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Rhine River Cruises & River Ships

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Nearly all Rhine River cruises wind their way through the German heartland, and France, though it is recommended to cruise the full length of the Rhine from between its headwaters in Switzerland all the way to Amsterdam.  Float by castles nestled in famed vineyards, ride bicycles along charming river paths, and explore the cultures and architecture of Strasbourg and Cologne, whose cathedral highlights the Gothic architecture of Europe's medieval period. Many cruises either start or end in Amsterdam and explore KoblenzCologne, Mainz, Rudesheim, Strasbourg, Basel, 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 to explore eastern Europe. Contact us to start planning your dream European river cruise on the Rhine.
All Rhine River Cruises

10 Best Rhine River Cruises for 2024-2025

All Rhine River Cruises

10 Best Luxury Cruises on the Rhine River for 2024-2025

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Rhine & Moselle Fairytales - Cruise Only$499912May 15, 2024Board the MS Amaprima for an 11-night cruise from Amsterdam to Zurich. Enjoy an extensive lineup of included tours and in many cases, choose between …
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Rhine Holiday Markets$33998Nov 25, 2024Switzerland, France and Germany provide the perfect backdrop for this true connoisseur’s Christmas market cruise. Embark the S.S. Antoinette from …
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Castles along the Rhine$29998Mar 23, 2024Cruise the Rhine between France and Germany on this 8-day cruise aboard S.S. Antoinette. Alsace's mixed French-German ancestry gives it great …
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The Enchanting Rhine - From Basel to Amsterdam$25998Mar 17, 2024Experience 8 days full of discovery and wonder on this complete cruise along the enchanting Rhine, one of Europe´s most fascinating rivers. Enjoy …
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Castles along the Rhine$34998Apr 28, 2024Cruise along the Rhine - Germany on one side, France on the other. Discover Alsace, whose dual French and German heritage has given it fabulous food …
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Rhine Christmas Markets$90908Dec 7, 2024Admire festive decorations and twinkling lights along streets and squares, and even the Scenic Crystal will be decked out in all its Christmas …
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Jewels of the Rhine$67908May 4, 2024Emerald Dawn hosts this exciting 8-day Rhine River cruise from Amsterdam to Zurich. Biking, hiking, and urban exploration tours highlight this …
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Jewels of the Rhine$67908Jun 2, 2024From Zurich to Amsterdam, the Emerald Sun invites you on this mesmerizing 8-day Rhine River cruise, visiting Basel, Breisach, Cologne, Heidelberg, …
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Jewels of the Rhine$73908Oct 8, 2024Discover the Rhine region's architecture, history, and natural beauty on this delightful cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland. Explore the …
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Jewels of the Rhine$67908May 11, 2024Level up your vacation with this 8-day getaway with Emerald Dawn. Cruise from Zurich, Switzerland to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
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Best 7 Rhine - Main - Danube River Cruises for 2024-2025

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Christmas & New Year$1699015Dec 21, 2024Embark on a 15-day cruise aboard the Scenic Opal. During the festive season, Europe transforms into a different realm, filled with the scent of …
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Splendours of Europe$1119015May 5, 2024Sail on a 15-day Splendour of Europe cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest aboard Emerald Sun. Explore Amsterdam's canals, cafés, & art galleries. …
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Splendours of Europe$1119015Jun 8, 2024Join this 15-day Splendors of Europe cruise on the Emerald Sky from Amsterdam to Budapest. Cruise through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, …
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Splendours of Europe$1119015Aug 2, 2024Embark on the 15-day Splendours of Europe cruise aboard the Emerald Destiny, traveling from Amsterdam to Budapest. Discover the wonders of the …
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Jewels of Europe$1549015Apr 24, 2024On this 15-day European river cruise along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers, meander past forested slopes, picturesque vineyards, and enchanting …
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Grand European Tour$449915Mar 13, 2024Join this 15-day Grand European Tour from Budapest to Amsterdam. Explore the beauty, nature, and architecture of Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and …
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Magnificent Europe$729915May 24, 2024Enjoy this 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, and many exciting stops along the way, immerse in the culture of Central Europe in a unique way …
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Top Rhine Riverboats

