River cruising is an incredible way to explore many parts of the world. Unpack once, sail in luxury, and access the wonders of the destination with unparalleled ease. Your “floating hotel” can moor up right in the heart of your next destination city, allowing you to step off and start your experience right away.
9 Reasons to do a River Cruise
#1 Significant and Historic
Because rivers were historically significant for transport, water consumption and crops, many population centers take place near them. So you will always be close to the must see sites and experiences
#2 Removes all the hassles
- Because most all costs will be prepaid you know what a River cruise will cost you
- Transfers are either included or easily added on
- Multiple excursions options are included with the cruise fare for most river cruises
River cruise ships don’t travel great distances, so you have a lot of opportunity to learn about and understand the region.
Local guides that know their city or countryside will take you around, and often it will be local musicians or speakers who will provide the onboard entertainment.
Along the way you will have overnights in various cities which give you the opportunity to explore the night life or just a different side of the destination than you would during the day.
#4 Safety and Security
Because you will have one or more tour managers around with experience in the area they will have lots of local knowledge and be able to provide insights to keep you secure and safe. Should a problem occur they will also know the best way to solve it.
Because the ships have very little motion on the rivers it is very unlikely for you to experiecne seasickness.
Travelling with a group also offers the security of more more people looking out for each other.
#5 pack and unpack once
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#6 Rooms with a view
Even the best hotels in the world can only offer the same view from your room night after night, but on a river cruise your view changes constantly throughout your journey.
#7 incredible dining throughout the day
Michelin star and celebrity chef inspired meals are the norm on the luxury river cruise lines, as every meal is meant to WOW.
Local specialties, local wines and local fresh produce are incorporated as well, giving you a real taste of the regions.
#8 Intimate Adult environment
River cruise ships in europe are limited in size by the locks and the bridges, meaning that there can only be so many people onboard.
While a few cruise river cruise companies do allow children, and to some extend will cater to families, the focus really is adult orientated in entertainment and environment
#9 Relaxing and stressfree
With few exceptions your river cruise experience can be said to have:
- No Tipping
- No worrying about logistics of how to get from point A to point B
- No language barriers for essentials
- No trying to find a good place to eat (local guides can recommend where to eat according to preferences when not on the ship)
- No currency concerns as everything but shopping tends to be included
Rivers of the world
There are various rivers spanning 6 continents, each offer their own unique sites, cities and experiences
Rivers of Europe
Wine tastings at vineyards, Imperial grand palaces, and visits to medieval towns and riverside castles are hallmarks of a Danube river cruise. Starting in Germany and finishing in the Black sea it flows through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. Cruises taking in the Danube are often paired with cruising the Rhine as well in what is typically a 15 day itinerary from Amsterdam to Budapest.
From the legendary canals of Amsterdam to the German Black Forest of fairytales, a Rhine river cruise will charm and delight. Rhine river cruises include visits to some of Central Europe’s cultural hubs, where art, fine dining and historic sites abound. Consider a cruise which combines the Rhine and the Danube.
The Seine River in Paris is what the River Thames is to London, the Danube to Budapest. Observe the famous attractions, and capture the memories of a lifetime. Jump aboard a cruise and you’ll be able to see the best of Paris, the city of love.
A Rhône river cruise takes you to the gastronomic heart of France, traversing scenic wine-growing regions and pausing to explore charming Provençal villages and historic cities like Avignon and Arles.
The Volga River is Europe’s longest river, flowing directly through Central Russia and hosting eleven of Russia’s largest cities. A river cruise on the Volga usually runs Moscow to St Petersburg or visa versa, utilizing small rivers such as the Neva and Moscow river to access key destinations along the way.
Flowing through France, Luxembourg and Germany, the Moselle River is known for its picturesque medieval castles and excellent wines, such as Riesling, Elbling, Müller-Thurgau and Kerner. Often combined with Rhine river cruises.
Douro River cruises start in Porto, Portugal and travel as far as Vega de Terron, Spain. Most trips are round trip from Porto, Portugal. Despite rapidly growing in popularity, Douro river cruises still remain relatively unknown to many travellers. It is advised to include extra time in Porto and to consider more time in Portugal while you are there.
Rising in the Czech Republic, the Elbe River then flows north through Germany, before ending in the North Sea near Cuxhaven. With itineraries including Prague and Berlin, the Elbe river is a beautiful journey through Eastern Europe, usually involving a 7 night itinerary.
