River Cruise Travel Guide

Travel Tips for River Cruises


Do your homework

There are many different types of cruises and many different types of riverboats, even when you’re traveling with Road Scholar. Riverboats average fewer than 150 passengers but can accommodate as few as 30 or up to 400 passengers, and the cruise experience can be really different on each of these types of riverboats. Be sure to do some research before enrolling in a riverboat program or booking a cruise so you know what to expect and choose the experience that’s right for you!


Pack light and pack layers

On a river cruise, you’re likely to visit a new city every day. Especially if you’re voyaging the length of the Mississippi or sailing all the way from Budapest to Amsterdam on board a luxury riverboat, the climate may change from beginning to end. Be sure to pack layers for changing weather along the way. However, cabin space and storage is sometimes limited on riverboats, so try to pack all you need into a small suitcase. Unpack your bags and store your luggage under the bed to make more space.


Plan Ahead

It’s hard not to mention the seasick elephant in the room. In general, riverboats move over flatter, calmer waters, so the likelihood that you’ll feel queasy is much lower than on an ocean cruise. But there’s always a chance you might feel the river’s rolling waters more than you’d like. Plan ahead and bring enough motion sickness medicine for the entirety if your trip, just in case. Some motion sickness medications can cause drowsiness, so try out different brands before your trip, and if you have a history of seasickness, take the pills before you get sick as a preventative strategy.


Disconnect from tech to connect with the rivers

Many of our riverboats are equipped with Wi-Fi on board, but depending on the region of the world where you’re traveling, an Internet connection isn’t always the most reliable. But disconnecting from your phone, tablet and computer can actually make your travels much more relaxing and can help you focus on what you’re learning along the way. Our advice? Plan to disconnect from the outset and leave your heavy electronics at home during your river cruise.


Know Your Ports

If you leave the ship on your own, make sure you know how to get back! Before you disembark, ask at the front desk of your ship to find out where your ship is docked and get a description of how to tell a local cab driver to get back so you make it back safely and on time.

Educational River Cruises

“We had a thoroughly wonderful time on this program. Our amazing leader was first-rate and kept things organized, interesting and fun. The cruise aboard the Rhône River far exceeded our expectations. The ship was surprisingly roomy and fresh — the perfect balance of luxury and casual feel. There was always something to see, you dock right in the center of town and the food was among the best I have had. This was our first river cruise, but certainly won’t be our last.”

— Timothy, from Worthington, Ohio | Road Scholar Class of 2016 —