Our 12 Favorite Rhine Riverboats for 2024-2025

10 Best Rhine River Cruise Deals for 2024-2025

Trip NameSaveFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Rhine & Moselle Fairytales - Cruise OnlySavings$499912May 15, 2024Board the MS Amaprima for an 11-night cruise from Amsterdam to Zurich. Enjoy an extensive lineup of included tours and in many cases, choose between …
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Rhine Christmas MarketsSavings$90908Dec 7, 2024Admire festive decorations and twinkling lights along streets and squares, and even the Scenic Crystal will be decked out in all its Christmas …
0
Rhine Castles & Swiss Alps - Cruise OnlySavings$34998May 6, 2024As part of this all-encompassing Rhine River cruise and land fantasy, discover fairytale castles, medieval vineyards, and the breathtaking remains of …
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Jewels of the RhineSavings$67908Jun 2, 2024From Zurich to Amsterdam, the Emerald Sun invites you on this mesmerizing 8-day Rhine River cruise, visiting Basel, Breisach, Cologne, Heidelberg, …
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Splendours of EuropeSavings$1119015May 5, 2024Sail on a 15-day Splendour of Europe cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest aboard Emerald Sun. Explore Amsterdam's canals, cafés, & art galleries. …
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Captivating Rhine - Cruise OnlySavings$27998Mar 14, 2024Embark the MS Amasiena for a 8-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, exploring the fascinating towns along the Rhine River, including …
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Medieval Treasures - Cruise OnlySavings$38998Jun 12, 2024Discover this medieval region of Germany, France, and Switzerland on a unique 8-day Rhine & Main River cruise aboard the MS Amacerto, including …
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Captivating Rhine - Cruise OnlySavings$24998May 16, 2024Enjoy two days in Amsterdam, then embark on the MS Amalucia for an 8-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland, exploring the fascinating towns …
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Jewels of the RhineSavings$73908Oct 8, 2024Discover the Rhine region's architecture, history, and natural beauty on this delightful cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland. Explore the …
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Christmas & New YearSavings$1699015Dec 21, 2024Embark on a 15-day cruise aboard the Scenic Opal. During the festive season, Europe transforms into a different realm, filled with the scent of …
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All Rhine River Articles

Rhine River Cruise Tips & Travel Guide

When is the best time to take a Rhine River cruise?
  • Spring (March, April, and May): As the Rhine cruising season awakens in March and unfolds through December, the optimal time to set sail is between April and October. Within this timeframe, April and May emerge as stars. The spring air is crisp and invigorating, infusing your journey with a sense of renewal. Experience the unfolding beauty of the landscape while avoiding the summer crowds that can occasionally dampen the charm of tourist attractions.
  • Summer (June, July, August): The European summer, spanning June to August, unveils warm and sunny weather that's perfect for indulging in outdoor activities. Bask in higher temperatures that invite you to embrace hiking, biking, and leisurely city strolls. Immerse yourself in the energetic pulse of the region's major cities, all while enjoying the comfortable climate. However, keep in mind that this season comes with bustling crowds at popular tourist sites, which might temper the experience for some travelers.
  • Fall (September and October): As summer fades into the golden embrace of autumn, the months of September and October paint the Rhine River with a palette of enchanting colors. Enjoy the pleasant temperatures that make outdoor explorations a joy. The allure of this season lies in the uncrowded streets and the still-warm weather, providing a delightful balance between vibrant city experiences and tranquil natural surroundings.
  • Christmas (December): While winter months should generally be approached with caution, December offers a unique exception. The Rhine River becomes a canvas for the mesmerizing Christmas Markets, an event steeped in over 700 years of tradition. Witness the region's cultural celebration as you meander through enchanting markets, a truly unforgettable experience that captures the holiday spirit. This winter delight brings a touch of magic to the colder months.
  • Keep in mind: As the calendar turns to January and February, the chillier months descend upon Europe. While the Swiss Alps may beckon for skiing adventures, the Rhine River cruises take a hiatus during this time.
Major Routes of Rhine River Cruises
  • Between Amsterdam and Basel, Switzerland: Embark on an approximately 8-day voyage that takes you along the vast stretch of the Rhine River, starting from the Swiss Alps in Basel, Switzerland. This journey winds through Germany and France, offering a panoramic view of the river's transformation as it makes its way to the Atlantic Ocean in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
  • Between Cologne and Strasbourg: Embarking on 5 to 6-day cruises, this route delves into the architectural treasures of the region. Explore a spectrum of architectural styles including Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque cathedrals in Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Koblenz, Heidelberg, Mannheim, and more. Each stop offers a glimpse into the rich history and cultural diversity of the Rhine's shores.
  • Rhine - Main - Danube River Cruises: The Main River serves as a crucial link between the Rhine and the mighty Danube, creating a remarkable journey spanning over two weeks or more. This expedition takes you through a captivating mosaic of countries and cultures, guiding you from the scenic Rhine to the grandeur of the Danube. 
Rhine River Cruise Highlights by Country
Embarking on a scenic Rhine River cruise is a journey through time and culture, offering a tapestry of experiences as you navigate through diverse countries. From medieval castles to picturesque vineyards, each stop along the way offers its own unique charm. Join us as we explore the highlights of a Rhine River cruise through various countries:

Germany
  • Explore Cologne, dominated by the iconic Cologne Cathedral. This stunning Gothic masterpiece took centuries to complete.
  • Koblenz boasts the Deutsches Eck, a monument that symbolizes German unity. Take a cable car ride for panoramic views of the city.
  • Rüdesheim charms with its narrow streets and half-timbered houses. Explore its vineyards and ride the historic Siegfried's Mechanical Music Cabinet.
  • Visit Heidelberg's captivating castle. The city's ambiance is heightened by the charming Old Town and the idyllic Philosopher's Walk.
  • Discover Mainz's historic Gutenberg Museum, that houses original Gutenberg Bibles and other priceless printed works.
Switzerland
  • Basel offers a blend of cultural attractions, from renowned art museums, such as the Kunstmuseum Basel, to medieval architecture.
  • Lucerne is known for its stunning lake, the Kapellbrücke (Chapel Bridge), and vibrant cultural scene.
  • Zurich combines urban sophistication with natural beauty. Enjoy world-class shopping, a thriving arts scene, and the stunning shores of Lake Zurich.
France
  • Marvel at Strasbourg's half-timbered houses and the stunning Strasbourg Cathedral. Explore La Petite France, a picturesque district.
  • A short detour takes you to Colmar, a fairytale-like town with colorful houses, flower-filled canals, and a charming medieval atmosphere.
The Netherlands
  • Explore Amsterdam, a city of canals, bicycles, and artistic heritage. Visit world-class museums like the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House. 
What to Expect from Your Rhine River Cruise Adventure

A Rhine River cruise is your key to unlocking the heart of central Europe. This scenic waterway winds through Switzerland, Germany, France, and the Netherlands, unveiling captivating cultural capitals along the way. Extend your adventure by linking with the Danube River to explore gems like Hungary, Austria, and Romania.

Every day promises a new destination, packing Amsterdam's charm and Germany's landscapes into a week. Rhine River cruises offer an array of engaging experiences: from grand castles and cathedrals to ancient ruins and local cuisines. Sip on fine wines, bike through stunning landscapes, and witness the blend of history and modernity in major cities.

And don't miss the chance to experience the unique Christmas markets of central Europe in December. A Rhine River cruise isn't just a journey; it's an immersion into the rich tapestry of Europe's past and present, offering an unforgettable exploration of diverse landscapes and cultures.
 
UNESCO World Heritage Sites Visited on Rhine River Cruises:
  • Cologne Cathedral, Germany: A Gothic masterpiece dominating Cologne's skyline, reflecting rich history and intricate craftsmanship.
  • Historic Center of Strasbourg, France: Enchanting half-timbered houses and the iconic Strasbourg Cathedral offer a blend of French and German influences.
  • Upper Middle Rhine Valley, Germany: Medieval castles atop lush hills along the "Romantic Rhine" create an awe-inspiring landscape.
  • Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin, Germany: A cultural haven, housing world-class museums and galleries within an architecturally rich ensemble.
  • Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin, Germany: Lavish palaces and landscaped gardens reflect Prussian opulence amidst historic and scenic settings.
  • Würzburg Residence, Germany: An exquisite Baroque palace, Würzburg Residence boasts lavish interiors and stunning gardens, an epitome of opulence.
  • Speyer Cathedral, Germany: A significant Romanesque structure, Speyer Cathedral impresses with its architectural grandeur and historical importance.
  • Old Town of Bern, Switzerland: An immaculately preserved medieval gem, Bern's Old Town captivates with cobblestone streets and intricate fountains.
  • Historic Centers of Stralsund and Wismar, Germany: These Hanseatic cities showcase well-preserved architecture, reflecting maritime heritage and trading history.
  • Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, Essen, Germany: A testament to industrial heritage, this complex showcases innovative architecture within a former coal mine.
Best Rhine River Cruises with Bicycling

On bicycle is the best way to get to know the countryside, villages or urban riverside bikepaths taking in panoramic views of the rolling hills and valleys of the Rhine. Most of our cruises include optional gentle rides that complement your cruise. . 

