We’ve just finished compiling our 2020 pricing comparisons for Seine River Cruises. Our comparisons derive true per diems that allow readers to determine how much they will actually spend on their Seine river cruises once all items are factored in – port charges, gratuities and other expenses that are not always included in the initial cost of a river cruise.
This post sets out to answer the following questions: What is the average cost of a Seine river cruise? How can I save on a Seine river cruise? Should I make my decision about which company to cruise the Seine based on the lowest per diem? What’s the best value for a Seine river cruise?
Seine River Cruise Prices Ranges & Averages
Prices on the chart for the Seine 2020 peak season (summer) range from a low of $359 per person a day on CroisiEurope to a high of $756 per person per day on Scenic. The average per diem of a 2020 Seine peak season river cruise for the dates we researched is $547 per person. Amawaterways, Scenic, Tauck and Uniworld are above that average. Avalon, CroisiEurope, Riviera, and Viking fall below the average price.
For the 2020 Seine river cruise shoulder (autumn) season, rates on the chart range from $376 per person per day on Croisi Europe to $911 per person per day on Tauck. Tauck’s pricing skews high because the only available cabins for the cruise posted on the chart were the more expensive categories 6 and 7, compared to CroisiEurope’s prices for lower deck cabins. The average shoulder season rate across all eight river cruise companies is $601, with Amawaterways, Scenic, Tauck and Uniworld coming in above the average, and Avalon, CroisiEurope, Riviera, and Viking fall below the average price per diem.
In most cases, you should expect to pay around $1,100 per stateroom, double occupancy, for each day of your cruise (excluding disembarkation day) during peak season, and only a little more than $1,100 per stateroom for each day of your cruise during shoulder season.
Those numbers, however, don’t tell the whole story. Upgrading to a balcony, for example, further skews the per diems. Rates for balcony staterooms in summer range from $544 (Riviera’s entry level 161-square-foot balcony cabin) to $971 (Tauck’s 300-square-foot balcony suite cabin) per person for the duration of your Seine river cruise. Worth it? Yes, if you have the discretionary income. We’ve enjoyed waking up in the mornings and stepping out on our balcony (or sliding open the doors of a French balcony) to admire the river. We’re sure you’d enjoy the convenience of a balcony too.
If the upgrade to a balcony stateroom does not break your budget, then we recommend going for it. Remember, you are buying an experience, and you want that experience to be as good as it can possibly be. This is not the time to be a parsimonious river cruise passenger. Splurge. You’re paying for your experience, after all.
How To Save On A Seine River Cruise
If a balcony would break your budget, then by all means, opt instead for a fixed-window stateroom. You can leave the stateroom and go to the top deck for your “balcony” experience. It’s not quite as convenient as having a balcony right beside your bed, but if your budget is tight, go for the entry-level stateroom.
An entry-level stateroom will save you money; paying for a balcony is worth it if you use it. Consider the season and the region you will cruise – how likely will you use your balcony? On the Seine river the weather is mild from summer and sometimes through October. In the photo below, I am bicycling in shorts on November 1, 2016.
Generally, choosing a cruise outside of peak season will save you money. However, on the Seine River the shoulder (autumn) season cruises are comparable in price to peak season cruises, with only a couple hundred dollar difference either way. An entry level cabin with Uniworld on its June 21, 2020 Paris & Normandy cruise is listed at $4,799 per person. The same cruise on October 11, 2020 is listed at $4,599 per person ( based on double occupancy). That amounts to a difference of $17 per person per day for the cruise. Our pricing charts come in handy to view those comparisons.
Other ways to save: Take advantage of promotions. They happen frequently and they can convey a significant savings, especially if the offer is an air credit or a deep discount. Avalon has special promotions for discounted cabins and air that expire November 4, 2019. Avalon’s Paris to Normandy cruise on the Seine for June 30, 2020 shows reductions of $1,000 per couple, and for the October 6, 2020 sailing Avalon offers a discount of $500 per couple. Avalon’s last two Seine river “Paris to Normandy” cruises in October 2020 are being offered with free round trip economy class flights from select U.S. cities. Our charts and article Seine River Cruise 2020 Pricing Charts indicate more savings with other cruise companies, such as Viking, Tauck and Uniworld.
Scenic’s June 3 and August 29, 2020 “Highlights of Normandy and the Seine” is offered with free or discounted flights. Check Scenic’s website or ask a travel agent for more details.
One of the newest cruises and promotions on the Seine River for 2020 is Riviera’s March 31 “Solo Travelers” sailing. This cruise is designed for single travelers and comes with no single supplement fees.
For Tauck’s April 2 and October 28, 2020 sailings on the Seine, solo travelers can enjoy savings of $1,000 per cabin in Categories 4, 5 and 6. (Certain restrictions apply; ask at time of booking).
