Europe’s rivers were crucial in the development of its cities and towns. Life along the river was central to growth and, as a result, cruise on Europe’s rivers allows you to experience Europe in a different way – where you cruise through quaint villages, experience the wonderful cities, marvel at romantic castles along the way, while enjoying delectable continental cuisine from the comfort of a beautiful cruise ship. With luxurious staterooms – most with panoramic floor to ceiling windows – included first class land excursions and crew to pamper you, you’ll explore the world from the intimate perspective that only a river cruise can offer you.
It was as recent as 1992 that the Rhine and Danube rivers were connected, providing 2,200 miles of unobstructed waterways through over a dozen countries. Today, cruises on the Rhine & Danube are increasingly getting popular with travellers who appreciate culture, art, music, history and heritage and for whom the journey is as important as the destination!
Danube River Cruising
The mighty Danube River is the longest river in the entire European Union. It runs through or forms a part of the border for 10 countries, originating in Germany’s Black Forest and ending in the Ukraine where it flows into the Black Sea. The delightful Danube sets the stage for this incredible journey as you sail through beautiful scenery and quaint towns. Board your vessel in Budapest and sail westward, with guided sightseeing in magical Vienna, Bratislava, Dürnstein & Nuremburg.
Arrive in Budapest, Hungary’s vibrant capital divided by the Danube River. Hungary is on your left as you cruise upriver and Slovakia is on your right. The two countries share the Danube for a 58-mile stretch, with the border in the middle of the river. Journey along Andrássy Avenue and see the 19th- and 20th-century mansions, National Opera House, Parliament Building and Chain Bridge. Stop in Heroes’ Square to learn more about Hungarian history, then cross the Danube to Buda’s Castle District. Walk up the hill to Fishermen’s Bastion and Matthias Church; enjoy brilliant views.
The best introduction to Vienna’s architecture and culture can be found on a ride around the Ringstrasse, the circular road that encompasses the city center. This capital city has a strong musical heritage as the one-time home of great composers including Schubert, Johann Strauss, Beethoven and Mozart. You do not rush through Vienna-you waltz, taking your time to savor each classic sight and sound. See some of Vienna’s gracious architecture, and then ride along the beautiful Ringstrasse with sights including the Opera House, Stadtpark and Hofburg Theater. Shop along the Kärtnerstrasse or take an optional excursion to Schönbrunn Palace, home of Maria Theresa and summer residence of the Habsburgs. Complete your day in this “City of Waltzes” with an evening concert.
Bratislava is Slovakia’s national capital, bordering Austria and Hungary. The town is home to several Baroque palaces as well as the Opera House, Slovak Philharmonic Hall and the gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral. Visit the 13th-century Bratislava Castle where you’ll enjoy breathtaking views overlooking three countries – Slovakia, Austria and Hungary. Enjoy guided sightseeing in Slovakia’s vibrant capital of Bratislava – visit Melk’s impressive & breathtaking Benedictine Abbey, see Dürnstein’s baroque Stiftskirche, take a walking tour of Bratislava’s major sights, including the Old Town Hall, the stunning Mirbach Palace & the Gothic St. Martin’s Cathedral and of course sample some local pastries at cafe in the Old Town district.
Dürnstein is a beautiful small town on the Danube River, near the Wachau Valley. Your walking tour through medieval cobblestone streets reveals 16th-century town houses and wine taverns. Marvel at the magnificent blue facade of the Baroque Stiftskirche, see the ruins of the castle where Richard the Lionheart, King of England was imprisoned in 1192, explore the town’s architectural gems, like the blue and white tower at the Durnstein monastery or slip into a cafe for a glass of locally produced wine. Beyond Melk, the Danube carves its way through the beautiful Wachau Valley, an 18 mile section of steep, terraced slopes of vineyards and forested hills, which turn incredible shades of red and gold in the autumn. It is regarded by many as one of the most scenic stretches of the river.
