Budget River Cruise Tours In Europe
Discover a varied offer of budget European river cruises that will take you through some of the most famous destinations such as Budapest and Vienna. Each affordable river cruise adventure will provide you with great experiences for some of the best prices on the market. Find here the best European river cruise lines.Pro tip: Sort by “Biggest Deals” to get the best deals or by “Lowest price first” to see the cheapest river cruises in Europe.
- 8 to 99 year olds
How Do Cabins On River Cruise Ships Compare To Those On Ocean Ships Will I Have As Much Choice In Cabins On A River Ship As I Do On An Ocean Ship
Cabins on river cruise ships can vary widely from line to line. One thing that is different from their ocean counterparts is that you won’t find inside cabins on river cruises all staterooms have at least a window.
Cabins on river vessels tend to be slightly smaller than their ocean counterparts because the ships themselves are much smaller. They have to be that way because in Europe, the vessels must be able to fit through narrow locks and canals, and travel under bridges.
Standard river cruise cabins in Europe run between 150 and 170 square feet, with suites around 220 square feet. Some cruise lines also have single cabins, which measure around 130 square feet. Ironically, in Asia, where river cruise ships are very small with 50 passengers or less, the cabins are often larger at 220 square feet.
In general, you’ll find fewer categories of cabins on river ships. Most lines in Europe only have four classes: window only or “river view,” French balcony, balcony and suites, although there are some variations.
Younger Travelers Are Scarce
If you see a young person on a traditional river cruise, chances are it is an older grandchild who was chosen to accompany grandparents. Travelers under the age of 13 aren’t likely to be found.
Many river cruises simply are not programmed for families. The entertainment programs, water slides and rock-climbing walls found on many ocean-going ships are far less likely on the river.
For years, the target audience for these trips has been the baby-boomer generation, and the median age on traditional ships is probably in the mid-60s. Many of the passengers are retired and simply want to spend some quiet time exploring places they’ve read about all of their lives.
As with any general rule, this one has notable exceptions. Some river cruise lines have sought out younger markets. Tauck, for example, offers its Bridges itineraries to destinations such as France. Family activities include a scavenger hunt through the Louvre. Uniworld markets a series of “family friendly” cruises designed for multi-generational family excursions.
Keep in mind that family friendly doesn’t always mean budget friendly.
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Active & Discovery Cruises
Everyone travels to see new things, but many travel to do new things as well. Avalon offers activities for travelers with varying interests and for all energy and fitness levels. From action-packed experiences and interactive discoveries, to traditional sightseeing, you can tailor a vacation to suit your interests and pace.
How Much Do You Want To Spend
How much are you comfortable with spending for your river cruise? Though there are no hard and fast guidelines, I recommend thinking about how much you would be comfortable spending on a daily basis. Below, I provide a range of per diems, from less than US$500 per day to more than US$500 per day. Knowing what youre comfortable spending can help you match the ship to your budget.
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Do Any River Cruise Ships Have Single Cabins
Yes. A handful of river cruise lines do cater to solo travelers with single cabins. Look to Vantage and AmaWaterways in Europe, and American Queen Steamboat Company in the United States. While Viking’s Longships don’t have rooms for solos, some of their older ships do.
A lack of single-person cabins doesn’t mean that river cruises eschew solo travelers. Far from it. The camaraderie of river cruising means that passengers are often seated at group tables for meals, which makes it easy to meet people. Vantage and Grand Circle offer a roommate matching program. And it’s fairly common to find discounts and specials waiving the single supplement.
What Cruise Lines Go On Europe River Cruises
Given the smaller waterways these cruises traverse, mostly small and some mid-sized ships are regulars along these routes. Here are a few of the best to consider:
- Viking River Cruises: With more than a dozen European River Cruise itineraries to choose from, Viking River is a veteran at its craft, having sailed many of the world’s great waterways since 1997. Travel from Paris to the Swiss Alps, to Lyon and Provence, on a Grand European Tour or a Romantic Danube trek from Budapest to Nuremberg.
- Crystal Cruises: Crystal is one of the few mid-size lines to offer European River Cruises. Sail down the Danube from Vienna, along the Rhine from Frankfurt to Amsterdam, or embark on a Grand Europe tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. Enjoy a complimentary Crystal Adventures shore excursion in every port, offered on all Crystal River Cruises itineraries.
- AMA Waterways: This river cruise line sails to Provence and Spain, down the Danube, to Netherlands and Switzerland on the Rhine. Most voyages are between 10 and 20 nights, and with a maximum of around 160 guests, you’ll have plenty of room to spread out and extra amenities to enjoy.
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What Is The Best Time To Take A River Cruise In Europe
Best time for a European river cruise, weather-wise: From late June to mid-October the climate is warm and dry. Cheapest time for a European river cruise: Europe attracts fewer visitors during winter due to freezing temperatures. This makes river cruises cheaper during October, November and December.
