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Choosing A European River Cruise


European River CruisingThere is no better way to discover the splendor of Europe than on a European river cruise. Europe's grand waterways take you to the heart of many of Europe's magnificent cities, and to vineyard-lined valleys and medieval castles. The cultures that flourished along these inland waterways are fascinating and unforgettable.

Why limit yourself to the coastal regions visited by big cruise ships? Sail instead in an intimate setting aboard a small, cozy and beautifully appointed riverboat. European river cruises can take you to the landscape that inspired Van Gogh along the Rhone, or to the birthplace of Impressionism along the Seine. Experience the winding Danube in Germany and Austria and Hungary, the Po River in the countryside of northern Italy, and many more appealing itineraries, including Russian river voyages.

Whichever trip you choose, a European river cruise will show you some of the world's most interesting and important sites. If you want to discover the romance, variety and true character of Europe, it's difficult to beat a European river cruise. River cruises are fast overtaking coach tours as a travel choice for those travellers wishing to go on organized tours.  

We have a special departure upcoming with Suzi Davis Travel:


What are the key attractions of River Cruising?

  • No packing and unpacking.  Your beautiful stateroom is yours for the whole journey.
  • You have the freedom to move around or stretch out in your room during the cruise.  This really beats being confined to your coach seat for hours.
  • Enjoy a drink or snack with your fellow travellers as you're cruising the river.
  • Suntan or enjoy the fresh air on the sundeck as you're cruising
  • The boats normally dock next to the city centre and you can stroll into town and return to the boat whenever it suits you.
  • The crew get to know you well by the end of the journey and they become your friends.
  • The boats are very comfortable and the newer generation boats are geared to provide many luxuries.

Which River?

There are so many different rivers that you can cruise on in Europe, the Rhine, Danube, Rhone, Elbe, Po and so on.  The essence of a river boat cruise is that you do make quite a lot of shore excursions.  Your river boat will be making several stops along the way and passengers will be able to do sightseeing in the towns and villages along the river.  So scrutinizing the itinerary and ensuring that the places visited are what you want to see is an important consideration.

Would you like a cruise that will take you through a few countries, like the very popular Amsterdam to Budapest cruise or would you prefer to immerse yourself in the culture of one country only and therefore do a river cruise within that country, for example the Rhone River cruise within France only.

Which company?

Which company should you travel with?  The major players in European river cruising include:

  • Avalon Waterways (now part of the Globus Group)
  • Uniworld
  • Viking River Cruises
  • Peter Deilmann Cruise
  • Tauck World Discovery
The Europe river cruising market is very competitive which is good for ensuring quality for the customers. 

Which season?

Weather is another important consideration.  You can't always predict the weather. If you choose a winter cruise, which is usually cheaper, then you can expect to be indoors a fair amount of the trip and it gets dark early.  So choosing the right location and time of year is important for river cruising as it's preferable to be outdoors, on the sun-deck enjoying the beautiful scenery along the riverbanks rather than huddled indoors.  Some operators may offer you a free flight for a winter cruise, but the cost of the cruise itself is pegged at the high season fare.

How much can you afford? 

What's your travel budget and what length of cruise are you looking for?  The price range of cruises depends on a number of factors such as season, duration of cruise and your cabin type.

The cabin type that you choose makes a big difference to the price.  Most river cruise boats are designed so that rooms on both sides of the boats have views, but on some boats the lowest deck and cheapest rooms are at water level.  The best cabins are those staterooms on the upper deck with French balconies.  These are great as you can relax, read or watch the passing scenery from the comfort of your suite if you didn't feel like going on the sun-deck.

Check to see if the on-shore excursions are included in the price of the cruise or do you have to allow extra budget for some of the visits that you're interested in.

On many cruises, you have to pay for your wines and drinks at meal time, however there are cruises that provide complimentary wines as part of the package.  Look out for these!

Port charges and tips for the crew will all need to be considered in your budget.

Booking A River Cruise 

So, as long as you've taken some of these main points into your decision making, you should be on your way to a pleasant cruise. Bon voyage!  If you would like to join us for a River Cruise we have two upcoming specials French Wine Country Cruise and the Legendary Danube River Cruise.   

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