Recognized as the longest river in France, the navigable Loire begins in the foothills of the Massif Central, then flows north and west across the heartland of France, finally ending in the Bay of Biscay.
Canal Cruising (mainly in France) offers a different way to experience river cruising. Usually Canal cruising is on smaller vessels with fewer frills, and the group size is significantly smaller, from a few people to a few dozen. The journeys are smaller and regional, not covering a lot of ground, but offering rich local experiences (hot air ballooning, horse back riding, and sports are commonly featured). Also available on Canals are self-driven barges, which can be a good option for a group of friends or family.
Rivers of Asia
The Brahmaputra River is one of two navigable rivers in the world from which elephant, jeep and boat safaris are conducted. It is a river that spans 3 kms at it’s narrowest and 40 kms at it’s widest. A trans-border river, it travels through India, China and Bangladesh.
The holy river of Hinduism, the Ganges river, slowly courses through one of the world’s most fertile and populated areas. With a blend of history, religion, and local life, you will come away with a greater understanding and appreciation for the colourful, sensory rich country of India.
The Irrawaddy River has shaped Burma’s history; it’s the country’s economic lifeblood and inseparable from Burmese spiritual life. Cruising the Irrawaddy River gives you the opportunity to see authentic Burmese life as well as the sights of Bagan and Mandalay.
Starting in China and travelling all the way throughout Southeast Asia, the Mekong river will take you through mesmerizing destinations such as the Luang Prabang province in Laos, Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and Myanmar. All in all this trans-border river touches on China, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.
The Yangtze is the world’s third-longest river, stretching 6,300 km from Shanghai through China’s heartland and is a brilliant way to experience China, as you cruise along beautiful countryside and populous cities. The Three Gorges Dam is the most well known sight along this river and is a must see experience.
Rivers of the Americas
The Mississippi is one of the world’s great rivers. It spans 6,210 km of length as measured using its northernmost west fork, the Missouri River, which starts in the Rocky Mountains in Montana, joining the Mississippi proper in the state of Missouri. Most Mississippi cruises focus on the southern tail of the river, offering rich experiences in the deep south of the US, in the States of Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
Peru has some of the best tracts of the Amazon, but to really experience the Peruvian Amazon, you need to take to its rivers and waterways. The area is an increasingly popular hotspot for nature and wildlife lovers but also offers rich indigenous cultures, excellent food, and numerous other pleasures for adventurous travellers to discover.
Rivers of Africa
A Nile river cruise is a trip to the heart of Egypt. A Nile River Cruise between Luxor and Aswan or Lake Nasser Cruise is the best way to see the incredible ruins of Ancient Egypt, like Ancient pyramids, colorful bazaars and temples as well as modern life along the banks of the Nile, which has brought life to Egypt for millennia.
The mighty Zambezi, the fourth longest river in Africa, passes through six countries on its journey east from Zambia to the Indian Ocean, including Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Mozambique. The river reaches a spectacular crescendo at the thundering Victoria Falls, on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Zambezi River cruise is a superb way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the River and see a variety of game.
The Murray River of Australia
The Murray Mallee is blessed with diverse and contrasting Australian landscapes, wildlife and locals. You’ll experience a great journey as this natural river road winds 2,520 kilometres through five contrasting landscapes of south-eastern Australia.
The Murray River begins as a small stream in the Australian Alps. It meanders and carves steep river banks to the Mallee, where it touches the Australian desert and the great outback region. You’ll discover unique Aboriginal culture that reveals the story of mankind and ancient fossilised limestone cliffs before it finally enters the Southern Ocean at Goolwa and the Coorong.
If you truly love unique experiences or are looking to unwind, the Murray offers you every possible opportunity to explore, reconnect and simply relax. Here’s your chance to immerse yourself in the soul, spirit and flavour of Australia’s greatest river, the Murray.
