European River Cruises - Best Tours & Trips 2019

75 trips to European River Cruises tours from 18 tour companies. 5 reviews. 4.2/5 avg rating.
River cruising is one of the hottest segments in worldwide cruising right now, and river cruising in Europe is the most popular location for it. The Rhine, Danube, Seine and Volga are perennial favorites, but don't overlook the Rhone, Saone, Garonne, Gironde, and Dordogne in France; the Elbe in central Europe; the Moselle in Germany and Luxembourg; the Guadalquivir in Spain; the Douro in Portugal; the Po in Italy, Sweden's river-l ... Read More
All European River Cruises tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 0 $ 9,654

Price Per Day

Trip Length

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Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Beloved Europe

6 days
$ 101 / day
$ 608
From : $ 1,657
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit Grutas Park, known as "Stalin’s world", a park with 86 statues from Soviet times
  • Sightseeing of Vilnius
  • Discover Spain
  • Visit the Baroque Palace Of Rundale, built by the same architect who designed Saint Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum
  • Sightseeing of Riga
  • City tour of Tallinn
Visits:
Amsterdam, Cologne, Frankfurt, Prague, Rudesheim, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands
View Trip

River Cruise to Northern France

ROW Adventures
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
7 days
$ 711 / day
$ 4,975
From : $ 6,119
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Visit the Abbey of Hautvilliers where the monk Dom Perignon first made Champagne
  • Visit to the world famous cellars of Moet and Chandon for a tour and tasting
  • Visits to small family-run vineyards
  • Visit Meaux and Coulomniers, one of the centres of Brie cheese
  • Visit the magnificent Chateau of Vaux-le-Vicomte
Visits:
Paris, Reims, France
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Danube River Cruise Biking

Butterfield & Robinson
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 999 / day
$ 7,995
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy riding along the Danube Bike Path
  • Discover the Old City in Passau
  • Visit 'Donau Auen' National Park
  • Enjoy a casual bike tour of the main sights and explore Budapest
Visits:
Bratislava, Budapest, Linz, Munich, Vienna, Wachau, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
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Lake Baikal Cruise By Crucemundo

9 days
$ 482 / day
$ 4,334
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore Zmeinaya Bay is located in Chivyrkuyskiy Bay and is well-known for its healing hot springs
  • Ogoy Island is quite big island in Maloe More (Small Sea) that is located next to Baikal Lake
  • Visit Taltsy - open-air museum of wooden architecture
  • Opportunity to visit Listvyanka is a village located on the shores of Lake Baikal in 70 km from Irkutsk
Visits:
Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, Russia
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The Blue Danube Discovery

13 days
$ 253 / day
$ 3,289
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Minimal walking. Motor vehicles for all major parts of trip. Wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Most cruises. Very Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy wine tasting in Melk and beer tasting in fascinating Regensburg
  • Special onboard and onshore experiences presented by local chefs, entertainers, artisans, and experts
  • Visits cities in four European nations
  • Enjoy the beauty of river Danube.
Visits:
Nuremberg, Prague, Vienna, Wachau, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary
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Grand European Tour

Viking River Cruises
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 327 / day
$ 4,899
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Visit fascinating abbey at Melk, a 900-year-old Benedictine monastery
  • Opportunity to tour Regensburg a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Get an opportunity to visit 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Discover Netherlands
  • Visit Marksburg Castle, the only Rhine fortress never destroyed
Visits:
Bamberg, Cologne, Nuremberg, Vienna, Wachau, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands
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Elegant Elbe

Viking River Cruises
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 260 / day
$ 2,599
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Discover Berlin’s modern chic, Potsdam’s rococo whimsy
  • Experience cruise along Elbe which is one of Europe’s most unspoiled rivers
  • Opportunity to visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Explore Wittenberg’s and see the historic landmarks.
  • Explore Prague
Visits:
Berlin, Dresden, Meissen, Prague, Wittenberg, Czech Republic, Germany
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European sojourn

