Take a deep breath. Relax, and smile. You’ll soon be aboard your river cruise in Europe. Whether you’re headed out to enjoy the romantic melodies of the Danube, savor the tastes of Burgundy and the sites of Paris, want to explore treasures along the Rhine, or are interested in taking in the breathtaking vistas of Iceland , you’ll soon be creating wonderful memories. European cruises give you access to history, culture, art and cuisine in some of the most beautiful areas of the world, without air travel delays or the crush of travelers on a train or large ocean liner. architecture-budapest

With more than 50 cruises available in Europe, you can find a route that piques your curiosity. The wide variety of cruises makes it easy to take a multi-generational trip, too, letting you explore Europe with your children, your parents, friends and family. If you’ve never taken a river cruise in Europe, here’s what you can expect.

What you can expect aboard your European River Cruise

To navigate Europe’s waterways, river cruise ships are no longer than 450 feet long and 40 feet wide, about half the size of an ocean cruiser. These smaller vessels accommodate less than 200 passengers. Private rooms range in size from 130 to 290 sq. ft. with larger suites available on some ships.

These smaller boats mean a more intimate, comfortable, and personalized experience. You can take advantage of this by getting to know other passengers, but if you’d prefer time to yourself to read quietly or just take in the views, there’s plenty of room on board to do that too. Essentially a river cruise ship is the perfect size whether you’re looking for socializing or soaking in the quiet.

Many ships have specialty shops on board, and all provide locally-inspired cuisines and wines. Exceptional dining that you don’t  have to worry about reserving is one of the many, many advantages of a river cruise.

Sites you can see during a river cruise in Europe

Our river cruises in Europe last from 7 to 23 days. Week-long trips are shorter distances, usually covering less than 50 miles and often include several ports each day. Your European river cruise may focus on a specific region such as Norway, or through several countries in Western, Central and Eastern Europe as you navigate multiple rivers. Whichever option you choose, you’ll be greeted with sweeping vistas and a vacation you won’t soon forget.


You’ll have a variety of excursions and day-tours available on your European cruise, including visits to historic castles and cathedrals, noted museums, breathtaking vineyards, and out-of-the-way villages. Walking or bus tours with small groups, typically 20-25 people, give you a more personalized experience with local guides. With so much to see, you’re likely to stay in port for the entire day and have full-day tours.

Excursions provided by your river cruise offer ease and convenience; You don’t need to wait for a bus or ferry – just walk off the ship into your next adventure. Some European river cruises will also offer on-board lectures and local entertainment like dances, skits, and music, all centered around the countries and cities you’re exploring.

Food and dining options aboard the ship

Travel is a sensory experience. Tasting the foods of the countries you visit is as important as the sites you see. Local seasonal fare is served on European cruises when possible, and on some cruises, you can accompany the chefs as they search port villages and farms to find fresh ingredients for the dinner menu. fine-dining

Most of our European river cruises in provide buffet options for breakfast, although you can order à la carte from the menu or request items such as omelets cooked to order. If you dine on board during lunch, you’ll have a range of choices, from a light buffet with soup and salad to more substantial fair with the menu changing daily. Salad bars and pasta made to order are available on some cruises.

Many cruises offer a variety of wines and spirits local to the area you’re cruising in. Consider how delightful a vineyard tour during the day and enjoying that vineyard’s wine on board that evening. There are even specific wine cruise departures centered on local wines with presentations, tours, and tastings throughout the cruise.

wine-glassesDinner is conveniently served on board in the dining area – no need to make reservations or call a taxi. Menus change daily and offer a variety of foods to enjoy. After a full day exploring the latest port, you’ll be able to share stories (and great food and wine) with your fellow travelers. Some of the river cruises offered in Europe will give you the opportunity to have dinner on shore as part of a culinary tour. Above all, the dining is exceptional, and it’s all offered without the stress of trying to get your group to agree on a single restaurant.

Book European Cruises with USA River Cruises

Now that you’ve read about some of the exciting and delicious things you’ll experience on board your river cruise, we’ve got just one question for you: Are your bags packed?  Contact USA River Cruises with questions about river cruises in Europe and throughout the world.