Luxury cruise lines
Some of the finest experiences possible can be found aboard these award winning river cruise lines
How you see the world matters… and on Tauck’s river cruises, you can expect to see the sights a bit differently than you would with anyone else. We explore Europe’s great waterways from the Rhine and the Danube to the French Rivers, Rhône and Seine. The custom-designed riverboats of Tauck’s Destination Fleet are spacious and comfortable, welcoming you to an onboard experience characterized by the Tauck Difference – all-inclusive river cruises featuring personalized cruising enhanced by those “little Tauck touches;” our intimate, sophisticated atmosphere onboard, and the uncommon access to exclusive cultural experiences on our included excursions ashore, ensuring experiences as memorable as the places you visit… not simply what other travelers see and do. We also feature special Solo Traveler Savings on all of our river cruises
Travelling Well Includes:
- All private Tauck shore excursions
- Gratuities to ship staff, drivers, local guides, Tauck Directors and Tauck Cruise Director
- Exclusive Tauck Events
- Unlimited complimentary beverages aboard ship include regional wine, beer and premium spirits in addition to specialty coffee, water and soft drinks
- Airport & train transfers upon arrival and departure
- All meals; service charges, taxes, porterage & applicable fuel surcharges
Ron’s notes: Tauck is an incredible product. On the surface it can look a bit more expensive than some of the other companies but factoring that virtually everything is included, and that everything is of a very high standard, it becomes very attractive as one of the highest quality river cruise options there are.
Drift away. Your way.
On an Avalon Waterways river cruise, the possibilities are as wide open as the expansive views. The same company that reinvented river cruise ships has redefined the river cruise experience. Beyond the widest views on the water is an open invitation to experience your destination in more ways, in exceptional ways, in your way.
We promise more than a good view on an Avalon Waterways® river cruise – we deliver the suite view. Our entire fleet in Europe and Southeast Asia is completely comprised of Suite Ships®, each featuring our Panorama SuitesSM with the widest opening windows in river cruising, the industry’s only Open-Air BalconySM, and an inviting bed facing the ever-changing scenery. Wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, our panoramic windows blur the line between outside and in. Even if you’re a seasoned traveller, you’ve never seen, or experienced, a world like this.
Beyond your ship is a world waiting to be explored – your way. With our YourWay options, you can extend your holiday before and after your cruise with exciting stays in worldly cities. And with our exclusive onboard Avalon ChoiceSM offering, you have your pick of the widest array of included excursions – from classic sightseeing to immersive discoveries to active adventures. You might choose to visit an ancient abbey, join a cooking class, or pedal a bike through town. Or for the more independent adventure, our onboard Adventure Host is on hand with the equipment, accessories and maps you need to create the perfect outing. With the flexibility to choose exactly what you wish to do before, during and after your cruise, Avalon offers the most desirable amenity of all – the freedom to cruise your way.
Avalon will also set the stage for adventure and the table just for you. At every meal, our talented chefs prepare mouthwatering regional recipes – as well as Western favorites – using the freshest of local ingredients. How you wish to savour each delectable bite, however, is up to you. Avalon FlexDiningSM puts you in control of your meals, allowing you to dine according to your cravings, mood and schedule. Whether you choose a late al fresco lunch at the Sky Grill, an elegant four-course dinner in the glass-walled dining room, or a petite plate at the Panorama Bistro, you’ll savour local flair, Western favourites and our Avalon Fresh® menu offerings – on your schedule.
Join us for an unforgettable adventure, and to experience quiet indulgence and luxury done our way. The world is full of curiosities and intoxicating stories just waiting to be shared so go on, experience the Avalon difference!
For over three decades, Scenic has delighted its guests with great escapes to fascinating locations in every part of the world. Our pursuit of wonder has led us to scour more than 60 countries to create unique 5 star luxury itineraries that give you a deeper understanding of all the ‘must do’ sights, along with the right amount of flexibility to explore at your own pace. Our Journey Designers strive to craft intimate experiences that take our guest beyond the ordinary, revealing facets of locations seldom witnessed by tourists.
Continuous innovation has helped us offer services design for optimal guest comfort on board our Scenic Space-Ships. Our exclusive cooking school, Scenic Culinaire on board our sips in Bordeaux and the South of France offers an immersive culinary experience. Our ships along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers also feature an exclusive Salt Therapy Lounge to help guests unwind in a holistic healing atmosphere.
Whether you prefer a luxurious fine dining venue, a relaxed café setting, or even choose to dine in the privacy of your suite, you will find a dining experience to your liking, all of which are included complimentary on board a Scenic Space-Ship. As are all beverages, alcoholic & non alcoholic, with the exception of a very small number of fine and vintage wine, Champagnes and spirits.
