Top Tips for Solo River Cruising

The perfect introduction to the joys of solo travel, river cruising affords you the opportunity to travel in style, unpack just once, while being able to enjoy the many evocative landscapes along European rivers. Not to mention of course, that river cruises are far more accessible than larger liners and ships, transporting you right into the heart of key European cities such as Budapest or Vienna.

Just You has partnered with Nicko Cruises so that you can enjoy a slower kind of cruising along Europe’s most scenic waterways. This slow and gentler approach means you can relax, with plenty of time onboard, along with carefully planned itineraries that allow you to truly appreciate the ports of call you are visiting. You’re not in a race after all, but on the journey of a lifetime.

With six Just You river cruises to choose from for the 2023/24 season, here are some top tips to making the most of your tour.

Remember: river cruising is very different to ocean cruising

With Just You River Cruising, vessels are MUCH smaller than ocean ships – consider it a boutique style of cruising. To help put this in perspective, river cruises typically have around three decks, while ocean liners have an excess of ten decks.

Onboard amenities are very similar across all six Nicko ships in the cruise selection, so it cuts down the decision making time considerably leaving you to focus more time on the ports of call featured on the itinerary.

So we recommend you start by choosing a tour that features somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit. The beauty of solo travel is that it brings like-minded travellers together to explore new places – so where better than on a solo cruise where you’re literally all in the same boat.

Finding your ‘sea legs’

Slow cruising with Nicko Cruises means the waves are much calmer along the river, so you shouldn’t really have a problem with travel sickness.

In the highly unlikely event you do feel a little queasy, head onto the top deck and look in the direction you are travelling while spotting a static point on the horizon that you can focus on.

Packing Tips

Casual and comfortable clothing is essential, and layers are a great idea so be sure to pack t-shirts and light jumpers that allow you to layer up, plus a lightweight, waterproof jacket just in case. And of course, sunglasses, sun cream and a hat are always advised – as you are calling in at different ports, there can be considerable changes in weather. Naturally comfy, non-slip shoes are also advisable whether you’re relaxing out on deck, or wandering a new European town or city.

And if you’re visiting any religious sites on tour, you may need to ensure that your shoulders and knees are covered, so a shawl or coverall is a great multitasker, as well as zip-off trousers.

Earplugs are always a good idea too – ships can sometimes travel through the night and pass through locks which may generate a little noise.

And with storage space at a premium onboard, make sure you pack smart!

Money Tips

The beauty of visiting a number of different countries in one trip is naturally a big perk, but this can mean that you need to have a selection of currencies for purchasing any souvenirs or tipping while out exploring on tour for the day.

For example, for the Cruising The Danube tour, you pass through Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary, so you may want to take a small amount of both euros and Hungarian forint in case credit/debit cards are not widely accepted.

It’s worth remembering that all our river cruises include inclusive drinks packages. Many meals and all excursions featured on the cruise itinerary are included too, so you’re unlikely to need huge amounts of cash.

Note, if you want to purchase any premium brand spirits whilst on board, this is not included in the holiday price, but any additional spend onboard can be added to an account which is payable before you disembark at the end of your cruise (debit/credit cards are preferred, but euros will be accepted).

Research your excursions and places of interest

Each cruise features a number of fun excursions and fascinating places of interest included in the price. So make most of your time ashore, and research some of the places you will be visiting to make the most of your experience, and build up some excitement for seeing these places in the flesh! Here’s just a couple, with interesting facts and back stories:

You’ll visit the ruins of Jumièges Abbey while Cruising the Seine, which dates back to the year 654 and was once home to almost 1,000 monks! The Abbey was gifted to Saint Philibert, who was taught by the Bishop of Rouen, who supported the building of abbeys in the meanders of the River Seine, downstream from Paris. The institution prospered but as a result also suffered from numerous invasions, and at one stage was rebuilt on a grander scale.

It was during the French Revolution that the abbey was forced to shut, and the body of the church and outbuildings were sold off and used as a quarry for re-using dressed stone. Interestingly a gallery from the cloister can be found in Bournemouth! Fortunately this practice was stopped so that Jumièges could be preserved as a romantic ruin to be enjoyed today.

© Marie-Anaïs Thierry

If you’re booked onto the Cruising the Douro Valley tour, you’ll stop by Pinhão Railway Station – not to catch a train, but to learn about wine production. Considered the most beautiful station in the Douro, the station features 25 panels of Azulejo tiles which almost cover all the walls of the main building. They have been on display here since 1937.

Designed by renowned artist J Oliveira and produced in the Aleluia factory in Aveiro, the installation reveals the story of the production of port wine, from the grape harvest, to transportation by river to the wine cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.

With a chequered and interesting history including strange inhabitants and unexplained features, Heidelberg Castle makes for a fascinating and amusing afternoon as part of the Cruising the Rhine and Moselle tour.

For example, there’s the story of the court jester, Perkeo, who was responsible for the royal wine stores. Known to consume vast quantities of it, if he was ever asked if he would like another glass of wine, he would answer in Italian, ‘Perché no?’ – ‘Why not?’ which earned him his nickname.

Or there is the mystery of the footprint in the Friedrich’s Wing. One story suggests the imprint was left by a knight who leaped from the window after being discovered ‘entertaining’ a lady-in-waiting. Legend says that any visitor who finds they have the same foot imprint with the ‘knight’s leap’, can expect to live a happy life.

Remember you have freedom and flexibility too

Meals are served at set times on board, but you still have some freedom and flexibility. So if one evening while docked in port you really want to dine in a lovely restaurant you saw earlier in the day, feel free to dine or explore as you choose. Just let your Holiday Director know so that they can advise on timings to make sure you’re back in good time before the ship sets off again!

All meals are prepaid of course, but who says you should miss out if there’s something you really want to see or experience?


Our River Cruises

  1. Cruising the Danube

    Bustling cities and beautiful countryside where you visit the most unmissable destinations along the Danube, make this river cruise one to remember.

    • Just You Holiday Director
    • Return flights
    • 20 included meals 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners

    8 days from
    was £3,199
  2. Just you cruise

    Cruising the Douro Valley

    Explore the beauty of Porto's architecture and be transported back to the Middle Ages in the charming cities of the Portuguese hinterland whilst relaxing on this river cruise.

    • Just You Holiday Director
    • Return flights
    • 20 included meals 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners

    8 days from
    was £3,699
  3. Just you cruise

    Cruising the Rhone & Picturesque Provence

    Explore the colourful countryside of the South of France as you first travel north from Lyon on the Saone before taking the Rhone towards the Mediterranean Sea.

    • Just You Holiday Director
    • Return flights from London
    • 20 included meals 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners

    8 days from
    was £3,299
  4. Cruising the Seine - Paris & Northern France

    Inspirational landscapes and stunning natural beauty form the backdrop of this river cruise. Explore rustic towns, admire imposing Chalk Cliffs and stroll through iconic Paris.

    • Just You Holiday Director
    • Return rail travel from St Pancras on the Eurostar to Paris
    • 20 included meals 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners

    8 days from
    was £3,249
  5. Just you cruise

    Cruising the Rhine & Moselle

    Cruise through the Middle Rhine Valley and immerse yourself in culture and wonderful scenery where history comes alive on the banks of the Rhine and Moselle. Sail through the centre of Europe passing impressive castles and historic cities.

    • Just You Holiday Director
    • Return rail travel from St Pancras on the Eurostar to Brussels
    • 20 included meals 7 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 7 dinners

    8 days from
    was £2,899