always guarantee that where we will be docked will be wheelchair/rollator/walking frame friendly. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that it will always be possible to accommodate passengers with reduced mobility.
 
The structure of some of our ships does not allow for the use of wheelchairs, rollators, or walking frames onboard: narrow doors, steep stairs and limited ship access are just some of the obstacles that prevent their use. Some of our larger vessels have accessible parts and even lifts that operate between decks; however, check the deck plans of our ships to familiarise yourself with the layout before booking.
 
You should also be aware that the day excursions on some of our cruises may require passengers to walk up slopes or on streets with cobblestones. These may prove difficult for people using mobility aids.
 
Whilst cruising onboard your ship there will be the opportunity to take in the spectacular scenery and there is a lot to enjoy from the comfort of the ship. If you can’t do many shore excursions, river cruising can still be very enjoyable and worthwhile, please contact us with any concerns you may have.
 

Travel arrangements

Depending on your choice of transport to your cruise a degree of mobility will be required for example rail journeys will involve carrying luggage on and off and between trains. The coaches used for our travel arrangements to a cruise ship or for excursions have not been adapted for wheelchair access.
 

What happens if there is a medical emergency onboard the ship?

Each of our cruise ships has designated crew members who can offer first aid in the event of an emergency. We do not have medical facilities or a physician onboard, but with our ships never being far from port, medical assistance can quickly be provided ashore.

Luggage

How much luggage can I take on my river cruise?

Due to the space restrictions onboard our vessels, we kindly ask that you restrict your luggage as much as possible in accordance with the duration of your trip:

On shorter cruises, we recommend one small suitcase (no more than 15kg in weight) per person, with additional light hand luggage.

On longer cruises, we recommend one medium-size suitcase (no more than 20kg in weight) per person, with additional light hand luggage.

Please make sure your suitcase is clearly marked with your name, though for security reasons you should avoid including your address. You will find luggage labels as part of the documentation sent to you when you receive your joining instructions.

If you are flying before your cruise, it is advisable to attach your River Cruise Line labels after you have landed, as airline staff may remove them to attach their own labels. If you are flying, make sure you are aware of your airline’s own luggage restrictions.

How is my luggage transported to the ship?

Your luggage will be loaded and unloaded from the ship on the day of embarkation and disembarkation. The crew will deliver your luggage to your cabin at the start of the journey.

My Booking

Can I book cruise excursions while onboard?

Yes, we are happy to assist you with booking excursions while onboard our ships, just let your cruise manager know. You can pay in euros or sterling, and also by credit or debit card (there is an extra fee chargeable for card payments). You can book excursions before you travel please call 01858 438 490 for availability.

When should I book the excursions for my trip?

You can book your excursions at any time from the date of booking up until when you are onboard the ship (subject to availability). Please be aware that if you are booking onboard, the excursions will be slightly higher in price — you will not be able to take advantage of our pre-book package price.

What happens if I want to cancel an excursion?

If you wish to cancel an excursion before you travel, you must notify us immediately and we will cancel your place and refund you the full cost (this option is not available if you are cancelling the whole holiday). Any excursions cancelled onboard are non-refundable but you may be able to claim on your insurance.

General Information

Are your cruises suitable for children?

Unfortunately, due to the smaller layout of river cruise vessels, we are unable to offer any facilities or entertainment for children. Due to this, we are unable to accept children under the age of 12 on our cruises. Can I buy gift vouchers?

What currency will I need to take?

The currency that you require will depend on the countries you are travelling to. We do not offer a cruise currency exchange onboard our vessels, so you will need to make sure you have enough money before the trip. There will be opportunities to exchange more currency at the locations we visit. As we sail through a number of countries, please see the below guide for the currency you will need:

Euros: France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Slovakia and Luxembourg
Swiss Franc: Switzerland (some tourist parts of Switzerland accept the Euro)
Hungarian Forint: Hungary
Romania Leu: Romania
Bulgarian Lev: Bulgaria
Croatian Kuna: Croatia

Check with your local Post Office for the latest advice. Check with your local Post Office for the latest advice. Check with your local Post Office for the latest advice. There are ATMs in most of the towns and cities that we visit, and in most cases they accept UK credit and debit cards. An alternative is to use a pre-paid travel card, which acts like a debit/credit card so it can be used at many cash machines, shops and restaurants. Before you travel, you can add a certain amount to the card in the currency of your destination. These funds are also guaranteed should your card be lost or stolen. You can find more information about these cards on Money Saving Expert’s guide to pre-paid travel cards. The guide also contains advice on finding the best card for you.

