Discover Must Do Experiences And Highlights On A Europe River Cruise
Ballet in St Petersburg
Enjoy a private Russian ballet concert at the Palace of Prince Vladimir after your tour of the stunning white and gold Catherines Palace in St Petersburg.
The Reds of Bordeaux
Take a cycling trip to explore the picturesque Medoc region, stopping to taste the local reds from the finest French region for red wine.
Experience a Quinta
Take the chance to spend a relaxing day at a traditional vineyard in Portugal tasting the Port wine for which the region is famous.
Castles by the Rhine Gorge
Head to the sundeck as you leave Rudesheim and enters the narrows of the World Heritage-listed Rhine Gorge. Spot the 40 castles and fortresses atop the high cliffs as you glide toward Koblenz.
The Lights of Budapest
Feel romance on the Danube as you set sail from Budapest en route to Amsterdam, farewelled by the golden lights that lace the Parliament Building on the riverbank. A magical moment on your European river cruise.
Our Featured European River Cruises
Every A-ROSA river cruise includes
A wide choice of UK airports Stylish river cruise ships with excellent facilities Free Wi-Fi on board Wonderful itineraries with included excursions An excellent choice of optional excursions Gourmet buffet dining with a wide choice of menus A drinks package including non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks
- An overnight stay and included guided tour in Vienna
- A morning call in Hungary’s Esztergom
- Cruise upstream to Mainz and enjoy a walking tour
- An overnight stay close to Strasbourg
- An overnight stay in Rouen
- Included tour to Honfleur and Deauville on the Normandy coast from Caudebec-en-Caux
- Sailing north into the Saone to Macon and Chalon
- Overnight stays in Lyon and Avignon
- Included guided tour of Avignon
- Sail south through the UNESCO-listed Rhine Gorge from Cologne
- A call in Mannheim
- Strasbourg, home to France’s oldest Christmas Market
- Flights Included
- Cruise through the scenic Wachau Valley
- An overnight stay in Vienna, and an included city tour
- Flights Included
- We’ll help you book your dream holiday
Saga Flowers Of Floriade And Keukenhof
Like the sound of cruising the Dutch waterways to witness Europe in bloom?
The Floriade Expo in the Netherlands takes place once every 10 years, and this summer, new ship Spirit of the Rhine will visit the Expo, along with Meise Botanic Gardens and Keukenhof Gardens.
Not only that, celebrity cruise guest, horticulturist Pippa Greenwood will be on board to host talks on the topic.
The ship features a panoramic lounge and bar, fitness area, shaded sun deck with hot tub and barbecue, and spacious cabins, some with floor-to-ceiling picture windows.
Departing Amsterdam on 14 May 2022, prices start at $2,916pp / £2,149pp for 10 nights and include a complimentary door-to-door chauffeur service, flights or standard class rail/coach travel, three included excursions, gratuities, travel insurance, WiFi, welcome drinks and Captains Dinner.
To find out more and to book visit Saga Travel or call 0808 258 2031.
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European River Cruises Tips
- Choose from the delightful Danube for cultural immersion, the relaxing Rhine for an enchanting adventure or the stunning Seine for an intimate tour of Paris, there are many possibilities to ensure that you have the best river cruise experience.
- Get up at least once to watch the sunrise! Remember to wear warm clothes as it can be chilly as the mist rises up from the river and the sun peeks over the hills to wake up all the birds along the banks.
- It would be a crime not to sample the delicious flavours on your cruise ship! Indulge in a sweet stroopwafel in Amsterdam, a tasty trdelník in Prague, or a mouthwatering macaron in France.
- There is a wide range of cruises to choose from. Lueftner, Regina, or Nicko offer cheap and cheerful comfort cruises, or if you like living the life of luxury, AmaWaterways, Scenic and APT are for you!
- Make the most out of your river cruise by bringing some binoculars. They will help you zoom in on those fairytale castles scattered throughout the landscape. If you forget, the boat might have extras.
- Dont hesitate! European summer is prime-time for cruising so make sure you grab our last-minute 2019 deals so you can spend your days cruising on tranquil waters. Its pure bliss!
Best River Cruises In Europe 2022/2023
Explore the waterways of Europe from the Danube to the Douro on one of these European river cruises.
Reap the benefits of travelling at a pace and in a style that only a cruise can offer. Relax and watch the world go by as you gently drift down beautiful rivers through Europes finest countryside. Wake up in a new place every day and explore top tourist destinations on a choice of optional or included excursions. You may even choose to celebrate Christmas or New Year aboard.
Browse the selection of fantastic European river cruises from our trusted partners and choose your perfect cruise today.
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Explore France Germany And More On These European River Cruises
Much of the appeal of European river cruises, especially as we emerge from the pandemic with pent-up travel demand, is the small size of the ships, casual atmosphere, and accessibility. Unlike oceangoing ships that carry as many as 5,000 passengers, most river cruise ships accommodate around 150 guests, for a more intimate experience. Balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and open-air viewing are features of most river cruise ships, and some offer pools, spas, fitness areas, and jogging tracks.
