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A cathedral at sunset from the Rhine in Cologne

Rhine River Cruises & Luxury Riverboats

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The Rhine River originates in Switzerland and winds its way through the German heartland, ultimately leading into the North Sea in Amsterdam. A river cruise will acquaint you with the distinct cultures & architecture of the Rhineland of southwestern Germany and other traditional towns, like historic Heidelberg (home to one of the oldest universities in the world) and Cologne (where the impressive Cathedral highlights the Gothic architecture characteristic of Europe's medieval period). Many cruises either start or end in Amsterdam and explore CologneGermany and the castle-lined Rhine Gorge. Some cruises connect with the relaxing Moselle River, while some even sail down the Main River, later connecting with the Danube exploring eastern Europe. Contact us to start planning your dream European river cruise on the Rhine.

10 Best Rhine River Cruises for 2017

Rhine River Cruises (97 Results)
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10 Best Luxury Cruises on the Rhine River

Trip NameFromDaysLevelSummary
The Enchanting Rhine - Cruise Only$26998RelaxedFrom Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, this 8-day voyage of the Rhine & Moselle Rivers aboard the MS Amastella will take you through scenic wine country, where you can visit, hike, and tour the historic towns, museums, and canals of Breisach, Strasbourg, Manheim & Heidelberg, the castles of Rüdesheim, and Koblenz & Cologne.
The Enchanting Rhine 2018 (Wine Themed) - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedThe luxurious MS Amakristina will take you on an 8-day tour from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands, passing through historic Breisach, Strasbourg, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Rüdesheim, and Koblenz along the way. Hiking, wine tasting, and taking a Gondola down the beautiful canals are just a few of the activities available on this tour.
The Enchanting Rhine - From Basel to Amsterdam (Wine Themed) - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedThe MS Amasonata sails from Basel to Amsterdam on this 8-day cruise of the Rhine River. You'll see "La Petite France" district, where Gothic cathedrals and ancient buildings have stood for centuries; a hike up Philosopher's Path shows you a panoramic view of Heidelberg; Strasbourg, Mannheim, Rüdesheim, Breisach, & Koblenz are other destinations.
The Enchanting Rhine - Cruise Only$29998RelaxedJoin the MS Amastella on this exceptional 8-day cruise exploring one of Europe's most important rivers, the Rhine. Discover the enchanting landscapes and famous highlights of this region, including the Gothic & Neo-Renaissance cathedrals, legendary canals, scenic hikes to panoramic viewpoints, and even tours of ancient castles.
Captivating Rhine - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedEmbark the MS Amakristina for an 8-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, exploring the fascinating towns along the Rhine River, including Cologne, Rüdesheim, Mannheim, Strasbourg, and Breisach. Hiking, canal tours, and wine tasting highlight your time in these towns, which also feature stops at ancient castles and Roman ruins.
Captivating Rhine - Cruise Only$24998RelaxedEnjoy a luxurious 8-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel aboard the MS Amaprima as you explore the historic cities and highlights of the Rhine, from Strasbourg's "La Petite France" district to Koblenz & Rüdesheim. You'll also have chances to hike the hills of Heidelberg, pass the famous Rock of Lorelei, and visit ancient ruins, castles, & canals.
The Enchanting Rhine - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedBegin your 8-day cruise in Amsterdam aboard the MS Amaprima and sail the Rhine River to Basel, Switzerland. Guided city tours and wine tasting are optional as you visit the towns of Germany and France along the way, like Strasbourg, Mannheim, Heidelberg, Cologne, and Breisach. Canal tours are another exciting part of this cruise.
The Enchanting Rhine - Cruise Only$27998RelaxedBegin your 8-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland aboard the luxurious MS Amakristina. As you tour the historic towns of France, Germany, and the Netherlands, expert guides will lead you to local wineries, on architectural tours of the Gothic style buildings that highlight the region, and on hikes and canal excursions as well.

