European River Cruises Tours & Trip Packages

European River Cruises Tours & Trips

50 European River Cruises trips. Tours from 12 tour companies. 9 reviews. 4.5/5 avg rating.

50 Trips match your criteria (1 - 20 shown)

Enchanted Europe (Eastbound)
4.7/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level
Very Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Bamberg, Basel, Boppard, Budapest, Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Heidelberg Castle, Linz, Munich, Nuremberg, Passau, Rudesheim, Salzburg, Strasbourg, Vienna, Zurich

Highlights

  • Onboard welcome reception
  • Choice of excursion to Black Forest or visit to a local winery in Breisach visit to Freiburg or bike with your Adventure Host
  • Guided tour, visit to La Petite France district and the Gothic cathedral or bike with your Adventure Host
  • Choice of visit to Siegfried's Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, cable-car ride to the Niederwald Monument in Rüdesheim, or a hike in the vineyards with your Adventure Host; scenic cruising through the Rhine Gorge; time at leisure in Boppard
  • Choice of guided tour in Frankfurt, or guided tour in Seligenstadt
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Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"A beautiful boat, excellent food, although it would have been nice to experienced some international flavours eg: Japanese, Indian etc, however I could not fault the presentation and flavours of the food that was served. The tours we went on were very good, knowledgeable, guides and fun to be with. However a high percentage of the staff were very biased toward the American travellers and were always friendly helpful towards them, this could not be said about their attitude towards the UK travellers, on several occasion I experienced positive rudeness. I am not a demanding person and always try to be as understanding as I can to people that are serving me. On our final day we had a long wait for our taxi and were kindly given the use of the lounge and lunch. Having waited some 30 minutes for a glass of sparking water, I went and waited at the bar whilst an American traveler was served. Much laughter was exchanged with this passenger and once served, the barman turned his back on me. When he was ready he turned, rolled his eyes and said " Yeh what do you want"!!!..... one glass of slightly flat spring water was delivered with a thump on the bar and he turned away. I know I had done nothing to offend this employee and had I not experienced and seen the same thing happened to others I would have thought is was a one off, however I felt uncomfortable most of the week with similar behaviour. It's a shame, but if the preference is for the American travellers that fine by me, but I won't be travelling again with Avalon."

Trip dates & details
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Authentic Danube & Prague (2022)
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Why we love them
They have the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and a reputation for excellent service.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Bavaria, Nuremberg, Passau, Prague, Vienna

Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Personnel were all very polite and happy to serve. Service was timely and professional. Most remembered your preferences and were prepared to assist."

Trip dates & details
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Castles along the Rhine (2022)
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Why we love them
They have the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and a reputation for excellent service.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Koblenz, Strasbourg

Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Personnel were all very polite and happy to serve. Service was timely and professional. Most remembered your preferences and were prepared to assist."

Trip dates & details
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Enchanting Danube (2022)
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Why we love them
They have the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and a reputation for excellent service.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Bratislava, Budapest, Linz, Passau, Salzburg, Vienna, Wachau

Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Personnel were all very polite and happy to serve. Service was timely and professional. Most remembered your preferences and were prepared to assist."

Trip dates & details
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Delightful Danube & Prague (2022)
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Why we love them
They have the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and a reputation for excellent service.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Budapest, Nuremberg, Prague, Vienna, Wachau

Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Personnel were all very polite and happy to serve. Service was timely and professional. Most remembered your preferences and were prepared to assist."

Trip dates & details
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Delightful Danube (2022)
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Why we love them
They have the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and a reputation for excellent service.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Bavaria, Budapest, Nuremberg, Vienna, Wachau

Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Personnel were all very polite and happy to serve. Service was timely and professional. Most remembered your preferences and were prepared to assist."

Trip dates & details
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Remarkable Rhine & Historic Holland (2022)
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Why we love them
They have the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and a reputation for excellent service.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Amsterdam, Basel, Frankfurt, Strasbourg

Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Personnel were all very polite and happy to serve. Service was timely and professional. Most remembered your preferences and were prepared to assist."

Trip dates & details
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Gems of Northern Italy
5/5 Excellent
100+ reviews
River Cruise
Why we love them
They have the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry and a reputation for excellent service.
Lodging level
Premium - 4 star
Physical level
Easy
Trip pace
Flexible schedule

Visits

Bologna, Milan, Venice, Verona

Themes

50 plus, Cultural, Small Ship Cruise

What travelers are saying

"Personnel were all very polite and happy to serve. Service was timely and professional. Most remembered your preferences and were prepared to assist."

