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Main River Cruises

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Multi-day Main River cruises are always combined with another river such as the Rhine, Moselle, and/or the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal. The Main River flows past the towns of Mainz, Frankfurt, and Würzburg where you'll see Gothic cathedrals with impressive spires and the authentically German architecture of Basilicas & castles. At Bamberg, we enter the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal whose series of locks reach 1332 feet above sea level. This is impressive considering one of our most popular routes navigates from below sea level in Amsterdam! On the Main, you'll experience authentic German culture with village walking tours, biking excursions, wine tasting from local vineyards, and of course, try Germany's famous pretzels, sausage, and beer. Contact our river cruise experts when you're ready to start planning your Main River cruise.
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Top 3 Luxury Cruises on the Main River for 2024-2025

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Jewels of Europe$1609015Aug 14, 2024On this 15-day European river cruise along the Rhine, Main, and Danube rivers, meander past forested slopes, picturesque vineyards, and enchanting …
Medieval Treasures - Cruise Only$42998Sep 18, 2024Discover this medieval region of Germany, France, and Switzerland on a unique 8-day Rhine & Main River cruise aboard the MS Amaprima, including …
Medieval Treasures - Cruise Only$38998Aug 21, 2024Discover this medieval region of Germany, France, and Switzerland on a unique 8-day Rhine & Main River cruise aboard the MS Amacerto, including …

3 Best Main Luxury Small Ship River Cruises for 2024-2025

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Top Riverboats Cruising the Main River for for 2024-2025

Ship NameMax PassengersFromSummary
MS Amacerto164$3899This luxurious river cruiser features panoramic views from the sundeck, a pool and swim-up bar, gourmet meals, luxurious lounges, and comfortable …
MS Amaserena164$3099Making its debut in 2015, the AmaSerena features the most advanced designs in river cruise vessels. This 164-passenger ship boasts spacious …
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 Amastella158$5659With occupancy for up to 158 passengers, the MS Amastella is one of Europe's newest and most innovative riverboats, featuring a variety of staterooms …
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Main River Cruise Tips & Travel Guide

Highlights of the Main River
Your cruise of the Main River will include stops in the storybook German towns of:
  • Frankfurt: Germany's banking capital is a modern metopolis and home to one of Europe's busiest airports. Rebuilt after WWII, the Altstadt and Römerberg square host exceptional Christmas markets. 
  • Bamberg: A medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site that you can explore by foot or by bike to see the Old Town Hall, the cathedral, and other historic destinations.
  • Wurzburg: Home to Residenz Palace & gardens and wine-tasting opportunities.
  • Kitzingen: In addition to having Germany's oldest wine cellar, it also features the Old Main Bridge, Kitzingen Church and the Renaissance Town Hall.
  • Wertheim: In this charming medieval town, you'll have guided biking and walking tour opportunities or perhaps even a chance to try the famous local pretzels and beer.
  • Nuremburg: On the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal, is notable for its historic significance during WWII and also a point of embarking & departure on many of our cruises.
About the Main River

Located entirely within Germany with a length of 327 miles (525 kilometres), the Main River flows from east to west originating in Upper Franconia, meets with the Main-Danube canal in Bamberg, and then flows into the Rhine River at Mainz.

The Rhine-Main-Danube canal (also called Europa Canal), launched in 1992, now enables one to board a riverboat in Amsterdam's canals, navigate up the Rhine River, to the Main River, through the Rhine-Main-Danube canal over the continental divide at 406 metres (1,332 ft) above sea level, to Kelheim on the Danube River all the way to the Black Sea. The original plans for construction were begun by Charlemagne in 793, and its completion is one of the greatest feats of modern engineering in the world.

Frankfurt, the largest city on the Main, is Europe's Financial capital and home to the Euorpean Union central bank. It is a highly international city with residents from around the globe and it's glass-skyscraper-lined cityscape has earned the nickname Main-hattan.

Popular Main River Cruise Destinations

Some of the most popular destinations frequently visited on a Main and Rhine River cruise include the German cities and towns of:

Main River Cruising FAQs

Why should I choose a river cruise?
Main River cruises offer the best way to experience this part of Germany. These all inclusive cruises offer lodging, onboard meals, and day excursions in the price of the ticket. Plus, you won't waste any time going from one site to the next since your lodging goes with you! The Main River passes by some of the most popular destinations in Germany, meaning that you will have excellent access to all of these sites right from your ship.

What should I look for on a riverboat?
The boats we have hand selected for the Main River cruises offer top comfort and service from a friendly crew, and feature multiple social areas like a spacious panoramic sun deck, dining areas and bars, and comfortable lounges. As you cruise the river, your vessel allows you to see the majestic sights of Germany from the scenic Main River and gives you access to some of the best historic destinations along the way.

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 Main River valleys. Plus, there is ample deck space on the panoramic sun deck where you can take in the majesty of the Main 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?
The Main River takes you through some of the most savory cuisine capitals of Germany, where you'll have chances to try the local flavors - especially the famous pretzels and beer. Aboard the boat, you can count on gourmet meals.

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 Main - 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?
Most but not all Main Riverboats have WiFi. Most, especially the newer riverboats, have free WiFi access throught the boat, including in your room, a few boats charge charge, and some have reception only in public deck areas 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?
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 two round prongs European 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 Main River cruises a good family vacation?
Certain Main 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 Main River cruise for every family.

Do Americans and Canadians need a passport and visa to travel to the Main River?
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.

How to choose a Main River cruise

Where to Go?
Cruises along the Main River are frequently joined with Rhine River cruises, meaning that (depending on the length of the cruise) you will likely visit the central German towns of Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Wertheim, Rudesheim, Koblenz, and Cologne. Cruises may also start or end in the Netherlands or the Czech Republic, in the towns of Prague or Amsterdam.

How Long?
Cruises along the Main River range from 7-14 days and are usually coupled with at least some portion of the itinerary on the Rhine River. The 7- and 8-day cruises are a great way to explore central Germany and perhaps one of the neighboring countries, like the Czech Republic, France, Switzerland, or the Netherlands. These cruises may embark or depart in another country, but Germany will be the primary part of this experience. If you opt for one of the 10-14 day cruises, then your cruise will definitely explore at least one of these other countries.

On which riverboat?
The vessels we have hand-selected for the Main River cruises were specifically designed to explore central Germany. 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. Contact us if you need guidance in selecting the best boat for you.

What is there to do and see?
Cruises along the Main & Rhine Rivers combine all of the signature activities that make a European cruise great. Wine tasting, hiking, biking, historic city tours, urban exploration and more are all part of these classic river cruising experiences along the Main River.
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