Best Luxury River Cruises In Europe That You Should Take On Your Next Vacation!

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When you think of luxury cruise lines, what images pop into your head first? Huge intimidating luxury cruisers that carry thousands of people in them? That is usually the first thought. Did you know that the best opportunity to experience a luxury cruise in Europe is a luxury river cruise? Luxury river cruise ships are at a maximum, a 38-foot by 410-foot vessel. These dimensions allow the smaller ships to easily pass through and under the locks and bridges in Europe.

What is a Luxury River Cruise?

European Luxury River Cruise Lines offer trips that last approximately one week.

Unlike ocean-going ships that carry anywhere from 2000 to 5000 passengers, most luxury river cruise ships welcome 150 guests, sometimes less. It means a more intimate experience, where you are made to feel like royalty with the undivided attention of the staff. The atmosphere is much like a high-end hotel, floor-to-ceiling windows, open-air views, and balconies in your suite!

You can also find amenities such as pools, spas, fitness areas, and jogging tracks to name a few.

Guests can keep themselves busy and entertained with daily shore activities. Biking, walking, and hiking tours are available in most of the ports. If that much activity doesn’t appeal to you, no problem! Guests can choose a leisurely day lounging around and just enjoy the beautiful scenery pass by.

The easy part of this type of travel is that most of the best European luxury river cruise lines offer all-inclusive cruises. You don’t have to give another thought to paying for anything on the cruise once you step onboard, how’s that for peace of mind?

River Cruises are an amazingly relaxing way to catch some of the continent’s most spectacular sites, all from the comfort of your ship’s luxurious cabin.

View the French coast, travel from Amsterdam into Trier, or go through Budapest. Europe’s rivers are among the most diverse with ancient cities, historic landmarks, charming towns, and breathtaking scenery.

What Are The Best Luxury River Cruise Ships Like?

Gone are the days of small, tight cabins that made most guests feel like sardines. Today’s best luxury river cruise lines in Europe offer premium luxury at affordable rates. The cabins in these ships rival those of the larger ocean-going vessels we have seen in the past. Many rooms are available with King size beds that can also be split into two single beds!

On newer cruise ships like ships from AMA Waterways you can find rooms with twin balconies, combining a French balcony off one area of the cabin and an outdoor balcony that you can step out off from your bedroom!

Viking River Cruise’s offers suites that are 445 square feet! These staterooms have a separate walled off bedroom and a living room area to add to the comfort of your stay.

Crystal River Cruises offers suites with two bedrooms that measure a massive 860 square feet! This cabin style also has a separate living space and a dining room!

Other amenities that are available in your cabin:

  • Nightstands and bedside lighting
  • Closets and drawers for your things
  • Vanity mirrors with halo lighting
  • Chairs and table
  • Flat-screen tv with on-demand movies
  • Wi-Fi
  • Luxury bathrobes and slippers for each guest

Whether you are travelling alone or you’re a couple on your romantic getaway, everyone needs to experience Europe through these amazing River cruise lines. The ability to sit back, relax and be pampered, while watching the amazing views go by. It’s a memorable experience for the ages. Not to worry, we have done all the research for you and found the best river cruises in Europe. Let’s dive into 5 of the best European river cruise lines and see why each of them is unique.

Best Luxury European Cruise Lines

1.  Crystal River Cruise

Crystal River Cruise Lines arrived on the scene in 2016 and took Europe by storm. Bringing the luxury of ocean liners to the River Cruising industry. One of the main differences that this company boasts is their open-seating dining spaces in their main restaurants.  Fresh ingredients are always used in their Michelin-inspired cuisine with casual dining available in the Bistros. Staff is trained with the same standards as their ocean ship crews and they have a balanced crew to guest ratio. Crystal River Cruises have a number of lounges, beautiful deck space with comfortable loungers and an indoor swimming pool to complete this luxurious travel experience.

24-hour in-suite dining is also available for those who prefer a more intimate setting. All in-suite dining is from the Waterside restaurant. Their cabins come with king-size beds, butler services, deluxe rooms with ensuite bathrooms and panoramic balcony windows. The bathroom has double vanities and a halo-lit mirror for those perfect selfies and makeup lighting! Eco-friendly bath products from the French skincare line Caudalie, talk about a luxury spa experience.

  • Average population – 120 guests.
  • The staff to guest ratio is 1 to approximately 1.5. That is the highest among all the European river cruise lines!
  • Butler service for every suite!
  • Michelin level cuisine sourced regionally
  • Tech amenities like a bedside iPad and interactive tv
  • Crystal Mozart cabin is one of the largest available at 883 sq feet!
  • The average rate starts at $5300

 2. AMA Waterways

Ama means love in Italian and AMA Waterways puts love into everything they do. Touted as a floating sanctuary, the AMA Waterways River Cruise Line offers a luxury experience for its guests. Three families who all love River cruising came together in 2002 to create this award-winning company. Keeping the guest list low means that the restaurants and bars are never crowded, yet still provide an intimate and cosy setting. Their focus on a delectable selection of food is apparent in the fact that they are members of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. This association is the international gastronomic society founded in Paris in 1950. Members are expected to be of the highest quality in fine dining. Expect only the best for your palate!

  • The average population is 156 guests
  • Cabins are approximately 355 to 710 square feet
  • Areas of travel – Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain and more.
  • Sun deck pool
  • Fitness room with the newest equipment
  • Spa massages available after a long day of tours
  • Onboard hair salon
  • Rates start at $2000

3. Scenic River Cruises

Scenic River Cruises offers luxury in so many ways. Their all-inclusive packages allow you to enjoy every pampered experience you could imagine. You have the option of having a butler at your beck at your call, and your own private balcony to watch the sunrise and set in a different country each day. All-inclusive tours, events, and experiences can be arranged for you upon request, so you don’t even have to worry about any details. Whether you enjoy casual or fine dining, Scenic caters to all styles. They source their ingredients from the region’s suppliers, making their menu fresh and always in season. Inspiration for the meals is taken from the countries that you are visiting so you can truly immerse yourself in the foodie experience.

  • Personal Greeters that take you from the airport to the ship by coach or rail, and no need to tip, as it is included!
  • Personal butlers that turn down your bed nightly and manage your laundry daily.
  • Rates from $3000

4. Viking River Cruises

Viking Cruises was founded in Russia in 1997 with four main ships. In 2000, they expanded to add River Cruises to their fleet. Today, they have 70 vessels touring the four corners of the world! Viking boasts stately cabins with two-room suites and full-sized verandas.  Onboard you will find restaurants, a bar and lounge, an expansive sun deck and even a library! The ships have an elegant Scandinavian design and sustainable features like solar panels, an onboard organic herb garden and energy-efficient hybrid engines make for a remarkably smooth ride. This company is very forward-thinking in its goals for the future.

Their cruises can range from 8 to 23 days, with itineraries featuring Europe’s Rhine, Main, Danube, Seine, Rhône, Douro, Moselle, Elbe, Dordogne, Garonne and Gironde Rivers

  • Onboard ship wide library
  • Wine tasting with a sommelier or cooking lessons with the house chef
  • Bathrooms with double vanities and heated tile flooring
  • 24-hour room service a la minute
  • Rates starting at $2000 for European cruises

5. Uniworld River Cruises

Uniworld River Cruises is bringing the world together, one cruise at a time. The only cruise line company to openly claim themselves to be a luxury cruise line or in their words a “luxurious floating boutique hotel” Uniworld offers inviting lounges, cosy libraries, panoramic restaurants, sumptuous cuisine, exquisite antiques and original art. They have luxurious staterooms with clear views of the river for you to watch the scenery go by in the lap of luxury. Meticulous attention to detail is readily apparent on every ship. As well, there are butlers dressed as if they just stepped out of a scene from the show Downton Abby! Uniworld has thought of everything, right down to their commitment to sustainable and eco-friendly travel. They ensure that the businesses that they support in each destination are environmentally conscious for their guests to enjoy throughout their visit.

  • Unlimited wine and spirits
  • Onboard fitness area with a wellness coach available for lessons
  • Serenity River Spa offers facial and body massages
  • Heated pool
  • Rates starting at $3000

There are many available options for taking a European tour and visit multiple destinations in a short period. Riverboat cruises offer a relaxing option with all the amenities and luxuries of a hotel allowing the experience to be more worthwhile. Above is the curated list of the best river cruise lines in Europe. They all offer a unique and pampered experience for their guests. Whether you prefer to just lounge and watch the beautiful regions float by or you actively want to participate in every possible indulgence that a country has to offer. River cruises are the best way to go.

When is the best time of year to take a European River Cruise?

European river cruise lines run their seasons from March through to December. To fully experience the richness and diversity of these voyages it is best to book during the spring in April and May. If you would like to enjoy the fall colors and harvests, definitely get onboard for early fall in September and October. These windows allow you to enjoy fresh culinary experiences and the changing of the seasons. Be sure to book early to avoid disappointment. European river cruise lines tend to book up to capacity very quickly.

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