Viking River Cruises
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
23 days
$ 253 / day
$ 5,817
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Get an opportunity to Visit 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Enjoy the amazing river cruising across Amsterdam
  • Explore Budapest enjoy innovative, efficient metro.
  • Discover Vienna
  • Experience a tour of Bamberg, with its medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Visits:
Amsterdam, Bamberg, Cologne, Koblenz, Nuremberg, St. Martin's Cathedral, Vienna, Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Romania, Serbia
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Danube Waltz

Viking River Cruises
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 212 / day
$ 1,699
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy the fascinating river cruises across Danube.
  • Opportunity to visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Explore Hungary
  • Experience a tour to Bratislava and See attractions like the medieval Town Hall
  • Visit to Český Krumlov, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Discover Passau
Visits:
Bratislava, Budapest, Český Krumlov, Vienna, Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
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Europe's Rivers & Castles

AMA Waterways
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
8 days
$ 617 / day
$ 4,939
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy Cochem Walking Tour and Reichsburg Castle
  • Explore amazing Paris
  • Experience Bamberg bike tour
  • Discover Prague
  • Get an opportunity on cruising  across Rhine Gorge
Visits:
Eiffel Tower, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Paris, Prague, Trier, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Luxembourg
View Trip

Danube Symphony - Cruise Only Eastbound

6 days
$ 464 / day
$ 2,784
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Visit large churches like St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Neo-gothic New Cathedral.
  • Explore the cities Vienna and Linz
  • Enjoy the cruise through the Dhanube River
  • Visit the Wachau wine region
Visits:
Lake Tanganika, Linz, Vienna, Wachau, Austria, Germany
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The Romantic Danube

AMA Waterways
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 325 / day
$ 3,579
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore Prague
  • Enjoy walking tour to Regensburg, Linz
  • Discover Vienna city tour
  • Visit Budapest
Visits:
Bratislava, Budapest, Český Krumlov, Linz, Prague, Salzburg, St. Martin's Cathedral, Vienna, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
View Trip

Port Wine & Flamenco

AMA Waterways
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 325 / day
$ 4,549
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore Lisbon
  • Discover Guimaraes and visit UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Visit Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo
  • Visit Salamanca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Explore Madrid 
Visits:
Lisbon, Salamanca, Portugal, Spain
View Trip

Enchanted Europe (Eastbound)

16 days
$ 406 / day
$ 6,498
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Minimal walking. Motor vehicles for all major parts of trip. Wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Most cruises. Very Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Onboard welcome reception
  • Choice of excursion to Black Forest, or guided visit to Badische Winzerkeller
  • Guided tour, visit to La Petite France district and the gothic cathedral
  • Special treat; choice of visit to Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, or cable car ride to the Niederwald Monument in Rüdesheim; scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge; time at leisure in Boppard
  • Choice of guided tour in Frankfurt, or guided tour in Seligenstadt
  • Guided tour
  • Guided tour, visit to the Bishop’s Residenz
  • Guided tour, see the Old Town Hall
  • Full day guided tour in Munich
  • Choice of Roth guided tour, or Nuremberg guided tour, or Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour; lecture on board
  • Guided walk; beer tasting on board
  • Guided walk
  • Guided tour of the Benedictine Abbey in Melk; scenic cruising through the Wachau Valley
  • Guided sightseeing
  • Guided tour, see Heroes’ Square
  • Your breathtaking river cruise begins on the Rhine River in Basel, Switzerland
  • You’ll sail to Breisach, your starting point for a Black Forest excursion, and to the city of Strasbourg, France, along the way
Visits:
Bamberg, Basel, Boppard, Budapest, Frankfurt, Linz, Munich, Nuremberg, Passau, Rudesheim, Strasbourg, Vienna, Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle, Zurich, Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland
View Trip

Jewels of Central Europe Westbound

19 days
$ 359 / day
$ 6,817
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • 19 day river cruise from Budapest to Paris
  • Sail along the Danube, Main, Rhine, and Moselle Rivers
  • Deluxe 14-night cruise in an outside stateroom
  • Fishermen’s Bastion and Heroes’ Square
  • Nuremberg Rally Grounds tour
  • The Marienplatz
  • Reichsburg Castle
Visits:
Arc de Triomphe, Český Krumlov, Eiffel Tower, Hofburg Imperial Palace, Louvre Museum, Luxembourg, Notre Dame Cathedral, Nuremberg, Paris, Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia
View Trip
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Top European River Cruises Experiences and Attractions

Top European River Cruises Experiences

Tagging along with the chef and shopping the local markets for the nights dinner.