Relatively High Daily Costs
Ocean-going cruise prices usually are compared on the basis of daily costs. It’s still possible to find bargains that come in under $150/day per person, although they are becoming scarce.
River cruises tend to cost quite a bit more than ocean-going trips. But making the cost comparisons between these two products usually is rather pointless. You’ll enjoy different benefits in each excursion. Approach your attitude about price with that in mind.
As previously mentioned, port tours often are included in the price of a river trip. Ground transportation between port and airport typically is covered in the basic price. For European river cruises, rates below $250/day per person are becoming more difficult to find.
Tipping is an added cost for which you should budget. Remember that cruise workers usually derive their incomes from gratuities. If they serve you well, they deserve to be rewarded. On river cruises, you’ll be asked to tip your program director separately from the crew. The crew receives a lump sum that you’ll determine with guidance from the line.
Traveling alone? Expect to pay a single supplement that will add as much as 50 percent to the cost of your trip. While this is an industry standard, it can vary by line, and some offer incentives for solo travelers.
River cruise cabins are rather small, but interior cabins are rare. The views are nice, and rooms with a balcony often are smaller and come at a higher rate. Twin beds are common.
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Danube River Cruise Prices: How To Find A Good Deal
A lot of first timers to river cruising pick the Danube because of its terrific medieval cities: Budapest, Vienna and Prague. Danube river cruise prices can also be more affordable.
Virtually every river cruise company has ships that sail the Danube, which stretches from Germany’s Black Forest to the Black Sea. Avalon Waterways, notably, offers three-night cruises for the first timer who wants to sample the river with two nights each at hotels in Budapest and Vienna. Cruises on the river run up to 12 nights.
During peak season, an entry-level fare on the Danube costs about $475 per person, per night. And there are plenty of ways to cut that price further, according to Rick Kaplan, president of Premier River Cruises, a travel agency that sells river cruise vacations — almost all of them to first timers.
Here’s what you need to know about Danube River cruise prices:
Can River Cruise Cabins Fit More Than Two People
It used to be that river cruises were designed primarily for couples in their golden years, with little flexibility for families. That’s changed, as lines are realizing that river cruising can be a fun and educational vacation for children and teens.
AmaWaterways is the first river cruise line to actually design a ship with groups and multi-generational travelers in mind. The two family-friendly ships, AmaStella and AmaViola, debuted in 2016. The accommodations include 12 staterooms that can house up to three family members each six sets of adjoining cabins that can be connected via an internal doorway, accommodating families of up to five and four suites with convertible sofa beds that can accommodate families of up to four.
On Tauck’s newer ships, cabins have full-size sofa beds that can be used by families up to four people can sleep in one cabin. Tauck also has suites that can accommodate three adults over 18, as well as two parents and a child. The recommended minimum age for Tauck’s family river cruises is eight years old.
Uniworld, which also offers family-oriented cruises, has some cabins with sofa beds on most of its ships. This is one line where the ships can vary widely, so check before you book.
While regular cabins on Vantage’s ship, River Venture, do not have room for a third berth, the Owners Suite does have a sofa that converts to a bed.
For more, read Best Family River Cruises.
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Just As With The Ocean Cruise Lines There Is A Strata Among Brands
In the popular European market, according to industry observers, Uniworld is the “luxury line,” followed closely in that top tier by Tauck, Scenic and AmaWaterways. Avalon Waterways and Viking River Cruises are considered contemporary mass-market, and Grand Circle, known for its high-quality program directors and older ships, has a reputation for being the most affordable.
What Kind Of Bathroom Products Do River Cruise Lines Provide
Brand names vary by line, but in general, river cruise lines seem to have nicer products — shampoo, conditioner and body gel — than their ocean counterparts. L’Occitane is used on Vantage, Avalon, AmaWaterways, Scenic and Uniworld. Tauck uses Molton Brown. Viking has its own line of products and what’s more, they come in full sizes instead of trial sizes.
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How Much Do Viking Cruises Cost
Originally a cruise line that focused solely on river cruises, Viking Cruises has now also conquered the ocean cruising market. In fact, it dominates both categories, overshadowing many of its competitors because of its sheer quality. We dont want to raise to trumpet of praise to much here, but its hard to ignore how well Viking does what it does. Now, we also know that you might be interested in going on a Viking Cruise, but you might be wondering how much a Viking Cruise costs.
If You Miss A Connecting Flight Or Cruise Launch
For travelers who have one or two flights before boarding a cruise, this is a useful benefit. Not every travel insurance plan will cover missed connections. If you are taking a cruise, look for plans that feature it. The missed connection benefit can provide coverage if you miss a connecting flight or launch of a cruise due to a covered reason.
The general rule of thumb when booking your travel plans is to give yourself enough time between each leg of the trip. For instance, if you only allow for a half hour between connecting flights, you may not qualify for coverage. Being aware of the potential weather risks or commonalities for foreign airports could be key in preventing the need for missed connection coverage.
