The European River Cruise Experience
Are you looking for a vacation that takes you to intriguing and historic places in luxury and comfort while giving you time to relax and enjoy the scenery? If so, a European river cruise could be for you. Relax on deck in the open air as you float past scenic countryside, steep vineyards and enchanting hill top castles. The noise and rush is left behind as you sail serenely along the river's route, eagerly anticipating your next destination.
Avalon Imagery on the Danube's Schloegenbend.
Photo: Globus family of brands/Avalon Waterways
From Amsterdam to Budapest, Berlin to Vienna, Paris to Prague; there is a wonderful choice of ships and itineraries to show you fascinating cities of Europe as well as the pastoral countryside.
Consider the many advantages of river cruising:
- Central locations - Riverboats dock conveniently downtown. Step ashore in the heart of town when you're ready to explore. Cruises from Paris include two overnights on board before you sail so you don't need to book a pre-cruise hotel.
- Outstanding excursions - Included excursions are a real plus and a major advantage of taking a river cruise. Informative local guides lead complimentary sightseeing tours in each town. Additional excursions are available for purchase. Quietvox headsets ensure tour members can always hear the guide.
- English speaking staff & guides - Tour guides and staff speak English on the cruises offered by our preferred partners, Avalon Waterways, Uniworld and Viking River Cruises.
- Scenic cruising - Relax and enjoy the scenery away from busy highways and traffic noise. Riverboats feature plenty of picture windows in public areas and open deck space where you can sit back and take in the view. Many staterooms have picture windows while suites have verandahs, French doors or wall-to-wall panoramic windows.
- No motion sickness - Since you aren't on the open sea and river boats are very stable, there's no problem with motion.
- Friendly companions - There is a great camaraderie on board these small vessels which in Europe carry from 130 to 250 passengers. River cruises are known for being very friendly.
- Convenience - Unpack once and then enjoy every day of your European vacation - the river boat is your floating hotel.
- Value - Packages vary but all offer excellent value as they include pre and post cruise stays in great cities, transfers, port excursions and complimentary drinks including beer, wine and soft drinks with dinner. Cruise only and air inclusive options are also offered by our preferred partners.
Riverboats dock in the heart of cities and towns.
Photo: Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
Life On Board
Think of river boats as floating boutique hotels and you'll have a good idea of what they are like. The interiors have grace and style while the food, wine and service are outstanding.
Levels of luxury are in line with cruise ships. You'll certainly be pampered as you sail serenely through Europe seeing all the highlights along the way.
Innovative, modern riverboats feature well appointed staterooms and suites, many with verandahs, ideal as your home away from home.
Entertainment on board revolves around the destination with beer and wine tastings, local musicians and entertainers and talks by local experts on the region you are sailing.
Enjoy superb views from Avalon's panorama suites.
Photo: Globus family of brands/Avalon Waterways
Indulge your special interest on theme sailings focusing on art, music, food, wine or special events like the Floriade floral festival in Holland this year.
Many parts of Europe can be visited by river cruise, including Russia and the Ukraine, as shown by these enticing itineraries:
- Amsterdam to Basel, Vienna, Budapest or Bucharest on the Rhine and Danube Rivers
- Round-trip from Amsterdam in the spring for Tulip Festival sailings
- Vienna to Nuremberg on the Danube to visit the Christmas Markets
- Berlin to Prague via Switzerland along the Elbe
- Budapest - Black Sea - Vienna on the Danube for an exploration of Eastern Europe
- Paris to Prague for wine sampling on the Moselle, Rhine and Main Rivers
- Round-trip from Paris along the Seine to Normandy with two nights on board in Paris
- Round-trip from Arles to Burgundy and Provence on the Saône and Rhône Rivers
- Lisbon to Porto along the Douro visiting Portugal and Spain
- Round-trip from Venice along the River Po to Padua, Verona, Ravenna and Bologna (New for 2013.)
- Moscow to St. Petersburg along the Volga to see some of the worlds finest artistic and architectural treasures
- Kiev to Odessa along the Dnieper River, through Ukraine
Of course many sailings can be taken back to back to expand your exploration of the continent.
What can you expect when sailing Europes rivers? Luxurious surroundings, fine dining, premium wines, excellent service, cultural experiences and a unique perspective on the countries you've come to explore.
By Susan Milne