On my last post, I spoke about the benefits of river cruising and I could have gone on and on, but I also would like to discuss the setbacks of river cruising.   With this entry, I hope to communicate another point of view to semi-inclusive vacations on the river.

  1. Soft Adventure – Even though river cruising offers several activities and much of your time will be gobbled up with city tours and evening events, there are no active excursions.  It would have been nice to practice yoga one morning, take a bike ride in the countryside or enjoy a gentle hike among the forested hills.  The fresh air and physical movement helps sharpen the mind for you to enjoy the thought-provoking day tours they do offer.  On Via Mondo Wellness Tours, we make it a point to offer soft adventure activities every day. It is so important to boost your memory and I promise, you will remember far more from your vacation with an active excursion.
  2. Transportation – One of my pet peeves are buses.  Many of the excursions required long bus rides.  I use to commute to Boston for many years and I would rather spend my vacation exploring the town then spending it on a bus getting to the town.  I’ve traveled on escorted bus tours a few times and I always felt like cattle being herded around.  I envision the guides as Border Collies rounding us up after a few hours scattered around town.  When planning these tours, I made it a point to use 7 passenger vans and when possible, public transportation to lessen our carbon foot print.
  3. Location – A segue from transportation, at Via Mondo, we’ve chosen accommodations for their location, which means, less time getting to town and more time discovering a town.  Every location is hand-picked just for you to wander around and learn the local way of life.  Italy is meant to be experienced personally without any barriers.  It allows you more time to get to know the locals and get involved in the community to unearth the customs.
  4. Cuisine – Even though the food on Viking was exceptional, it left little opportunity to share or try a meal from a local chef.  With Via Mondo, there are many occasions to prepare a meal with nonna, meet the chef of a Michelin star restaurant or find that perfect family run café to dig deeper into the local flavor.  Food comes alive when shared with those who prepare it.  It gives you the chance to try different foods, understand their origins and come to appreciate the traditions.
  5. Ratio – There is something to be said about intimacy and personal experiences.  Having a guided excursion with only a hand full of participates changes everything.  The engagement with the guide intensifies.  The interaction between other fellow travelers is real.  The structures around you come alive.   A small private day tour stays with you for a far richer experience.  With larger groups like those found on river cruises, it difficult to engage with the guide, share the experience with fellow travelers and much of what is learned is lost.

I plan to recommend river cruising to my family, friends and customers, but I’ll do so with these setbacks in mind making sure their expectations are met on every sailing.  After all, it’s my business to care.  I take pride in making sure everyone has an exceptional trip no matter where or how they travel.  If one of the scheduled tours doesn’t strike your fancy, contact me directly to discuss a custom trip.  Happy Travels!