Although Nuremberg suffered extensive damage during World War II, much of it was restored to its original style. Marvel at this historic city with its fabulous gothic churches and elegant patrician houses-all explained by a local expert. You can either choose to witness the medieval history of Nuremberg – see the storybook 900-year-old ramparts that surround this historic city & the Imperial Castle, or join the tour centered on the modern role the city played in the 20th-century – see the Zeppelin Field & the Justice Palace. Other tourist spots around the city include the walled Old City and the fountain at the Main Market Square.
Rhine River Cruising
Steeped in myth and legend – the Rhine has it all, with castles stolen from fairytales, majestic cathedrals, historic hilltop towns and the stunning scenery of the Rolling Meadows and mountains of the Black Forest. The name of the river comes from Middle High German Rin, which can be traced back to its Proto-Indo-European root reie- meaning “to flow” or “to run.” Regarded as one of the most beautiful waterways for river cruising, the Rhine is also one of the longest rivers in Europe as well as one of the most important. Originating in South-eastern Switzerland the Rhine flows 820 miles crossing through or touching 6 countries (Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and Netherlands) before dividing into the Delta Arms and then eventually flowing into the North Sea. A Rhine River cruise is highlighted by numerous castles and castle ruins; vineyards, wine villages, orchards and picturesque islands in the river.
Lying near the sea on narrow land strips between Lake Isjeel and the North Sea, with the river Amstel cutting through the centre; Amsterdam is the largest diamond-trading centre in Europe as well as home to art treasures in the Vincent Van Gogh Museum and historical sites like the Anne Frank House. Amsterdam’s most distinct feature is its horseshoe-shaped network of canals, lined with tall, elegant mansions from the city’s ‘Golden Age’ of the 17th and 18th centuries. The most scenic stretch of the canal ring is the encompassing three parallel waterways of Herengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht. Here you can see the tall narrow homes lining the water, the Skinny Bridge, and the house where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding during WWII, enjoy a panoramic city tour including a photo stop at the windfall famously painted by Rembrandt.
Situated at the ‘knee’ of the Rhine; Basel has a real international flavor, which isn’t surprising considering it’s where three countries – France, Germany and Switzerland meet. The city is split in to by the Rhine and has developed on either side; with the industrial Kleinbasel on the north bank and the rustic Grossbasel – with its medieval buildings lining the hilly river bank on the South bank. With world-famous choirs, museums and theaters, Basel is one of the most important cultural centers in Central Europe.
Set on the left bank of the mighty Rhine River, Cologne dates back to Roman times and is one of Germany’s largest and liveliest cities and the capital of the Rhineland. Renowned for its architectural splendour, its river skyline is dwarfed by the soaring twin steeples of its spectacular Gothic cathedral, a vast Gothic church with a breathtaking interior. Enjoy free time to explore this historic city at leisure, perhaps visit the charismatic old town, sample a much-loved ‘Kölsch’ local beer in a traditional tavern, buy some ‘Eau de Cologne’, explore interesting neighborhoods and wonderful museums like the Fragrance Museum & the Chocolate Museum or visit the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The historic city of Koblenz is located on the convergence of three mountain ranges and two rivers with the ‘Deutsches Eck’, a colossal monument of Prince William I, proudly marking the place where the Rhine and Moselle Rivers meet. The city dates back to Roman times and is a centre of the German wine trade. Tour 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum; visit the Romanesque church of St Castor – the city’s oldest building and lunch aboard as you enjoy the stunning stretch of Rhine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop locations.
The Rhine Gorge—the stretch between Bingen and Bonn also known as the “Romantic Rhine”—is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Downstream from Rüdesheim, the dramatic Rhine Gorge is the most beautiful stretch of river dotted every mile with castles, vineyards and fortresses. Pass the legendary rock of the Lorelei, where sweet songs of local beauties lured enchanted sailors to their doom. Traveling on a river cruise is the ideal way to experience the Rhine’s natural beauty, rich culture and fascinating history.
