Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Which Is The Best River Cruise Company In Europe

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Vantage Deluxe World Travel

6 Best European River Cruise Lines. Which One Is Right For You?

What it is: A tour company with a river cruising arm, Vantage draws passengers primarily from North America and, to a lesser extent, the U.K. The line sails on the Rhine, Danube, Moselle, Seine, Elbe, Douro, Dutch Waterways, Mekong, Yangzte, Amazon, Irrawaddy and Ganges.

Average cost: While fares can vary greatly depending on length of cruise and itinerary, a 16-night cruise on the Main and Danube in June 2019 costs about $313 per person per night.

Inclusions: A Vantage fare includes a daily shore excursion and wine and beer at dinner.

Amenities:Bikes are available for free use. Ships in Europe have small fitness rooms with a treadmill, stationary bike and free weights the line’s newest ship, River Voyager, has a massage room available for treatments.

What to know: Standard cabins are 170 square feet on older vessels, they’re 165 square feet. Vantage also has solo accommodations on each of its ships that are 125 square feet. There’s also a roommate-matching program, and single supplements are often reduced.

Set Sail On A Luxurious Adventure Down Some Of The World’s Greatest Rivers With These European Cruise Companies

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Theres something utterly romantic about exploring Europe by boat.

Whether youre travelling down the Danube through Austria, Hungary and Serbia, where castles and charming towns emerge around every turn, or along the River Rhine through Switzerland, Germany and Amsterdam, where dramatic mountains and heritage canals paint the landscape seeing Europe by river is an experience like no other.

Keen to board the ship and set sail? These are the companies offering river cruises with the most arresting landscapes in Europe.

Best Cruise Lines For European Cruises

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The best cruise lines for european cruises as ranked by verified reviews submitted over the past 12 months. This list is continuously updated as we receive new reviews from our members, so be sure to check back often! Note, a minimum of 40 reviews are required to be part of this list.

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Expect a true British cruising experience aboard comfortable, intimate and inviting vessels. Enjoy traditional formal dining or a more relaxed experience in the buffet restaurant. Stay active at the fitness center, lounge by the pool or work on your golf game. Along with afternoon tea, an internet cafe and evening cabaret productions are just some of the highlights onboard…

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Ship size:196

Crystal Ocean sails to a number of European destinations among its longer around the world sailings which start in Miami and sail through the Panama Canal, Pacific, Australia, Middle East and stop in either London or Rome. These sailings make port stops in Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, England, and France.

Ship size:1031

P& O Cruises is one of the most recognizable names in European cruising. As the oldest cruise line in the world, P& O has established a presence in European destinations that include Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Estonia, British Isles, Italy, Spain, Norway, and of course England.

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58962Ship size:13246563Ship size:

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Uniworld River Cruises Will Give You A Second Shot At Christmas

In 2021, Christmas in July can be a very real thing.

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Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

If youre bummed out about having to skip the big family gathering this Christmas, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has got just the cure for your quarantine holiday blues. Come July 2021, the luxury cruise line will be turning back the clock to give you red, green, and everything thats festive in between with their Christmas in July sailings. Thats right, they are giving everyone the ultimate 2020 gift: a do-over.

During these challenging times, the holidays will undoubtedly look different for many this year, said Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. Were thrilled to launch exclusive Christmas in July sailings, providing a complete holiday do-over for families unable to reunite and something special to look forward to in the new year.

Passengers aboard the special July 11 and July 18 sailings will get to experience a seven-night Christmas-themed itinerary with stops along the Danube at iconic European Christmastime destinations like Budapest, Vienna, and Passauthe same route offered during the traditional holiday season. Sure, you might be wearing bikinis instead of beanies, but itll still look a lot like Christmas, at least on board.

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.

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European River Cruises Reviews

  • “We took a Danube tour in Aug 2017 and had a fantastic time! Great staff, well organized,…”

    The Beautiful Blue Danube

  • “We loved the overall itinerary, initial start times & pace of tours. The staff was…”

    Captivating Rhine 2022

  • “The staff were excellent! All very hard-working, polite, very attentive – always…”

    The beautiful blue Danube from Passau to Budapest

Best Douro River Cruises

Sharing the water with traditional, flat-bottomed Rabelo boats, youll peacefully glide along aboard the ms Andorinha, Taucks newest riverboat purpose-built for the Douro. Explore the historic villages towering above the rivers banks from coastal Porto to the Spanish border and drink in the quintas that produce the regions venerable Port wine on the Douro River Cruise that speaks to you.

