For river cruise enthusiasts or newbies who want to go it alone, there are a number of options available in Europe.
Solo cruising is a great way for single travellers to meet new people and explore new destinations without having to do much planning themselves.
It’s also a trend that’s rising; solo specialist Just You saw reported sales of its river product for 2021 increase by 39% compared with 2020.
Managing director Alastair Campbell says: “River cruising is great for solo travellers – you can do as much or as little as you want and you can share all the experiences with a group of like-minded people.”
David Winterton, director of marketing UK and global brand curator at Emerald Waterways, says European river cruises in particular are a great way for travellers to test the waters alone.
“For a first-time river cruiser, you can’t look past the Rhine and Danube rivers with their winding valleys, peaceful towns and vibrant cities, plus guests can experience different cuisines as they voyage from country to country.”
Here we suggest new and existing river cruise options for solo clients.
Just You has added three new solo river cruises to its 2020 collection: Cruising the Seine from Cote Fleurie to Paris; Classic Sights of the Rhone; and Cruising the Heart of Italy – Mantua to Venice. Customers can tailor their excursions by choosing Explorer packages (based on culture, architecture and history) or Discovery (offering bicycles to go off the beaten track).
“As our river cruises are exclusively for solo travellers, each of our customers will get their own cabin – and there is no single supplement,” says Campbell.
Book it: Cruising the Seine from Cote Fleurie to Paris itinerary is priced from £1,399pp, including six nights all-inclusive, return Eurostar travel and overseas transfers. Departs on 6 April, 7 July and 19 August 2020.
Shearings is launching a stand-alone brochure for the solos market featuring river cruises.
The Magical Rhine and Moselle sails through Germany’s famous wine region, taking in quaint villages, scenic rolling hills and picturesque vineyards.
Two excursions are included while additional trips can be added on. There is also a choice of single and solo occupancy cabins.
Product and yield director Matthew Herbert says: “Our charter ships are small and intimate so everyone soon gets to know each other. Each departure also has a dedicated Shearings Holidays cruise manager who will look after the group.”
Book it: The 10-day Magical Rhine and Moselle tour is priced from £1,230pp full- board, departing on 5 and 26 May, 7 July and 25 August 2020.
Riviera Travel’s Solo Traveller option allows clients to book on to one of its European river cruises exclusively reserved for solo travellers.
A new solo option for 2020 is the Medieval Germany River Cruise, which takes guests along the Danube onboard the five-star Charles Dickens, discovering the town of Bamberg, part of which is a Unesco World Heritage Site; Rothenberg, perfect for cycling and horse-riding; and historical Nuremberg.
Joanne Lynn, head of short-haul product at Riviera Travel, says: “With no extra cost for single occupancy, our river cruise itineraries have been designed to offer a mix of history, culture and art. Once booked, guests can speak to other travellers on the Solo Travellers Forum before their trip.”
Book it: An eight-day Medieval Germany River Cruise starts from £1,899pp including guided tours, all meals onboard and the services of a cruise director. Departs 24 October 2020.
Tauck does not charge single supplements on its Category One cabins, making all journeys suitable for solo travellers.
The operator’s most popular river cruise is The Blue Danube, travelling from Prague to Budapest.
Ships that sail this route accommodate just 130 passengers, allowing for a more intimate experience for solo guests, says product manager Fero Bakos. “By contrast, other ships of the same size sailing the Danube typically have up to 190 guests onboard, or 46% more people,” he adds.
BOOK IT: The eight-day Blue Danube river cruise is priced from £4,090pp excluding flights. Departures available from April to October 2020.
Solo guests can explore historic and picturesque towns and cities on a dedicated Emerald Waterways Solo Cruise.
Its Danube Delights cruise features guided tours of several historical cities including Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Passau, with visits to the Unesco-listed sites of Melk Abbey and the city of Regensburg.
Passengers travelling alone will have the chance to make friends early on, says Winterton. “We host a Single Mingle evening for solo travellers at the beginning of their European river cruise. That way [they] form travel companions earlier on in each itinerary.”
Book it: The eight-day Danube Delights Solo River Cruise starts from £2,045pp including some excursions and transfers.