How to Choose the Right European River Cruise

Choosing a river cruise can be a source of confusion with more than two dozen navigable rivers and canals in Europe.

With so many companies offering seemingly similar experiences, deciding on your cruise of a lifetime can become overwhelming.

Do not fret. With our experience in the cruising industry for over 25 years, we’ve understood what many travelers are looking for. We’ve put together a simple check list for you to navigate your way through the endless stream of choices.

What vessel should you travel on?

Did you know that there are different types of water cruising? There are your typical river cruisers but you can also enjoy barges and paddlewheelers.

Often barges are associated with long open deck ships that carry industrial equipment or waste. However, these are not the barges we’re talking about.

Barges are much smaller than a traditional river cruiser, allowing for a more intimate experience than a river cruise. They usually carry about two dozen people and can navigate canals as well as rivers.

Oh, these luxury barge cruises along the picturesque canals of France! Stunning! Absolutely stunning!

These are often more expensive due to the size of the vessel, however they’re worth every cent.

A paddlewheeler can navigate notoriously shallow rivers such as the Elbe and Loire, due to its paddlewheel propulsion, shallow hull draft, low air draft and a ballasting system.

Where should you cruise from and to?

Deciding on your cruising route can be tricky; there are so many options. We recommend you start by deciding on the season you’d like to travel and then the things you’d like to see.

One popular area is the Adriatic, which is a large inlet of the Mediterranean. The west coast runs through Italy and San Marino, and the east coast includes the shores of Slovenia, Croatia, and Montenegro. There are many ways of exploring the local beauty.

For example, it is very popular and enjoyable to cruise in Croatia in spring and summer. One of our most popular tours is an adventure from Split through to Makarska, Brac, Vis, Hvar, Korcula, Mljet and Dubrovnik on a very comprehensive and enjoyable 8 days cruise.

Autumn is especially beautiful in Hungary and Germany. One of our most popular cruises here starts in Budapest cruising past Esztergom, Bratislava, Vienna, Durnstein, Melk, Linz, Aschach, Passau, Regensburg and Passau. This cruise includes a gourmet dining experience as well.

Longer cruises are absolutely life changing. You could visit Paris, Luxembourg, Trier, Bernkastel, Cochem, Koblenz, Rhine Castle, Rüdesheim, Mainz, Heidelberg, Wertheim, Wuerzburg, Kitzingen, Bamberg, Nuremberg and Prague on one cruise! It conveniently includes accommodation, bicycles for more adventures, free flowing wine to unwind and so much more.

One of the most popular reasons why Aussies love group travel is that you get to make new friends. It’s so much more exciting to travel with friends who enjoy similar things to you, right.

Also, small groups can often feel more intimate as travellers have more one on one time with the tour guide. Some people really enjoy travelling in larger groups as they can get to meet a lot more people building friendships that last a lifetime.

In fact, many strong new friendships were born on the road!

Usually, a larger group consists of 35-40 people while a small group is usually a set of 22-25 awesome people.

How long should your cruise go for?

Most cruises are conveniently 8 days, 10 days or 15 days, which is just enough to capture most of your itinerary.

But what should your itinerary should be?

This will depend on how much time you have, what your budget is and what you want to see in the time you have.

Our team focuses on packaging the most enjoyable cruises, so you get to see everything on your bucket list without requiring another holiday to rest up after your cruise.

The 10-day cruises are some of the most popular ones amongst our travellers, however you might have something else in mind. We recommend you contact our team on 1800 242 353 to brainstorm your perfect European cruise together.

When should you go on a cruise?

Spring is one of our favourite seasons; as Europe turns into a gorgeous pink and white blossoming paradise with the annual Hanami.

Summer is of course amazing in Europe. There are so many exciting summer celebrations everywhere in Europe that you could design your entire adventure around them.

And one of the most exciting holidays is White Christmas in Europe. Aussie travellers love our Christmas Cruise on the Rhine tour. And we can’t blame them! This cruise takes you from Cologne to Koblenz, Speyer, Strasbourg /Kehl and Mainz, visiting some of the most interesting spots from museums to traditional Christmas markets.

Any season in Europe adds its own unique flavour to your holiday.

 If you are still deciding which river cruising experience you are after, get in touch with our team on 1800 242 353.