A river cruise, at first glance, seems like a wonderfully tranquil way to see some of the most historic towns and cities in Europe. Wait, did I say tranquil? Appearances are deceiving. Unlike ocean cruises, voyages along Europe’s waterways rarely offer much time “at sea.” And in port, there are busy sightseeing schedules included at all stops, which range from major cities like Amsterdam and Vienna to delightful, small towns and villages such as Austria’s Durnstein and Germany’s Breisach.
The biggest challenge about planning a European river cruise is identifying which itinerary most intrigues you. We’re here to help you narrow down your choice. But, before we get started, here are some things you should know, followed by a few tips:
- Many river cruises are a week long. More exotic trips can occasionally stretch from 10 days to two weeks or longer. There are now some shorter cruises priced far less to give you ‘a taste’ of river cruising. These are great for a tighter budget, or if you simply don’t have all the vacation time needed to extend your trip.
- They almost always start from fantastic cities; most trips include an overnight onboard, but if not, do try to plan a pre- or post-cruise stay. A few nights exploring Paris, Amsterdam, Budapest, Vienna, Nuremburg, or Basel will enhance your vacation experience. These extra nights can be added right into the price of your cruise fare.
- In almost all cases, daily shore excursions are included in the fares you pay. They’ll run along the lines of pretty basic introductory tours of the cities and towns you visit. Some companies such as Uniworld also offer fee-extra tour options that are a bit more unusual. A half day tour is usually followed up by some free time to do what you would like.
- One caveat about cruising Europe’s rivers: The season typically runs from April to October, but be aware that heavy rain and spring flooding can make the rivers swell and the locks become impassable. (Many are under bridges, so if the water is too high, boats can’t fit underneath.) Likewise, if there’s a drought, low water can be a problem. If boats can’t move, you’ll be taken to the sights by motor coach. Christmas Market cruises run late November into December, and are a whole other blog post!
- Wine cruises, enrichment, music, culture, or tulip cruises can add to the excitement of river cruising. There are many themes that help to draw in a wide variety of interests.
For more information, stay tuned…more to come! Subscribe to this blog, or LIKE us on facebook at:
Contact Pete, your River Cruise Specialist at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on booking a river cruise today!
River Cruise Guru is a branch of Jolly Mon Vacations, owned and operated by Pete Larson