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Viking River Cruises Review

Great Destinations and Itineraries |

Getting its start in 1997, Viking River Cruises was among the first lines to set the standard for river cruising. The company has since built a strong reputation along with a large fleet of river-sailing longships, serving plenty of dates and destinations along the rivers of Europe, Russia, China, Egypt and Southeast Asia. The longships are made to be space-efficient and modern in design, accommodating 190 guests without feeling cramped.

Viking Longboat

Viking River Cruises start off at around $1,800 for 2019 and serve so many destinations throughout the year that new river cruise customers favor this company. If you are looking for an excursion with cultural and historical experiences, Viking has a proprietary Culture Curriculum featuring showcases for musicians and dancers, lectures and intellectual talks, or cooking lessons in the cuisine of the region, and other added onboard enrichment sessions. Onshore walking tours, lectures and experiences are also offered, although may come with an additional fee.

Viking River Cruises rate a 4.8 on a five-star scale. We found some complaints about spotty Wi-Fi access, small rooms and the crew being very busy. However, the overall opinion is that Viking offers quality excursions and the staff is very accommodating.

Is Portside Better Than Starboard

Viking European River Cruises – 6 Key Must-Knows Before You Go

Which side of a cruise ship is better? Theres nothing inherently better about either the port side or the starboard side of a cruise ship. But if youre sailing in a balcony or veranda stateroom, you might want to choose to stay on a specific side of the ship based on the direction of your itinerary.

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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.

Apt Luxury River Cruises Review Which Recommended Provider

Like Scenic, APT is another Australian river cruise company offering luxury river cruises in Europe and Asia. But in addition to the luxury cruises, APT also has an essential cruising tier for those wanting to see the sites for a little less expense. It didn’t rate poorly in a single part of our survey, but customer service and the quality of food on offer are really where it really stands out.

, or read our full APT Luxury River Cruises review for more information.

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River Cruises In Vietnam Cambodia

See temples, water buffalo working in rice paddies, floating fish markets and local villages when you cruise on the Mekong River, which flows through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

The newest Mekong River ship is Uniworlds gorgeous 68-passenger Mekong Jewel, which launched in January, 2020. The all-suite ship has a pool plus two restaurants .

Later in 2021, the new 80-guest Viking Saigon is slated to debut.

From Viking River Cruises, she was purpose built for the Mekong River.

How Do I Get The Best Deal On A Viking River Cruise

Best European River Cruise Company

Here are nine tips to help you get the best value out of your river cruise:

  • Book early for selection or book late for discounts.
  • Ask questions about whats included.
  • Consider opting for a French balcony for more space.
  • Compare apples to apples.
  • You can save by booking a lower deck cabin.
  • Organize a group and save.
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    European River Cruise Faqs

    Why should I choose a river cruise?DouroSeineRhoneRhineDanubeMainMoselle What should I look for on a riverboat?Should I get a room with a balcony?What is dining like?Do river cruises ever visit destinations that aren’t on the river?Will my vessel have WiFi?What kind of power outlets are there? Will I need a converter?How can I save money on a river cruise?Deals & PromotionsAre European River cruises a good family vacation?Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel on European River cruises?current European visa requirements

    Best River Cruise Companies Overview

    With the average price of a European cruise coming in just shy of £280 per night, river cruising might not look like a budget holiday. But factor in food, drinks and daily excursions, which are all typically included as standard, and the figures start to sound more reasonable.

    Take Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, top of our annual river cruise survey. It promises an all-inclusive experience, so you wont face any on-board surprises. Plus, youll get free beer and wine with lunch and dinner, as you do with Emerald Waterways, APT Luxury River Cruises and Viking River Cruises, three of our other Which? Recommended Providers this year.

    Of course, you wont find the range of on-board facilities of the vast ocean liners, but then you wont be spending whole days at sea either. River cruises get you straight to city centres so theres more time for sightseeing and excursions. That said, with nearly all meals taken on board and usually only one dining option youll want to be sure the food and drink pass muster.

