Skip to Content

Why Take a Europe River Cruise?

River cruising has been growing in popularity for the last two decades, with more and more cruise companies and ships plying the great rivers of Europe. Taking a Europe river cruise appeals to a wide range of travelers, which also makes it especially great for a multi-generational trip. Whether you’re traveling with your kids, parents, grandparents, or the whole extended family, river cruising makes it easy to explore Europe with a diverse group of travelers. Here are five reasons to take a river cruise in Europe

River cruising in Europe

River cruising in Europe

Europe River Cruises offer Lots of options

Whether you are interested in historic castles, beautiful vineyards, top museums, or off-the-beaten-path villages, there’s a cruise that will cater to your passions. France, Switzerland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Austria, Romania, Russia–river cruises touch nearly every corner of Europe and can last 7, 10, 14, 21 days, or even longer. And in addition to the many options for destination locations and rivers, you’ll have just as many options for your ship and style of cruising.

AmaLyra in Bratislava on a Europe River Cruise

AmaWaterway’s AmaLyra in Bratislava

Viking River Cruises is one of the best known companies and offers one of the less expensive options. AmaWaterways is a luxurious option that offers offers wine- and beer-themed trips, as well as cruises partnered with Adventures by Disney. Uniworld is also an upscale option, with a European flair. Avalon is a mid-range option and is known for its “bed with a view” as the beds face floor-to-ceiling windows. Those traveling with younger children will appreciate the kid-friendly aspects of Tauck. A new company to the American market is Scenic. An Australian company, Scenic offers 5-star luxury cruising with everything included from transfers and gratuities to top drawer beverages. Plus, every cabin has a butler to make your trip as comfortable as possible. And the Creme de la Creme is Crystal River Cruises. They promise and deliver the most luxurious river cruises on the market – six star cuisine, unlimited premium beverages and an exemplary attention to detail make a cruise with Crystal extra special. 

Insider Tip: To make sure you get the best deal, take a look at this website for amazing Europe River Cruise Deals.

There is no stress on your Europe River Cruise 

Scenic cabin on a Europe river cruise

Scenic cabin with its Scenic Sun Lounge

Like ocean cruises, river cruises appeal to travelers who don’t want the stress or hassle of planning all the logistics. With a river cruise you don’t have to worry about getting from town to town, you don’t have to research your own tours and activities, you don’t have to book any hotels–you don’t even have to unpack your bags more than once! Once on board your biggest decisions will be which entree to order for dinner, which day tour to choose, or whether you want to have a drink in the lounge or on the top deck.

River cruises are also typically immune to the troubles of larger ships. Should something go wrong, it’s easy to pull the boat over to the the side of the river, and in case of a medical emergency, there’s usually a town within a few miles.

River Cruises offer a Good value

Boarding our Scenic bus for an exclusive tour on a Europe river cruise

Boarding our Scenic bus for an exclusive tour

The cost of each cruise varies, but typically river cruises provide an excellent value. On many, in addition to all meals, the cost also covers tours, transfers, WiFi, beverages, and extras like bikes and walking poles; on Scenic,every detail is covered. AmaWaterways even loans out curling irons and walking sticks! And since most everything is included, you don’t have to worry about making sure each family member pays his or her share, and there’s never any need to argue over who’s picking up the check.

You’ll love the easy access to cities

There is always time to enjoy a drink in the city while on your Europe river cruise

There is always time to enjoy a drink in the city while on your cruise

While you’ll never have quite as much time visiting excursion destination cities via cruise as you would if you stayed overnight, a river cruise generally provides more access to the destination than an ocean cruise. That’s because river cruise ships are smaller and can dock right in the heart of a city, so there’s no need to wait for a bus or tender to ferry you to the destination; you can simply walk off the ship and into the city. Since river cruises carry a smaller number of people–usually no more than 200–there are also no lines to get on or off the ship.

Travel with a view on your Europe River cruise

Relax on-board your Europe river cruise in the ship's lounge.

Relax on-board in the ship’s lounge. This one is on an Avalon cruise ship

Most people take a river cruise to explore the cities along the river, but when it comes to traveling between cities, a river cruise provides the most scenic views. In addition to small balconies off select rooms, most ships also have a large sundeck on the top deck; some ships even have top-deck pools so you can soak up the sun while you watch the changing scenery. Many river cruise lines offer French Balconies, a type of sliding door with a railing that opens  to view the river and beyond. Scenic cruises offer special balconies with automatic windows, so you can enjoy your balcony any time of the year! With some itineraries, particularly scenic stretches of the river are celebrated; for example, in the beautiful Rhine Gorge, AmaWaterways serves Rudesheim coffee (a local speciality) while passengers marvel at dozens of castles along the river bank. The destinations visited on a river cruise are the main appeal for most travelers, but it doesn’t hurt that the journey is equally enchanting.

Enjoying the Sun Lounge on the Scenic Amber on our Europe River cruise

Enjoying the Sun Lounge on the Scenic Amber

Be sure you talk with a river cruise specialist before booking your cruise. Specialists are familiar with all the different cruise lines and can help you find the right one to fit your needs and budget. All-inclusive means different things on different lines. Some do not cover port charges, while some charge extra for special tours. Cabin sizes vary and so do bathrooms and showers. It may be a bit confusing, but a river cruise specialist can help you make your choice.

If you are interested in taking a Europe river cruise, make sure that you compare prices here: Europe River Cruise Deals.

Written by Katie Hammel for Photos from Euro Escapes

judy wilson

Thursday 30th of June 2016

One of my friends was just talking about river cruises, so I'm curious enough to read about what makes them so great. Your comment about how they allow me to have a scenic view of local cities from the river caught my eye. It would be really relaxing to casually view new cities from a French balcony. I might want to look into different cruises for destinations I might want to visit.

Terri Fogarty

Thursday 30th of June 2016

Hi Judy,

I have been on several river cruises with different cruise lines. I specialize in River and barge cruises. That is a photo of me on the Scenic Amber.

Comments are closed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Europe Up Close

Share your love for Europe!

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!