Top Europe River Cruises and insider Hot Tips!

Europe River Cruise Deals

River Cruises in Europe are the perfect alternative to touring holidays, which is a much better comparison than lining them up alongside their larger Ocean going siblings. No matter how much time you have, from a short French soiree, to the full Amsterdam to Budapest journey, there is a River Cruise treat that will easily slot in to your Europe travel plans.

Cruising the Rivers of Europe on the old trade routes is so much more relaxing than sitting in heavy road traffic, or messing around at airports, as you travel between your destinations.

The benefits of taking your accommodation with you, but still having lots of time to explore exciting and historic destinations on the way, really comes in to its own when you look at the in-depth options now available.

You can search all River Cruise options here, simply change to your preferred travel date range You can then filter by destination, cruiseline or preferred rivers.

Q: Are River cruises still operating?
A: Several River cruise lines have re-started again in many regional parts of Europe for 2020, but for local markets only. With their small capacity and different style of cruising, it is proving to be a successful return.
HOOT Tip: Many River Cruise companies have already opened for bookings as far ahead as 2022. Viking River cruises can already be booked for 2023.

Q: What is the best month for a European River Cruise?
A: The weather in most of Europe tends to be at its best from June to mid-October. If Europe experiences a dry Spring followed by a hot Summer than watch out for low water levels around August time.
HOOT Tip: We prefer early season Spring Time river cruises in Europe, beautiful spring flowers and less crowds. Although you will need to take some warmer clothing and wet weather gear with you

Q: What happens if the water is too low or too high, to operate River Cruises
A: The River cruise lines have developed a seamless process for times when rivers may have not enough, or too much water in to navigate safely. This is where choosing one of the larger river cruise lines, really does show the difference.
Viking River Cruises for example have multiple ships operating the same itinerary in opposite directions. If the River level should be an issue, they will swap passengers over from one ship to the other at the mid way point, so you can carry on your journey.
HOOT Tip: As all of the Viking Longships are identical we hardly noticed the difference when this happened on our August cruise one year. We were even allocated the exact same cabin number on the second ship!

Q: How do I get the best deal on a river cruise?
A: River Cruise ships are much smaller than ocean ships and because of this do book out much earlier. When it comes to River Cruises, the early bird really does catch the best worm.
Historically early bird deals have included offers such as “Fly Free”, “Air credits” or super cheap connecting flights from New Zealand.
HOOT Tip: There is often an extra perk of Free airport transfers at your destination, when you take advantage of the River Cruise lines air offer.

Q: Are European river cruises worth the money?
A: When it comes to comparing a European River cruise with a Touring holiday, then you need to look at the value included, rather than the price tag! European River cruises are often fully loaded with a ton of extras that are just not provided on equivalent land based tours.
HOOT Tip: When you work out the total cost of what your holiday will be after your trip, you will find River Cruises are great value for money, as you have covered off so much more up-front before you leave.

Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, World Heritage Site by UNESCO
Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest, World Heritage Site by UNESCO

Lets take a look at what Inclusions you can expect from the most popular Europe River cruise lines.

APT Luxury Inclusions: All inclusive sightseeing, All onboard meals including at the exclusive Chef’s Table restaurants, A selection of onboard beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, at any time* Bikes available on select ships, Complimentary onboard Wi-Fi, Personal Travel Concierge app, Return airport transfers at destination, All tipping and gratuities both onboard and during your shore excursions, Butler service for select suites, Laundry service for select suites

Avalon Waterways
Avalon Waterways Inclusions: Regional wine & beer with lunch and dinner. Onboard enrichment activities. Onshore excursions with Local Guides. Special onboard entertainment. Even a customised mobile app loaded with navigation and suggestions to fuel your free time. 

An exclusive experience features all the right inclusions, yet still leaves room for personalisation – like FlexDining® options to give you the freedom to choose when and where you dine on board. In addition to little luxuries like complimentary Wi-Fi and around-the-clock cappuccinos.

Plus a state-of-the-art fitness centre, free bicycles for use in select ports, and a bubbling whirlpool on the Sky Deck awaiting your return

Croisi Europe
Croisi offer a choice of fare types which allow you to personalise your River cruise holiday. Standard fares include: Your Choice of accommodation, All meals included – DRINKS INCLUDED with meals and at the bar, Refined French cuisine – Gala dinner and evening – Welcome cocktail, Free Wi-Fi in lounge and bar, Headsets are included for excursions, Official welcome from the captain and crew, Onboard activities, All port fees included.

