Imagine relaxing on the top deck of a luxurious floating hotel as you sail along one of Europe’s historical rivers through castle-dotted hillsides, charming towns, and amazing architecture. River cruising is one of the most intriguing ways to experience the romance, variety, and true character of Europe.
Ocean cruises tend to stick to coastal routes and visit large ports like Barcelona and Civitavecchia. River cruises visit culturally-rich European cities, such as Vienna, Budapest, and Lyon, which are too small for large vessels, like ocean cruises, to dock in.
You will never experience motion sickness or rough water; only smooth and peaceful sailings throughout your journey. Land is always in sight.
If traveling with thousands of other passengers isn’t appealing to you, river cruising is a much more intimate experience than ocean cruising, with an average of 140 fellow passengers.
Ports are in the heart of the town, steps away from picturesque squares, bustling markets, and magnificent sightseeing. There is no tendering or lines; just walk off the ship to some of the most fascinating ports of call.
River cruises are more inclusive. Meals, shore excursions, transfers, entertainment, bicycles, and wine with dinner are all included in the fare.
Gourmet meals are prepared with local ingredients from each port and paired with wines from the region. There are no formal nights; dress is country club casual.
Last October, I took a river cruise along the Danube from Passau, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. The experience was unforgettable and like no other trip to Europe I’ve been on. Being immersed in the history and culture of this region was fascinating, and it was one of my favorite vacations of all time. River cruising is an experience no bucket list should be without!