10 Best Rhine - Main - Danube River Cruises

Trip NameFromDaysLevelSummary
Medieval Treasures$483914RelaxedStart with three nights in Zurich followed by a 7-night cruise from Basel to Nuremberg, ending with three nights in Prague. Prague is considered one of Europe’s most attractive cities, with a historic city center that’s recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$619915RelaxedBoard the MS Amaprima for an epic 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide. You'll cross from the Netherlands through major German cities like Cologne, Rudesheim, and Nuremberg, to Austria's historic Linz, Melk, & Vienna, and ultimately through Slovakia & Hungary.
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$639915RelaxedEmbark the luxurious MS Amacerto for a truly grand cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide.
Magnificent Europe (Christmas Cruise) - Cruise Only$559915RelaxedEmbark the Amastella for a 15-day cruise visiting Europe's renowned Christmas Markets on the scenic river route from Budapest to Amsterdam. This comprehensive tour crosses from the top destinations of the Danube River through the Main-Danube Canal into the Rhine River, including optional excursions like bike & walking tours and wine tastings.
Magnificent Europe (Christmas Cruise) - Cruise Only$539915RelaxedEmbark the MS Amaserena for a 15-day cruise and visit Europe's renowned Christmas Markets on the scenic river route from Budapest to Amsterdam. With an extensive lineup of included tours, this cruise offers the opportunity to decide how you want to explore.
From Amsterdam to Budapest$522519RelaxedDiscover four amazing countries in this 19-day river cruise voyage aboard the MS La Boheme. Navigate through Holland, Germany, Austria and Hungary's waterways, uncovering the cultural traditions, historic architecture and gastronomic treasures of the Northern Europe.
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$639915RelaxedJoin the MS Amasonata for a truly grand 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide.
Ultimate River Cruise - Cruise Only$599815RelaxedEmbark upon a stunning 15-day luxury river cruise from Luxembourg to Budapest on the MS Amadante, and explore the beauty of the Danube, Main, and Rhine rivers, as you travel through Germany and Austria en route to Hungary. Medieval castle tours, Baroque architecture, hiking & biking are all engaging ways to experience this historic part of Europe.
Ultimate River Cruise$783820RelaxedAfter 3 nights in Paris, embark the Amadante on a stunning 15-day sailing adventure from Luxembourg to Budapest, ending with 2 nights in Budapest. The charming towns, medieval castles, Roman ruins, and stunning variety of Baroque, Neo-classical & modern architecture highlight this journey from France through Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Hungary.

Top Rhine Riverboats

Ship NameCapacityFromSummary
MS Gérard Schmitter176$Watch gorgeous landscapes pass by as you comfortably cruise along the Rhine River aboard the MS Gérard Schmitter, a European ship built in 2012 with …
MS Amastella158$The AmaStella – set to debut in 2016 – is a sister ship to the AmaSerena and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel …
MS Amadante148$Launched in 2008, the MS Amadante is part of the newest, state-of-the-art fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe.
MS La Boheme162$The MS La Boheme sails along the romantic Rhine and blue Danube. Built in 1995 and recently refurbished, the La Boheme is an oasis of comfort as you …
MS Amakristina158$The Amalea, sister ship to the MS AmaKristina, debuts in 2018 and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in operation.
MS Monet154$Discover the unexplored gems of the Rhine and Moselle rivers aboard the MS Monet, a 154-passenger ship, refurbished in 2007. Experience some of the …
MS France159$Experience a unique river cruise voyage on board the MS France, a comfortable ship built in 2001 and renovated in 2010, with the capacity to …
MS Beethoven180$The MS Beethoven navigates through the Danube and Rhine rivers. Built in 2004 and refurbished in 2010, the MS Beethoven is a comfortable and intimate …

Rhine River Cruise Tips & Travel Guide

Major Ports & Towns around the Rhine River
  • Germany: Rudesheim, Koblenz, Breisach, Cologne, Wertheim, Worms and Mannheim
  • Switzerland: Basel
  • The Netherlands: Amsterdam, Xanten, Rotterdam, Utrecht
  • France: Strasbourg, Betschdorf, Soufflenheim, Eguisheim
  • Belgium: Antwerp, Brussels
When should I plan my Rhine River cruise?
Most of our featured cruises are best taken during the summertime. This is when the weather is warm and sunny and the higher temperatures allow you to get the most out of the activities like hiking, biking, and walking city tours. 