Heidelberg is the epitome of German Romanticism, set against the forested hills of Odenwald and dominated by a sprawling red-sandstone castle complex. The city is located on the banks of the River Neckar and is dominated by its majestic castle, which offers incredible views of the surrounding area. Visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle, take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley & the city’s many red rooftops from its hilltop location and continue with a walking tour through the Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.
Capital city of the Alsace region in northeastern France, Strasbourg is situated on the Rhine at the German border. This mesmerizing border town is influenced by the culture of both Germany and France. Take a walking tour and explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures—fabulous churches, medieval covered bridges, beautiful parks, cobblestone streets, some exquisite Art Nouveau and modernist architecture and the lovely “La Petite France” neighborhood where you will see the Gothic cathedral with its famous astronomical clock.
Continuing along the waterway on the French-German border, Breisach is nestled at the foot of Kaiserstuhl Mountain and is the gateway to Germany’s Black Forest region. The fairytale castles and countryside of the region are as delightful to the eyes as the Black Forest cherry cake is to the taste. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, Rolling Meadows and dense forests. Also, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration.
The River Cruise Companies operating cruises in these regions are:
Part of the Globus family of brands, Avalon Waterways is backed by more than 80 years of experience in planning itineraries and guiding vacations around the world. Avalon Waterways is renowned for their refined elegance, attention to detail and state-of-the-art ships. It offers a luxurious on board experience with elegant dining, spacious suites and large outside staterooms with full-sized en suite bathrooms. In addition, most staterooms on board feature floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows (unique to Avalon Waterways), providing the best views of beautiful landscapes, famous landmarks and spectacular sights as you cruise.
Uniworld has been a leader in the luxury river cruise industry for over 35 years. Uniworld’s signature is a daring, dynamic and colorful ambience. Infact, it’s the only river cruise company to offer authentic boutique-style cruising, which provides the same exquisite décor, exceptional service, and intimate ambiance you’d expect from a five-star boutique hotel. Meals are inspired by the regions of your itinerary and prepared with the freshest ingredients, often brought onboard from local farmers markets. Uniworld has a lot to be proud of – has received Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Award for “World’s Top Small Ship Line”, won “Best River Ships” in their Readers’ Poll and is the only luxury river cruise line named to Condé Nast Traveler’s prestigious Gold List.
Viking River Cruises
Drawing on a heritage that dates back for more than 175 years, Viking River Cruises has become synonymous with luxury river cruising. These ships average just 150 passengers, and often dock right in the heart of town, providing “walk off your ship” access into Europe. Enriching voyages is also an important focus for Viking with dining onboard designed to reflect the cruise ship’s region while informative lectures and interesting demonstrations offer guests the chance to fully immerse themselves within their cruise destination. Viking ships are Scandinavian in design, with open, airy interiors by famed maritime architects Yran & Storbraaten. Enjoy breathtaking scenery from just about everywhere on the ship – in the bar, restaurant or lounge (all with panoramic views), on the sun deck with fresh air or from the privacy of your stateroom.
AMA Waterways is a premier river cruise line operating on Europe’s Danube & Rhine River. With a trio of industry pioneers at its helm, their fleet’s signature Twin and French balcony staterooms and pampering amenities offer discriminating travelers unparalleled comfort, convenience and style. AMA Waterways is proud of the “Points of Distinction” that distinguish them as the industry’s premium river cruise leader. From an exceptional staff to their gold-medal cuisine, enriching theme cruises and special onboard amenities, an AMA Waterways river cruise is more than a vacation; it’s a collection of unforgettable experiences. AMA Waterways also offers the “Gentle Walkers” group for those who like to explore at their own pace; the “Active Walkers” for travelers wishing to extend their reach a little farther, and the “Late Starter” group for anyone looking to sleep in a few extra ticks on the clock.
CruiseBay is India’s first and only Cruises-only Holiday Company with a website http://www.cruisebay.com that features over 1000 cruise itineraries from 30+ cruise liners. In addition, we have pioneered the concept of CruiseBay Lounges in multiple cities in India with professionally trained cruise consultants to help clients plan their cruise vacation.