Please note: If you are planning on using your credit or debit card on your trip abroad, you should contact your bank to inform them of when you will be travelling abroad and when you are returning home. This will prevent your card from being blocked by fraud-detection processes put in place to protect your bank account. There is usually a number you can call printed on the back of your bank card.

Does The River Cruise Line offer a reward scheme?

We are pleased to be able to offer our regular travellers membership in our Ambassador’s Club, where you can enjoy great discounts each time you book. You can then use this for your next cruise with us. For full details, please see our Ambassador’s Club information page.

Travel

If I am travelling by coach, how many additional pick-up stops will be made?

We understand that when you get on one of our coaches, you are eager to arrive at your destination and begin enjoying your holiday. With this in mind, we can guarantee that when you have boarded your tour coach, there will be no more than six additional pick-up stops en-route to the UK port of departure (excluding motorway services and overnight hotel stops).

If I am driving to the departure point, will I be able to park my car?

There is car parking available at the Newcastle and Dover ferry terminals for those passengers with cars. Car parking at Newcastle is £12 per 24 hours. You do not need to pre-book either of these terminal car parks. Car parking at Dover is £9 per 24 hours, and you do have the option to pre-book a space when arranging your holiday with us. Your parking directions and voucher for Dover will be sent to you with your travel instructions. Please note: Parking at Dover may not always be close to the ferry terminal, and may be with a company who collect your car from the terminal and take it to a secure car park further away. Your car will be returned upon your arrival back at Dover.

Where will I find the details of my travel hotel?

If you are staying at a hotel en-route to or from your cruise, you will find contact details on your joining instructions. You can pass these details onto your next of kin while you are away on holiday. Your joining instructions will also include confirmation of your room type (ie twin, double, single, or triple). If you have any queries about your hotel, please get in touch with our holiday advisors on 0844 409 7971.

What do I need to do if I am travelling independently by air?

We will provide you with a map of where the ship will be berthed and your boarding time with your travel documents. Remember that the vessel is not always berthed close to the relevant airport, so you will need to make your own arrangements to reach it. Please note that you will not be able to board the ship until approximately 6pm on the first day, and will be required to vacate your cabin by 8.30am on the final day. This is to allow for housekeeping etc.

What happens if I want to stay overnight on the day I return?

It is advisable to book an overnight stay for your return to the UK in advance of the cruise, but should you decide to while still onboard, it can still be arranged (subject to availability). Please notify your cruise manager of your intentions, and they will confirm availability for you. If there is a room available, you will need to pay the cruise manager aboard the ship.

What time will I depart and arrive back if travelling by coach?

Before we can estimate what time you will arrive home, we have to wait for all passengers to book so that we can create an accurate route and timetable for your trip. We start work on this around two weeks before the departure date, after which your joining instructions with exact times will be sent to you. Any times given prior to this are for guidance purposes only and subject to change. From our experience we can tell you that we aim to be at the port of departure as follows:

Daytime sailing:
Dover – 9am
Overnight sailing:
Newcastle – 2pm

How often will we stop for breaks on the coach?

When and where the coach stops for breaks is at the discretion of the driver, though we do ask that they make regular stops for your comfort, which is usually every three to four hours. We would also advise you to take refreshments with you, particularly if you have a medical condition or special diet to follow.

Please note: Euros are needed for services in European countries.

What will the coach be like?

Our coaches are of executive standard with toilets and air conditioning. If you fly to the continent, coaches used on transfers may not have these facilities but they will be comfortable. On some occasions, taxis or mini buses may be used for part of the journey. Smoking (including e-cigarettes) or drinking alcohol is not permitted on any of our vehicles, but regular stops will be made during the journey.

Where can I find my coach seat number?

Your coach seat numbers will be confirmed on your travel documents and will take into account, as far as possible, when your booking was made and any special requests made at the time of booking. There are a limited number of seats towards the front of the coach (usually the first three rows) that can be reserved for just £10 per person. If you have not already requested these, and you now wish to do so, please call one of our holiday advisors on 01858 438 490 and they will be able to check availability for your chosen cruise.

Will my coach pick-up point definitely operate?

Where coach travel is offered as part of the holiday, there is a minimum number of passengers required to operate a coach pick-up point. In the unlikely event that your chosen departure point does not achieve sufficient numbers, we will offer you alternative travel arrangements.