When people think of cruises, then tend to think of gigantic ultra ships floating around from tropical destination to tropical destination. Children running everywhere and the buffet running out of ranch dressing on day 2. Tropical cruises certainly have a place in the vacationing lexicon, but can sometimes lack a sense of refinement.
There is another type of cruise that is often overlooked. That’s the river cruise. Some many consider these to be a one night booze cruise, but river cruises in Europe are fantastic affairs allow people to do more of the things they want (sightseeing, trying great food) and less of the things they don’t want to be doing (staying in one place and sleeping). There’s something magical about going to sleep in one city after a great day and waking up in the next city the following day! The history of Europe is deep and hard to match in North America. No matter where you go, there’s history seeping through every brick.
How Does a River Cruise Work?
River cruises are full of action and have a lot less laying around than an ocean cruise. A River cruise features stops at various destinations with tourist itineraries to make things easy for their passengers. Following those is completely optional, meaning you can see the great cities exactly how you want to see them.
Almost everyone on a river cruise is included! The all inclusive style means that people can focus on enjoying themselves instead of where their next meal or drink is coming from. While people drift off to sleep, the boat will move onto the next destination. In some cases, cruises may spend two days at a location and will have special accomodations for that extra night.
Popular River Cruise Destinations
The destinations a person can see during a river cruise obviously depend on what river they choose to travel on. While the Danube is one of the most popular rivers, there are many others as well. Cruises run down the Rhone, Saone, Seine, Elbe, Rhine and the Moselle rivers as well. Going on a river cruise allows people to see many of the following places:
- Danube Tours – There are a huge number of beautiful cities to see when going down the Danube. Budapest is an incredible international city and is often the start or end point for many cruises. Passau in Germany is beautiful and other stops can occur in Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Austria.
- Rhine/Main/Moselle Tours – These rivers join or combine at various locations and allow for some variation in a river cruise. These run through Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Liechtenstein. The most popular starts in Basel Switzerland and then ends at the ocean in Amsterdam. This is the most popular for first time river cruisers.
- Rhone/Saone Tours – This river trip is for people who love flavor. This river tour runs through the heart of France. Trips start in Lyon and tend to end in either Arles or Avignon. Stops will feature incredible wine and food in the Burgundy region as people get to immerse themselves in French culture.
There are many cruise lines and ships which travel throughout Europe. These companies offer their boats and expertise to assist as people travel from city to city. Each cruise line goes about things in a slightly different way. Some stick to specific rivers, therefore it’s necessary to choose a specific cruise line if you really want to see one region. Some of the best cruise lines include:
- Viking River Cruises
- Tauck River Cruises
- Uniworld River Cruises
- Crystal River Cruises
These cruise lines can take you all over Europe and let you get the vacation experience of a lifetime.