Traveling from the West Coast of the United States to Eastern Europe for a river cruise down the Danube, for instance, will open you up to several different weather patterns. Best case, you fly over all the nasty weather and never get stuck at an airport waiting for runways to be cleared or planes to be de-iced. But best case rarely happens when you are traveling across the world. Travel delays due to unforeseen weather conditions is typically a reason for coverage and could qualify you for missed connection if that occurs as well.
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For The Adventurous Social Traveler: U River Cruises By Uniworld
Uniworld’s U River Cruises is the first river cruise dedicated to millennial travelers, offering immersive experiences and longer stays at each destination, allowing travelers to connect with local people and each citys vibrant nightlife.
Debuting in 2020, Us eight-day, seven-night itineraries will sail to European hot spots such as Vienna, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Amsterdam and up-and-coming destinations such as Bratislava and Belgrade.
In addition to the typical biking and hiking excursions, there are eclectic outings such as a photographer-led tour of Antwerp, a police-led “crime cruise” through the history of Amsterdam’s red-light district and hands-on cooking classes where participants learn to make Serbian barbecue and Belgian chocolates.
New offerings on the sailings include added overnight stays, complimentary happy hour every night for guests to socialize and even more active excursions.
Price: Rates for the Eastern Europe Escape itinerary begin at $1,959 per person and include three daily meals, select shore excursions, daily happy hour drinks, complimentary WiFi and classes. The cruise, which begins in Vienna, makes stops in the Slovakian capital of Bratislava, the Hungarian cities of Budapest and Mohács and the Serbian cities of Novisad and Belgrade.
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Whats Included In The Price Of A River Cruise
Lets take a standard 7 night river cruise as an example – with a leading river cruise operator such as Emerald Waterways, Avalon Waterways or AmaWaterways.
Within the up-front price of the river cruise the following will be included
7 nights luxurious accommodation with excellent amenities such as bathrobes, hotel style bathroom amenities, daily bottled water, flat screen television, daily housekeeping and more! The lowest fare stateroom may be that with only a window but check with one of our cruise experts because it depends on the ship some ships have nothing less than a floor-to-ceiling window!
All meals onboard- Every river cruise will include breakfast, lunch and dinner daily!- Dining on board is superb and restaurant staff are brilliant
Complimentary drinks – usually with lunch & dinner- Most river cruise operators offer complimentary beer, wine and soft drinks with lunch and dinner- PLUS unlimited speciality coffees and tea 24 hours a day – There are some more inclusive river cruise operators who offer drinks at all times – and there are a couple of who do not include any drinks.
Shore excursions- At almost each and every port of call a complimentary shore excursion will be arranged & run by an expert/local English speaking guide- Many excursions include visits to UNESCO world heritage sites- To maximise your experience most river cruise operators also provide an audio headset which enables you to listen to your guide very easily!
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Popular Europe River Cruise Ports
Sail down the Danube to cities like Vienna and Budapest, or through the Iberian Peninsula to Spain and Portugal. Europe’s waterways are seemingly endless, and rivers cruises reach almost all corners of the continent. These are a few destinations you can visit on a European River Cruise:
- Budapest, Hungary: Hungary’s capital is a political and cultural hub filled with intricate architecture, relaxing hot springs, centuries-old history and delicious food. Stroll through Trinity Square or Memento Park, and visit the 13th-century Matthias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, and the Thermae Maiores Baths Museum.
- Berlin, Germany: With famous historical landmarks like remnants of the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate melding with new-age art, music festivals and modern landmarks like the Berliner Philharmonie, Berlin is a colorful city that will appeal to any traveler’s appetite.
- Lyon, France: Lyon’s colorful, waterside buildings, majestic churches and iconic churches will draw you in from the moment your cruise nears its port. While in France’s third-largest city, make sure to see the Musee des Beaux-Arts, the Opera de Lyon, and the panoramic Parc de La Cerisaie garden.
Nile River Cruise Prices
Nile River cruise prices aren’t cheap on average, they’re $500 per person, per night. But they offer up a good mix of itineraries — three-, four- and six-night river cruises with as many as six nights in Cairo. Some of the lines also sail on Lake Nasser. Peak demand is between October and early January, with the shoulder season spanning from mid-January through early April. The low — and hottest — season is between May and the end of September. The variance in pricing between high and low seasons can be as much as 25 percent, though prices have been at historic lows as many lines look to entice travelers back to the Nile.
The good news: The price of airfare to Egypt tends to stay pretty stable, even when purchased last minute. Otherwise, plan to travel in low season or at the end of the shoulder. What to watch out for: Many of the tours include domestic flights, which are an extra cost. Egypt also requires a visa, which can be obtained at the Cairo airport upon arrival for $25. Flights from the U.S. to Egypt aren’t as frequent or as convenient as flights to Europe, but theycan be cheaper. Round trip fares start at around $700 from the Midwest and East Coast and $900 from the West Coast.