Please ask our team for details of the “All Inclusive fare option” which also includes: English Classic sightseeing package designed to experience the food, culture, and monuments of the region.

Crystal River Cruises
The all-suite Crystal fleet features the largest luxury suites of any European river ship, each offering a king-size bed, and many with balcony and walk-in closet. High-tech amenities include a bedside iPad, interactive TV and more.

This is river cruising at its finest, with butler service for every suite, superb cuisine and unrivaled social spaces. Service is friendly and uncompromising, and enrichment both aboard and ashore provides authentic insight into each destination

An exceptional standard of all-inclusive amenities and services elevates the comfortable luxury aboard each ship, from spirits and wines and all gratuities aboard and ashore to complimentary Wi-Fi, bicycles, shore experiences, airport transfers and more

Emerald Waterways
Emerald Waterways Inclusions: Your choice of Spacious on-board accommodation with ensuite bathroom, All meals on-board at a choice of dining venues, Complimentary wine and beer with lunch and dinner on-board, Onboard heated pool, cinema and bikes (N.b. Portugal cruises feature just the pool). Unique EmeraldPLUS cultural events and extra special EmeraldACTIVE experiences. Daily shore excursions and guided tours, Complimentary Wi-Fi on-board, Complimentary tea & coffee on-board, All port charges, taxes/transfer costs, All on board tips and gratuities, The services of an onboard Cruise Director.

Scenic Luxury River Cruises
Scenic All Inclusive Luxury Inclusions: All dining options from a choice of casual to fine dining venues, Complimentary beverages, all day every day, including cocktails and spirits, Complimentary Mini-bar restocked daily, On-board entertainment daily, Wellness and fitness area (additional costs apply for specific treatments), Cruise Director to guide and assist you during your holiday, Complimentary on-board Wifi, Return Airport transfers overseas, All tipping and gratuities, Laundry concierge, E-Bikes for your use ashore, Exclusive Scenic tailormade GPS for self guided touring and on board commentary. An exclusive range of handcrafted small group shore excursions for you to choose from, including one in a lifetime experiences.

Travelmarvel Inclusions: With all transfers, excursions, sightseeing and all main meals included, all you need to be concerned with is enjoying yourself. Services of a Travelmarvel Cruise Director, Entertainment and Activities Coordinator, and local guides. Onboard water stations, plus tea and coffee, soft drink, beer and local wine during lunch and dinner on your cruise. Port charges and tipping.

U River Cruises
U Inclusions: Your choice of accommodation including innovative Triple Share rooms for larger parties. Your room comes with Bluetooth speakers, USB charging ports and unlimited onboard Wifi. Three scheduled meals each day onboard. Fantastic meals made with locally sourced ingredients and U are happy to accommodate any special dietary needs. Select non-alcoholic drinks such as complimentary water, coffee and tea all day long as well as complimentary juice during breakfast.
Fun Activites include: Rooftop Yoga, Paint & Wine, Mixology Class, Rooftop BBQ, Karaoke, Silent Disco and more. A daily excursion is included, you can also add on an optional U+ experience, or do your own thing.

Uniworld Luxury Cruises include: Unlimited choice of spirits and wines, Five-star-calibre meals while onboard, All gratuities onboard and onshore
Your choice of excursions curated exclusively for Uniworld guests including exclusive experiences only Uniworld provide. Shipwide internet and Wi-Fi access. Ample exercise and wellness opportunities. Onboard entertainment. In-suite Butler service. Check out the amazing Uniworld ships which will be a highlight of your European trip.

Viking River Cruises
Viking River Cruise inclusions: One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call. Free Wi-Fi (connection speed may vary). Visits to UNESCO Sites. Enrichment lectures & Destination Performances. Beer, wine & soft drinks with onboard lunch & dinner. 24-hour specialty coffees, teas & bottled water. Port taxes & fees. Free Ground transfers with Viking Air purchase. Gratuities.
Ask us about the FREE Viking Information sessions, coming to a town near you in October and November, we are happy to hook you up with a Free Invitation.

Take a look on our River Cruise Search Next to each cruise lines departure you will see the amazing extras that are included in your fare.
To find the best River cruise deals, you can also search by Specific River, Country, Destination, River cruise line or even by specific River Cruise ships

If you are new to River Cruises and would like to talk to a cruise expert, call our HOOT Cruises Kiwi cruise team we are happy to help
 FreePhone: 0800 99 44 88

Quote your AA SmartFuel or AA Membership Card Number at the time of cruise payment for savings at the pump! This discount will be applied to your AA SmartFuel account within 48 hours. T&C apply

AA One Card Smartfuel


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