Sail on the Best Luxury River Cruises in Europe

Sail on the Best Luxury River Cruises in Europe

In a world where travel enthusiasts seek the perfect blend of luxury and exploration, river cruising is the definition of sophistication and adventure. You’ll sail through tranquil waters aboard state-of-the-art river cruise ships as you’re welcomed into the heart of Europe’s most charming destinations. 

The appeal of European river cruises is easy to see. Just unpack once on a luxurious floating hotel and get ready to embark on a voyage that promises to redefine your understanding of luxury. River cruising offering amazing experiences in iconic major cities, unique local culture, and panoramic views of natural beauty that can only be witnessed from famous European rivers.

In this blog post, we’ll set sail on a journey to explore Europe’s most extravagant and immersive river cruise experiences.

best river cruises in europe

Best European River Cruise Itineraries

The best European river cruise itineraries offer incredible voyages through Europe and offer extraordinary and unique experiences. These journeys take travelers through charming medieval towns, historic capital cities, and famous UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Passengers can explore the best places Europe has to offer, from the stunning architecture of Vienna and Budapest to the romantic allure of Paris. Wine lovers will enjoy the scenic vineyard landscapes of the Rhine and Douro Valleys. These river cruises allow for an immersive exploration of the continent’s diverse cultures, historic sites, and breathtaking landscapes, making them an ideal choice for those seeking an unforgettable European adventure. 

best river cruises in europe

Christmas Market Cruises

Christmas market river cruises in Europe offer a magical way to experience the holiday season. These cruises provide the opportunity to explore historic European cities covered in enchanting holiday decorations and to visit charming Christmas markets with handcrafted gifts, local cuisine, and mulled wine. With stops in multiple destinations like Vienna, Nuremberg, and Strasbourg. A Christmas cruise is a convenient and delightful way to have the ultimate holiday experience! Immerse yourself in the holiday spirit while exploring Europe’s best winter wonderlands.

best river cruises in europe

Rhine River Cruises

The Rhine River stretches across Central and Western Europe in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France, and The Netherlands. As one of the continent’s most iconic rivers, the Rhine offers travelers the opportunity to explore a blend of fascinating cultures and history. Cruises typically include stops in cities like Amsterdam, Cologne, Strasbourg, and Basel, with the chance to visit charming villages, medieval castles, and vineyard-covered hillsides.

The scenic beauty along the Rhine is complemented by the convenience of river cruising, which allows passengers to unpack just once while enjoying guided excursions, onboard amenities, and the comfort of luxurious river cruise ships. Whether you’re interested in the stunning natural surroundings, cultural enrichment, or culinary delights, Rhine River cruises provide a memorable and immersive experience in the heart of Europe.

best river cruises in europe

Douro River Cruises

Douro River cruises in Portugal offer a captivating and unique way to explore the beauty and culture of Portugal’s Douro River region. These cruises take travelers on a journey through the picturesque Douro Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its terraced vineyards, charming villages, and historic wineries. While on a Douro River cruise, passengers can savor the region’s renowned Port wine, soak in the stunning landscapes, and experience the warmth of Portuguese hospitality. Whether you’re admiring the breathtaking scenery or delving into the rich winemaking traditions, a Douro River cruise provides an enriching and memorable exploration of this captivating region.

best river cruises in europe

Danube River Cruises

The Danube River flows for approximately 2,850 kilometers and travels through ten countries, including Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. Cruises along this river allow travelers to explore iconic cities like Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, and Nuremberg while meandering through scenic countryside, from lush vineyards to ancient castles.

The connection to the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal opens up a vast network of waterways, making it a convenient and captivating way to experience the beauty and diversity of Europe. Whether you’re drawn to the cultural treasures, culinary delights, or sheer scenic beauty, a Danube River cruise provides an unforgettable and enriching adventure.

best river cruises in europe

Veneto River Cruises

Veneto River cruises in Italy offer an enchanting exploration of the Veneto region’s captivating waterways. Travelers embark on a serene journey through picturesque canals, lagoons, and the iconic Venetian waterways, immersing themselves in the rich history, art, and culture of the region. A Veneto River cruise provides access to destinations like Venice, Padua, Burano, Mazzorbo, Torcello and Verona, allowing passengers to discover the unique charm of each city while enjoying the comfort of luxurious river cruise ships.

Whether you’re admiring Venetian architecture, savoring delectable Italian cuisine, or simply basking in the romantic ambiance of the region, Veneto River cruises offer a memorable and authentic Italian experience.

best river cruises in europe

Seine River Cruises

France River cruises, particularly Seine River cruises, offer a unique and enchanting way to explore the heart of France. These cruises navigate the picturesque Seine River, revealing iconic Parisian landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. Passengers can indulge in the romantic ambiance of the “City of Love” while also venturing into the serene countryside of Normandy and making stops in destinations like Rouen, Giverny, the famous palace of Versailles and more!

