Try Me a River
A first-timer set sails for Europe aboard Avalon Waterways.
IF YOU’RE LIKE ME, YOU HAVE A SLIGHT fear of the unknown. It doesn’t stop me from living life, but I do get butterflies whenever I’m about to make a change or do something new. So, needless to say, I had a hint of nerves when I planned to embark on a first for me: a river cruise.
I was that girl. Hailing from South Florida, I’d only ever been on ocean cruises mostly throughout the Caribbean. With Miami’s cruise port practically in my backyard, taking a trip with 3,000 of my closest friends is a fun, easy, and affordable escape from the everyday. But when I heard that 84 percent of river cruisers are previous ocean cruisers, I figured it was worth a try. And when I read about Avalon Waterways’ 10-day Canals, Vineyards and Paris European sailing, I was lured by the promise of small towns, castles, vineyards, and idyllic pastures.
After flights were booked and dates confirmed, I anxiously checked my tiny apartment mailbox every day for my cruise documents. But instead, a knock came at the door and when I opened it, a bigger-than-a-birthday-cake–sized box stood before me. The box was imprinted with the word “HAPPY” all over it and after opening it, I knew why. Surrounded by confetti-style filler was a portfolio — great for keeping passports and travel documents throughout the trip — with a personalized, bound ( bound!) booklet including a detailed, day-by- day itinerary; flight, hotel, and transfer information; optional tour details; a swanky luggage tag; ship tips; and everything else that immediately put my worries at ease.
At that very moment, I felt like I had already started traveling. My body was still in Florida, but my heart was already cruising through the canals of Amsterdam and the Rhine River.