If you've got a reason why you couldn't possibly like cruising, we can guarantee we've heard it before. And while not every cruise ship or type of cruise will suit every vacationer out there, the explanations people give for why they'd dislike a vacation at sea are generally unfounded. In fact, we'd bet that for every excuse, a cruise line exists that proves the stereotype wrong. That's because cruise ships and itineraries come in all shapes and sizes, and not as cookie-cutter as the uninitiated might fear. If you think there can't possibly be a cruise you'd like -- or have a friend or relation who feels that way -- here are our favorite cruise lines for non-cruisers that defy cliches and win over skeptics.
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In theory, any river cruise can be an active one, given that shore-centric itineraries allow passengers to pursue all manner of land-based activities. Many lines, particularly those plying Europe's rivers, already provide bicycles for their passengers. (And if they don't, you can always rent one in port.) But as competition in this fast-growing segment of the cruise market heats up, some lines are seeking to attract a broader -- and younger -- clientele by offering a greater scope of active and adventurous pursuits. Here's a look at some best-bet lines for river cruisers who like to be on the move.
Visiting Myanmar, also known as Burma, is like taking a journey back in time; pictures just don't do this fascinating country justice. While major cities, such as Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay, are vibrant and bustling, much of the nation still lacks basics like running water and electricity. Small
An affinity for cruising, whether river or ocean, does not discriminate and has a diverse audience, but river cruise companies still lag behind ocean ships when catering specifically to the LGBTQ market. Perhaps it is because river cruise sailings put a stronger emphasis on ports of call than onboard amenities and activities or that river cruises are smaller, making them a more intimate experience that is already inclusive for everyone. Many cruise lines offer special training for onboard staff about the nuances of personal relationships, including LGBTQ couples. Other lines note that while they don't have specific cruises aimed at LGBTQ travelers, river cruising overall is very popular within the demographic. According to David Winterton, Head of Marketing and Global Brand Curator for Emerald Waterways, "We found that LGBTQ guests love our product and don't want to be restricted to just one cruise on one date." The company does have a page on its website that lists Pride events in different European cities. A common and pleasing theme we heard from companies is that river cruising should be a memorable experience for everyone no matter who is on board; we agree wholeheartedly. Here is a look at what some of the major players offer for LGBTQ passengers:
Shopping for river cruises can be confusing, particularly within the mid-tier price range (which encompasses Avalon, AmaWaterways, Viking and Emerald Waterways). The overall high standards and similar inclusions in this category make the differences negligible, but we've split the hairs for you so you can decide whether AmaWaterways or Avalon Waterways is your best choice.