With the allure of world-class cuisine, fine wines, and artistic treasures, France River cruises provide a perfect blend of cultural enrichment and scenic beauty. Whether you’re enjoying the illuminated Eiffel Tower on a twilight cruise or discovering the historic sites along the Seine, these cruises offer an unforgettable and romantic journey through the heart of France.

best river cruises in europe

Moselle River Cruises

Moselle River cruises offer a serene and enchanting way to explore the scenic beauty and charming villages of the Moselle Valley, which meanders through Germany, France, and Luxembourg. These cruises provide travelers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in lush vineyards, medieval castles, and historic towns that line the riverbanks like Cochem, Bernkastel, Boppard and Rüdesheim.

The Moselle River, often known for its leisurely pace and crystal-clear waters, creates a tranquil atmosphere as passengers indulge in the fine wines produced in the region and savor the local cuisine. With the promise of a relaxed and immersive journey, Moselle River cruises are perfect for those seeking to discover the serene beauty and rich culture of this lesser-explored European river.

best river cruises in europe

Uniworld: Our Recommended Europe River Cruise Supplier

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is widely regarded as the best river cruise line in the industry, offering travelers an exceptional way to explore the diverse landscapes and cultures of different European countries.

They are known for delivering a luxurious and all-inclusive cruise experience, making it the best way to discover the heart of Europe.

Uniworld stands out for its commitment to quality, cultural immersion, amazing shore excursions and attentive service, creating an environment that appeals to travelers seeking a premium and luxury cruise vacation.

Uniworld’s itineraries cover a wide range of destinations, from well-known European cities to more exotic locales, allowing passengers to immerse themselves in history, art, and culinary delights.

What sets Uniworld apart is its dedication to providing exclusive access to attractions and experiences, enhancing the overall value of the cruise. Travelers can expect comfortable cabins with picturesque river views, and the option of airport transfers adds convenience to the journey.

Uniworld offers a remarkable and popular choice for those looking to indulge in the best the river cruise industry has to offer.

Why Uniworld? 

Uniworld river cruises are a perfect choice for luxurious European river cruises due to their unwavering commitment to excellence. With a focus on all-inclusive, personalized experiences, these cruises offer luxury accommodations, gourmet dining, expertly curated excursions, and an exceptional level of service.

Their beautifully appointed ships, coupled with unique itineraries and access to iconic destinations, ensure travelers enjoy an unmatched, sophisticated, and immersive journey through Europe’s most captivating waterways.

best river cruises in europe

All-Inclusive Luxury River Cruises

In the realm of all-inclusive offerings, Uniworld stands out with an unparalleled level of luxurious amenities exclusively for Uniworld cruises. They have a strong commitment to ensure your travel experience is not just all-inclusive but also remarkably hassle-free.

Uniworld has taken care of every detail, leaving you only one task – to sit back, relax, and fully enjoy your vacation.

Receive all of this and more with your Uniworld River Cruise: 

  • Unlimited premium spirits and wines
  • Five-star, farm-to-table cuisine
  • Choose from carefully curated excursions 
  • Onboard Gratuities
  • Onboard fitness center and wellness classes with a certified wellness instructor
  • Schedules airport transfers on day of Arrival and Departure
  • Bicycles and Nordic walking sticks for onshore use
  • Shipwide Internet and WI-FI access
  • Onboard entertainment and enrichment

best river cruises in europe

Personalized Service

Uniworld lives by the mantra, “No request is too large, no detail is too small.

Their mission is to provide you with unique and unforgettable experiences, paired with personalized, top-tier service. Even the smallest details bring the brightest smiles.

Their dedicated staff’s passion shines through in their unparalleled commitment to your preferences, like remembering your preferred drink from day one or going the extra mile to surprise you with chocolates from a local shop you casually mentioned. With one of the industry’s most favorable staff-to-guest ratios, each guest enjoys the team’s undivided attention and an unmatched focus on details.

Uniworld butlers adhere to the same exceptional standards as those required by Buckingham Palace, having received training from Zita Langenstein at England’s Ivor Spencer Butler School.

best river cruises in europe

Culinary Excellence

During your onboard dining experiences, you can expect to savor top-tier cuisine crafted from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, gathered from the very destinations you visit.

best river cruises in europe

Wellness Onboard & Onshore

Uniworld’s cruises offer multiple avenues for staying active and maintaining wellness, whether onboard or during onshore excursions. The seasoned wellness experts, with an average tenure of ten years at Uniworld, continuously refine their skills through annual Ayurveda yoga and other training programs, ensuring you receive their expert guidance.

