Top 5 European River Cruises

If you’re planning a trip to Europe, you may want to consider setting sail on one of the many European river cruises. Thousands of routes of interwinding waterways that span across the cities offers travelers a unique way to explore the continent. Embarking on a river cruise allows you to see multiple European locations like Portugal, Germany, France, and many more without the hassle of finding and arranging accommodations in every city you go.

Today, we’ll explore the top five European River Cruises that offer unique experiences. Let us take you on a journey to help you discover what cruise is best for you, here we go.

Crystal River Cruises

This river cruise line is a new division of the Crystal Cruises luxury line that was launched in summer 2016. For years, the Crystal Cruise brand has been one of the top luxury sailing companies in the world.  All their vessels are top-of-the-line with beautiful interiors and luxurious amenities, and their river cruises are no exception; you’ll definitely be crusing through Europe in style.

They offer five ships that set sail to different European locations, all offering differently itineraries, but all promise the highest level of service. Starting at $2,245 dollars, you’ll be able to experience exceptional service and amenities, including multiple indoor pools, a variety of on-board restaurants, and a cabin that offers a king-size bed. In addition, they offer large cabins with walk-in closets, and water sport equipment (kayaks, personal watercrafts) all available to passengers while the ship is in port

Itinerary

Although some of the itinerary will change based on the destination you choose, most of the rivers cruises on the Crystal Cruise line offer shore excursions during the day. Some even offer evening explorations, allowing passengers to be immersed in the culture and try out local restaurants.

Pros

  • All-inclusive drinks (soft drinks and alcohol)
  • Room service
  • Daily excursions
  • Large cabin suites
  • Specialty dinning service

Bottom Line

Crystal River Cruises offers a five-star experience that is sure to leave you satisfied. However, they do require a 20 percent deposit at the time of the booking. Also, you’ll lose your deposit if you cancel between 46 to 90 days prior to the trip.

Viking River Cruises

According to their website, Viking River Cruises is the world’s leading river cruise company. Established in 1997, they offer over 60 award-winning vessels that sail the waterways of Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, to name a few. Their long ships can typical hold about 190 passages, all of their vessels offer a wide range of suites, and all have communal areas such as bar and lounge, restaurant, and a library.

As for your European vacation, you may want to consider a Viking as “No one shows you Europe like a Viking,” is one of their sayings – this holds true as embarking on one of their vessels lets you sail the waterways of Europe’s most iconic rivers. From a grand European tour starting from $4,399 that explores Amsterdam to Budapest, to exploring the storybook villages on a Danube River cruise from as low as $2,399, their cruises cover all areas of Europe.

Itinerary

One of the cruises they offer – the Viking’s Rhine Getaway cruise (from Amsterdam to Basel) – takes you down the river in the heart of Europe This is an eight-day cruise that takes you on a journey that explores all the castles and cathedrals Europe has to offer. Discover the Rhine, Europe’s most-loved river, from a preserved medieval castle, indulge in culinary experiences in Alsace, hike the Black Forest, and take a walk through historic cities.

Pros

  • Detailed itineraries
  • Luxury design and amenities
  • On-board programs (wine tastings, art lectures, folkloric performances)
  • Tour guides
  • Varity of food options on board
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi and coffee

Bottom Line

Although Viking River Cruises can be on the pricey side, the experience you’ll get out of it is worth it –especially if you’re interested in history and the arts. It’s important to note that only a few of their ships have a gym and/or spa (if that’s something that is important to you) and they do not offer an all-inclusive package.

Scenic River Cruises

If you’re looking for the ultimate river cruise experience where everything is included, then Scenic River Cruises has you covered. With over 28 years of experience, and an award-winning reputation and service on-board, make them one of Europe’s exceptional river cruise lines. They offer vessels that sail the iconic rivers of Europe, like Main, the Rhine, and Danube. Stating at $4,230, all their cruises offer all-inclusive features. You can cruise in comfort on all their vessels, all offering a number of spacious cabins with balconies, state-of-the-art technology, and luxury décor. Plus, their world-class service includes butler service and airport transfers to and from your cruise.

Itinerary

All their river cruises let you explore each city how you want to explore it. They give you the opportunity to create your own cultural and culinary experience. All the destinations include Scenic Freechoice sightseeing, which are GPS-guided walking tours that allow you to pick and choose your adventure depending on your interests.

Pros

  • All-inclusive pricing
  • Special evening events
  • Modern and comfortable
  • Wellness areas
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Freechoice on shore itineraries

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an experience of a lifetime, Scenic offers you that. But make sure to book early as it fills up quickly.

Uniworld River Cruises

Uniworld River Cruises is the world’s only authentic boutique cruise line that offers high-end excursions through Europe, Russia, Egypt, and Asia. Their European line features top-of-the-line ships that can hold a capacity of up to 130 guests. Their trips are on the pricey side, but they do offer early booking savings where you can save up to 10 percent. Plus, all their cruises offer the “boutique experience,” which is a combination of elegant décor, superior service, and carefully selected luxurious amenities.

Itinerary

Although some of the itinerary will change based on the destination you choose, all offer shore excursions for every traveler type.

Pros

  • All-inclusive
  • Luxurious riverview cabins and suites
  • Cozy libraries
  • Panoramic restaurants
  • Professionally trained staff
  • Wellness areas

Bottom Line

If you enjoy being pampered, Uniworld is an excellent choice for you as it offers all the glitz and the glam with its all-inclusive package that includes unlimited drinks and in-suite butlers, but keep in mind booking this cruise does come at a price.

AmaWaterways River Cruises

If you’re looking for a way to see destinations in luxury and comfort, AmaWaterways river cruises offer you just that, with destinations that take you through Europe, Asia, and Africa.

In terms of their European river cruises, they offer many including a trip down the Danube river or sailing down the Rhine. They also offer river cruises in France and Portugal. AmaWaterways key focus is on excellent food and wine. If you’re choosing a river cruise because of that, this would be the one. They also offer luxury décor, riverside views, a specialty onboard restaurant, and shore excursions.

Itinerary

If you’re going for the wine, you may want to experience their seven-day “Taste of Bordeaux” trip that travels down the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. This trip includes visits to iconic chateaux, vineyards, and, of course, wine tastings.

Pros

  • Great customer service
  • Well-organized shore excursions
  • Superior food and beverage
  • Riverside suite views

Bottom Line

Exceptional service and amenities comes at a price, some of their cruises can cost anywhere between $2,500 and $3,500 per person (not including airfare).

Prasit photo / Getty Images

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