Guests are kept busy with daily shore excursions, and most cruises offer several options depending on interests and activity levels. Bikes and walking tours are available in most ports, or guests can choose a leisurely day in a comfortable lounge enjoying the passing scenery.
“River cruises offer opportunities to step ashore in fairy-tale towns and fabled cities. You can immerse yourself in contemporary culture and learn something about the history of the towns along the continent’s greatest rivers,” according to Ralph Grizzle of River Cruise Advisor. “Sitting on the top deck of a ship under brilliant blue skies, you can gaze on fabled landscapes dotted with castles, villages, and vineyards. A flight of stairs down, and you have all the amenities of a modern hotelrestaurants, bars, fitness facilities, spas, internet access, and comfortable staterooms.”
The Best River Cruises Blend Refined Onboard Accommodations With Exciting Itineraries Along Some Of The Worlds Most Memorable Waterways
After pandemic-related challenges at the beginning of last year, river ships got back to what they do best: exploring inland waterways in Europe, the United States, and select other destinations around the world. Travel + Leisure readers enthusiastically returned, setting out on voyages both classic and new.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in six categories, including river cruising.
The top three in the river cruise lines were very close in their scores. Viking, the world’s largest river cruise company, moved up two spots into the lead position. Tauck, the well-known tour and river-ship operator, retained its No. 2 spot. “The itinerary was thoughtful as well as instructive,” wrote one reader who traveled on the Joy. In the No. 3 spot is Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, with praise that included this rave from one voter who sailed on the : “This was an exceptional cruise. The staff was excellent. I can’t say enough about this cruise line and this ship.”
Find the full list of the best river cruise lines and more on what sets Viking apart below.
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Europe River Cruise Collection
Join us on a 5-star river cruise on the enchanting waterways of Europe departing before 30 June 2023 and take advantage of our exclusive Second Guest Sails Free* offer. Explore the spectacular Rhine, Main & Danube Rivers, the Douro in Portugal or the rivers of France and experience our truly all-inclusive philosophy on board our fleet of exquisite Space-Ships that are akin to a boutique hotel. This unprecedented special saving is applicable to the cruise element only, when you pay in full at the time of booking. Charges for flights, taxes, port charges and hotels apply for both guests. To take advantage, book by 30 August.
Best River Cruises In Europe
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River cruising in Europe is one of those delightfully slow and easy modes of travel. You are on a small floating hotel, exploring calm inland waters, gliding past castles and vineyards and scenery that changes by the hour. Daily escorted walking tours and other excursions, provided by the river line, get you to key UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other city and village attractions youve come to see. Or you can choose to explore on your own, which is easy since your ship often will dock right in town.
Lazy afternoons on the ship afford time to sit in a lounge chair and watch the world go by kids swimming from the riverbanks, farmers tending their crops, river birds flapping their wings as you glide to your next destination.
But which European river should you explore? The choices are broader than you may expect.
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Here are some of our favorite places to river cruise:
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Enriching Encounters Wherever You Choose To Travel
Curating extraordinary encounters on the worlds finest rivers is what we do best at Scenic. Our team of expert Journey Designers are tasked with sourcing stimulating cultural events on every luxury river cruise itinerary we offer, helping to elevate your river cruise experience from ordinary to extraordinary.
Wherever you choose to travel with Scenic, your river cruise will be complemented by a collection of all-inclusive activity programmes, including Freechoice and Enrich. These special excursions give you unprecedented access to once-in-a-lifetime events from classical music performances in historic European palaces to unforgettable sight-seeing adventures in the Mekong Delta.
As a Scenic river cruise guest, youll also benefit from the use of a Tailormade self-guided GPS device, which comes complete with an interactive map and commentary guide. Scenic Tailormade is designed to add genuine flexibility to your journey, so that each special moment can be tailored to your personal travel preferences.
Our Range Of River Cruise Tours
Explore Europes variety of celebrated rivers aboard Sagas luxurious river cruise ships. Enjoy the views, relax in your spacious cabin and experience high levels of service as you cruise.
Step aboard our very own Saga river cruise ships
Designed exclusively for our guests, both ships offer boutique cruise luxury along with the highest standards of service and unbeatable value on Europes rivers.
Sagas Price Promise
Book early and you can enjoy the best choice of cabins and departure dates. If we reduce the price of your cruise after youve booked, our Price Promise means well give you the value of the difference back. Find out more.
VIP service right from your front door
Every Saga river cruise includes our VIP door-to-door travel service to help you have a smooth start and finish to your journey.
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Viking Cruises Paris & The Heart Of Normandy
Take it from us the Seine is one of the most beautiful European rivers to cruise on, and this eight-day cruise celebrates history, art and food in both the best foodie cities in France and pastoral settings.