The Rhine River does, however, offer a unique opportunity during the month of December: The Christmas Markets along this waterway are a sight to behold and give travelers a unique chance to witness a cultural celebration that has taken place in the region for over 700 years. We do have a broad selection of Christmas Market cruises, which are similar to the cruises throughout the rest of the year with a special emphasis on seeing Christmas markets in each country along the way. 

Other than this, the winter months should generally be avoided unless you are hoping to ski in the Swiss Alps. During this time, Europe's temperatures can be downright cold and the climate can be bitter. All of our featured cruises fall between April and October, with the most popular river cruises during July and August.
Fun Facts about the Rhine River Region
  • The name "Rhine" derives from the from a Celtic word 'Rēnos'.
  • The Rhine River also drains water from Belgium, Luxembourg, and even Italy.
  • The origin of the Rhine is high in the Swiss Alps.
  • The Rhine is a hotbed for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, as featured in many of our cruises.
  • The Christmas Markets are a unique tradition in towns along the Rhine River.
  • Depending on what country you are in, you might see this river called "Rhein" or even "Rijn" based on various translations.
  • It is considered one of the most important trade routes in Europe.

Rhine River Travel Tips

What is the experience aboard a river cruise?
River cruises are a unique experience for even seasoned cruise-goers. While most European cruises stick to the coastal towns of the Mediterranean or even Scandinavia, our hand-picked selection of river cruises sail to the inland cities of Europe. A cruise on the Rhine River allows you to explore central European cities from Germany, Switzerland, and France all the way to Belgium and the Netherlands. Aboard your river vessel, you will find that the first-class accommodations, while not huge, are ample for comfort and feature central air conditioning and heat, standard 220v electricity, and social spaces like lounges, dining areas, and a sun deck from which you can enjoy the scenery as you cruise along. We are also confident in the friendliness of the crew and expertise of the local guides on each of these journeys. River cruises along the Rhine are a distinct way to witness and experience first-hand the culture and traditions that this historic part of Europe has to share. 

How to Choose a Rhine River Cruise

Where to Go?  
If you want to see all that central Europe has to offer, then a Rhine River cruise is the best way to do so. As the main artery from Switzerland, through Germany, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, it offers travelers a scenic journey through some of Europe's most enticing cultural & historic capitals. If you choose a longer cruise that joins the Danube River, then you will also visit eastern European gems like Hungary, Austria, and Romania.
How Long?
While we do offer cruises as short as 4- or 5-days, the most popular itineraries are 7 or 8 days. If you do choose a 4-day itinerary, you will likely visit just one or two destinations on the cruise before departing; these are great extensions to other trips through Europe, but generally don't stand alone as a great value or opportunity to really see & experience Europe. Week-long cruises, on the other hand, are an excellent balance of exploration, adventure, and destinations. Each cruise visits a new destination every day or two, meaning that within a week, you could travel from Amsterdam all the way to the heart of Germany. Our ultimate cruises range from 14- to 20-days and offer a comprehensive way to visit all of the major destinations in the Rhine Valley and perhaps even some stops along the beautiful blue Danube.

On which riverboat?
With close to 30 classic longboats to choose from, the choice might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, most of these vessels offer the same basic amenities and atmosphere - each one has a panoramic sun deck, multiple social lounges, elegant dining areas, and friendly crews. The more luxurious vessels also might feature a pool, spa, gift shop, and fitness room. Since most boats have fixed itineraries, the easiest way to choose a vessel is to decide which cruise best suits your interest and then choose from the few vessels that offer that itinerary. Contact us if you need guidance in selecting the best boat for you. 

