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European River Cruises

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Rhine River
  • 191 Cruises
Adventure Life
Cologne's famous cathedral at sunset from the Rhine.
Danube River
  • 186 Cruises
Passau at sunset, Germany
Main River
  • 56 Cruises
Douro River
  • 31 Cruises
Cruise along the scenic Douro river
Seine River
  • 23 Cruises
Eiffel Tower and the Seine River
Moselle River
  • 86 Cruises
Old city of Koblenz by night
Rhone River
  • 26 Cruises
Lyon from above
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Enjoy a river cruise on Europe's major rivers featuring leisurely bicycle rides and walks among castles, cathedrals & vineyards on the Danube, Rhine, Moselle, Seine, Rhone, or the Douro. The Danube takes you from central to eastern Europe visiting Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, and Croatia. The Rhine River originates in Switzerland and winds through France, Germany, & the Netherlands. Further west are the Seine River flowing through central & northern France, and the Rhone River in southern France.The Douro River uncovers unique cultures making its way from Porto, Portugal into the heart of Spain. We have hand selected the best river boats and cruise itineraries that combine comfort, style, service, and value. Contact one of our European river cruise specialists to custom design your trip.
All Danube River Cruises

Top 4 Danube River Cruises for 2021-2022

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Top 4 Rhine River Cruises for 2021-2022

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All Moselle River Cruises

Top 4 Moselle & Main River Cruises for 2021-2022

All Douro River Cruises

Best 4 Douro River Cruises For 2021-2022

All Cruises to France

Top 4 River Cruises to Bordeaux, Rhone & Seine Rivers

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European River Cruise Tips & Travel Guide

European River Cruises at a Glance
River cruises are quickly becoming the most popular and efficient way to tour Europe in style and comfort. Travelers can experience the best of each region right from the rivers that have defined and shaped the continent for millennia:
What to Expect on a European River Cruise

River cruises through Europe offer a delightful way to get to know Europe's most vibrant cities, verdant valleys and rolling vineyards without having to pack your bags, get on a bus and stay at a different hotel each day. Instead, maximize your time exploring the old continent as your hotel floats along with you. 

Unlike traditional ocean cruises on larger ships, you'll find that the riverboats are long, narrow vessels especially designed to navigate the bridges and locks of the rivers of Europe. With less total space, the social areas are not as expansive and space is at a premium on a riverboat.

Riverboat design often reflects the elegant, modern style of metropolitan Europe, offering guests a unique mix of the old atmosphere on each day's excursions with the comforts and amenities of modern cruises.
AmaWaterways: Luxury River Cruises
For discerning travelers hoping to enjoy a luxurious yet affordable European river cruise, AmaWaterways is the best option. Since its foundation by industry veterans in 2002, AmaWaterways sets a high bar for elegant vessels, topped out only by its excellent service and gourmet food and wine. 

Travelers who choose to travel on AmaWaterways - though they tend to pay a bit more than the more economical cruise lines - enjoy an all-inclusive cruising experience, with all meals included onboard, at least one shore excursion per port, and some of the best service available on any European river cruise. 

Plus, AmaWaterways likes to offer its travelers some free time as well. This is something to pay attention to if you are hoping for a cruise that has every minute scheduled, as AmaWaterways anticipates that you will spend some of your time independently exploring the destinations. 

Onboard, guests enjoy elegance in the public areas and comfort in the staterooms. In addition to multiple dining options on the ships, guests will also have opportunities to enjoy spaces like the fitness room, spas, massage parlor, lounges and bars, and a panoramic sun deck outfitted with a walking track and a heated pool. 
CroisiEurope Cruises: Authentic, Economical River Cruises
River cruises are no longer reserved exclusively for the wealthy, and CroisiEurope is on a mission to prove it. Although the company has been around for over four decades, it has recently put a much bigger emphasis on courting U.S. passengers, overhauling and redesigning many of its vessels to compete with the comfort and style of the other operators but offering a more economical price. 

By keeping its operations entirely in-house and avoiding contracting fees, the prices beat out the U.S. market price.

You should also note that because it offers competitively low prices, it tends to attract a bigger crowd from local Europeans, especially French, meaning that you will more than likely hear a mix of local languages onboard - something that may irritate some travelers but delights others. 

Due to their clients being mostly European, it's safe to say they provide a more authentic experience floating around Europe with Euroepans instead of North Americans.

Top 10 Active River Cruises with Bicycling or Hiking

Top 5 Riverboats Cruising Europe for 2021

Ship NameMax PassengersFromSummary
MS Amastella158$3299With 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 Amakristina158$2999The Amakristina is the sister ship to the Amaviola and Amastella, and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in …
MS Amacerto164$3099This luxurious river cruiser features panoramic views from the sundeck, a pool and swim-up bar, gourmet meals, luxurious lounges, and comfortable …
MS Amasonata164$3099The MS Amasonata is among the most luxurious and advanced river vessels in Europe, with occupancy for up to 164 passengers in comfortable cabins, …
MS Amacello148$3399Launched in 2008, the MS Amacello is part of the newest, state-of-the-art fleet of river cruise vessels in Europe.

How to Choose a European River Cruise

Where to Go?
That is entirely up to you! Each country, city, town, and village has its own unique charm and exciting activities for travelers of all ages and interests. Cruises along the DanubeRhineMoselle, and Main Rivers will acquaint you with eastern and central Europe, like HungarySlovakia, the Czech RepublicAustriaGermany, and the Netherlands. The Rhone and Seine Rivers showcase the best that France has to offer, while the Douro River offers exclusive access to Portugal and Spain. There is a river cruise to satisfy every traveler's dreams, so start by choosing which region appeals most to you!

