The choice of river boat perfect for your vacation is an important decision that is better to think calmly and seek advice from people who know the boats well as it can change your experience completely.
There are many types of ships and each one has characteristics that will make it more suitable according to the type of client (partner, friends, family, ...) of the river destination (weather, canal, river, ...) and of course depending on your budget.
Thanks to our experience of more than 10 years in advising each client personally, we have prepared two tools to help you choose.
First we have created a rating code for the boats, it is a Danfluvial code and allows you to compare the comfort of all boats between them regardless of their manufacturer, model and destination. We have looked at the following characteristics to attribute our ratings: the age of the ship, the interior space per passenger, the number of passengers per bathrooms and the "extras" (terrace, exterior piloting, ...) to attribute from 1 anchor to 5 anchors, the most modern and comfortable being the 5 anchors. (see all boat models)
Second, we have prepared this article for you in which we propose 5 tips to choose the river boat that best suits your group and what you want to do during your river vacation.
1. Style: traditional river boat or yacht type?
Shipbuilding has evolved a lot in the last 30 years leading to the creation of boats of different styles. The first river boats for tourist vacations imitated the transport boats in the shape of their hull and the interior organization, little by little boats have also been created that increasingly resemble small yachts, with interiors worthy of the best bungalows of luxury. Even so, there are also renovated and fully equipped classic boats, type «penichettes» with a classic appearance but fully equipped inside.
2. Inner life or outer life
If due to the destination, the time of year or personal preferences you prefer to live more life inside the boat, we advise you to choose boats with a lounge at the front of the boat. So you stay in the salon with the cockpit further away from the engine, its vibrations and noise. A good solution for living indoors but outdoors are boats with retractable roofs that allow you to enjoy the views of the sky and the outside air inside the salon and the cockpit. Boats that do not have terraces (called flybridge) tend to have more space and especially more height inside the cabins. It is important for groups who want to enjoy the day in the cabins to play, relax, read, ...
If, on the other hand, you like to live outside, we advise you to first choose a boat with a double helm (one inside and one on the flybridge). In this way, the person navigating will not be separated from the rest of the group during navigation.
Access to the terrace is an interesting point to study depending on whether you go with children or only adults. For children, the boats that allow access to the flybridge directly from the living room without going outside will be more interesting.
Some boats have a rear terrace, very nice for the evenings since they are at the same height as the living room and the kitchen and allow everyone to be together on the same level without having to pass the dishes from the bottom to the top! But it should be noted that during navigation, these rear decks tend to have more noise and vibrations because they are located just above the engines.
As for the flybridge, some allow you to eat outside with garden tables and chairs in a very comfortable way. In summer it is fully recommended to rent a boat with a flybrige to enjoy the scenery and do not forget the outside cockpit so that the "driver" can enjoy with everyone.
Only detail: if you want to rent a lot of bicycles, it is important to remember that the rear terrace or the flybridge is usually the place where they can leave them while they navigate. On some older style ships they can be stored on the flat roof of the ship above the cabins.
3. A river cruise with children?
The experience of a stay on a river cruise ship is wonderful for children, they are spacious and very fun boats for sure, in which one does not get dizzy and without navigation dangers if we compare it with a navigation by the sea or the ocean.
All boats have safety elements to avoid falls into the water, even so and for children the use of life jackets is always recommended.
And for families looking for security and tranquility at night and parents prefer to sleep with their children, there are boats offering double cabins with an additional berth for children. It allows at the same time to accommodate more people on the boat and to rest easy knowing that if a child gets up we will realize it quickly 😉
4. Use of the living room to sleep, yes or no?
This is a very commented subject among our clients.
The fact of using the convertible living room allows to reduce the budget per person significantly. That is why it is essential to think before choosing how you are going to distribute all the passengers.
It is important to note that the ship is still a small space in which people who can meet more or less according to the groups will live together. This factor is very important to have a pleasant coexistence and especially for stays of a week or more. We recommend that you think about organizing the boat well so that each one can find their moments of peace and privacy if they wish.
Sleeping in the living room means transforming the living room into a bedroom every morning and night, moving the cushions, and assembling the bed. something similar to a sofa bed in a house, but to think that on boats the living room is where you enter, exit, go to the terrace, and that it is open to the kitchen.
In short, it is important to think about who is going to sleep in the living room and if this person is willing to go to bed last and wake up first 😉
And the last factor to take into account but not the least important is the budget.
Economy and simplicity
Keep in mind that river tourism can be affordable to everyone since if you propose you can navigate in a very simple and very affordable way on a river boat by choosing less requested dates and taking advantage of discounts for early or last minute reservations, choosing older ships and getting a bit squeezed.
To think that this type of cruise makes vacations very affordable, not only because of the price of the boat but also because of the fact that the boat has "everything included": means of transport, entertainment, hotel, kitchen, bathroom, walk, ...
Also in terms of gastronomic expenses and taking into account that they will have a full kitchen on board, you can take a food base from home or buy at the destination in local stores and markets much more affordable than going to any restaurant.
On the contrary, for those clients who wish to enjoy a river cruise with all the comforts, they will also find adapted boats, more spacious and modern to be able to enjoy a comfort worthy of a luxury bungalow.
To ensure maximum comfort we recommend:
- choose modern boats, let yourself be advised by our advisers who will know how to indicate the latest model boats
- Choose large boats and never exceed the number of 2 guests per cabin.
- some boats offer a bathroom per cabin, this detail is important when enjoying a cruise.
- As for the other points such as terrace or cockpit ... it is a matter of taste and lifestyle on board, that is where a personalized contact with our advisors will allow you to clearly define how you want to live your cruise and find the ideal boat that best suits your search.
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