In recent years, river cruises have begun to gain popularity. A sign of this is the increase in the number of cruise ships introduced each year. If you’re planning on booking a river cruise, you must look for cruise companies that offer shore excursions, drinks and meals, local entertainment, lecture programs, and bicycles for passenger use. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most luxurious European river cruise companies:
- Tauck: The Tauck family has had a passion for sailing for over 90 years; their luxurious European river cruise company is built on the values of integrity, innovation, and respect. So, if you pick Tauck river cruises, you can expect a seamless travel experience that allows you to immerse yourself in the way of life of the locals. Tauck’s custom-designed riverboats are welcoming and elegant. They have a contemporary design with fewer guests on board, delivering an intimate ambiance and personalized service.
- AmaWaterways: AmaWaterways is one of the most luxurious European river cruise companies that allows you to travel in style and comfort. They have a unique fleet of ships that come with features like twin balconies which combine a French balcony with an outside balcony. So all you have to do is get on board, sit back, and take in all the stunning views. You can expect varied experiences including shore excursions in every port of call, special interest tours, a fleet of complimentary bicycles for you to stretch your legs, guided hikes, and more. At the Chef’s Table restaurant, you will have the unique experience of watching a chef prepare your dinner right in front of you.
- Crystal: Crystal is one of the world’s most luxurious river cruise lines, and it offers river cruises in Europe as well. Its fleet features the largest standard accommodations in European river cruising and comes with enough space to offer excellent facilities like balconies and closets in every suite and unrivaled social spaces. They also provide European butler service for every suite category, allowing you to enjoy your vacation without any worries. The itineraries of Crystal are usually longer than that of other cruise lines which gives you more time to relax and enjoy yourself on board the vessel as well as in the places you visit. They also have inclusive and optional curated destination experiences in every port of call.
- Uniworld: Uniworld is an authentic boutique cruise line that sets the standard high when it comes to the most luxurious river cruises in Europe. Uniworld aims to recreate the feel of a small boutique hotel on board with its lounges, libraries, restaurants, staterooms, and suites. The décor is subtle and soothing, and they have in-suite butlers aboard almost all of their European fleet. They also have stylish restaurants with multicourse meals, a large sun deck, and comfortable lounges. A fitness center and Serenity River Spa™ provide guests with the opportunity to work out or unwind. Their included excursions allow you to get a glimpse into the culture of the destination you’re visiting.
- Scenic: Scenic vessels boast of some of the largest suites on European rivers. They have a wide range of luxurious facilities that will leave you feeling relaxed and pampered. The décor aboard Scenic “Space-Ships” is fresh and contemporary. You get to enjoy a wellness area, a gym, entertainment options, and luxuriously appointed suites onboard these ships. The all-inclusive packages cover practically everything, from transfers and tips to a mini-bar and bottled water. They offer enriching excursions and curated experiences that are available to guests at no additional cost. You can either opt for Scenic Freechoice that allows you to visit the destinations at your own pace or Scenic Enrich that provides exclusive trips that let you experience local life.
- Viking: Viking, one of the most luxurious European river cruise companies, offers a variety of stateroom categories and two-room suites with full-size verandas onboard their vessels. You can unwind at the restaurant, bar and lounge, library or expansive sun deck on their ships. Their decor is inspired by Scandinavian design and eco-friendliness which is why you’ll see elements like solar panels and an organic herb garden. The onboard cultural enrichment programs include guest lectures on the history and art of a destination, performances by regional musicians, craft and cooking demonstrations, and a whole lot more. The shore excursions give you an insight into the life of locals. In some destinations, you also get special experiences like touring wine cellars, learning about the art of truffle hunting, and so on. You will be spoilt for choice when it comes to onboard dining options. The Aquavit Terrace located at the bow of the ship is a casual dining space that serves both breakfast and lunch. The Viking Lounge allows you to watch the sunset through the floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant onboard serves multicourse meals featuring classics as well as regional dishes.