Comparisons: Useful Resources For Comparing River Cruise Companies, Rivers, Ships, Staterooms, Pricing & More
The most frequent question we’re asked here on River Cruise Advisor relates to differentiation. How is one river cruise company different from another? What’s the difference in the Rhine and the Danube? What the differences in the staterooms on various ships? What does a river cruise cost? We address these questions with comparisons.
2020 Price Comparisons For River Cruises In EuropeClick the links in the right column to access current price comparisons among all major river cruise companies and for tips on how to save.
Bordeaux, Garonne & Dordogne
|Ranges from four days to 12 days typically roundtrip Bordeaux.||Click Bordeaux, Garonne & Dordogne rivers for pricing.|
|Typically a weeklong between late November and end of December.||Click Christmas Markets for pricing.|
|Typically weeklong cruises between Germany and Hungary, although cruises also run from Romania to Hungary or Austria.||Click Danube River for pricing.|
|Typically weeklong cruises between Romania and Hungary.||Click Lower Danube River for pricing.|
|Typically weeklong cruises roundtrip Porto with excursions to Salamanca, Spain.||Click Douro River for pricing.|
|Typically weeklong cruises between Basel, Switzerland and Amsterdam.||Click Rhine River for pricing.|
Rhine, Main & Danube
|Typically 14 days or longer and Includes the Rhine, Main, Main-Danube Canal & the Danube.||Click Between Amsterdam & Budapest for pricing.|
Rhone & Saone
|Typically weeklong cruises between Lyon and Arles.||Click Rhone & Saone rivers for pricing.|
|Typically weeklong cruises from Paris, roundtrip, with visits to the Normandy landing beaches.||Click Seine River for pricing.|
Compare River Cruise Companies
Attributes Of The Top River Cruise Companies
|Beer/Wine Lunch & Dinner?||**||**|
|Drinks Included 24/7?||**||**||**||**||**|
|Two Room Suites||**||**||**|
|Own & Operate||**|
|Port Charges Included|
|True Per Diem (Average)||~$500||~$450||~$450||~$800||~$400||~$450||~$400||~$700||~$200||~$500||~$300|
While we've tried to be as accurate as possible, sometimes the answer required more than a simple yes or no. For example, while all river cruise companies in the accompanying table offer complimentary shore excursions in ports of call, some charge for "optional" excursions. Also, airport transfers are Included when air tickets are purchased with the river cruise company, but may not be included otherwise. I've indicated companies that always include airport transfers, even for guests who have made independent air arrangements.
AmaWaterways **: Beer, wine and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner; sparkling wine with breakfast; and complimentary cocktails during Happy Hour, introduced in 2018. Complimentary shore excursions included in every port, along with complimentary Special Interest Tours. AmaWaterways features twin balconies, both a French and an outside balcony, in many staterooms. In addition to the main dining room, AmaWaterways features The Chef's Table restaurant, with its excellent multi-course, wine-paired dinners, at no additional charge. Light lunches and breakfast are served in the lounge, along with full lunches and breakfast served in the main dining room. Nice touches like gluten-free snacks, fruits, Gemstone detox water, 24/7 coffee stations and more. Airport transfers are included when purchasing air through AmaWaterways. Pre-paid gratuities are offered.
Avalon Waterways **: Beer and wine included with lunch and dinner; sparkling wine with breakfast. Coffee, tea and non-alcoholic beverages complimentary 24/7. In addition to the main dining room, Avalon offers small group (30 people) reservations to Panorama Bistro (light menu paired with wine). When weather permits, grilled lunches are available on the Sky Deck. Meals can also served in the Club Lounge and Panorama Lounge. Some optional tours require a fee. Airport transfers included when purchasing air from Avalon. Avalon's beds face floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors for gorgeous views while your head is propped on the pillow. Stocked in-room mini-bar incurs charges for each item selected.
CroisiEurope **: Extra charge only for high-end champagnes and wines. Wi-Fi internet access with complimentary use of Samsung tablet. Complimentary shore excursions included in every port.
