4 Major River Cruise Routes in Europe

by Jane Sophia
River Cruise Routes in Europe

River cruise and ocean cruise give two entirely different experiences. While the former is less tedious and a sea voyage comes with usual seasickness. some times River Cruise Routes may vary along the upstream and downstream.

MajoRiver Cruise Routes in Europe

The major differences between a river cruise and ocean cruise.

A shorter period Longer Period
Very Safe cruise Subject to Cyclones etc
Easy to ride Seasickness is a possibility


Can visit only a few cities


Can visit several islands belonging to even different continents
The vessel is smaller with limited luxuries The yacht is big with incredible luxuries


Onshore entertainment happens

almost every day

Very few onshore explorations


Less expensive More expensive


Limited hours of sailing during daylight as you will be touring the ports of call Sails always expect on ports of calls


You may tour the cities for a maximum of a few hours You are likely to spend even two days on an island or islet


More shopping experiences as you will be visiting several cities and villages Not that many shopping hours.


Food will be fresher and the cuisines too vary as per the country you disembark Food and drinks are stored for weeks to last


If I have left out any other pros and cons of river and ocean cruising, please let me know through comments. If you are near, I will buy a coffee.

The cruise lines that offer river cruises in the world.

  • Viking Cruises
  • AMA Waterways
  • Uniworld River Cruises
  • Avalon Waterways
  • Grand Circle Cruise Line

Let us now move on to how many river cruise routes are there in the world that small cruise lines operate.

To my knowledge, Europe’s rivers are the most sought after rivers to cruise on and they include the romantic Danube and the scenic Rhine rivers. With their tributaries, you get more river cruise routes that last anything from a week to 2 weeks.

Even a week-long river cruise gives you a chance to see up to seven different cities that we have all read only about but always longed to visit. Historic monuments such as forts and castles, much talked about beautiful capital cities of Western and Eastern Europe, a different language in every country and equally different cuisine welcome and excite you.

The 4 Major River Cruise Routes in Europe

1. Danube River Cruise routes

Danube River Cruise routes

This is a highly traversed river route that I guess a number of small cruise lines operate.

Danube river cruise runs between Germany and Hungary. The river cruise starts at the Black Forest in Germany. The ship will terminate its cruise in Budapest, the capital of Hungary where the Danube Rivers merges with the Black Sea.

Do you know how many countries your river cruise yacht will dock at? You can see as many as 10 counties in 15 days! Won’t you feel elated when you complete your Danube River cruise?

Though you will see 10 different countries, you will see more than one city in a country. In addition, it won’t be always the capital of the country you may halt.

The Danube river cruise will show you all the splendors of extremely beautiful Eastern Europe.

Danube River that runs for nearly 2900 km flows through the following countries.

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Slovakia
  • Croatia
  • Serbia
  • Romania
  • Bulgaria
  • Moldova
  • Ukraine
  • Hungary

OMG! We can set our feet on so many European countries that existed for us only in textbooks.

Danube River Cruise Routes and Ship Lines

If you are still hesitating to book your Danube River cruise package, maybe you will after you read below that tells you some of the cities your ship will hat at:

  • Passau, Germany
  • Vienna, Austria
  • Krems, Austria
  • Bratislava, Slovakia
  • Belgrade, Serbia
  • Belogradchik, Bulgaria
  • Vidin, Bulgaria
  • Bucharest, Romania

Here are the ship lines that offer exclusive Danube River Cruise and the maximum number of days a cruise package consists of 23 days! Remember, you can see a whole new world for as many as twenty-three days!

  • Viking River Cruises
  • Croisi Europe
  • Uniworld Danube Cruise
  • Avalon Waterways
  • Tauck Danube Cruises
  • Riviera River Cruises
  • AMA Waterways
  • Emerald Waterways
  • Scenic Danube Cruises

Oh, I have devoted much of my attention on Danube River Cruise. It must be because I have a big fascination for the lengthy Danube River and the fantastic and naturally beautiful east European countries.

2. Rhine River Cruise Routes

Rhine River Cruise Routes

I will just quickly cover the other major river cruise routes in the Europe. Every river cruise route is must-explore if you love traveling, meeting new people, encountering different culture and eating adventurously strange cuisines.

I am sure the River Rhine needs no introduction.

The lovely Rhine originates in the Swiss Alps and flows through

  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • France
  • Netherlands

The Rhine River cruise routes can traverse you through a whopping 1200 km.

Since you will be visiting all these enchanting European countries, it is better to book a package for 3 weeks, so that you will have a satisfactory Rhine River cruise routes.

The best bet for a Rhine River cruise is The River Cruise Line.

3. Main River Cruise

Main River Cruise

Main River is a tributary of Rhine and thus you can expect to see more of Germany that the Rhine bypasses. The Main River Cruise covers several new places in Germany where the Rhine River chose not to flow through.

The two main cities that you can explore during your Main River Cruise Routes are:

  • Frankfurt
  • Würzburg

In between, there are about 12 cities that are all in Germany. You can enjoy the true small towns and rural life of the Germans if you buy a package of Main River Cruise from Avalon Waterways.

4. Seine River Cruise

Much has been talked about the beauty of River Seine, the main artery of France and especially Paris, its capital. A short term cruise on Seine River will take you through France’s oldest towns and modern villages. There is not much detail about the beauty of France’s countryside, the villagers’ life and culture and what they eat and what the rural people of France’s main occupation is, covered in travel blogs.

River Cruise in Europe

All these will unfurl if you go on a Seine River cruise.

Your Seine River cruise routes passes through:

  • Paris
  • Rouen
  • Honfleur
  • Vernon
  • Normandy

I will tell you, learning to speak the French language is difficult but it is easy to understand the other side of France apart from Paris. 90% of the tourists to France don’t go beyond Paris.

These are the major river cruise routes in Europe. Even if you take one river cruise route per year, you may require more than 15 years to cover all the river cruise routes in Europe alone.

In another post, I will write about several lesser-known river cruises in Europe. I am sure they will excite you much more than the main river cruise routes of Europe.

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1 comment

Antony samy January 23, 2019 - 6:29 am

Excellent post on traveling in the Europe


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