Although summer is a fantastic time to take a river cruise, most — if not all — itineraries run straight through the fall and into the winter months. In fact, many European river cruise ships now operate for ten months out of the year, shutting down only in January and February before resuming service in mid-March.
In celebration of fall — still a few months away — here’s a few of our favorite itineraries that are superbly suited to the coming months.
It’s the quintessential river cruise itinerary, but the fall months are a fantastic time to experience the Danube, even if you’ve already sailed these itineraries.
Devoid of the crowds that characterize the summer sailings, some of the most stunning towns of Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and more are yours to explore in a more relaxed, laid-back setting. The weather also remains stunning — on our voyage from Budapest to Regensburg last October, temperatures in the 90s weren’t uncommon.
Venice & the Po River
Uniworld is one of the only North American-based river cruise companies to offer an itinerary that traverses Italy’s famed Po River on sailings that operate roundtrip from Venice. But if you’ve ever visited this fantastic Italian city during the height of summer, you’ll know that the crowds can be decidedly overwhelming.
Uniworld offers sailings along the Po that operate well into November, allowing guests to take advantage of cheaper airfare, more affordable hotels and, yes, even better cruise pricing than in the summer months. But the real advantage to taking a fall cruise along Italy’s Po River is that the omnipresent crowds that make summer travel so difficult largely disappear in September, and decrease heading into the winter months — despite the fact that Venice is well-suited to year-round travel.
The fall months are a fantastic time to cruise along the legendary Mekong that traverses Vietnam and Cambodia, as temperatures cool from the 90s (roughly 33 degrees Celsius) and drop back to the mid-80s, or roughly 29 degrees Celsius. While you’re likely to experience more rain during September and October in may locations, for those who can’t stand the heat and humidity of the summer months, a fall cruise along the Mekong may be a perfect fit.
AmaWaterways offers an entire lineup of itineraries to this fabled destination.
Did we just put ‘Egypt’ on this list? Yes, we did — and here’s why: The recent political instability in that country has meant that these cruises are quite possibly the best value in the entire industry. Despite the highly publicized troubles affecting certain parts of the country, more river cruises were cancelled and disrupted in Europe as a result of the floods that tore through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary and other countries in June.
Egypt remains affordable and highly desirable; with low load factors on sailings and a continued drop in tourism, the chance to visit Europe — minus the crowds — may be too good to pass up for those with a sense of adventure.
Do you have a favorite fall river cruise itinerary? Let us know!