One Of The Best European River Cruises
No, its not a Danube River cruise. Or a Rhine River cruise. Or even a Douro River cruise in Portugal.
Its a Seine River cruise in Normandy, France.
Lets travel back in time to France. The year is 1883.
Claude Monet was clickety-clacking on a train through the quaint village of Giverny when he spotted a charming two-storey house through the window. He instantly fell in love with its pink crushed-brick façade and jaunty green shutters and moved in.
Here he gardened and painted, and in time created his celebrated water-garden. It served as the inspiration for his series of masterpiece Impressionist paintings on water lilies.
For some 40 years , Monet continued to live and paint in this enchanting little slice of Normandy.
Monet picked well.
We too were enchanted by Giverny when cruising the Seine River one of the best river cruises in the world for a destination-rich itinerary.
The Top 10 River Cruise Lines
This years Worlds Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this years honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
The past year put the entire travel industry through the wringer, perhaps no segment more so than cruising. Though the pandemic forced ships around the world to remain in port, readers nevertheless looked back fondly on their times at sea while ranking the worlds top 10 river cruise lines for Travel + Leisures Worlds Best Awards.
Every year for our Worlds 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 five categories, including river cruising.
Rainer Witzgall/Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
Find the rest of the list and what other qualities set Uniworld apart below.
Seven Seas Explorer Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Passenger-to-Crew Ratio: 750 to 542
About the Ship: When luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises launched the palatial Seven Seas Explorer in July 2016, it told the world that she was the “most luxurious ship ever built.” As the flagship for the line, Explorer exemplifies the hallmarks of exquisite cuisine and the super all-inclusivity that Regent is known for. If you’re looking for extraordinary accommodations at sea, look no further than this ship. All cabins are suites, and if you love balconies, Seven Seas Explorer features some of the largest in the industry, ranging from 55 to 995 square feet. Likewise, the public spaces are stunning. The ship features an enormous amount of granite and marble plus almost 500 chandeliers made of Czech crystal and glass. Art lovers will enjoy the 2,500 pieces of art displayed throughout the vessel, including some specially commissioned paintings by Spanish artist Eduardo Arranz-Bravo and works by masters such as Picasso.
For foodies, all you need to know is that each restaurant excels. The two main restaurants are Compass Rose and La Veranda/Sette Mari. La Veranda is the buffet option for breakfast and lunch, and then the space transforms to Sette Mari in the evening, offering a hybrid experience that includes a buffet as well as an a la carte menu. There are also three complimentary specialty restaurants: the Pan-Asian-style Pacific Rim Chartreuse, which has a French flair and the line’s signature steakhouse, Prime 7.
Don’t Miss: What Cruise Lines Depart From New York City
# Here Is The Top 10 Most Luxurious Cruise Ships In The World In 2021
River Cruises Are An Incredible Vacation Experience Here Are The Best Of The Best As Voted By Porthole Cruise Readers
Far from the 20-story behemoths sailing the seven seas, river cruise ships offer a cruise vacation full of relaxation, enrichment and discovery. Many cruisers prefer the slower pace, focus on high-end amenities and impeccable service that comes with a river cruise. Porthole Cruise readers in particular have strong opinions about the best river cruise lines, and their firsthand knowledge of the different lines, ships and rivers is second to none!
Heres our list of the top five river cruise lines based on our annual Readers Choice Awards. Click on the link below to jump to each section!
You May Like: What Jobs Are Available On Cruise Ships
What Is The Food Like On A Crystal River Cruise
You can expect Michelin-inspired cuisine and enriching excursions – Crystal Destination Discoveries, Signature Events and extended journeys. There is of course, a spa and luxury indoor pool with a river view.
We were recently given a tour of Crystal Bach and were impressed by the level of understated opulence. Every whim of each guest is catered for seamlessly it would seem by the highly professional team onboard. Definitely a refined experience.
Best Yacht Cruise: Seadream Yacht Club
SeaDream Yacht Club
For a yachting experience, SeaDream Yacht Club operates two ships carrying from 94 to 112 guests to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Transatlantic crossings plus dedicated wine-themed voyages. In addition, a third yacht, the Seadream Innovation, is planned to complete in 2021 with three marinas and wave runners, sailboats, and kayaks. Suites feature gorgeous wood furnishings, soaking tubs, living and dining areas, flat screen televisions, and 24-hour room service. For active adults, theres a golf simulator, mountain bikes , water skiing, and snorkel gear. Enjoy a movie under the stars or relax in the Balinese spa. All meals, beverages, and gratuities are also included in the fare.
Recommended Reading: Celebrity Edge Itinerary
The Best Luxury River Cruises
| June 19 2019
For those who think ocean cruises are the only option, there are plenty of luxury river cruises that allow you to explore smaller cities along rivers such as the Nile, Danube and Rhine. Oftentimes, the ships are far smaller meaning that there are less people onboard and more intimate experiences to be had. Read on for the best luxury cruises in the world.