Your mornings can begin with sunrise yoga on the top deck, or you can choose to work out at your own pace in the fully equipped fitness center. For a more relaxing experience, the Serenity River Spa awaits, offering rejuvenating facial and massage treatments, along with access to a heated pool.

The “Let’s Go” onshore program presents a range of options, from guided walking, hiking, cycling, and kayaking tours to golfing adventures and more. Alternatively, you can opt for bicycles or Nordic Walking Sticks and embark on your self-guided exploration. Wherever your journey leads, numerous opportunities abound to stay active and engaged.

best river cruises in europe

Expertly Curated Experiences

Every Uniworld cruise is intricately designed to offer a one-of-a-kind experience, brimming with increasingly stunning moments. Uniworld spares no effort to guarantee that the range of included and optional excursions fully immerse you in the authentic culture, captivating sights, and delectable cuisine of the destinations on your itinerary.

From exploring a museum without the usual crowds to enjoying a private after-hours tour of an iconic landmark, these exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime encounters are meticulously arranged solely for Uniworld guests.

best river cruises in europe

Unique Cruise Extensions

What could be more delightful than embarking on a Uniworld voyage? Extending it. Uniworld offers optional pre- and post-cruise extensions providing a seamless way to add a few extra days to your destination exploration. These thoughtfully crafted extensions give you the chance to further immerse yourself in the local culture and delve deeper into your surroundings.

Whether you wish to kick off your vacation ahead of schedule or aren’t quite ready to bid farewell, enhance your journey and make it truly unforgettable with Uniworld.

best river cruises in europe

Uniworld Ships

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s fleet of European ships is known for its elegance, sophistication, small size and attention to detail to their destination-inspired ships, ensuring passengers enjoy a truly luxurious and immersive river cruise experience. Here’s a brief overview of their European ships:

best river cruises in europe

River Duchess

The River Duchess, accommodating 130 passengers, is beautifully decorated with gentle blues, greens, and earthy tones, creating a serene and sophisticated onboard atmosphere.

Revel in the dynamic and ever-evolving vistas of Europe’s captivating waterways from the ship’s chic Blue Danube Lounge, Palace Restaurant, or the elegant La Motte Sky Lounge.

best river cruises in europe

River Empress

River Empress’s cosmopolitan flair is decorated with lovely jewel tones and a lively ambiance that is sure to charm you. Whether you’re savoring a meal in the ship’s chic restaurant, evoking the ambiance of a New York jazz and supper club, or unwinding with a cup of tea on the Sun Deck while taking in the panoramic views, there’s simply no more enchanting or tranquil way to journey through the picturesque rivers of Europe.

best river cruises in europe

River Princess

The magnificent entrance hall of the 128-passenger River Princess establishes a luxurious atmosphere for your European voyage. Aboard the ship, a sophisticated ambiance is crafted through jewel-tone greens, warm browns, and a blend of black and white.

Stylish public spaces, such as the Main Lounge, Sky Lounge, and the Captain’s Lounge and Library, offer cozy spots to enjoy a good book, engage in conversations with newfound friends, or savor your favourite cocktail.

best river cruises in europe

River Queen

Among Europe’s waterway vessels, the River Queen stands out as a truly distinctive ship, boasting an exterior reminiscent of 1930s steamships and a sophisticated Art Deco interior.

Adorned with opulent blue and white textiles, featuring marble bathrooms, and adorned with inspiring artwork, the River Queen epitomizes a luxurious floating hotel meticulously designed to ensure your every comfort.

best river cruises in europe

S.S. Antoinette

The luxurious design of Uniworld’s inaugural Super Ship, the 152-passenger S.S. Antoinette, showcases exquisite Brazilian marble on both walls and floors, a 19th-century Venetian glass mirror, a chic Bar du Leopard offering full bar service, and an onboard cinema.

In the grand two-story foyer, you’ll be greeted by a spectacular 10-foot Baccarat chandelier adorned with immense sapphires—a breathtaking fixture that once graced New York’s renowned Tavern on the Green. The ship is adorned with a curated collection of original artworks, contributing to the ship’s opulent ambiance.

best river cruises in europe

S.S. Beatrice

S.S. Beatrice features a nautical-inspired design with light wood, blue, and white accents. The renovated lobby showcases elegant mirrors, marble floors, a stunning white Murano chandelier with blue shades, and a grand staircase crafted from nickel and black iron a signature feature of Uniworld’s Super Ships. The redesigned lounge offers hand-made upholstered sofas and chairs, a parquet floor, upholstered ceiling panels, solar shades, and convenient new USB ports for charging. The ship’s art collection includes works by renowned artists like Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder, and Pino Signoretto.