What is there to do and see?
The Rhine River cruises are among the most active cruises we feature in Europe, with many diverse and engaging options for you to experience this culturally rich part of the continent. You will have opportunities to visit castles, palaces, and cathedrals that reflect the high points of Baroque, Renaissance, and classical architecture; explore the Roman ruins and archaeological sites dating back thousands of years; taste some of the region's finest wines; stop by quaint local villages; try the beer and pretzels that have made Germany famous; bike and hike through the picturesque mountains and storybook forests; and marvel at the seamless blend of the ancient and modern edifices of the major cities. A December tour will even acquaint you with the unique traditional Christmas markets of central Europe.

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Rhine River FAQs

Why should I choose a river cruise?
River cruises are quickly becoming the hot new way to explore Europe, and the Rhine River is one of the main arteries through central Europe, providing access to some of the most popualr attractions in the region. Once you board your riverboat, you won't have to worry about anything else – unpack your bags and settle into your room for the duration of the excursion and enjoy the various destinations and gourmet cuisine included in the price tag. Some boats even offer free bicycle rentals to explore the towns along the way. 

What should I look for on a riverboat?
Riverboats are a relatively new way to explore the Rhine River, so they haven't quite reached five star status due to space constrictions and limited amenities. However, that doesn't mean that they aren't comfortable, and some of the finer vessels are quite luxurious. You can expect to enjoy incredible views from the panoramic sun deck and get to know the other passengers in the multiple social areas, like the ample dining room and bar. You can get a room in varying styles and classes as well, and some vessels even feature spas, fitness centers, or pools.

Should I get a room with a balcony?
While the Rhine River is one of Europe's most scenic waterways, a room with a balcony isn't a necessary expense when you consider that it will likely cut into the floorspace of your cabin and you have an expansive and comfortable sundeck where you can take in the breathtaking panoramic views. If you get a balcony, you will end up paying hundreds of dollars more on the overall ticket price. Instead, book a room with floor-to-ceiling windows, windows that open, or we can help you find a vessel that features a "French balcony" (a sliding glass door that converts your whole room into a "balcony."

What is dining like?
All of your meals will be a mouthwatering mix of local and international flavors. The Rhine River is famous for its traditional central European cuisine, which you will have plenty of opportunities to sample throughout your cruise.

Do river cruises ever visit destinations that aren't on the river?
Definitely! Germany and the Rhine Valley are full of incredible sites and destinations, but they aren't all on the river's shores. To get to the more isolated destinations, your vessel will dock at a port, from which point you can take a luxury coach to the destination. The bus fare is included in your ticket price already.

Will my vessel have WiFi?
Perhaps, but don't count on it. There are some vessels that have WiFi, but not all of them do, and some do charge to access it. It all depends on the vessel and if you're in an area where you can receive the signal. 

What kind of power outlets are there? Will I need a converter?
Unlike North America, which runs on 110v power, Europe uses 220v power. You probably won't need a power converter since most devices are built to handle both voltages. You will need a plug adapter for either three flat prongs or two round prongs.

How can I save money on a river cruise?
If you want to save money on a Rhine River cruise, your best bet is consulting our deals page frequently to see what the latest promotions are for various destinations. Or you can tell one of our Europe travel experts where you'd like to go and we'll let you know as new deals are offered. DON'T try to save money by getting cheaper cabins, since these also offer less space and occasionally less comfort.

Are Rhine river cruises a good family vacation?
Absolutely! Rhine river cruises can be an engaging way to see central Europe with your whole family. Just make sure that if beer tasting or wine tasting is a feature of the tour that all of the family is 18 or older. If you are traveling with younger children, then the more active tours are the best option. Check out our family travel article for more information.

Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel to the Rhine River?
All citizens of North America traveling to Europe need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. In recent years, it has not been necessary to apply for a visa before traveling to Europe if you plan to stay less than three months, however, this situation may change in the future. See current European visa requirements.

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