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For a repeat sea or ocean cruiser, the pace of a European river cruise can be unexpected, even quite surprising. While most ocean liners prepare you for sometimes up to 2 or 3 days at sea with a resort like ambiance and more than enough to do on board, a European river cruise is really more about the itinerary and its fantastic ports of call. While staterooms can offer good space and come with all the amenities you’d expect, your ship’s entertainment and facilities play second fiddle to all that you’ll experience when you’re off the ship.
Most great European cities were built either on the coast or if landlocked, on the banks of a great river and to experience them from the river’s perspective and vantage point adds a new dimension to understanding them better, even if you’ve been there before. Add majestic medieval castles, rolling vineyards and charming rural villages, seemingly lost in time and you’re in for a magical adventure. Most cruise companies include basic daily shore excursions in your prepaid cruise fare and more in-depth day trips can be purchased. Europe’s river cruising season generally runs from April to October and most cruises are typically a week long, with more complete journeys extending to ten or fourteen days in length.
Probably the most popular is The Rhine, Moselle and Main river corridor, from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland with stops in delightful French and German towns en route. The Main Danube Canal takes you from the Black Forest in southern Germany all the way to the Romanian coast of The Black Sea, passing through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia and Bulgaria. The Rhone and Saone rivers of France are a must for wine lovers as they flow through both Provence and Burgundy, arguably Europe’s finest wine-making regions. More regional river cruises include Portugal’s Douro River, The Seine in France and The Elbe River to combine The Czech Republic and eastern and northern Germany.
European river ships are also different. Both to accommodate the rivers’ depth (or shallowness) and to glide under some of the oldest (and lowest) bridges ever built, the vessels are long and sleek and low in stature. They are also significantly smaller and more intimate, housing only 100 to 200 passengers, featuring one main dining room (with one dinner seating), limited nightly entertainment options and generally basic staterooms. But then again, it’s about the stops and whether it’s with Avalon, Uniworld or Viking River Cruises, experience Europe like you never have before, from a river.
Check out our latest European river cruise deals, or contact a cruising specialist for more details.
The Saone and Rhone Rivers let you explore the famed region of Burgundy, the lavender-scented hills of Provence and the wild, majestic scenery of the Ardeche region.
The Seine is of course the river that Paris sits on. Cruise along the Seine from Paris, through the historic heart of Normandy, to the endless beaches of the Atlantic Coast.
The Elbe/Havel/Moldau rivers cover Czech and Germany. The Elbe rises in the mountains of Bohemia and flows via Prague through the Czech lowlands into Germany. The river continues north-westwards towards Hamburg and the North Sea. The Havel and Moldau rivers branch of the Elbe and allow river boats to travel from Prague to Berlin (Postdam).
Oder River cruises are a great way to discover the Old World charm of interesting and little-known towns in Germany and Poland.
The Rhine is one of Europe’s major arteries. It flows into the North Sea from its beginnings in the Alps, through Switzerland, Germany, France and Holland. Rhine cruise itineraries can include the Moselle and Main rivers. The Moselle branches from the Rhine at Koblenz and flows down to Trier. The main leaves the Rhine at Mainz and flows to Basle. The Main-Danube canal also allows River cruises to offer Rhine and Danube itineraries.
The Douro is one of Europe's most untouched and beautiful rivers. Rising in the hills north of Madrid the river meanders through northern Portugal to the fascinating city of Porto and then into the Atlantic. Most cruises are round trips from Porto.
The Volga river in Russia allows you to discover the stunning architecture and unique cultural heritage of Russia's most interesting cities. Moscow and St. Petersburg, can be visited on a cruise that combines the Volga River, the Moscow Canal and other waterways.
All cruises are on River Boats and today these are mostly luxury 5 star boats with all the comforts of top hotels and many of the facilities of cruise ships. So the cruise choice is really destination driven.
Cruises generally commence in Spring (March) and the main season ends in September/October, however a limited number of cruises are available up to Christmas and New Year. The Russian season is shorter and runs from April to October.
European river cruises operate from Spring to Autumn, so the weather will change with the seasons. Cruises also run from Portugal in the South, where temperatures in mid summer reach the 80's to Russia. In the north where the daytime temperature is around 50°F/10°C at the start of the season and rises to the high 60's by mid summer.
Cruiseabout offers great deals on European River cruises, so why not enquire today? We guarantee the best cruise deals and will beat any Asia cruise quote, worldwide - or you'll sail for free.