S.S. Beatrice has four dining venues, each inspired by famous Austrian composers. Mozart’s serves as the ship’s main restaurant, while Wolfgang’s bar and lounge provide a cozy setting. Newly introduced Schubert’s and Max’s offer additional culinary experiences. Max’s restaurant allows guests to partake in intimate cooking classes, creating local European dishes alongside the chef. Schubert’s, an 18-seat café located at the ship’s bow, serves shared plates from lunch through dinnertime, offering menus inspired by the ship’s destinations.

best river cruises in europe

S.S. Bon Voyage

The S.S. Bon Voyage is meticulously designed to immerse guests in the rich tapestry of French culture, art, and wine. The ship’s dining venues offer authentic French experiences. La Brasserie, with its decor drawing from the famous Bouillon Pigalle, serves classic bistro dishes in a setting featuring natural green tones and pops of yellow. Le Grand Fromage offers menus inspired by local cuisine and crafted from locally sourced ingredients. La Cave des Vins, an intimate space, hosts connoisseurs for expert food and wine pairing dinners upon request.

The Soleil Deck, adorned with vibrant fabrics, boasts the rivers’ only infinity pool and provides captivating views of the French countryside. Le Café du Soleil offers poolside service, serving casual French cuisine and hosting open-air cooking demonstrations by our chefs.

best river cruises in europe

S.S. Catherine

The S.S. Catherine, Uniworld’s second Super Ship, upholds the same proud tradition of excellence and an unwavering dedication to detail. The ship’s interiors exude luxury, featuring a striking two-story lobby adorned with a Murano glass chandelier crafted exclusively for this space, as well as a playful life-sized glass horse.

On the Camargue Deck, Deluxe Balcony staterooms and Suites offer open-air balconies that can be fully enclosed with the push of a button, creating a delightful conservatory-like atmosphere.

best river cruises in europe

S.S. Joie de Vivre

As its name suggests, the S.S. Joie de Vivre exudes the joy of life. It’s a stylish ship with comfortable cabins, offering travelers a taste of French art, culture, and cuisine. Uniworlds’ stylish and vibrant “super yacht” cruising on the Seine, promises to surround you with the essence of French culture even before you step ashore. S.S. Joie de Vivre brings the spirit of the “joy of living” to the waterways of France. As you board your floating pied-à-terre, you’ll encounter handcrafted furniture, exquisite antiques, original artwork, and distinctive elements inspired by 20th-century Parisian design.

best river cruises in europe

S.S. La Venezia

In 2020, the River Countess underwent an extensive redesign, emerging as the S.S. La Venezia to offer guests an elevated luxury experience inspired by Northern Italy. The new design of S.S. La Venezia prominently features exquisite Fortuny fabrics, while Murano glass, gilded accents, and intricate etched elements pay homage to the beloved Venetian aesthetics of the early 20th century. This transformation creates an onboard ambiance that is both elegantly sophisticated and steeped in nostalgic charm. 

best river cruises in europe

S.S. Maria Theresa

Named after one of Europe’s most cherished and enduring monarchs, this ship exudes royal charm and elegance. Recognized as the “Best New River Ship” by Cruise Critic editors during her inaugural season, the S.S. Maria Theresa offers ultra-luxurious accommodations and an assortment of considerate personal details, promising an exceptionally indulgent and unforgettable journey along the Danube and Main Rivers.

best river cruises in europe

S.S. São Gabriel

S.S. São Gabriel stands as the latest addition to the Douro River, meticulously designed to capture the beauty of the Douro River Valley region. This ship brings the essence of the destination to life with its decor and exceptional culinary offerings. The introduction of butler service onboard provides guests with the flexibility to dine at their preferred times while savoring the ship’s amenities.

best river cruises in europe

New to the Fleet! S.S. Victoria (new for 2024) & S.S. Elisabeth (new for 2025)

The S.S. Elisabeth and the S.S. Victoria feature extra space in all suites and comfortable water-facing beds. Both ships boast Europe’s largest suites, including two Royal Suites with an impressive 506 square feet each.

The ships offer incredible amenities like a pool, gym, and massage room, along with three dining venues, including a main dining room, a private venue for smaller groups, and a sundeck bar.

best river cruises in europe

There is a wide range of cruises to choose from when looking for European River Cruise lines. Uniworld offers incredible value for all-inclusive cruises visiting some of the most amazing destinations in Europe!


When you’re ready to book your next travel journey, contact one of our Tier One Travel consultants. They will craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs and will make sure your travel plans will be as stress-free as possible.

One call; endless experiences!

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