Trip dates & details
Save this trip to your favorites or other list
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European River Cruises Reviews & Ratings

4.5/5  Excellent
9  Reviews
See all European River Cruises tour reviews
Excellent
4
Great
0
Average
1
Disappointing
0
Terrible
0
G

Golf Fool

Oct 2019

Written on

Great if you like 5-star hotels and lots of food

The tour covered most of Switzerland, with one day in Italy, which could have been eliminated. If you want to see the country from a bus or train, and you desire lu...

R

Rick & Fran

Aug 2015

We enjoyed the entire experience

We enjoyed the entire experience; Normandy and Omaha Beach were especially moving. The food and service deserve praise too. This is our third Viking cruise and we'll...

L

Larry

Oct 2018

Misleading and often just plain dishonest.

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 representativ...

C

Charles

Oct 2022

Good and no so goog

Recently returned from a Viking Rhine trip on 10/14. The good: Rhine water levels were good, no issues. Service on the vessel was A+, excluding one attendant with...

T

Tonya

Aug 2015

Incredible experience

Incredible experience sailing on the Grand European tour from Amsterdam to Budapest! Just wonderful! The tours were interesting, and most allowed for adequate free t...

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European River Cruises Tour Selection Trips

  • Recognize that despite similarities in appearance, not all European river cruises are alike. The boats of varying river cruise operators usually have the same number of rooms, decks, etc. and are generally the same size overall.
  • Look beyond the physical appearance of your river cruise vessel and focus your Europe river cruise search on factors such as the amenities that are offered, how long you stay in various ports and what activities are available onboard and onshore.
  • Decide where you want to go before beginning your Europe river cruise research. This helps narrow down your choice of cruise operators on Europe’s major rivers. You’ll have fewer choices of river cruise company the more specific your destination, while you’ll find that most of the major river cruise operators offer itineraries on the Rhine and Danube, for example.
  • Be sure that your river cruise vessel can accommodate your physical needs. River cruises need not be ADA compliant and may provide challenges to those with physical limitations.
  • River cruises come in a variety of options. Be sure to check all inclusions. Some include all beverages, even alcohol, others include limited alcohol at certain meals.
  • Consider your budget when researching where and with whom to take your next river cruise in Europe. Many of the luxury river cruise operators offer easy, seamless, all-inclusive packages so you won’t have to worry about being nickel and dimed throughout your voyage. 
  • In the mid-range, value-conscious Europe river cruisers can expect great accommodations and fine dining, but perhaps not around-the-clock wine or prepaid gratuities. Budget river cruise operators in Europe typically do not include shore excursions (which can be purchased separately).
  • Decide what’s important to you on your Europe vacation. If you want a European river cruise focused on food and wine, consider the Rhine and its countless vineyards, wine villages and waterside restaurants. Hoping to see the tulips in bloom? Consider sailing the Dutch Waterways in springtime. Christmas markets? Sail through Nuremberg in December.
  • Although children are welcome on many European river cruises, check for age restrictions and be aware that few companies offer dedicated facilities or programming for children.
  • Most cabins are configured to provide sleeping space for two people. Interconnecting cabins are found on many ships.
  • If you enjoy active sports, you will be pleased to find that some ships offer bicycles or Nordic walking sticks. Be sure that your particular ship offers these if this type of activity is an important feature of your river cruise.
  • Be aware that water levels impact river cruises and be prepared for itinerary alterations.

Additional details

Best Affordable River Cruises in Europe 

It’s easy to think a budget-friendly European river cruise is an oxymoron. Rest assured, however, that if your travel dreams include gliding down the Rhine or Danube, wine glass in hand, medieval castles on the shore - and you’re not an international jet-setter - you, too, can cruise the likes of Europe's rivers.

When selecting a European river cruise that is budget-conscious, look for cruise operators that offer a choice of inclusions. This might mean a selection of meal or drink plans, instead of free-flowing beer and wine and three gourmet meals a day. You might pick and choose, and pay separately for, your shore excursions to Europe’s riverside attractions.

