Luxurious European River Cruising 2023

River cruising 2023 is the ultimate European luxury travel experience. You might wonder why choose a river cruise over a sea cruise. European river cruises are renowned for their unique and exquisite taste and comfort. They provide scenic views and inland travel, making the experience truly special. If you have always marvelled at the idea of a river cruise in Europe, Uniworld river cruises are the best and most lavish river cruise you could ever dream of. 

The Uniworld river cruise is an ideal holiday option for senior travellers, offering an all-inclusive and intimate journey aboard beautifully designed ships with world-class service. Besides embarking on an unforgettable European adventure, there are many things to expect from European river cruises.

You’ll have a front-row seat to breathtaking and panoramic landscapes as you cruise down iconic and historic waterways like the Rhine, Danube, Seine, Rhône and Saône, and Douro rivers, to name a few. All around Central Europe, France, Portugal and Spain, and Italy, Uniworld river cruises offer the most all-inclusive packages with expertly curated experiences, both onboard and onshore.  Take in the sights of charming riverside villages, beautiful vineyards, and even medieval castles.

Curious about specific destinations? Here’s a taste of a couple of delightful places to pique your interest.

River Cruising 2023: Old World Charm on the Rhine – Amsterdam to Basel

In the summer, you can do as the locals do in Basel. Swim swimming in the Rhine with your clothes in a “Wicklefish” swim bag and float down in the calm river to the charming Old Town. | Credit: Janet via Pixabay

Swimming in the Rhine is Basel’s most popular sport in summer. Do as the locals do, and experience an extra-special leisure activity. The colourful Wickelfisch, a swim bag shaped like a fish and invented in Basel, ensures your clothes stay dry while you enjoy the refreshing waters.

The Rhine River cruise is synonymous with European luxury travel. The perfect experience for first-timers. Offering two options where you can embark from; Amsterdam, Netherlands to Basel, Switzerland OR Basel to Amsterdam. Known to be a river of myth and legend, the magic of Rhine River Valley is the fairytale castles and ruined fortresses that can be seen along the hills. This 8-day journey passes through Cologne, Koblenz, Boppard, Rüdesheim, and Germersheim in Germany. Then through Kehl and Breisach in France before disembarking in Basel. 

In Cologne, experience its many treasures while strolling through Old Town for its rich history namely the 12 stunning Romanesque churches. When in Koblenz, custom bikes are available for rides around the castles. A river cruise in Europe isn’t complete without vineyards that you can appreciate from a bird’s eye view in a cable car when you stop at Boppard. When in Germersheim, samples of apéritif will be served at a vinegar estate. Putting in the class in senior travel indeed.

Lastly, make sure to try a popular local sweet in one of the charming Alsatian villages, adding a delightful and delicious touch to your journey. From indulging in Central Europe’s culinary delights to marvelling at dramatic sceneries, the Rhine River Valley lives up to all the rave and deserves all the praises it receives.

River Cruising 2023: A Majestic Journey on the Danube River – Budapest to Amsterdam

As the second largest river in Europe, the Danube River flows through most of Central and Southeastern Europe passing through 10 countries. Embark on your river cruise in Europe from Budapest, also known as the “Queen of Danube” and set sail to the “City of Waltzes” in Vienna and the Gothic cathedral in Cologne. If you’re wondering “Will I be on the ship the entire time or will I get to see and do things too? Rest assured, this river cruise is not just about being on the ship; there are plenty of exciting highlights to look forward to.

In Budapest, experience the enchantment of this medieval-meets-modern city through a guided tour aboard a motorcoach, or choose to immerse yourself with the locals on a special walking tour, allowing you to witness the city’s iconic landmarks up close.

While cruising on the Danube River to Vienna, take a moment to relax on the Sun Deck and immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery and city landscapes along the riverbanks. Upon reaching Vienna, you’ll find yourself in a cultural treasure trove, indulging in art, music, and sinfully rich pastries. For food lovers, there’s even a culinary walking tour option available, offering a delightful gastronomic experience.

Continue to cruise through the pretty village of Weissenkirchen in Wachau Valley, Melk and indulge in regional delicacies and wine tastings. If you’re up for an on-land excursion, hike the vineyard trail through plantations of Riesling and Grüner Veltliner grapes. Take a breather and soak in the views over the river valley once you’ve reached your resting point. Don’t worry, it’s an easy stroll back to the ship by passing through the quaint village.

