Many people don’t think of taking a cruise through Europe when they make their vacation plans and instead think cruises are for the Caribbean or Mexico. But, cruising Europe is a very different experience and one you shouldn’t miss.
A River Cruise in Europe
My husband and I lived in London for several years, so we had easy access to seeing Europe. We took many 3-day weekends visiting capital cities, but decided we needed more. Our travel agent suggested a river cruise that would allow us to not only see gorgeous scenery, but have the time to visit Old World cities along the way. We could even do wine tastings and bike tours, which made me AND my triathlete husband very happy.
But, we both were a bit skeptical and took some convincing. Our major concerns were size (as we like boutique-type accommodations), not spending all our precious vacation time on a ship, and being able to enjoy fine dining and wine. She assured us a river cruise would meet all of our needs and she was right.
We chose a 7-night excursion along the Danube River from Budapest to Nuremberg called Blue Danube Discovery River Cruise, but there were many itineraries to choose from and we could have added days on land at either end. Along the way, we visited fairy-tale castles, walked cobblestone streets in romantic villages, and saw stunning architecture.
One of our favorite cities was Passau, Germany, the City of Three Rivers, where we got to explore the city on a bike tour. But wherever we were, the fun was never knowing what we’d stumble upon, like musicians playing on the streets of Vienna.
Here are some of the things that made us most happy:
- The ship was small, with fewer than 85 rooms.
- We had ever-changing scenery when on the ship.
- We never felt queasy at all.
- We had gourmet dining with regional cuisine and local wines and the chef was happy to meet our dietary restrictions.
- The staff was very attentive and accommodating.
- The room size was ample, included a balcony, and came equipped with all the amenities of a fine hotel, including plush bedding and internet access.
- Being very active people, we were concerned about getting exercise. Not to worry, as there was a fitness room. So, between the bike and walking tours and my husband’s occasional run on land, we were set.
- On-shore excursions could be tailored to our needs and they used local tour guides that made for a much more authentic experience. Not every day was jammed with scheduled tours, so we had time to explore on our own.
- It’s all-inclusive, so you can just enjoy and not worry about costs along the way.
The cost varies depending on the itinerary and length of cruise, but assume it will be at minimum $4,000 per person plus airfare. Just keep in mind that most everything else is included!
So, the next time you’re planning a European vacation, think river cruise. The only thing left for you to decide will be your itinerary!