River Cruising is life in the slow lane – watching towns and villages, mountains and monuments drift by in a peaceful, adult environment. More than a million people choose to holiday this way each year – it”s easy to see why.

Cruising rivers and inland waterways offers a unique insight into countries and cultures – unlike ocean cruises which by definition are coastal only – and river ships are totally geared up for viewing the passing landscapes. Most have large, eye-level picture windows and sail by day at a leisurely speed, making this a wonderful way to unwind with inland waterways being usually smooth and calm.

Ships usually dock onto a jetty right in the centre of the towns and cities giving passengers time to explore. Many head off for the evening to find restaurants and theatres, but those who stay onboard will find most ships have excellent restaurants and tasteful entertainment – and it”s all included in the price of the cruise. Service is generally excellent and most ships have a relaxed onboard atmosphere.

Excursions are organised at each stop for those that want them, and on European river cruises you”ll visit several countries in one itinerary. Some river cruise lines organise themed sailings – classical music on the Danube or wine and port tasting on the Douro, for example.

The long, narrow shape of most river ships usually means fewer cabin choices than on large ocean-going vessels, but there are almost no inside cabins –most are outwards facing with either balconies or large windows.

European rivers such as the Seine, Rhine, Danube and Douro are the most-loved among cruisers; further afield the Nile is possibly the best way to travel between the sights of ancient Egypt, China”s Yangtze is a must for anyone visiting the country, and the Russian waterways are becoming increasingly popular.

Cruise Lines

APT River Cruises
Connections Elegant River Cruises
Orient-Express Afloat in France
Peter Deilman River Cruises
Swan Hellenic
Viking River Cruises