Stepping off the ship to experience the heart of the area.

Listening to the sounds of music performed by locals.

Sipping wine from a regional vineyard.

Strolling the cobblestone roads of historic European cities.

Savoring the tastes of local gastronomic delights.

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European River Cruises Trip Reviews

5 European River Cruises Tour Reviews - Summary 80% Recommend

4.2 out of 5
Excellent 4
Great 0
Average 0
Disappointing 0
Terrible 1
Value
4.2
Guide
4.6
Activities
5.0
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.2
Meals
4.6

Tour Reviews Write a Review

I really appreciate your service and have already recommended

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Thank you, I had a totally georgeous time in Russia! I really appreciate your service and have already recommended your agency to friends.
For anyone who is having Transsiberian Train in theyr mind to travel with it, just go for it! Do not wait! Book your ticket trough expresstorussia.com and you will find yourself at Lake Baikal shore within two Months!
I personally will come back again!

Read more
Operator Express to Russia

Incredible experience

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Incredible experience sailing on the Grand European tour from Amsterdam to Budapest! Just wonderful! The tours were interesting, and most allowed for adequate free time to explore the areas visited. But the staff! Beyond compare.

Read more
Operator Viking River Cruises

Misleading and often just plain dishonest.

1.0
  • Value 1.0
  • Guide 3.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 3.0
  • Transportation 1.0
  • Meals 3.0

We paid for a 3 week luxury river cruise but received a large group bus trip across Europe with many days of packing and unpacking. I called our Viking representative when we received an email message just 2 days prior to departure that mentioned a possibility of problems with low river levels. I was assured that everything was "normal" In reality, as we learned later from ship personnel, nothing has been normal for at least 3 months. About 2 weeks prior to departure, we received by mail, lovely personalized booklets describing all the details of our voyage on the Viking Lif, which we were to board in Russe, Romania. Instead, we boarded the Viking Aegir but not at Russe, because the Danube was too low. Instead we rode buses upstream to a port on the Romanian side directly opposite our first scheduled stop at Nikopol, Bulgaria. We had a beautiful cruise through the Iron gate gorge, but after three more scheduled stops in Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia, our voyage was terminated in Mohacs, Hungary, an unscheduled place two days short of reaching Budapest. So we were herded into buses for a 1.8 hour ride each way to our scheduled stop at Kalocsa. The next day we retraced the journey to Kalocsa and continued an extra 1.5 hours to reach Budapest. We lost the entire morning in Budapest and spent the night at the Marriott hotel. The next day we lost the entire afternoon in that city because we had to take a 4 hour bus ride to Vienna. Where we were put aboard the Viking Embla. Our voyage on that ship ended two steps later at Passau Germany. After a day in Passau we went upriver for a short distance and it seemed that we had entered the canal to take us to the Main river. But much to our surprise, it was a dead end channel for an industrial port. We spent two days there with our balcony room moored tightly against another Viking ship so there was nothing to look at but the scenery at that site was even worse than looking at someone else's window and the balcony was unusable anyway due to the unpleasant odors at that site. The pattern continued with a long round trip bus ride the next day to our scheduled stop at Regensburg and a 3 plus hour trip the following day to Nuremberg where we finally boarded the Viking Lif. A crew member told us that the Lif had not traveled east of Nuremberg for 3 months. We sailed from Nuremberg to scheduled stops in Bamberg, Wurzburg, and Werthiem and then our voyage terminated for good at an unscheduled port in Mainz. Once again we endured a long round trip journey to our next scheduled stop at Koblenz, followed by a 10 plus hour bus trip (with lunch and a walking tour in Cologne) to Amsterdam and a night in a hotel. Despite a promise that our bags would be in our rooms (they did take great care to provide us with tags so they could easily keep our bags organized) all the baggage was dumped in the hotel garage and it took a good 15 minutes of searching to find it and then take it to our rooms ourselves. There is much more, but it would only be more descriptive of the misery of this trip. We know Viking didn't cause the low river levels, but they did not need to lie to us and make us suffer because of it.