Ride the Enchanting Rhine
On this 8-Day Cruise aboard MS Amastella you'll leisurely pedal through vineyards lined with castles near Rüdesheim, ride Cologne's historic Stadtgarten, and the stunning Parc de l’Orangerie in Strasbourg, France.

Biking Along the Rhine 9-day cruise from Amsterdam to Basel is our ultimate cycling trip on the Rhine. This is a specialized cycling trip where riders will be pedaling 10-30 miles per day with some challenging rolling hills.
Embarking on a Rhine River Cruise as a Solo Traveler

Don't fear the dreaded single supplement fee! If you're a seasoned solo traveler, then you've probably run into this before - essentially paying double occupancy for a single ticket. 

More and more river cruise lines are offering discounts for solo travelers, so make sure to let us know when you're planning so that we can guarantee you the best rate. 

Booking a last-minute cruise is a good way to secure a great deal too. 
Favorite Wine Tasting Cruises on the Rhine River

The Captivating Rhine - This 14-day cruise from Amsterdam to Zurich aboard the luxurious MS Amaviola samples legendary wines from Germany and France. 

The Enchanting Rhine from Zurich to Amsterdam - Join us on this highly-praised 12-day wine-themed cruise aboard the classy MS Amasonata.

Rhine & Moselle Fairltales - the less-travelled Moselle River winds through verdant French and German vineyards where we'll stop for local tastings. 
 
