How to Choose the Perfect River Cruise

Source: Tauck River Cruise

The popularity of cruising via river continues to rise. The allure of traveling with only 150 – 200 passengers on a floating boutique hotel, personalized service, gourmet dining, or the ship’s ability to dock right in the heart of the city or town – all key reasons to experience this fascinating style of cruising. But, deciding which River Cruise line to choose can be a confusing task.

You must first consider where you want to go, when you want to go, and what is your budget. For instance, most River Cruise lines sail the major rivers of Europe, but only Uniworld and Croisi Europe have itineraries on the Po River in Northern Italy. The season you wish to travel is important as well. Are you more interested cruising in April at Tulip Time, or would you rather experience the excitement of the Christmas Markets along the Danube?  When thinking of budget, are you interested in a luxurious experience that is completely all inclusive, or are you more interested in a budget friendly line?

Once you have decided where, when, and what’s your budget, it’s time to pick the river cruise line that is the best fit. When choosing your floating boutique hotel, you will need to consider the attributes of each of the river cruise companies and decide what is important to you.

Let’s take a look at 7 popular river cruise companies, listed from most luxurious to more moderate / budget friendly:

1. Crystal
2. Tauck
3. Uniworld
4. AMA
5. Scenic
6. Avalon
7. Viking

When comparing the similarities and differences of these cruise lines, here are 10 questions you must consider:

  1. Is there a choice of excursion included?
    Choices of excursions are included on all lines except Viking and Avalon.
  2. Are drinks included 24/7?
    Drinks are included 24/7 on Crystal, Tauck, Uniworld, and Scenic.
  3. Are onboard bicycles available?
    Onboard bicycles are available on all lines except Viking.
  4. Are gratuities included?
    Gratuities are included on Crystal, Tauck, Uniworld, and Scenic.
  5. Is there a fitness center or spa onboard?
    There is a fitness center/spa on all lines except Viking.
  6. Is room service available? Is Butler service included?
    Room service and a personal butler are available on Crystal, Uniworld, and Scenic.
  7. Is there an in room minibar?
    An in room minibar is available on Crystal, Tauck, Uniworld, and Scenic.
  8. Is there complimentary Wi-Fi?
    Complimentary Wi-Fi is available on Crystal, Tauck, Uniworld, and AMA.
  9. Is the quality of the food outstanding?
    The quality of the food is amazing on most lines – specifically Crystal, Tauck, Uniworld, and AMA.
  10. Are airport transfers included?
    Airport transfers included with Crystal, Scenic, Tauck, and Uniworld.

We hope this information is helpful to you in narrowing down what is important to you on your river cruise. We hope it will be much easier to select the perfect river cruise. Reach out to us and allow us to help you with the processWe will have you packing in no time!