How to Book the Best European River Cruise
Updated: April 19, 2023
AAA Travel Editor Frank Swanson
Are you longing for a cruise vacation but overwhelmed by the thought of traveling on a ship stuffed with thousands of sea goers? You deserve to set sail in style, so what’s the secret to booking your best voyage?
Instead of opting for an ocean liner, why not embark on a European river cruise?
A river cruise may be your best bet if you’re looking for the luxury of a high-end ship without all the crowds, kids, and chaos. Before you book, you’ll need to understand the essentials of river cruising first. Not only will you want to pick the perfect cruise line, but you’ll also need to understand how river cruising differs from ocean cruising and tips for planning your best European river expedition.
AAA’s Take on European River Cruises
Among the most frequently booked itineraries are European river cruises along the Rhine and Danube that treat passengers to amazing up-close views of castles, tidy vineyards and centuries-old towns and villages. What’s more, river ships make sightseeing incredibly convenient by dropping off guests near the top things to see at each port and often remaining docked late into the evening, allowing guests more time to explore and even sample the local nightlife.
There are several European river cruise lines to choose from. Take a look at a few of the exciting itineraries offered by AAA preferred travel suppliers, and remember that booking with AAA Travel means access to special savings with AAA Members receiving even more benefits.
Discover These 3 Enchanting European River Cruises
Courtesy of AmaWaterways
When you cruise with Ama Waterways, you’ll fall in love with the picturesque European cities out your window and the vino that flows freely on board your wine tour. Included in the price are shore excursions, dinner at the Chef’s Table specialty restaurant, and bicycles for exploring the romantic Danube River. Choose from over 60 distinct wine tours, which include onboard wine hosts—regional vineyard owners and sommeliers—who share your love of viticulture.
One of AmaWaterways most popular cruises is along the Danube from Budapest to Vilshofen. Passengers will marvel at the architecture of three national capitals—Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna—complete with splendid palaces and cathedrals.
While many cruises have a reputation for catering to an older crowd, Uniworld has made its mark by enticing the next generation of river cruisers. Known as a luxurious floating boutique hotel, Uniworld prides itself on having one of the most all-inclusive expeditions. Gratuities, unlimited spirits and wine, fitness classes, and all airport transfers are included as part of the Uniworld experience, so you can simply relax and enjoy. Take the Tulips and Windmills cruise and sail the aquatic highway between Belgium and the Netherlands at the most colorful time of year.
Viking has been a big player in the river cruising industry for more than 20 years, and during that time they have perfected their innovative ship designs. The Viking Longship is an engineering marvel featuring Scandinavian design, expansive windows and the largest suites of any European river cruise. But while the ships are elegant, the al fresco dining is casual and comfortable with no seating plan. On a Rhine Getaway cruise, explore the Rhine River between Basel and Amsterdam, a mesmerizing trip back in time to medieval towns, turreted fortresses, terraced vineyards and stunning cathedrals. The Middle of the Rhine is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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AAA Travel Editor Frank Swanson
Frank Swanson is a AAA Travel Expert.