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Cologne's famous cathedral at sunset from the Rhine.

Rhine River Cruises & Riverboats

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

10 Best Rhine River Cruises for 2020

Rhine River Cruises (173 Results)
All Rhine River Cruises

10 Best Luxury Cruises on the Rhine River

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Christmas Markets on the Rhine - Cruise Only$30998Dec 9, 2019Embark the MS Amakristina for an 8-day Rhine River cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, exploring the most beloved Christmas markets along the shores of …
Rhine & Moselle Splendors - Cruise Only$33998Apr 30, 2020Starting in the tiny country of Luxembourg, this 8-day river cruise aboard the MS Amadante takes you through Germany, France, and Switzerland along …
Tulip Time Cruise$345910Mar 21, 2020Join the MS Amakristina on this wonderful adventure sailing across some of Europe's most magical landscapes. Explore the historical city of Amsterdam …
The Enchanting Rhine - Cruise Only$28998Mar 30, 2020From Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, the Netherlands, this classic 8-day cruise of the Rhine & Moselle Rivers aboard the MS Amastella will take you …
The Enchanting Rhine - Cruise Only$30998Dec 30, 2019Begin your 8-day cruise from Basel to Amsterdam, aboard the luxurious MS Amakristina. As you tour the historic towns of France, Germany, and the …
The Enchanting Rhine - Cruise Only$34998Oct 22, 2020Join the MS Amastella on this exceptional 8-day cruise exploring one of Europe's most important rivers, the Rhine. Discover the enchanting landscapes …
Legendary Rhine: Basel to Amsterdam$75988May 8, 2020Follow the romantic Rhine through quaint villages in Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands to explore Gothic cathedrals, grand palaces, and …
Romantic Rhine: Amsterdam to Basel$75988May 1, 2020From the cultural powerhouse of Amsterdam to the storybook village of Rüdesheim, the Romantic Rhine mesmerizes in its spectacular beauty. Come see …
Legendary Rhine: Basel to Amsterdam$75988Apr 2, 2020Follow the romantic Rhine through quaint villages in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands to explore Gothic cathedrals and imposing fortresses. …
Romantic Rhine: Amsterdam to Basel$75988Mar 26, 2020From the cultural powerhouse of Amsterdam to the storybook village of Rüdesheim, the Romantic Rhine mesmerizes in its spectacular beauty. Come see …

Best Rhine - Main - Danube River Cruises

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$679915May 3, 2020Board the MS Amaprima for an epic 15-day cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide. Cruise from …
Magnificent Europe - Cruise Only$699915May 8, 2020Embark the luxurious MS Amaserena for a truly grand cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest through the heart of Europe and across the Continental Divide.
From Amsterdam to Vienna: Holland, the Romantic Rhine, and the Danube$455315Apr 20, 2020From Amsterdam to Vienna, join this cultural 15-day cruise across Holland, along the Romantic Rhine Route all the way to the Danube. You'll discover …
From Amsterdam to Vienna : Holland, the Romantic Rhine and the Danube$415315May 4, 2020Embark the MS Beethoven a new 15-day sailing adventure from Amsterdam to Vienna, cruising from Holland to the Romantic Rhine and the Danube.
Holland, the Romantic Rhine and the Danube$386715Apr 24, 2020Embark with MS Modigliani on this amazing 15-day voyage from Amsterdam to Vienna. Visit Holland, Germany, Austria and more!
Cruise across Europe from Amsterdam to Budapest$540819Apr 10, 2020Embark with MS Victor Hugo on an exceptional 19-day river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. Get ready for an amazing cruise on Rhine, Main, and the …
The Romantic Rhine, the Main and the Danube$519720Apr 19, 2020Enjoy an exciting 20-day journey with MS Modigliani from Brussels to Vienna through Belgium, the Netherlands, the Romantic Rhine, the Main and the …
Trans-European cruise: A contrast of cultures$675121Oct 7, 2020Discover Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and more on this amazing 21-day trans-European cruise boarding the MS L'Europe.
Cruise across Europe from Budapest to Berlin$836329Jun 1, 2020Join an exciting 29-day European cruise from Budapest to Berlin boarding MS Victor Hugo. Enjoy a unique sailing adventure through the Rhine, Main and …
Medieval Treasures$522915Mar 22, 2020Begin your 15-day river cruise of the Rhine & Main Rivers with two nights in Zurich, followed by two nights in Lucerne before boarding the MS …

Top Riverboats Cruising the Rhine River

All Rhine River Ships
Ship NameMax PassengersFromSummary
MS Gérard Schmitter176$889Watch 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$2799With occupancy for up to 158 passengers, the MS Amastella is one of Europe's newest and most innovative riverboats, featuring a variety of staterooms …
MS Amadante148$2249Launched in 2008, the MS Amadante is part of the newest, state-of-the-art fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe.
MS La Boheme162$768The 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$2799The Amakristina is the sister ship to the Amaviola and Amastella, and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in …
MS Monet154$768Discover 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$768Experience 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$768The 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

When is the Best Time to do a Rhine River cruise?

Most cruises are best taken between April and October. May and October are the months with the most demand (and highest prices), though the bulk of the cruising season is in the European summer 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. Few if any cruises depart in the months of January and February when Europe's temperatures can be downright cold.
Major Routes of Rhine River Cruises

Between Cologne and Strasbourg

On 5 or 6 day cruises we explore the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque cathedrals of Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Koblenz, Heidelberg, Mannheim and more.

Basel to Amsterdam
Over about 8 days, navigate nearly the entirety of the Rhine from Basel Switzerland, starting below the river's headwaters in the Swiss Alps through Germany, France and reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Rhine - Main - Danube River Cruises
The Main River connects the Rhine with the mighty Danube, creating an amazing two week plus adventure through a diverse set of countries, cultures and 
Fun Facts about the Rhine River Region
  • The name "Rhine" derives from the from a Celtic word 'Rēnos'.
  • The Rhine River watershead spreads 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.
What to Expect on a Rhine River Cruise (Castles galore!)

River cruises are a unique experience for even seasoned travelers.

A cruise on the Rhine River allows you to explore central European cities from Germany, Switzerland, and France all the way down to the Netherlands. If you like beer, wine, pretzels, and sausage, then this is the European river cruise for you!

Aboard your river boat, 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. 
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.
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. 
 
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
Rafting
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.
Solo Travelers
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. 
Port Taxes and 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. 
Schedule and Meals

Expect structure. River cruises tend to be fairly strict with timing and don't allow a lot of wiggle room for flexibility. The pace is relaxed, but you are expected to follow the itinerary pretty closely.

'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.

 
Motion Sickness

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 cruises. Dramamine or motion sickness wrist bands are usually plenty to combat the minimal swaying you might detect on a river cruise. 
Why should we 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.
Choosing your 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. 

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. 
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.
  • 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.
Smoking
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 parts of town. 
Honeymoons
A Rhine River cruise can be a fun way to see central Europe on a honeymoon, but when you're planning your romantic getaway, consider that:
  • River cruises generally attract an older crowd
  • There is not a lot of flexibility for DIY exploration
  • Activities are more relaxed active than adventure
  • Alone time may be limited to when you are in your cabin since dining is generally an experience shared with the other passengers
Tipping 

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. 
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 wheel chair accessible
  • Tours are walking-heavy, and many of the old towns in Europe have difficult walking surfaces like cobblestone streets 

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.

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 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.

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.

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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