How exciting! You will love Europe and you will love river cruising! Here's a few thoughts to get you ready...
Money Matters -
Make sure you have a CHIP credit card as most places in Europe require it. Check with your credit card providers to see if they charge a foreign currency conversion fee (about 3% usually). Some cards don't - Chase Explorer for instance. Check the currency needed in your destination. You will want to buy some Euros before you go, just to be safe. Otherwise you can use ATM's when you are there for a decent exchange rate. Use your credit card when you can (if you don't have the foreign exchange currency fee) for the best exchange rates.
Keep in mind, you will want small change (Euros) for tipping local tour guides, buying gifts, etc.
River Cruising -
You will see many awesome sites while sailing - the shore is always in sight. Take tons of pictures - thank god for digital cameras! Embrace the small towns and the local culture. Whenever you have free time in port, enjoy a local wine/beer/meal - talk to the locals.
You will probably be one of the youngest people on the river ship. Don't let that stop you from meeting everyone!! People who river cruise love to tell their travel stories.
Don't fill up every minute of your day with optional tours (unless it's really cool!!!) - enjoy some time strolling the alleys on your own.
Don't miss any of the local entertainment or lecturers when they bring them onboard! They are usually very talented and entertaining.
They have a 24-hour specialty coffee machine for you!!!!
The open seating dining allows you to sit with different people at every meal. Just walk up to a table and say..."May I join you?"
When they ask you if you want RED or WHITE wine with dinner...the answer is YES! (we always get both to see which we like better!)
Try any local specialty dishes as they are usually very good!
That's it for now! Can't wait to hear all about it!