Dubbed “Venice of the North,” explore the canals of Amsterdam and the Rijksmuseum filled with renowned Dutch art and artefacts. | Credit: user 32212 via Pixabay

Passau, located at the confluence of the Danube, Inn and Ilz rivers, is a well-preserved city known for its ornate baroque cathedral and is also one of the stops worth noting. Options to explore the city include a walking tour or a bicycle ride along the Inn River. Passau is lined with cobblestone streets where you’ll notice a great big fortress sitting on a hill above the three rivers and the green onion domes of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, reminiscent of a medieval town.

If you decide to hop on the bicycle tour, the Inn River bike path runs along the river from Innsbruck to Passau. Stunning views and charming villages make up the countryside where you’ll be crossing between Germany and Austria. A comfort stop is included before heading back to the ship. An idyllic experience if you’re keen on an outdoor activity.

With each stop along the Danube, your river cruise promises an enriching blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, making it a truly unforgettable journey.

River Cruising 2023: Discover South of France on the Rhône and Saône rivers – Arles to Lyon (Burgundy & Provence)

Embark on an exquisite river cruise through Europe that transports you to the captivating landscapes of southern France, where you can follow in the footsteps of Van Gogh along the streets of Arles, passing by the renowned Café de Nuit, now known as Café Van Gogh. Witness the grandeur of the Palace of the Popes in Avignon and kayak beneath the ancient Roman aqueduct, a marvel that has stood the test of time for over two millennia. Immerse yourself in the enchanting village of Viviers, seemingly frozen in time, and partake in Village Day to experience the local community’s way of life.

Café Van Gogh is a must visit in Arles. The restaurant showcases works of artists and typically hosts festivities and various music concerts. | Credit: Frank Effect via Unsplash

Is it wine o’clock yet? It is somewhere and definitely in the small town of Tournon. This is where you can explore and hike the steepest vineyards on the Rhône, see how the grapes are grown, and taste the fruit transformed into the finest wine. Cheers to that!

When you find yourself in Lyon, the gastronomic epicentre of France, indulge in delightful treats such as macarons and other Lyon specialities like cervelle de canut and quenelles. Explore the city on a bicycle tour, gliding along the peninsula with the Saône on one side and the Rhône on the other, admiring houseboats lining the banks and witnessing the vibrant local life.

Moving on to Burgundy, life takes on a more relaxed pace. Beaune, famous for its highly prized wine, will enchant you with endless vineyards and its medieval-era Hospices de Beaune, rich with deep-rooted history.

What are some of the luxuries you can expect onboard River Cruising 2023

  • All meals are included and made with the finest and freshest ingredients. 
  • Includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Drinks onboard are unlimited including wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks and of course mineral water.
  • “Choice Is Yours” shore excursion options, guided tours, use of bicycles and Nordic walking sticks.
  • European luxury travel standard amenities include the swimming pool, sundeck, and fitness centre.
  • Exquisite and lavishly designed river view rooms and suites. 
  • Welcome and farewell dinners
  • Free Internet and Wi-Fi access
  • Visiting multiple countries on a single trip
  • Opportunities to visit UNESCO World Heritage sites

Luxurious and Elegant Accommodations

European river cruises will transport you into a world of opulence, offering rooms with designs inspired by the cruise’s destinations. Nothing short of sumptuous furnishings, plush bedding, and state-of-the-art amenities to cater to your every need. Uniworld’s ships are floating boutique hotels made to pamper you throughout your European river cruising journey. A quick look into a couple of the most prominent ships.

  • The River Empress Ship
The main lounge aboard the River Empress cruise ship is for all your relaxing and gazing needs. | Credit: Uniworld

This floating cosmopolitan masterpiece of a ship has been carefully crafted with distinct themes, rich jewel tones colour palettes, customized fabrics, curated original artwork, and down to the smallest detail of the decor has been uniquely put together. 

Indulge in the sleek dining lounge, an experience that will transport you to the enchanting atmosphere of a New York jazz club. The sophisticated setting, accompanied by delectable cuisine, promises a dining experience like no other.

For those seeking a moment of tranquillity and awe, the Sun Deck awaits. Bring your favourite cup of coffee or tea, and find yourself immersed in a 360-degree panorama of Europe’s most breathtaking landscapes. As you take in the beauty that surrounds you, you’ll feel as if time stands still, offering an opportunity to savour every moment of your journey.

This ship truly embodies the essence of cosmopolitan elegance, promising an unforgettable river cruise experience that celebrates the finest in design, comfort, and scenic beauty.

  • The River Duchess Ship

Step aboard the enchanting River Duchess, adorned in a graceful blend of soft blue and green hues, complemented by soothing earth tones that create a tranquil and inviting ambience. This floating haven is perfect for senior travel, offering a European river cruise experience that exudes beauty and serenity.