Adventures By Disney River Cruise
Typical starting price: $4,599 for 7 days
Where they sail: Danube, Rhine, Seine
Duration: 8 days
Specialty cruises: Danube Christmas markets, Oktoberfest, Rhine food and wine, Seine National Geographic photography
Amenities : High-speed Wi-Fi, gym, sun-deck, walking track, bikes for shore use, pool or whirlpool, fitness classes, salon, massage
Inclusions: All meals, unlimited beverages , daily excursions, all gratuities onboard and at restaurants, daily cocktail hour, select meals off the ship during excursions, onboard entertainment
Pros: Adventures by Disney guides add a wonderful touch to each journey with storytelling, educational information, and goes above and beyond to ensure every guest has a great time.
Cons: The ships aren’t “Imagineered.” In other words, if you are used to the added magic that occurs on a Disney Cruise Line, you won’t find that here.
Adventures by Disney, the guided, family vacation arm of the Walt Disney Company, offers unique journeys sprinkled with signature Disney magic. Each day, you’ll receive an enamel pin reflecting the day’s adventure such as Mickey dressed as Mozart or Donald cooking goulash.
The Adventures by Disney river cruises are designed for families, and their itineraries, both onboard and onshore, have something for every age group. Kids love the Junior Adventurer dinners or Disney movie nights, and there is also a Just Teens program with dinners and separate tour groups at various destinations.
Also Check: Cruises Out Of Norfolk
Why Choose A Luxury River Cruise
River cruises fully immerse you in the culture and ports of some of the worlds most spectacular destinations. On-board stunning small ships, river cruises sail to both far-flung and iconic waterways that ocean cruise ships simply cant reach, offering classic nautical discovery and a more intimate travel experience. You will be lulled into complete relaxation enjoying butler service with Scenic, in-suite hors doeuvres with Crystal Cruises, and even more luxurious facilities packaged with all-inclusive meals, drinks, transfers and excursions. Combined with deluxe décor and sumptuous styling, you will want for absolutely nothing.
Why Is River Ship Length Important
One of the real subtle differences in river cruising is what the cruise line has on board their ships.
For accommodations, this includes # of passenger cabins, what is in the cabin & views from the cabin.
Unlike Ocean Cruising, there are no inside cabins, but there is a significant difference in window size & balconies.
On board facilities & equipment is another factor that should be considered.
Recommended Reading: Norwegian Cruise Lines New York City
What Is The Best Cruise Line For Mediterranean
Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean#1. Seabourn Cruise Line. #1 in Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean. #2. Crystal Cruises. #2 in Best Cruise Lines in the Mediterranean. #3. Viking Ocean Cruises. #4. Azamara Club Cruises. #5. Oceania Cruises. #6. Celebrity Cruises. #7. Regent Seven Seas Cruises. #8. Royal Caribbean International.More items
The cheapest river cruise line is often CroisiEurope.
However, this is because CroisiEurope is one of the few river cruise lines which dont always include flights in their pricing.
So, if you see a cheap deal, be careful to check if flights are included or not, as this could make a huge difference..
Best Modern Cruise: U River Cruises
Courtesy of U by Uniworld
- Ship Name: The A
- Itinerary: Haarlem, Netherlands Düsseldorf, Germany Cologne, Germany Koblenz, Germany Rüdesheim Germany Frankfurt Germany
Geared towards millennials, U River Cruises takes a hip approach to river cruising, with modern, stylish ships featuring chic rooftop lounges with ice bars and fabulous, trend-setting dining venues. Theres also yoga, paint and wine classes, and themed cruises that bring special guests onboard, ranging from celebrity drag queens to famous tattoo artists. On the 120-pasenger A ship, cabins include adjustable mood lighting, USB ports, built-in Bluetooth speakers, and luxurious baths with heated mirrors and plush bathrobes. Plus, theres dedicated rooms for solo travelers or groups of three. On the Rolling on the Rhine cruise, the ship stays late in port, with night excursions in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, and others included in the fare.
Recommended Reading: What Cruise Lines Depart From Norfolk Va
The Seven Seas Explorer
Passenger Fare: $2,999 Per PersonManufacturer: Genova, Sestri Ponente, FincantieriOwner: Norwegian Cruise Line HoldingsOperator: Regent Seven Seas CruisesSize:length of 732ft, beam of 102ft and a maximum draft of 23ft.Built Cost: $450 Million USDLaunched: 30 October 2015
Passenger cabins: 377 Crew cabins: 325Dining: 2 for lunch restaurants and 6 for dinner and a steakhouseBalcony Features: 55 to 995 square feetArt: 2500 pieces throughout the vesselFood: buffet along with hybrid experiencePort of Registry: Marshall Islands, MajuroSponsors: princess of Monaco, CharleneChristened: on July 13, 2016Status: in service always
You may know: Most Luxurious Hobbies in the World
This Explorer-Class cruise shipwas launched in July 2016 by Regent Seven Seas Cruises which is a supplement ofNorwegian Cruise Line Holdings. It has a capacity of carrying 750 passengerswith 552 crewmembers. Seven Seas Explorer is all inclusive. A room withthe convenience of having a spacious veranda is always wanted by anybody. Again,a sublime opportunity to taste the menu of high rate restaurants and summertimeactivities chances for the teenagers are some of the greatest luxurioussegments of this ship. This luxurious shipâs next cruise has already startedits journey from Miami on 11 February, 2021. And it will take its last place toMiami again by giving a round trip to its previous guests.