Rhine River Honeymoons

A Rhine River cruise unveils a captivating honeymoon in central Europe, but as you design your dream escape, consider these key aspects:
  • Distinctive Atmosphere: Rhine River cruises often attract a mature crowd, fostering a refined ambiance perfect for couples seeking tranquility.
  • Structured Exploration: River cruises offer organized itineraries, trading spontaneity for a well-planned journey that ensures you experience all the highlights.
  • Relaxation and Light Activities: The cruise pace suits those seeking relaxation and light engagement, ideal for honeymooners looking to unwind together.
  • Private Moments: While group activities abound, cherish private moments in your cabin, your haven of intimacy amid shared experiences.
Facts of the Rhine River Region
  • The moniker "Rhine" traces back to the Celtic term 'Rēnos', signifying "that which flows." This term derives from the Proto-Indo-European root 'rei', encompassing the concept of "to flow, to run." Notably, this root also forms the basis of the English verb "to run".
  • The Rhine River's watershed is a true cross-border phenomenon, stretching through Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Principality of Liechtenstein. It even touches the landscapes of Italy.
  • The journey of the Rhine commences high in the Swiss Alps, as pristine glacial waters give birth to the majestic river that shapes Europe's landscapes.
  • A veritable playground for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Rhine River region offers a plethora of cultural and historical riches, inviting travelers to immerse themselves in its captivating stories.
  • The towns along the Rhine River boast a unique tradition - the renowned Christmas Markets. These markets, aglow with festive lights, add an enchanting layer to the winter experience along the river.
  • The Rhine's historical importance as a trade route is not to be underestimated. This river has long been a vital artery for commerce, connecting regions and fostering economic growth throughout Europe.
  • The Rhine River Valley is not only visually breathtaking but also a prime vineyard location. The vineyards that line its banks produce some of Europe's finest wines, creating a delightful fusion of nature and culture.
  • The storied Rhine has inspired countless legends, including the famed tale of the Lorelei rock, a siren whose song lured sailors to their doom. This melding of myth and reality lends an air of magic to the region.
  • Beyond cruising, the Rhine River region offers remarkable rail journeys. The Rhine Valley Railway, for instance, winds through stunning landscapes, complementing your river cruise with yet another dimension of exploration.
Luxury Rhine River Cruises
  • Exquisite Accommodations: Luxurious cabins and suites on Rhine River cruises epitomize opulence, meticulously designed to provide sumptuous comfort. Immerse yourself in expansive living spaces adorned with meticulous attention to detail, creating a haven of relaxation throughout your journey.
  • Unmatched Service: The moment you step on board, a dedicated team of attentive staff members is at your service, ready to cater to your every need. Expect personalized attention that anticipates your preferences, elevating your overall comfort and gratification.
  • Culinary Excellence: Gastronomic brilliance takes center stage with gourmet dining that presents the finest fusion of local and international cuisines. Masterful chefs craft exquisite dishes using the freshest local ingredients, creating a culinary voyage that tantalizes even the most discerning palates.
  • Exclusive Indulgences: Luxury Rhine River cruises bestow an array of exclusive amenities that redefine onboard relaxation. Immerse yourself in spa treatments, unwind in opulent lounges, or take a refreshing dip in pristine pools, all while savoring panoramic views of the captivating riverscape.
  • Intimate Elegance: Luxury cruises often feature boutique-sized vessels, fostering an intimate ambiance that guarantees a personalized and uncluttered journey. This intimate setting facilitates genuine connections with fellow travelers and the ship's attentive crew.
  • Unrivaled All-Inclusivity: Many luxury Rhine River cruises operate on an all-inclusive basis, encompassing accommodations, gourmet meals, premium beverages, and a wide range of enriching experiences. This comprehensive approach ensures a seamless journey, enabling you to immerse yourself fully in the moment.
  • Exclusivity Redefined: Luxury cruises create an ambiance of exclusivity, resonating with travelers seeking refined experiences. Revel in the camaraderie of like-minded individuals while basking in the comforts of a meticulously designed vessel that caters to your every whim.
Rhine and Danube River Cruise Packing List
Don't leave home without...
  • Toiletries, razor, hygiene products, medications
  • Sleeping clothes
  • 2-4 jeans or comfortable pants
  • One week’s worth of shirts (t-shirts and dress shirts)
  • Enough socks and underwear to avoid laundry
  • Sweater or sweatshirt
  • Waterproof jacket or lightweight raincoat
  • Sunscreen and bug spray
  • Sun glasses and a wide brimmed hat
  • Camera, lenses, accessories (like a charger, extra battery pack, memory cards, and cleaning kit), binoculars
  • Umbrella
  • A couple pairs of comfortable walking shoes
If you still have space in your suitcase, consider bringing...
  • First aid kit
  • Day trip bag (or small backpack – maybe your carry-on)
  • Travel alarm clock (if your phone doesn’t have an alarm)
  • Plug adapter
  • Extra contacts and glasses (just in case)
  • Freezer bags for waterproof storage
  • Plastic bag for dirty clothes
Ocean Cruises vs. River Cruises
If you've never been on a river cruise, don't assume that they are the same as ocean cruises! Think of Rhine River cruises more like bus tours on a boat than ocean cruises. Key differences include:
  • Smaller vessels - to navigate the rivers, locks, and bridges, the vessels are physically much smaller than the giants that roam the oceans. This means there are fewer dining options, amenities, and entertainment onboard.
  • More intimate atmosphere - along with the small size, you will get to know your ship-mates and enjoy much faster boarding and de-boarding, plus shorter lines at sites.
  • Elegant cabins - rooms are smaller but generally more elegant and comfortable, often including a balcony (or at least a French balcony- floor to ceiling window).
  • All-inclusive price (other than cocktails and gratuities) - from transportation to meals and most beverages to shore excursions, what you pay covers pretty much everything, no nickel-and-diming you along the way.
Best Rhine River Cruise Lines for 2024-2025

AmaWaterways - Consistently celebrated for exceptional cuisine, fine wines, luxury accommodations, and excellent activity-focused trips with bicycling and wine tasting Ama is perhaps the premier cruise line sailing the Rhine. 

Scenic - Their 'Space-Ships' feature some of the largest and most stylish suites on the Rhine river with a wealth of luxury amenities like five restaurants, a wellness area, complimentary WiFi, electric bikes, and a spacious sun deck. You'll share the ship with Australians, Brits, South Africans and North Americans.

CroisiEurope - An excellent choice for the budget-conscient and those who wish to have a more authentic European experience being surrounded by Europeans onboard. The French cruise line caters to French, English, and Spanish speakers.

Avalon - Features larger than normal rooms with a floor-to-ceiling window wall with sliding glass doors that that open turning the room into a balcony. 

Viking - Perhaps the best-known European river cruise line, as they were largely the pioneers in the North American market and have invested a lot in marketing. The Viking formula works - producing world-class river cruises consistently at a good value. 

Emerald Waterways
- Catering to a somewhat younger, more active crowd than the average Rhine River cruise, Emerald is a particularly good value.

Uniworld - With luxurious and opulent design, the Uniworld river ships are consistently top-rated and they have a large following and excellent reputation. 

