Experience Europe’s Beauty on a River Cruise

Enjoy the journey of a lifetime cruising along Europe’s most famous rivers. Sailing rivers like the Loire, Elbe, Duoro, Rhine, Volga, Danube, and Dnieper is a wonderful vacation experience.

Size doesn't matter.

River picture Although these river ships are more modest in size, they are no less luxurious or technologically advanced, and offer high-end amenities, fine dining experiences, and interesting off-ship activities. The ambiance is relaxing and welcoming with a feeling of decadence. The programs allow for the most feasible amount of time to be spent at ports of call. These in-depth encounters take you behind the scenes to see what makes living, working, and having fun at your port of call unique.

Discover these great cities through the stories revealed by its artists, history and culinary pleasures.

What Makes a River Cruise Different from an Ocean Cruise?

Even though river cruises and ocean cruises are the same in many aspects, you will see some important differences as well. The ships for ocean cruises are typically larger than those used for river cruises, and provide more comforts in the individual rooms. Consequently, they are able to have substantially more guests aboard. The more compact scale of river ships means fewer guests, but more chances to get to know fellow travelers, often leading to lifelong friendships.

As opposed to ocean cruises, which are quite often sailing in open waters for days at a time, river cruises practically never sail a single full day at a time. For the most part, travelers awaken each morning to find themselves in a new place. The view is always changing, so the trip itself becomes part of the adventure. For those without sea legs, river cruises have the appeal of smooth going, shallow waters and the gift of land that’s always in sight.

That said, ocean cruises usually have more high end benefits including places to work out, more of a selection for dining, and fantastic live shows.

But river cruises are wonderful in that they feature inclusive pricing that includes water, alcoholic drinks, Wi-Fi, and even some fun activities off the ship.

River Cruises and Various Destinations

The only thing more breathtaking than walking on board one of these vessels is stepping off. Each European river cruise carries its own unique attractions. To see Europe by traveling its great rivers is to open up new worlds for yourself. History aficionados, adventure-seekers, and people merely looking to learn about different cultures will all find something to do.

You will experience exciting moments in the top cultural centers of Europe, see historic monuments and take in the lovely scenery. You won’t miss a thing because these elegant cruise liners are small enough to stop in the smaller ports of call nearest the main tourist sights and centers of town.

Famed Rivers of France
France boasts many distinct regions celebrated throughout the world, and a river cruise will allow you to experience them.

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Provence delights the senses, Normandy is exciting for the history that took place on its shores, Bordeaux is a mecca for wine aficionados, and foodies will love the famed gastronomy of Lyon. Aquitaine, once upon a time one of Europe’s most influential kingdoms, features pretty vineyards, farmland, and forested areas as well as vibrant ports of call. Europe’s art Hunt for truffles around Périgord and craft your own personal blend of Cognac at the Camus distillery.

The coast town of Arcachon in southwest France is distinguished for its delectable oysters. In Bordeaux, don’t forget the delightfully sweet wine crafted in Sauternes, or the mouthwatering reds of the Médoc and Saint-Émilion. Regardless of which French river you choose – the Seine, Dordogne, Gironde, or Rhône – you will be able to delight in France’s unique food and wine culture and well as its art, history, and other traditions.

Historied Rivers of Germany and Central Europe

Cruises on the Elbe River go through Germany and the Czech Republic on a route lined by ancient fortifications and medieval villages. Wine fanatics will enjoy a trip on the Mosel River, known as the Moselle in France, which flows through the region in Germany best known for its production of the Riesling grape. In Central Europe, a Danube River cruise will go through Vienna, Austria, where you can learn to waltz as they did back in the days of the Austrian court; and through Budapest, Hungary, where you can luxuriate in the famous thermal baths called banya locally.

Austro-Hungarian cuisine will delight food lovers, while people that like to explore places that do not see as many tourists can go to one of the many charming smaller cities like Passau or Bratislava.

The Waterways of the Tsars
In Russia you will not want to miss the magnificent cathedral of St. Basil’s or the fascinating architecture of Moscow’s historic Red Square. In Russia, be sure to get some time at the gorgeous Hermitage Museum, which in addition to being an awe-inspiring edifice, is the second biggest museum in the world.

Imagine Peter the Great luxuriating in gigantic Peterhof Palace, then see how multiple families shared living space at a Soviet-era kommunalka. And last but not least, don’t fail to sample some Russian foods like caviar and blini pancakes, borscht, pirog, or solyanka. If you travel on the Dnieper River you will observe lands that were highly influenced by Mongol, Greek, Russian, Cossack, Jewish, Tatar, and Ottoman forces.

There are wonderful museums and ancient churches to tour at various places along the way as well as imposing Soviet-era structures, or for a lighter experience get tickets to an enjoyable local dance or musical show.

Portugal's Duoro River Valley
The Douro River in Portugal will transport you to the wonderful capital city of Lisbon, where you can step back in time in the city’s old town or go to the newer areas filled with lively cafes, bars, restaurants, and art galleries.

Tour the beautiful vineyards that produce the country’s well-known Port wine and experience traditional cuisine, wine and fado singing. The Douro River Valley is proud to be the first demarcated wine region in the world as well as a UNESCO site.

Nordic Wonders
Start by observing the breathtaking Nordic sights from the sea before heading to the spectacular Rhine River. Follow early Viking footsteps by embarking in Bergen, visit the breathtaking fjords and the quaint village of Flåm, wander the old town in Kristiansand with its wooden homes, and ultimately make your way to the more modern but no less interesting cities of Oslo and Stavanger.

No trip to Holland is finished without a tour of the windmills in Kinderdijk and a stop in the vibrant city of Amersterdam; and Skagen, Denmark is enjoyable to visit with its northernmost sand bars.

The fabulous sights & tastes of Germany along its riverways
In Germany, take a cable car to the magnificent Ehrenbreitstein Fortress or check out the dazzling medieval cathedral in Cologne. Explore the turreted fortresses, great cathedrals, historic cities, medieval towns and striking scenery of the Middle Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pamper yourself in the decadent spas located in the Black Forest of Germany; visit the splendid Gothic cathedral in multicultural Strasbourg, France; and tour the celebrated art museum in Basel, Switzerland. Experience portrayal Whatever you do on shore should be just as exciting as all the fun you will have on board.

Take advantage of your time at each port of call to genuinely enjoy its unique activities and sights. And just as each vessel is a work of art on water, each destination you travel to is a work of art on land.

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