River cruise promotions are moving targets, and while we do our best to let you know about special offers, keeping up with them is more than our small team can manage. We recommend that you work with a travel agent. Travel agents can tell you about all of the promotions instead of you having to go to each river cruise company website to look for them yourself.
Moreover, you will often get equal or better rates from a travel agent, plus possible perks that you may not receive by going direct to the cruise line. That equation could change, however, if your travel agent charges a fee. There are plenty of travel agents who do not charge a fee. They are compensated with commission payments from the cruise companies. What this means is that the cruise company pays the travel agent, not you. What’s the catch? There isn’t one. The cruise will not cost you more from a travel agent than it does from a cruise company. If it does, let us know. Something’s wrong.
Shouldn’t I Just Go With The Lowest Per Diem?
The old adage is at least partially true: You get what you pay for. With river cruising, that isn’t always the case, because all of the cruise companies, with few exceptions, offer good accommodations, complimentary excursions, included wine and beer with lunch and dinner, and much more. Some cruise companies go above and beyond, however, and this is reflected in their higher per diems, so, in effect, you are getting what you pay for.
What do those cruise companies do that is above and beyond? Scenic and CroisiEurope are the two cruise companies on the Seine whose ships are built to sail directly into the picturesque and historic port of Honfleur. For passengers on other cruise lines on the Seine, a visit to Honfleur is often an excursion by bus.
Another example is AmaWaterways, which spends millions of dollars a year to provide its guests with fast free internet, not an easy task on a moving ship. In our experience, AmaWaterways has the most reliable internet – and the fastest – on the rivers. AmaWaterways also proclaims to offer the most active experiences of any river cruise line. The company provides bikes, gyms, yoga classes, hikes and more. Scenic, on the other hand, strives to be the most inclusive of all river cruise companies. Not only are gratuities and 24/7 bar included, but also laundry service and nearly everything else you can think of. Scenic also distinguishes itself with multiple dining venues, and it too carries a fleet of bikes on its ships.
Even companies with lower per diems excel in certain areas. Viking’s value proposition is what the company refers to as “affordable luxury.” To give you just one example of what Viking means by “affordable luxury,” the bathroom floors in your stateroom are heated. You won’t find bikes on Viking, but there are bicycling excursions (the bikes are simply stored ashore). CroisiEurope’s all-inclusive cruises impress us with their French flair, inventive itineraries and innovative ships, including paddle-wheelers that can operate on the Elbe and Loire. Plus, CroisiEurope is French, which has some cachet when cruising Seine.
Which Company Is The Best Value For A Seine River Cruise?
Let’s break it down by the cost of a Seine river cruise cruise on a daily basis per square foot of stateroom. Why? Well, why not? It gives us a place to start the discussion.
It’s a bit of an absurd suggestion. After all, I’m doubtful that you’re going to be standing in your room thinking that this square foot cost me a bit more than $3.25 today. It goes to illustrate, however, that choosing a river cruise can be challenging because of such factors, as well as the number of rivers in Europe and the number of river cruise companies operating on those rivers.
Even on a single river, such as the Seine, river cruising is full of complexities. Each river cruise company has its own style, and each has its own set of inclusives, which can make comparing companies difficult. It’s not like choosing a hotel, where all you get is a room, and possibly breakfast. With river cruising, you’re evaluating a number of variables, including room sizes, itineraries, excursions, costs and what’s included – and equally as important, what’s not.
The complexities are amplified for single travelers. It’s not like a hotel room where you pay the same rate no matter if there are one or two in the room. River cruise companies impose single supplements, which are typically 200 percent of the cost of the cruise. That is to say that if you are occupying a stateroom by yourself you may as well find a friend to travel along with you, because you’re going to pay what two would pay anyway. River cruise companies sometimes waive single supplements or reduce them, but single supplements are just one more of the variables that make river cruising a complex buy. Some cruise lines such as Riviera and Tauck offer special promotions for solo travelers. Some cruise lines will waive single supplement fees and offer discounts on shoulder season (spring and autumn) cruises Our pricing charts for the Seine on River Cruise Advisor, cruise line websites and travel agents are the best resources for ways to save.
For those at the other end of the spectrum, family travelers, a river cruise can be complex as well. Think you can cruise with your kids? Think again. Viking doesn’t allow them under age 18. Others have age-restricted policies as well. In our Seine River Cruise 2020 price comparison peak season chart we highlight Tauck’s June 27, 2020 “Family Fun Along the Seine.” This cruise is geared for adults traveling with children ages 12 and under with a savings of $500 per child.
Pricing on the Seine is more complex and with more twists and turns than a meandering river. We’re here to help. Do your research and if you get lost, feel free to complete by Get My Recommendations form.