 

Rhine River Cruise 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 popular 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.

How do I choose a 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. 

How do I choose my cabin?
Unlike on the ocean liners which may have over 10 categories of cabins, river vessels tend to have only a handful of options. Almost all cabins will be nearly luxurious (a benefit of the boom in the industry and increased competition). Try to avoid cabins by noisy areas like elevators, staircases, restaurants, bars, lounges, and rooms above the engines. If you are looking for a more spacious room, ask about your ship’s suites. Keep in mind, suites don't necessarily connect. In the river cruise language, a 'suite' refers to a master cabin that offers a bit more space and in-room amenities. 

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."

How do meals work in Rhine river cruises? 
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. Itineraries offer a relaxed pace, however, river cruises tend to be fairly structured with timing and don't allow a lot of wiggle room for flexibility. You will find that the less you have to worry about logistics, the more time you will have to actually enjoy. For many travelers, that's one of the major appeals - the itinerary is set and organized, and all you have to do is show up, no need to spend hours planning. That also means that you should arrive on time to the breakfast and lunch buffets, and your sit-down dinner.

What will I visit on a Rhine river cruise?  
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.

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.

For how long should I go on a Rhine river cruise?
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.

Do Rhine 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.

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.

What is rafting and should I expect it?
Due to the increasing number of river cruises on the Rhine, you might come to a port where you will need to "raft". Rafting is when ships line up next to each other because the port is not big enough to accommodate all of the ships docked there. When this happens, you may have to walk over the other ships to de-board. Don't worry - this is common and should not make you feel uncomfortable. Do note that sometimes ships will raft overnight, so when you wake up in the morning, it's possible that your window view will be temporarily obstructed by a neighboring ship.

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.

Do Rhine cruises offer wheelchair accessibility?
While some river cruise vessels do have wheelchair ramps, people with physical disabilities tend to find river cruises very difficult for several reasons:
  • Getting off the ship often requires walking down a gangway.
  • Some parts of the ship (even those with elevators) might not be wheelchair accessible.
  • Tours are walking-heavy, and many of the old towns in Europe have difficult walking surfaces like cobblestone streets. 
Will I have to pay port taxes and other fees?
Don't be surprised by these additional fees! Although they are only about $150-$200 total, no one likes to be caught off guard by a port tax. Some cruise operators include these in their ticket price, while others leave it to you to pay. Just make sure to ask us whether or not these are included in your itinerary price and we will let you know. 

How does tipping work on Rhine river cruises?
Leaving gratuities for service staff is always discretionary - no one will know if you do or do not and how much you leave is up to you. However, you should note that tips are an expected and appreciated custom on Rhine River cruises, so here are a few courtesy guidelines to help inform your decision:
  • $20 per guest per day of the cruise can be left for the crew and ship staff, either in cash or on your card at the end of the trip.
  • Tour guides appreciate a $3-$5 tip depending on how long their tour is.
  • Tip bus drivers around $1 per ride per passenger. 
  • For a 7-day cruise for two people, budget around $400 for gratuities. 
Will I get seasick on a river cruise?
You'll find that there isn't a lot of rocking on the Rhine River vessels. The river is fairly tranquil, and you aren't being affected by waves or tides like you might on small ship cruises in open water. If you do get seasick easily, don't let that deter you from a river cruise. Dramamine or motion sickness wrist bands are usually plenty to combat the minimal swaying you might detect on a river cruise. 

Is smoking allowed on Rhine river cruises? 
If you are a smoker, please note that most ships restrict smoking to designated areas of the sun deck (if they allow it at all). Make sure to check with us before booking to be sure. Smoking indoors, including in your cabin, is forbidden. You might also encounter certain smoking restrictions at various visitor sites and in certain areas of the towns and cities visited during your cruise. 

Will my Rhine riverboat have WiFi?
Most but not all Rhine Riverboats have WiFi. Most, especially the newer riverboats, have free WiFi access in your room, a few charge, and some have reception only on deck and not in the rooms. It's important to check with your Adventure Life representative to confirm that your riverboat of choice has WiFi onboard. 

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 the European style plugs with 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.

Why should I book with Adventure Life?
The bottom line: Booking with us secures you the best access to exclusive deals and excellent service. Sure, you can plan your trip independently, but since we work with the cruise operators directly, they tell us when they have discounts that we can share with you. 
And of course, it's always helpful to have someone to call if you have any doubts, and we are always happy to answer your questions.
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