How Long?
European river cruises range in length from just 3 or 4 days all the way to 15 days. The most popular option among travelers are the 8-day river cruises, since these offer enough time to really explore a region in depth, visit many of the main attractions along the river, and even visit multiple countries along the way. If you opt for a shorter cruise, they should generally be extensions to your Europe vacation. Whether you choose to do a couple 4-day cruises of different regions or a land-based Europe tour with a 3-day cruise extension, for example, they can be fun ways to add to your vacation. Generally, though, they should not be the only thing you do. Longer cruises, especially the 10-15-day cruises, are the best way to maximize your experience, since these cruises tend to visit two or more countries as they navigate the major ports of each European river. They're a great value but they are typically much more expensive than weeklong cruises.

On which riverboat?
The vessels we have hand-selected for the European River cruises were specifically designed to explore their respective regions of Europe. Their length, comfort, and style reflect classic riverboat design. All of the vessels feature a panoramic sun deck, a lounge and bar, elegant dining rooms, and comfortable air-conditioned rooms. You'll find that while the general design of each boat is similar, the style and appointments of each is unique to the region. Contact us if you need guidance in selecting the best boat for you.

What is there to do and see?
Everything! No matter what your interests, Europe river cruises have something to thrill and delight you. Many of the tours revolve around wine tasting and sampling the renowned local cuisine, prepared fresh by cooks and chefs whose family recipes have been passed down for generations - you might even get a chance to participate in a cooking lesson! Active explorers will love the chance to hike and bike throughout the lush river valleys and rolling hills of Europe. And each trip includes plenty of historic walking tours of the towns, villages, and major cities that narrate the story of Europe's rich past.  

European River Cruise FAQs

Why should I choose a river cruise?
River cruises are the best way to see, explore, and experience all that Europe has to offer. Many of the historic towns and villages in Europe were built right on the rivers, meaning that the cruises along the DouroSeineRhoneRhineDanubeMain, and Moselle Rivers that we offer give you exclusive access to the main destinations of Europe. Plus you'll never have to worry about packing or unpacking your suitcase as you move from one hotel to the next since your accommodations go with you as you explore each region. We make sure that the cruises featured are all-inclusive experiences, so once you've paid the price of the ticket, your lodging, onboard meals, and daily excursions are all part of the price. If you want to wake up every day with new views and a new destination waiting to be explored, plus gourmet meals and an exciting itinerary, then a European river cruise is right for you.

What should I look for on a riverboat?
River cruising vessels in Europe are unlike any other cruise ships in the world. While the giant sea-faring ships will frequently feature many onboard spaces and activities right on the boat, European river vessels feature elegant and comfortable accommodations that provide a "home base" for your daily excursions into the tranquil villages, scenic nature, historic cities, and main sites and destinations along the European waterways. You can expect multiple cabin or suite options, a crew that offers unmatched service, and bar/dining areas with signature local and international cuisine. The panoramic sun deck on each of the cruise vessels allows you to breathe in the crisp, fresh European air as you travel through sweeping river valleys and breathtaking vistas of a pristine part of the Old World that has remained untouched even today.

Should I get a room with a balcony?
It all depends on what your priorities are, but they can often be an unnecessary additional expense. The way these river vessels are designed, each room faces out, which means that even rooms without balconies tend to have large picture windows that allow you to see the scenic nature of the European river valleys. Plus, there is ample deck space on the panoramic sun deck where you can take in the majesty of verdant Europe from all sides. Unless you have your heart set on a balcony, then a great alternative is getting a room with large windows or a sliding glass door that opens right out towards the fresh air (known as a "French balcony").

What is dining like?
Rich, savory food that highlights the local palate is at the heart of any good cruise. When we hand-pick the river vessels for each itinerary, we make sure that they offer only the best cuisine, prepared by gourmet chefs. We also recommend enjoying the local delicacies in each town you visit, to experience the authentic atmosphere and delicious food.

Do river cruises ever visit destinations that aren't on the river?
Definitely! Many of the destinations, like small towns and historic cities, are right on the river, giving travelers easy access; but there are also several popular destinations that you can get to from the main ports along the rivers of Europe - once you dock for the day, you will have options to take a motor coach to any destinations that aren't on the river. This includes inland vineyards, castles, and other landmarks.

Will my vessel have WiFi?
It's possible, but don't count on it. More and more vessels each year are WiFi capable, but it's not quite standard yet. Plus, you might be out of range of WiFi even if your vessel does have it depending on where your cruise explores. Closer to the big cities, you can generally count on it.

What kind of power outlets are there? Will I need a converter?
In Europe the power is 220v, not the 110v like in North America, but typically devices can handle both without the need for a converter. You will need plug adapters for either two round prongs (European style) or three flat prongs (British style).

How can I save money on a river cruise?
If you're hoping to save money on a European River cruise, then check out our Deals & Promotions page to find the best offers each season. We can also help you track the river cruises of your choice and let you know when there are specials and deals that you might be interested in. We advise travelers to avoid saving money by booking cheaper cabins - cabins that save you a lot of money tend to sacrifice space and often the breathtaking views that make river cruises in Europe such a wonderful experience.

Are European River cruises a good family vacation?
Certain European River cruises are great for family vacations - look for cruises that have activities perfect for the ages of your family members. If you are traveling with kids, then the cruises with lots of easy activities are ideal. If you have adolescents, then consider an active cruise, with opportunities for biking, hiking, and faster-paced exploration. Among adults, the cultural and wine-tasting cruises are a popular option. There's a perfect river cruise for every family.

Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel on European River cruises?
All citizens of North America traveling to and throughout Europe need a passport that is valid for at least 6 months. Due to changes in visa laws in recent years, it is not necessary to apply for a visa before traveling to Europe as long as you plan to stay less than three months. These laws are subject to change in the future. Make sure to check current European visa requirements.  

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