In Giverny, youll have the opportunity to visit one of the world’s most beautiful gardens and a charming farmhouse where Claude Monet lived and worked it’s the setting that inspired many of his masterpieces.
Youll trace the footsteps of Joan of Arc in Rouen, and visit Normandys American Military Cemetery and the World War II beaches. Youll also get to sample Normandy cuisine back on board one of Vikings new 168 guest longships, which dock at Vikings exclusive location a few steps from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Departing Paris in May 2022, prices start at $4,810pp / £3,545pp and include return flights to select UK airports, a standard stateroom, six guided tours, meals including wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, WiFi and gratuities.
To find out more and to book visit Viking Cruises or call 0800 319 66 60.
Advice From Industry Experts
So whats a travel advisor to do?
Hang in there, says AmaWaterways president and co-founder Rudi Schreiner, who told TRO he is carefully monitoring the situation on the Rhine.
I have been on our ships on the Danube and Rhine these past two weeks, and I can confidently say that our guests are very happy to be back cruising on these rivers and are confident that well take care of them even if an unforeseen event like low water suddenly requires some modification to an itinerary. They know they will still have a wonderful vacation, he said.
Travel advisors should reassure their clients that, with 20 years of experience and ships with the lowest draft on rivers, AmaWaterways has comprehensive plans in place should the water levels affect the ability for us to sail on any portions of the rivers. Our top priority is for guests to have a safe and memorable, once-in-a-lifetime experience that theyve been patiently waiting two years for!
There is a huge pent-up demand to travel internationally this summer and fall with travelers better prepared, leading to more patience when it comes to adjusting to unforeseen hiccups. Were seeing a lot of last-minute bookings from travelers reserving their river cruise vacations as close as two weeks before their embarkation dates.
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How To Choose The Right European River Cruise For You
Whichever river you’re cruising on, the ports are the key attraction, so prepare to pack in a lot of sightseeing! Ships usually dock close to landmark cities and towns, so in most cases you can simply walk to places of interest or join a tour.
But with so much choice, how on earth do you narrow it down to ensure you find the right European river cruise for you?
Do you want an active holiday or a more relaxed pace? asks Rupert Thomson, MD of Light Blue Travel. The Rhine or Danube would suit those looking for a busy city stay itinerary with two or more ports of call a day, whereas the Douro offers a more relaxed pace with half or full days dedicated to just cruising.
If youre looking for a themed cruise, Thomson recommends the Rhone for wine, history and culture, or the Seine for a city central, cultural experience.
River ships can be every bit as luxurious as five-star boutique hotels. All cabins include a balcony or window so you can admire the ever-changing scenery from inside the ship. On the newer ships facilities are often first-class, with wellness facilities, smart pools and upscale dining.
Thomson suggests that you consider factors such as food, ship size, whats included and other priorities before booking.
With so many different rivers and destinations, lines, ships and styles, choosing the right European river cruise will take a bit of planning and research, agrees Paul Melinis, managing director of APT.
Tui River Cruises European Icons
Sailing along the Rhine, Main and Danube waterways, this action-packed itinerary takes in five countries over 14 nights and ticks off many of the best European city breaks in one sailing. The 12 ports include Amsterdam, Cologne, Koblenz, Rudesheim, Nuremberg, Passau, Vienna and Budapest.
Youll take in picturesque landscapes, Bavarian towns and buzzing cities with cultural highlights including the architecture of Vienna and Colognes gothic cathedral night owls will also enjoy overnight stays in Amsterdam and Budapest.
New ship TUI Isla features two restaurants and two bars, as well as a top deck for sunbathing, lounging and activities. Accommodation ranges from standard cabins to French Balcony suites and single cabins for solos.
Departing Amsterdam on 8 April 2022, prices start at $2,455pp / £1,810pp, and includes return flights from London Heathrow, transfers, £240 excursion credit, tips and service charges.
To find out more and to book visit TUI River Cruises or call 0203 451 2688.
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Why Cruise The Rivers Of Europe
Viking takes you to the heart of Europe via its grand waterways, providing you with boundless insight into the continents cultural and historic treasures. Immerse yourself in the storybook villages, vibrant cultural centers and picturesque landscapes of The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, France, Hungary and Switzerland, and unlock a whole new world of discovery. Here is a sample of what you will see on one of our European river cruises:
- Visits to Germanys charming wine-producing villages
- Culinary delights in Lyon, France
- Medieval Prague, City of a Thousand Spires
- The elegant boulevards and grand monuments of Paris
- Historic Wittenberg, home to Martin Luther
- Fairytale windmills of The Netherlands
- Wine tastings in the quintas of Portugals Douro Valley
- Budapests regal Parliament building and Chain Bridge
- Viennas inspirational legacy of classical music
- Frances famed wineries in Beaujolais, Bordeaux and beyond
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