River cruises have become a popular and relaxing way to see Europe. You can look out your window and take in the French countryside and then dock in Germany for dinner and a show. European river cruises are particularly flexible with budgets, tour options, and experiences. Here’s what you need to know before you book.

Choose the Right River to Cruise

The first step is to determine what river is best for your touring needs. After all, cruising down the Danube won’t bring you to Italy or France!

Make a list of the top countries and cities you want to see in Europe, and compare the cruise options to see which rivers snake through them. For example:

  • The Danube is Europe’s longest river and snakes through Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Austria, Romania, and more. This is an ideal choice for travelers who want to see many countries on their visit and experience different Eastern European cultures.
  • The Elbe river flows through Germany and the Czech Republic. History buffs will enjoy stopping in Berlin, Dresden, and Prague.
  • The Rhine originates in Switzerland and passes through Austria, Germany, France, and the Netherlands. If you’re looking for a classic European river cruise, this one hits many top locations.

There are multiple other river options to choose from and basing your decision off of the countries you want to see can help you narrow your choices.

Find Something in Your Price Range

There are two criteria to consider when booking a river cruise: the type of cabin and the cruise company. Some cruise experiences set their base cabin fees at $250 per night while others exceed $450 per night. The nicer the cabin — meaning the more space you have, the better view — the more you will pay.

You should also check any extra charges you will be expected to pay when you’re on your cruise. Food is typically included, but you could have to pay port charges, gratuity, and optional add-ons for tours. This could turn a seemingly affordable room into something that’s just as expensive as a luxury suite. Price comparisons and knowing the full cost can help you find something closer to what you’re looking for.

Know the Best Time to Travel

European cities are typically packed with tourists in the spring and summer months, but they quiet down during September and October. If you’re looking to save on your cruise without compromising the experience, consider booking a tour for an off time like the fall. Not only will airfare and cruising costs become more affordable, but you will also enjoy a quieter and more intimate experience with Europe.

While fall is an ideal time to travel to most cities, some routes might not run in the fall because of a lack of demand. Make sure you book far enough ahead that you can change your plans if they don’t run a particular cruise during their slow season.

With the right planning, you can journey on a river cruise that introduces you to the wonder of Europe. Check out GoDoTrip.com to find the best cruise for your lifestyle.