At Scenic we understand that each guest is unique and so are their holiday styles. You might like to take it easy and savour each moment as it comes, or you might like to see as many sights as possible within a limited amount of time. All excursions on a Scenic Space-Ship are complimentary – from our Scenic Freechoice activities, where you get to choose what you day and which have been divided into active, moderate and relaxed pace so you can choose those which best suit, to our Scenic Enrich excursions, where you get to go behind the scenes and discover the wonders of Europe after the gates have been closed to the general public. In France, be serenaded by exquisite classical music at the magnificent Palais des Papes in Avignon, or be transported back in time with a medieval feast at Germany’s Marksburg Castle.
Every detail of our state of the art Scene Space-Ships has been developed with the key objective of delivering a world class, all inclusive, luxury river cruise experience, that is second to none.
Everything we do at Viking is focused on making your time with us truly memorable — for all the right reasons.
Onboard service doesn’t just come with a smile, it comes with awardwinning credentials and years of experience. Our highly trained staff go out of their way to make you feel completely comfortable and create an easy-going, relaxed ambiance where nothing is too much trouble. They are one of the main reasons people choose to travel with Viking over other river cruise lines, again and again.
TO TRAVEL MEANS TO DISCOVER, LEARN AND GROW
At Viking, we believe travel should be more than just a trip — it should be a doorway to cultural insight and personal enrichment. That’s why our cruise itineraries are designed to help you explore and engage with your destination through its food, traditions, cultures and customs.
BEFORE you travel, we provide you with everything you need to prepare for your journey — from filmographies that inspire wanderlust, to informative and enlightening reading materials.
ASHORE, you might accompany your ship’s chef to a local produce market, step behind the scenes at a famous theatre company, tour a glassblower’s workshop, or view private collections and hidden vaults inside a world-class museum — the possibilities are endless.
ONBOARD activities are also designed for the thinking traveller who’s eager to learn. Viking offers informative lectures on history and art, cooking demonstrations, musical performances and restaurant menus inspired by local cuisines. We take every opportunity to bring your destination to life.
CONNECT with like-minded travellers onboard our ships. Each space has been designed to put you in touch with your surroundings and create a relaxed atmosphere where you can mingle with your fellow guests. By the end of your journey, our hope is that you will feel infinitely more connected — both to your destinations and to your newfound friends.
There’s a moment on every Uniworld boutique river cruise when it becomes clear. Maybe it’s while luxuriating in the comfort of your exceptionally appointed stateroom or suite. Or when savouring yet another culinary masterpiece prepared by their master chefs. Or while experiencing the jewels of a destination from a perspective that only a river can provide. A moment when you realise that this journey is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced and beyond anything you could have expected.
Everything Uniworld does is focused on a singular goal: to give you the unique and unforgettable experience you seek, with the personalised industry-leading service you deserve. From creating one-of-a-kind ships that provide the perfect setting for your voyage, to ensuring that every detail of your time with them is flawlessly executed, Uniworld strive to go above and beyond to deliver a truly exceptional travel experience.
Uniworld elevates all-inclusive river cruising to an entirely new level. When dining onboard, you’ll be treated to world-class cuisine made from fresh ingredients, locally sourced from the destinations you visit. Their suites and staterooms provide an elegant and serene onboard sanctuary throughout your journey. From beds hand-crafted by Savoir of England—purveyor to Europe’s finest hotels—to the highest quality linens and Italian marble-lined bathrooms, every element is designed with your ultimate comfort in mind.
Every Uniworld itinerary is infused with exclusive excursions included, designed to showcase the authentic culture, sights, activities and cuisine of the places you’ll visit. Nothing onboard is cookie-cutter, so your time onshore shouldn’t be either. These included excursions feature several options throughout the entire day, so you can adventure onwards exactly how you’d like.
So, step onboard, and indulge in the masterful touches, refined artistry and sumptuous amenities that set Uniworld apart.
Cost conscious river cruising
River Cruising doesn’t have to be expensive, you can still experience river cruising with these great contemporary and premium level companies
U by Uniworld
U’s river cruises are for those who have a passion for exploring and a taste for authentic adventures. With a sexy, stylish look and feel, U offers immersive experiences along the world’s most popular rivers. Itineraries focus on longer stays in a destination, allowing guests to connect with local people, experiences and each city’s vibrant nightlife.
A river cruise with U is an effortless way to travel from city to city across Europe, completely tailored to your tastes. Experience iconic sites and hidden gems as U takes you to some of the most dynamic and inspiring cities in Europe. Relax onboard, spend your day and night in town, or embark on one of U’s carefully-curated excursions – it’s all up to you.