Crystal River Cruises **: All of Crystal's new-builds feature Panoramic Balcony Windows, which function, in essence, like balconies. Crystal Mozart features balconies in about half of its staterooms.
Emerald Waterways **: Complimentary shore excursions in every port. Wine, beer & soda complimentary with lunch and dinner. All staterooms restocked daily with bottled water. Owner’s Suites comes with complimentary stocked mini-bars. Room service included for suites. Laundry concierge available for a fee; complimentary for suites.
Riviera **: Riviera’s beverage package, which includes wine and beer with lunch and dinner, goes for $129 a week ($159 in 2019).
Scenic **: Inclusions are for all guests, regardless of ship or suite.
Teeming River Cruises **: Excursions are optional, and guests can choose which excursions to add to their cruise on an a la carte basis for a fee. Guests have the option to purchase a Standard Drink Package, which includes Beer & Wine with lunch and dinner or the Premium Drink Package, allowing guests access to premium beverages 24/7. Specialty coffee and tea beverages are available anytime. Bikes are available on certain ships. Personalized discounted airfare is available for guests. Port charges not included.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection **: Uniworld charges for at least one optional excursion, the Vienna Evening Concert at 75 euros. Free laundry service in higher-end suites across its fleet. Additionally, most Uniworld ships have complimentary self-service laundry facilities for passengers to use. Room Service and Butler Service on Uniworld is at the suite level only. Uniworld’s ships have multiple dining venues including restaurants and cafés. Guests also have the option to eat each course in a different part of the ship such as appetizers on the top deck and dessert in the galley on all super ships. Additionally, on five of Uniworld’s ships; including River Empress, River Princess, River Countess, River Duchess and River Queen; guests can dine on the top deck, al fresco.
Viking River Cruises ** : A complimentary shore excursion is included in every port; there are also additional optional shore excursions available on every itinerary. Beer, wine and soft drinks included with lunch and dinner. Specialty coffee & teas available anytime. Optional Silver Spirit beverage packages are available for extra fee & makes drinks all-inclusive. Room service, stocked mini-bars and laundry are included for Explorer Suites. Bicycles and gyms are available ashore and arranged by Viking. Airport transfers included when booking air (or receiving free air) with Europe. Some promotions offered prepaid gratuities or shipboard credits.
Video Reviews of The RiversRiver Cruise Advisor's video reviews take two forms: ship and experience reviews, and Riverside Chats, more of a question and answer style video.
Riverside Chat Video
Douro River on Emerald Waterways
Rhine River On Viking
Amsterdam to Budapest on AmaWaterways
Rhone River on AmaWaterways
Seine River on AmaWaterways
- Price Comparisons: A Look At Pricing Differentials For European River Cruises
- How River Cruising Compares To Luxury Ocean Cruising
- River Cruise Reviews, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld River Cruises
- Compare River Cruise Lines: Which Company Fits Where?
- Comparing the Viking Longships
- River Cruises For Budget Travelers
Compare River Cruise Companies On Specific Rivers
- What’s the Best Choice for a Seine River Cruise?
- What’s the Best Choice for a River Cruise in Bordeaux?
- What’s the Best Choice for a Saône River Cruise?
- What’s the Best Choice for a Elbe River Cruise?
- What’s the Best Choice for a Main River Cruise?
- What’s the Best Choice For A Rhône River Cruise?
- What’s the Best Choice For A Rhine River Cruise?
- Comparing Stateroom Sizes On River Cruisers
- Staterooms: River Cruisers vs. Cruise Ships
- Rhône & Saône River Stateroom Size Comparisons
- Rhine, Main & Danube River Stateroom Size Comparisons
- AmaWaterways: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes?
- Avalon Waterways: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes?
- Scenic: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes?
- Tauck: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes?
- Uniworld: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes?
- Viking River Cruises: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes?
- A-ROSA: What Are Its Smallest, Largest and Most Common Stateroom Sizes?
- Choosing Your Stateroom
- The Best Ships for Balcony Lovers