5 Packing Tips for European River Cruisers

This fantastic list is courtesy of Avalon River Cruises, one of our preferred river cruise partners.


River cruising is the fastest-growing sector in the travel industry and it’s not hard to see why. People love the intimate size (usually around 175 passengers), the inclusions and the leisurely pace. If, like a lot of “big ship cruisers” you’re planning your next holiday on one of these smaller vessels, here are five packing tips from Avalon Waterways, who operate 12 ships on the great rivers of Europe.


l) Pack sturdy walking shoes. Shore excursions from river cruises – which Avalon includes in the price – are often walking tours of medieval towns. Since cobblestones and elegant heels don’t mix, be sure you have some shoes that can go the distance.


2) Bring casual-chic clothes for dinner. While most big ships have formal nights, on Avalon you’ll be comfortable in less dressy duds. For the captain’s dinner, a jacket is suggested for men (no tie required) and ladies will be fine in clothes they’d wear at a cocktail party at home. Otherwise, dinner attire is fairly casual.


3) Pack your laptop. This year, Avalon has added free wifi to its European cruise ships. A great way to stay in touch with family at home and share photos on board with new friends.


4) A day pack will be handy. In 2013 Avalon is adding complimentary use of Nordic walking sticks and a day pack will leave your hands free. And of course you’ll need room for souvenirs!


5) Some Euro coins. Make sure you get some small change when you arrive in Europe as it’s customary to tip your shore excursion guides a couple of Euros (about $2.50). Day trips are included in your river cruise, and you’ll be saving money elsewhere, too: unlike big ships, Avalon includes wine and beer with dinner, as well as exotic coffees such as cappuccinos which are available throughout the day.


Equally important are the items you don’t need to pack, says Stéphanie Bishop, managing director of Avalon Waterways in Canada. “No need for seasickness medicine as the rivers are extremely calm, and you can leave many toiletries at home as we provide generous sizes of L’Occitane shampoo, conditioner, body wash and body lotion on our ships.”