    In the table below, we show the results from our annual river cruise survey. Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours remained top of our table for the second year running with impressive customer service scores. Its sister company Emerald Waterways came joint second with APT Luxury River Cruises, Viking River Cruises was rated fourth, while Riviera Travel came fifth. All five brands received our Which? Recommended Provider Rating.


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    Staterooms Size/views On The Amamagna

    Since this ship is so unique, here is the size and number of 96 staterooms by category for comparison purposes:

    1 Owners Suite 710 sq feet with balcony

    6 Grand Suites 474 sq feet with balconies

    46 Suites Category SA & SB 355 sq feet with balconies

    34 Category AA & AB 252 sq feet with balconies

    11 Category D & E 205 sq feet with fixed windows

    Concluding Thoughts On River Cruises

    9 Best River Cruises In The World

    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.

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    Frequently Asked Questions About River Cruises

    What is river cruising?

    Its a form of leisure boat travel along inland waterways most popularly along the worlds major rivers, including the Mississippi, Danube, Rhine, Volga and Yangtze. River cruise boats are smaller than ocean liners to maneuver smaller waterways and can carry up to 250 guests. This reduced capacity makes the whole experience of river cruising more intimate than typical ocean cruising.

    Are river ships different from other cruise ships?

    River ships are much smaller in size compared to giant ocean liners, so they cater to fewer guests. It is easier to get to know some of the other travelers on a river ship. Also, because rivers are shallow, river cruises tend to be smoother sailing than ocean liners.

    How long does a typical river cruise last?

    River cruises are typically just over a week in length and include several port stops during each passage. Instead of spending many days at sea, you will spend less time sailing on a river cruise and can expect to awaken each day in a new port.

    What are some amenities found on river cruises?

    Ocean liners often sail with amenities such as pools, fitness centers, casinos, entertainment venues and so on. River ships tend to have fewer onboard amenities and instead offer educational, cultural or culinary experiences to keep things lively on board.

    What can I expect a river cruise to include?

    Whats the best season for a river cruise?

    What should I pack for a river cruise?

    What type of person enjoys a river cruise?

    Video Reviews Of The Rivers

    Video Review

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    Best Danube River Cruises

    Waltzing its way from Germany’s storied Black Forest and through ten countries in Europe before spilling into the Black Sea, the Danube River has inspired countless artists, writers and composers with its stunning power and beauty. Discover the best Danube River Cruises for you from the always-popular Blue Danube to the ever-sophisticated Royal Danube, Berlin & Krakow.

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    The best European river cruises for families

    May 23, 2019 Viking River cruises are an excellent option for retirees who want an intimate journey to smaller ports throughout the world. Guests can choose from itineraries that include exclusive destinations larger cruise ships typically cannot access, such as UNESCO world heritage sites and smaller, riverside towns throughout France, Russia, Austria, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Asia, and Egypt.

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    What To Know Before Buying A River Cruise

    A river cruise is just what it sounds like, a smaller-scale cruise along inland waterways throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam and many other locations. Sailing along narrow waterways means stopping at more destinations than you would on a typical ocean cruise, with easier docking and more picturesque shoreline views along the way. River cruises can be a great way to cover a lot of ground in Europe and Asia.

    If you prefer to stay closer to home, there are abundant offerings for U.S. river cruises along the Mississippi, Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon and Washington, and Alaskan river cruises.

    What has propelled the boom in river cruises are the unique cultural, historical and culinary themes offered by many river cruise lines. Some river cruises focus on wine or art from a region, others on cooking or cultural lessons.

    Set Sail On A Luxurious Adventure Through Some Of The World’s Greatest Rivers With These European Cruise Companies

    Theres something utterly romantic about exploring Europe by boat. Whether youre travelling down the Danube through Austria, Hungary and Serbia where castles and charming towns emerge around every turn, or along the River Rhine through Switzerland, Germany and Amsterdam where dramatic mountains and heritage canals paint the landscape seeing Europe by river is an experience like no other.

    Keen to board ship and set sail? These are the companies offering river cruises with the most arresting landscapes in Europe. Where will you go?

    Top 7 European River Cruise Companies

  • U River Cruises
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