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Operator Viking River Cruises

European River Cruises Tours and Travel Guide

European River Cruises Attractions & Landmarks Guide

River cruising is one of the hottest segments in worldwide cruising right now, and river cruising in Europe is the most popular location for it. The Rhine, Danube, Seine and Volga are perennial favorites, but don't overlook the Rhone, Saone, Garonne, Gironde, and Dordogne in France; the Elbe in central Europe; the Moselle in Germany and Luxembourg; the Guadalquivir in Spain; the Douro in Portugal; the Po in Italy, Sweden's river-like Gota Canal, and others. You'll get intimate looks at Europe's cities, villages, and scenery that you'll find nowhere else, and have a wide variety of ships and lines to choose from.

Picture yourself floating on one of the great waterways of Europe, magnificent scenery passing by. Your vessel stops in the many places that you read about in history or geography books. Your ship introduces you to the splendors of Europe and facilitates immersion into the local culture. You might be sailing to visit the lands of your ancestors or to experience the local food and drink.

Relaxation prevails on board. Local entertainment and lectures about the ports of call engage guests, but do not overwhelm them with multiple choices for a plethora of activities as is found on ocean going counterparts.

What to Expect on a European River Cruise

Brochures display photos of gorgeous scenery, famous cathedrals and romantic castles. Those images lure guests to experience the European rivers. But what else should you consider when choosing to travel on a river cruise?

1. Ships have fewer passengers

No getting lost in a crowd or waiting in long lines. Unlike ocean going ships, the ship is rarely the destination as the point of cruising the great rivers of Europe is to explore everything offered in the port. Researching your chosen river cruise operator ensures that you will find a perfect match for a river cruising style that meets your needs.

Cabins on the river cruise ships accommodate two people so larger family groups will need to book another cabin. Connecting cabin options exist, but groups with young children should be aware of the programs or lack thereof, for children on board. Some of the river cruise lines have minimum age restrictions, an important consideration when planning.

2. Review the inclusions

In general, river cruises include many amenities, but it is essential to review those inclusions and decide what matters most to you. Certain shore excursions may be included with options for other excursions available for purchase.

Several Europe river cruise lines offer bicycles or walking sticks. Priority access into popular attractions saves guests from waiting in long lines or allow them to experience special events designed solely for them.

3. Multiple river choices

With many rivers to choose from, deciding on the perfect one comes down to the itinerary and special interests of guests. For example, there are many themed cruises, like those focused on wine or Christmas markets. A popular choice for first time cruisers of the European rivers is the majestic Danube, but there are lesser known rivers like the Douro in Portugal that attract those seeking to explore a new country or lesser-known region.

4. Consider your physcial level expectations

Keep in mind that river cruise ships often dock together and it is necessary to climb from one ship to the next to reach shore. It's a great opportunity to check out other ships, but also poses a problem for those with physical limitations. Combine this with cobblestone roads and a lack of handicap-accessible staterooms and you realize that these cruises accommodate only those with the physical ability to negotiate difficult terrain and the agility to climb from ship to ship.

Top European River Cruises Travel Companies

All European River Cruises tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.2 for all European River Cruises trips.

75 trips from 18 tour companies with 5 reviews

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  • Bookmark trips you like
  • Share with your travel companions
  • Track price changes
  • Access private discounts on trips you save
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TripFinder is a member-only feature. Don’t worry, it’s free!

With a membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
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With your free membership you:

  • Save up to $700 per person!*
  • Access private deals and offers
  • See personalized trip recommendations
  • Save favorite trips
*See Member Savings Program details
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