6 unexpected things to do on a river cruise ship*

River cruise
The latest mega cruise ships are HUGE, accommodating over 6,000 passengers and packed with exciting features like water slides, rock climbing walls and zip lines. Yet river cruise ships, by contrast are pretty small – usually limited to around 200 passengers.

Which brings us to the question – what is there to do on board a river cruise ship?

Are river cruise ships just floating hotels with bedrooms and a restaurant? Well, oftentimes, yes. However, river cruise lines have started adding exciting new features to their ships in a bid to attract a new generation of millennial river cruisers.

River cruise ships have to be small so that they can sail along narrow rivers and under low bridges. But that hasn’t stopped the river cruise companies from cleverly adding fun stuff to their ships.

Here are six things which you just wouldn’t expect to see on a river ship…

1. Cinema

Cinemas take up a lot of space and tend to be only used in the evenings. However, luxury river cruise line Emerald Waterways has been really clever by adding a cinema that transforms into an indoor swimming pool! After a day of swimming, the floor of the pool is raised so that it becomes part of the deck. Then, out come the popcorn and battery-powered candles as a movie screen is lowered from the ceiling. So impressive!

2. Electric bikes

It’s not a new thing for river cruise ships to have bicycles on the roof. They offer a great way for guests to get around the ports which they call at each day. You can even cycle alongside the ship as it makes its way slowly to the next stop.

However, Scenic Tourshave taken this one step further by providing electric bikes! If your legs are getting tired, just turn on the battery and you can stop pedalling. These hi-tech bikes also have a sat-nav which shows you where all the interesting landmarks are.

3. Mini golf

Somehow, cruise line Riviera Travel has managed to fit a golf course on the top deck of their river cruise ships. Granted, it’s only nine holes and to be honest, it’s only for putting. However, this river cruise line also offers golf themed river cruises where you can play the full 18 holes at various golf courses along your cruise.

4. Silent disco

Trendy river cruise line U by Uniworld is popular with millennials thanks to quirky features such as the silent disco. Turn your headphones to the channel of your choice and you can rock out to metal whilst your friend bounces around to 90s pop, in silence.

5. Herb garden

One thing you wouldn’t really expect to see on a river cruise is a herb garden, but Viking River Cruises is a river cruise line which has just that on its fleet of luxurious ships. Not just for show, the chefs make regular use of the herbs when preparing dishes. Anyone got the thyme?

6. Giant games

Chess becomes about ten times more fun when the pieces are giant. You’ll find giant chess, and even giant noughts and crosses, on the top deck of several river cruises ships. Shuffleboard is another favourite. Nobody ever seems to know the rules of this odd nautical game but it’s got something to do with pushing circles of wood along with a stick.

Do these interesting features make you want to try a river cruise? In all honesty, river cruising is much more about the destinations that what there is to do on board, with ever-changing scenery and at least one port of call to explore each day. But, it is great to see how innovative the river cruise lines are being with these new features.

This post was provided by River Voyages– the UK’s leading experts in river cruising.

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