Indulge your senses in a culinary journey like no other, with gourmet cuisines that tantalize your taste buds. As the sun sets, retreat to the elegant Blue Danube Lounge, the opulent Palace Restaurant, or the serene La Motte Sky Lounge, where you can sip on delightful drinks while taking in the breathtaking views.

The staterooms on the River Duchess are a testament to unparalleled comfort and style. Choose from a range of options, including the lavish Suite, the elegant French Balcony, the cosy Deluxe, or the comfortable Classic rooms. Each stateroom offers a uniquely crafted design, ensuring that your stay is personalized and delightful.

With its captivating design, delectable cuisine, and a variety of stateroom choices, the River Duchess promises an unforgettable European river cruise experience, tailored to create cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

The Palace Restaurant on the River Duchess cruise ship where the culinary vision of Mrs. Beatrice Tollman comes to life with her signature dishes served onboard. | Credit: Uniworld

Did someone call for a butler? That’s right, in both and all ships European luxury travel means an exceptional in-suite butler service with the utmost care catering to your every need. Enjoy in-room breakfast, fresh fruit, a daily cookie plate, an elegant evening snack, and the finest tea and coffee. The suites are spacious and unique in design that no two are the same. A marble bathroom decked out with Asprey bath and body products, plush towels and of course robes and slippers for that comfort and elegant touch. And as a bonus, there’s even free laundry service.

Why choose European river cruises? 

Consider this a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The serenity of comfortably making your way from one city and town to the next with non-stop scenic views is unparalleled. Any river and carefully curated itineraries will take you to some of Europe’s most enchanting destinations, such as the romantic Danube to the historic Rhine River. With so many destination and river options, you will no doubt discover memorable places, hidden gems, and even UNESCO World Heritage sites. 

Wachau Tower and Cultural Landscape, Austria: Located along the Danube River, the Wachau Valley is renowned for its vineyards, charming villages, and medieval castles, making it a highlight of Danube River cruises. | Credit: Nicky ❤️🌿🐞🌿❤️via Pixabay

River cruising in Europe offers the unique advantage of allowing travellers to tailor their experience to their preferences, offering both private and social options for activities onboard and onshore. Whether you seek solitude or camaraderie, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

And talk about value for money! Essentially a river cruise in Europe includes five-star accommodation, breakfast lunch and dinner, drinks- wine, beer, soft drinks, coffee and tea, and all facilities on board including bicycles and walking sticks, all while travelling from one city and country to the next. Be active- pack comfortable walking shoes if you plan to participate in an immersive excursion that involves hiking a trail- or be as relaxed as you wish- bring a good book to enjoy as you watch the world sail by from the top deck.

People-watching becomes an enjoyable pastime on river cruise ships, especially with their ample outdoor space. Observing locals along the riverbanks offers a glimpse into their lives and unique customs, such as the sight of residents in Basel commuting to work by swimming or rowing with waterproof packs.

The best thing about European river cruises is the ability to see multiple destinations on a single planned trip. Each morning when you wake up, the ship is docked in a new city, which means direct and easy access to step ashore and explore your city. This seamless experience allows for a deeper exploration of Europe’s diverse and captivating landscapes and cultures, making river cruising a truly remarkable and unforgettable journey.

Prague is filled with a magnetic ambience spanning generations of artists, scientists, writers, and composers. A landmark bridge, Charles Bridge from 1357, is a pedestrian-only bridge where you can see statues down below. | Credit: Denis Poltoradnev via Pixabay

Pro Tip: The cruise ship directors are highly knowledgeable about the destinations. Have a chat with them, and find out their recommendations on what to do at each place based on your interests. A great way to maximize time spent with the activities included doing things and seeing places that aren’t on the program. 

With a plethora of destinations and rivers to choose from, it’s essential to research and identify which one aligns best with your preferences. For culture and history enthusiasts, the Rhine or Danube rivers would be ideal choices. On the other hand, the Rhône River in France beckons wine enthusiasts with its vineyards and wine-related experiences. As popular river cruises fill up quickly, especially for top-category suites, it is advisable to plan ahead and book in advance to secure your preferred accommodations and ensure a smooth and stress-free journey.

For a truly world-class experience in hospitality and service, Uniworld stands out as the perfect cruise line for river cruising in 2023. Their commitment to luxury and excellence ensures that every aspect of your journey is carefully curated and tailored to your comfort and enjoyment.

With these tips and insights, you’re well-equipped to embark on a magnificent European river cruise, filled with delightful discoveries and unforgettable experiences. Happy cruising!

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