The U fleet offers two, 120-passenger matte black ships, The A and The B, each boasting two rooftop venues, a spa, mixologists, international DJs, communal tables for dining and locally-inspired, farm-to-table cuisine. If your ideal vacation includes a glass of local wine and an awe-inspiring meal, you’ve come to the right place. U’s onboard dining features fresh culinary options made from locally sourced ingredients, designed to make your mouth water.
U is your boutique hotel that moves seamlessly throughout Europe, with meals, transportation and activities all built in. Pack and unpack once as U’s professionally-trained staff take care of all the details in between, from bow to stern.
EUROPE’S LARGEST RIVER CRUISE LINE Since 1976 CroisiEurope has pioneered river cruising on the most beautiful waterways in Europe, and is Europe’s largest and most experienced river cruise line. When you sail with us, you can relax and know that you will be well taken care of
A VARIETY OF PRODUCT AND DESTINATIONS
From a 3-day city break to walking cruises or 13 days along the Danube, we offer a unique variety of cruises to the most interesting destinations.
From Spain’s Guadalquivir River, to France’s Loire Valley, we continue to be the first and often only line to offer such unique destinations.
CroisiEurope takes you away for so much less yet offers so much more
As an independent, family-owned business, we are able to provide great value for money as we handle the entire operation from beginning to end: from the design and building of our ships and fleet maintenance, to creating cruise itineraries, sales and marketing and highly trained staff and crew. This gives us the ability to manage our costs carefully and allows us to provide you with exceptional value for money. Additionally, we concentrate on things that matter most: friendly and knowledgeable staff, well-appointed, comfortable cabins, reliable and safe ships, excellent food, incredible itineraries and a delightful experience of European culture.
Affordable prices at remarkable quality
You won’t find any unnecessary extras on CroisiEurope as we believe this would distract from your true cruising experience. Well-designed cabins with most having full length glass doors or panoramic, river facing windows, hotel-style, comfortable beds and lots of storage. Each member of our crew — whether it’s the Bar Waiter or a Cruise Manager — is a highly trained professional with a passion for what they do and a commitment to excellence.
Inspired itineraries include iconic favourites, fascinating optional excursions with knowledgeable guides, as well as an opportunity to explore lesser known places and immerse yourself in local culture. While most our sightseeing tours show you the must-see sights, we also offer options for our active guests. Providing exceptional dining is our passion. Our head chef Alain Bohn, a long-time member to La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs (which is, by invitation only, and exclusively to those possessing world-class culinary acumen); and our onboard culinary team strives to tempt your taste buds with classical favourites and local delicacies paired with a generous selection of wines from each region the ships are sailing through. Our Cruise Managers and on-board hosts take care of every detail
Active and Self-lead River options
For those desiring a more active experience consider a Bike and Barge experience, with guides to take you out for active excursions through city and county
Self-drive barging is a great option for small groups and families, and typically experienced in the canals of France
Barging with locaboat
Discover Europe’s most beautiful waterways and lakes thanks to over 200 possible canal boat cruises.
Locaboat has been active in the boating holiday industry since 1977. Our company owns a fleet of 380 top quality canal boats. The renowned quality of our watercraft – Locaboat is the original designer of the Pénichette® model, the expertise and passion of our staff for boating holidays will make your cruise a unique and memorable experience.
No matter which region you pick, your boating holidays will be punctuated by beautiful landscapes and lovely towns, castles, wine cellars and historical sights.
Whatever model of Locaboat you choose, we do everything we can to make you feel at home. They are spacious, light and airy, with comfortable seating, heating and plenty of hot and cold water. You will love the social get-together areas, both inside and on deck.
The cabins have comfy beds with bed-linen provided and also have a good range of storage possibilities, an important feature of our boats.
Heating is provided with gas, using a forced-air heating system or by diesel oil in some models.
Utracks bike and barge
Active boat-based holidays in Europe allow travellers to cover more ground and see more of Europe than they would otherwise be able to. Add waking up to a different sunrise every morning and only having to unpack once, and it’s easy to see why this active style of boat trip is so popular. Cycle on the Danube Cycle Path during the day then retire to your floating hotel in the afternoon to discuss the day’s adventures with fellow travellers over a glass of local beer or wine, or explore the dramatic sun-drenched coasts and islands of Greece and Croatia – explore Europe your way on our leading range of Bike & Boat trips.
UTracks has a large range of barges and sail boats for Europe, from category C (basic) to category A+
The Magnifique I (below) is one of their Category A+: