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River Cruises: A Great Way to see Europe
We’ve all heard of ocean cruises. They’ve been around since the 1800s. Today, they are a major part of the tourism industry, with a whopping market value of about $40 billion. The largest ocean liner can carry more than 6,000 passengers, not counting the crew. Imagine!
River cruises, on the other hand, are much more modest and intimate. They have a maximum capacity of 200 passengers and a minimum of about 10. River cruises are gaining in popularity for their more leisurely pace. And unlike most ocean liners, they can dock in ports right in the middle of European towns and cities such as: Paris, France; Frankfurt, Germany; Venice, Italy; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Explosive popularity

The popularity of river cruises has exploded since 2012 – with more than 7 million people taking river cruises from 2015-2018. Each year more cruise lines and passenger ships are added. With so much to choose from, it’s important to do your research. Better yet, have an experienced travel agent do the leg work for you.

Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.

When is the best time to book river cruises? 

Late summer and early fall are good times to book European river cruises for the following year. Many cruise lines book a year or more in advance. And this time of year, there is still a large selection of inventory available. Another good time to book is in January, when cruise lines announce itineraries for the year ahead.
“The sooner you can book the better, as you will have the best options for cabins and port excursions,” says TierOne Travel Specialist Joanne Hopkins, who has personally gone on several river cruises. “They’re a really nice way to travel. I love them and so do my clients.”

Book river cruises early & save

Early booking can also result in cost savings ranging from as much as $1,000 per person and can even include complimentary flights. Promotions will differ with each cruise line and there are usually expiry dates, so you should book before the deadline if you can. You can pay the deposit now and the balance won’t usually be due until 90 days before your departure.
The best time of year to experience river cruises in Europe is from early spring (catch tulip season in Holland) to late fall (enjoy Oktoberfest celebrations in Germany). Christmas tours, however, are also drawing more Canadians every year.

River Cruises are great for Christmas markets.
Christmas Market in Frankfurt, Germany.

Benefits of River Cruises

Sleep easy

River cruise Viking Longship accommodation.
Stateroom onboard the Viking Longship Hlin.
German village along a river cruise.
Explore quaint villages along the way.

Themed river cruises

The theme cruises: Depending on your hobbies, passions, lifestyle and special interests, you might choose a themed river cruise. Some options:

River cruises offer bike tours.
Take a bike tour in Amsterdam.

Top European River Cruises

European river cruises are more popular than anywhere else in the world due to the amazing scenery, the incredible ports and the close proximity to several countries. Rivers are the lifeblood of Europe and there is the opportunity for an excursion in every port. Experience breathtaking vistas, sloping vineyards, ancient architecture, medieval towns, enchanting landscapes, fairytale castles, Roman ruins, and so much more.

Amazing ports

Incredible views

River cruises travel Grand Canal in Venice.
The Grand Canal in Venice.
If you feel like it’s time to experience a river cruise of your own, contact one of our TierOne travel specialists! They have extensive experience in life-changing travel and will be able to craft something that is suited to your unique needs.
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Anonymous
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