A-Rosa

7 top European river cruise companies compared

Set sail on a luxurious adventure through some of the world's greatest rivers with these European cruise companies.

There’s something utterly romantic about exploring Europe by boat. Whether you’re travelling down the Danube through Austria, Hungary and Serbia where castles and charming towns emerge around every turn, or along the River Rhine through Switzerland, Germany and Amsterdam where dramatic mountains and heritage canals paint the landscape - seeing Europe by river is an experience like no other.

Keen to board ship and set sail? These are the companies offering river cruises with the most arresting landscapes in Europe. Where will you go?


Scenic Cruises

1. Scenic Cruises

Boasting a handful of awards including Best Luxury Cruise Line 2015 by Cruise Passenger Magazine and Best Luxury Tour Operator 2016 by Luxury Travel Magazine, Scenic Cruises has made a name for itself in luxury tourism. Its 5 star cruise ships travel throughout Europe, Russia and Asia offering services that include airport-to-boat transport, unlimited access to top-shelf beverages, personal butler services and onshore excursions tailored to your whims and desires. Quality, thy name is Scenic.

  • Luxury travel that includes 5 star cruise ships, unlimited beverages, personal butler services and tailored onshore excursions.
  • River cruises travel throughout Europe (including France and Portugal) Russia and Asia (Vietnam and Myanmar).
  • Solo travellers welcome.

Book a Scenic Cruises cruise


Image: APT

2. APT

A cruise company that needs no introduction, APT Touring has a reputation for being the most innovative and awarded luxury river cruise operator in Europe - and with good reason. Its fleet sails throughout Africa, Asia and Europe, delivering personalised service, all-inclusive luxuries and amenities and grand on-shore hotel experiences on each and every cruise. Go on, spoil yourself.

  • Themed cruises include APT’s Wine Series, which sees you travel through vineyards and partake in onboard wine tastings.
  • APT Collection cruises offers Royal Signature Experiences where you can undertake an imperial rail journey, visit Namedy Castle and attend a concert in the City Palace in Vienna.
  • 260+ river cruise options throughout Europe.

Book an APT cruise


Avalon Waterways

3. Avalon Waterways

A member of the larger Globus travel company, Avalon Waterways has an extensive catalogue of cruise experiences for whatever your fancy. Choose your cruise by region, country or even theme - beer appreciation river cruise anyone? The sky (or should that be the water?) is the limit.

  • Book cruises through Austria, Bulgaria, Holland, Switzerland, Hungary, Belgium, France, Romania, Serbia, Germany and Slovakia.
  • Christmas river cruises available.
  • Stopover packages available.

Book an Avalon Waterways cruise


Viking Cruises

4. Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises prides itself in offering an intimate on-water experience. Each one of its longships typically caters to less than 200 guests, delivering a relaxing and uncrowded on-board experience. Its river cruises travel along the Danube, Rhine, Douro (Portugal) and Elbe (Germany) rivers with numerous guided tours being offered at each docked city, making the experience not only intimate, but immersive as well.

  • Travel on small ships of 200 guests or less.
  • River cruises travel along the Danube, Rhine, Douro and Elbe rivers.
  • River cruises and ocean cruises available.

Book a Viking Cruises cruise


G Adventures

5. G Adventures

Those who prefer a faster-paced river cruise experience can explore G Adventures’ sailing options. Although limited to Burgundy for European adventures, the tour company offers exceptionally intimate boats (a maximum of 22 passengers) making it ideal for larger groups or for social butterflies who enjoy the company of strangers.

  • Sail through Burgundy via river cruise or barge.
  • Intimate sailing groups (22 passengers on cruises through Burgundy).
  • River cruises through the Amazon, Mekong and Ganges also available.

Book a G Adventures cruise


A-Rosa

6. A-Rosa

Based out of Germany, A-Rosa’s humble fleet of 11 vessels is dedicated to river cruises through Germany and Eastern Europe. For those who prefer touristic luxuries, five of its bespoke ships are designated for international travellers with a variety of international cuisines and languages available.

  • Specialises in river cruises throughout Germany including down the Danube, Rhine and Rhone.
  • Single supplements available.
  • Meals included on most sailings.

Book an A-Rosa cruise


7. Intrepid Travel

Whether you’re young or young-at-heart, Intrepid Travel offers adventurous sailing that will fuel your lust for travel. Its fleet of Europe-based yachts travel through the Mediterranean, with each housing up to 11 passengers who won’t have to lift a finger to help sail the ship - unless of course, you want to.

  • Intimate groups of 8-11 per yacht.
  • Minimal luxury facilities with bathrooms being shared and meals operating by a trip kitty, which everyone contributes to.
  • Activities are 50/50 land-based/water-based so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the townships you dock into.

Book an Intrepid Travel cruise


European river cruise companies compared: What's included?

CompanyMeals included?Beverages included?Solo-traveller friendly?Excursions included?Extras included?
Scenic CruisesYesYesYes (Supplement)YesButler service
APTYesYesNoYesAirport transfers and gratuities
Avalon WaterwaysYesYesYes (Supplement)YesWi-Fi access
Viking CruisesYesYesNoYesWi-Fi access
G AdventuresMostYesYesYesInternal flights (select tours)
A-RosaYesYesNoNoWi-Fi access
IntrepidNoNoYesYesN/A

European river cruise deals and sales

Store Discount Expiration Description Last verified Redeem
Europe or Ukraine river cruises + flights from $995

Deal expires

Valid on select 2018 Viking Europe or Ukraine river cruises of 12 days or less. Flights are available from major Australian cities. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Worldwide cruise sale: Up to $2,100 off + up to $200 onboard credit

Deal expires

Valid on selected cruises across Europe, Alaska, Asia, Japan, The Americas, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.

Last verified

Up to 40% off cruises: Royal Caribbean birthday sale Valid on new bookings on select sailings in Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific (New Caledonia, Bora Bora, Vanuatu), Caribbean (Bahamas, Curacao, Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Bermuda), Canada, Asia (China, Europe (Denmark, Croatia, Belgium, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy) and more. Includes select sailings over Christmas and New Year.

Last verified

Up to 64% off Christmas cruises

Deal expires

Valid on select cruise. Destinations include Europe, Mediterranean, South Pacific and New Zealand. Conditions apply.

Last verified

40% off select Ganges riverboat cruises

Deal expires

Valid for travel from 14 December 2017 - 13 January 2018. Destinations include Delhi, India, Kolkota and more. Also valid for Christmas and New Year cruise. T&C's apply.

Last verified

Christmas Cruises: Save up to 60% off

Deal expires

Valid on select cruises in Europe, South Pacific, Caribbean, Mediterranean and more. Sample prices include $759 for a 7-night Middle Eastern sailing.

Last verified

Europe tours over Christmas from just $599

Deal expires

Valid on select tours. Destinations include Paris, Amsterdam, and European Christmas markets river cruises.

Last verified

Up to 30% off CroisiEurope river cruises Book a river cruise with CroisiEurope from just $820 per person for up to 30% off the regular price with CruiseAway.

Last verified

Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is the travel editor at finder.com.au. On top of being an avid traveller, she's an all-round bargain hunter. If there's a deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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