Concluding Thoughts On River Cruises
Bottom Line:River cruising is a great option for culture-hungry travelers. Pay attention to the travel package details to get the best value for your money.
River cruise lines make researching their adventures fun, with video tours and details to suit the needs of many different types of travelers. Our three river cruise lines, for example, have well over 100 river ships between them and offer destinations around the globe. Consumers who dive into this research and understand the details of the packages they consider will get the most out of the experience. It also helps to get input from friends, family and acquaintances who have taken part in a river cruise experience. Look for feedback on travel websites and customer review forums. Finally, working with a travel agent can help you understand your options, and get you started on the voyage thats right for you.
Medium Ship Line #: P& o Cruises
The British line P& O Cruises is the oldest in the world, established in 1837 to ferry mail and passengers between the United Kingdom and the Iberian Peninsula, but it began to offer leisure operationsthe very first cruises as we know themas early as 1844. The ships cater to a primarily British audience, and they provide good value for a classic cruising experience. Guests enjoy traditional activities like shuffleboard, dance classes, and pub quizzes. The ships typically sail in Europe, though they do have ports of call in Asia and the Middle East.
River Ship Line #: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworlds 17 ships cruise around the globe in Europe, Egypt, Russia, China, India, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Their excursions offer passengers the opportunity to get a little closer to their destinations of choice, with visits to local homes, farms, and artisans, and every excursion is rated by ability level. In 2018, two of its ships were overhauled for a new venture, U River Cruises, with itineraries, dining, and activities that appeal to younger prospective passengersthink silent disco, mixology classes, and rooftop camping.
Read Also: Who Cruises Out Of Charleston Sc
American Queen Steamboat Company
With two paddle-wheelers sailing the Mississippi, one on the rivers of Americas Pacific Northwest and a new ship coming to the Deep South in 2020, any of these authentic vessels will take you transport you to the era of Mark Twains Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
The flagship American Queen is the largest steamboat ever built and despite her modern plumbing and amenities has retained the highly polished wood and brass décor of a Victorian riverboat. Theres a large collection in the Mark Twain Gallery library and a two-deck Grand Saloon that stages high-energy cabarets with ragtime, bluegrass and good old rock n roll in the Engine Room Bar.
American Queen and American Duchess sail the Upper and Lower Mississippi, with plenty of music-inspired excursions in New Orleans and Memphis, plus tours of the antebellum mansions that line the river. Tales of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone are brought to life along the rivers of the Cumberland and Tennessee, while American Empress has a unique collection of Gold Rush and Native Alaska artefacts on show as it sails along the Columbia and Snake rivers out west.
WOW factor: The Elvis Presley peanut butter and banana waffles.
*A 16-day Journey on the Mighty Mississippi on American Queen from Memphis to New Orleans, departing 4 December, starts from £4,399pp, based on two people sharing .
How Does A River Cruise Work
A river cruise is an all-inclusive journey where you unpack once but visit many destinations. They are smaller than traditional cruise ships and boast more tailored offerings, such as carefully curated cuisine that is reflective of the areas being visited. On all these journeys from the Ganges to the Rhône dining is a big part of the adventure.
River cruise ships dock near city centers, enabling visitors to explore on their own or take advantage of the array of excursions organized by the cruise line, from going on a strenuous hike to touring a castle, or sipping wine at a vineyard. There are a fair amount of UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the itineraries, which are almost always awe-inspiring.
These excursions are all included in the price of the cruise and are considered part of the river experience, although they aren’t included for the sole domestic option on our list, the American Queen Steamboat Company.
You May Like: Best Cruise Lines Out Of Galveston
Oberoi Hotels & Resorts:
Some of the most luxurious Nile cruises are offered by Oberoi Hotels & Resorts.
The Oberoi Zahra river ship has glass showers with full-length view windows and a misting system to keep you cool on the sundeck and outdoor restaurant.
And get this. A fleet of air-conditioned black Mercedes vans shadows the ship onshore. When the ship docks, theyre waiting and ready to whisk you away to see the tombs, temples and 5,000 years of Egyptian history.
Are Gratuities Included On Crystal Cruises
With Crystal Cruises, basic gratuities are included in the cruise fare. As with Azamara, an extra 18% is automatically added for spa and salon services. Theres no obligation to tip anything extra, but staff will always appreciate extra tips in cash if you feel the desire to do so.
What is the dress code on Crystal River Cruises?
Dress Code is Crystal Casual . For your convenience, the recommended dress code for each evening of your cruise is listed in the daily itinerary section of the Priority Checkin & Planning Center accessible at crystalcruises.com.
Read Also: Cruises Only Last Minute Deals