A-Rosa

8 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

8. U River Cruises

A brand from a well-know luxury river cruise company that caters to millennials. It sails to rivers of Europe and has stops at famous cities.

  • Each ship has a maximum of 120 passenger.
  • Requires only 10% deposit to hold the reservation.
  • Single supplements available.
Book a U River Cruises

European river cruise companies compared: What's included?

Company Meals included? Beverages included? Solo-traveller friendly? Excursions included? Extras included?
Scenic Cruises Yes Yes Yes (Supplement) Yes Butler service
APT Yes Yes No Yes Airport transfers and gratuities
Avalon Waterways Yes Yes Yes (Supplement) Yes Wi-Fi access
Viking Cruises Yes Yes No Yes Wi-Fi access
G Adventures Most Yes Yes Yes Internal flights (select tours)
A-Rosa Yes Yes No No Wi-Fi access
Intrepid No No Yes Yes N/A
U River Cruises Yes No Yes (Supplement) Yes Gratuities

European river cruise deals and sales

U River Cruises U River Cruises

8-day Europe river cruises from $1,999

Cruise through Germany, Netherlands, Hungary and see Europe's Christmas markets on select dates until December 2019.

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Uniworld Uniworld

Up to $1,500 off cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020 including Christmas season. Destinations include Europe, France, Asia and more. T&Cs apply.

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U River Cruises U River Cruises

$500 off last-minute Europe cruises

Valid for travel on select dates between August - October 2019. Destinations include Danube, Budapest, Regensurg, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and more. T&Cs apply.

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MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Winter sale: 8-day Europe cruises from $399

Valid for travel on select dates in November 2019. Destinations include France, Spain, Italy and more. T&Cs apply.

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MSC Cruises MSC Cruises

Up to 50% off Europe cruises with free drinks and Wi-Fi

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Destinations include Barcelona, Civitavecchia, Croatia, Amsterdam, St. Petersburg and more. T&Cs apply.

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Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Up to 32% off Europe 2021 cruises

Valid for travel in 2021. Includes half-price deposits, $100 OBC and more. Destinations include Edinburgh, London, Copenhagen and more. T&Cs apply.

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G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 30% off Mekong riverboat adventures

Valid for travel from 18 October - 2 December 2019. T&Cs apply.

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G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 25% off Amazon riverboat adventures

Valid for travel from 3-10 November 2019. T&Cs apply.

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TourAmigo TourAmigo

Up to 40% off Vietnam tours and river cruises

Save on tours and river cruises to Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Mekong River, Ho Chi Minh and more with brands like G Adventures, On The Go, Trafalgar and Contiki.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Free Europe flights with select cruises

Valid for 2020 dates when you book an 11-night cruise or longer with Scenic. T&Cs apply.

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U River Cruises U River Cruises

Up to 10% off bookings or free drink package

Discount applies for new bookings on 2020 itineraries across Europe. Get 10% discount or free U drink package valued at $349. Destinations include Vienna, Nuremberg, Belgrade, Amsterdam, Brussels and more. T&Cs apply.

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CruiseAway CruiseAway

Up to 40% off Miami cruises

Valid for travel on select dates in 2019 - 2020. Other destinations include New York, Europe, Caribbean and more. T&Cs apply.

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Popular Cruises coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
5 Jul 2019 $1 deposits + up to $900 in onboard credit ********
19 Aug 2019 8-day Europe river cruises from $1,999 ********
15 Aug 2019 Get 2-for-1 rates on last-minute cruises ********
14 Jun 2019 $1 deposit and up to $900 OBC with P&O ********
19 Aug 2019 50% off deposits + Up to $600 OBC with 11-day South Pacific cruise ********
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