And while many river cruise vessels look alike from the outside, with a little research, you’ll find that some have more swanky amenities than others. Think about what you must have and what you can do without on your Europe river cruise and you’ll find something that fits the bill. 

Consider, too, cruising Europe’s major rivers in the shoulder season, not the expensive high season of June through August. Look for river cruises in March and April, October and November. There will likely be fewer riverboats in each port you visit and the crowds will be lighter, but you will have to be prepared for unpredictable weather. 

Look for budget-friendly Europe river cruise itineraries. Often one can sail just a segment of a longer river cruise - experience a luxury river cruise operator for one week instead of two, for example. The most popular Europe river cruise locations - the Rhine and Danube - offer the most choices, so there’s more chance of snagging a good deal. 

A few other tips for getting the best price on a European river cruise:

  • Ask about airfare and whether or not it’s included in your cruise fare. 
  • Go on a Europe river cruise with a group of family or friends and enjoy a group discount. 
  • Plan ahead, about a year in advance. 

Packing for a European River Cruise

One of the top perks of taking a river cruise is the fact that you only have to unpack and pack up once. Assuming you are sailing during the height of the cruise season on Europe’s top rivers, consider these packing tips to make traveling even easier:

  • Pack casual clothing. You’ll be doing a fair amount of onshore sightseeing, from terraced vineyards to medieval castles, so keep things comfortable. There is typically no formal event on a Europe river cruise, so leave the evening wear at home. As for color palette, stick with neutrals - black, tan, gray, white - and then mix and match outfits.
  • If you can, aim to bring one carry-on piece of luggage per traveler on your Europe river cruise vacation. River cruise staterooms aren’t overly large, so it’s nice to be able to tuck your small suitcase away under a bed.
  • Even if you’re taking a Europe river cruise during the peak of summer, it’s important to pack layers. This is especially important if you are sailing along Europe’s rivers in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall. Evenings can get chilly and you may have rain showers on sightseeing days. Bring a sweater, a light jacket, a wrap, a long-sleeve shirt, a raincoat - a couple of items you can turn to for warmth and dryness. 
  • Pack comfortable footwear. Plan to walk a couple miles a day on land, often on cobblestones dating back centuries. Choose sneakers or sandals that are comfortable, supportive and sturdy. 
  • Bring a cross-body, lightweight tote that you can use when out and about on shore excursions. Throw in a reusable bag for carrying souvenirs. 
  • If you have a lot of devices like cameras, tablets, smartphones, etc., pack a light power strip to give you lots of charging options.

When Is the Best Time to Go on a European River Cruise?

You’ve narrowed down what major European river you want to cruise along, which sights you most want to see and what level of luxury you’re seeking in a river cruise vessel. Now for the “when.” What month should you go river cruising in Europe

Generally speaking, the best time to go on a Europe river cruise is from June to October. The climate is at its warmest and driest during these summer and early fall months.

If you’re a budget-minded traveler, the top months for European river cruising are the shoulder months of March-April and October-November. You may not get the region’s best weather at these times, but you’ll see far fewer crowds and riverboats in port, and you’ll get the best pricing.

If it’s your first time river cruising in Europe or if you just have to see the continent in all its summer glory, the optimum time to sail the major rivers of Europe is June through September. In fact, September has been called the very best month to go river cruising in Europe, thanks to great weather, fewer tourists and optimum water levels. (The heat of August can actually drop the water levels in the river so much that some river cruise operators have been forced to cancel or reschedule departures.) 

Where you are sailing in Europe greatly affects when you should go. For example, you might consider cruising the Rhine River in March and April, which along with the benefits of traveling in the shoulder season, will offer great views of blooming tulips. Dutch tulip gardens from Amsterdam to Budapest, along the Main, Rhine and Danube, are best viewed in April and May. 

December marks a European river cruising season unto itself due to the many Christmas markets, celebrations and decadent decor in riverside cities and villages as they dress up for the holidays. Focus on the Rhine and Danube for the most Christmas market opportunities.

One more factor to keep in mind is the water level throughout the year. As the snow melts, high water levels can be a culprit in cancelled or rescheduled departures (just as low water levels can affect hot August departures).

Good options for safe water levels in the springtime include the Bordeaux region of France, the Douro River in Spain & Portugal, and the Seine around Paris. If you are sailing the Rhone River, the optimal times to cruise to avoid high-water levels are late spring, summer and fall.

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