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St Paul Church on the Danube, Passau
Danube River Cruise, Passau, © Bergfee - Fotolia.com

The River cruising industry in Europe was revolutionized in 1992 with the connection of the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers by the Main-Danube Canal.  A series of locks now allow for river travel from Amsterdam in the Baltic to Bucharest at the Black Sea:

  • Amsterdam to Basel (Rhine): 14 locks 

  • Koblenz to Remich (Moselle): 12 locks 

  • Mainz to Bamberg (Main River): 34 locks 

  • Bamberg to Kelheim (Main-Danube Canal): 16 locks 

  • Kelheim to Budapest (Danube): 17 locks 

The size of ships in Europe is limited by the length of the locks and the low clearance under bridges.  Many ships can temporarily close the top deck to passenges using retractable railings and by using hydraulics to lower the captain's pilot house.

Advantages of River Cruising

  • A More Intimate Experience with 100 to 200 passengers on average, as compared to over 4,000 on some ocean cruise ships.  

  • Direct Access to the Culture and History of Europe by cities and towns along the rivers

  • 100 % outside facing staterooms

  • Shore Excursions included in the price

  • New Scenery - All Day, Every Day

  • Travel Your Way - join the excursions or plan your own activities.

Viking Hlin, Basel

Rhine River Cruise, Basel

Rhine River - towns from west to east

Amsterdam, Kinderdjik (Rotterdam), Cologne, Koblenz (Moselle junction), Middle Rhine Gorge, Rudesheim, Mainz (Main - Rhine junction), Manheim (near Heidelberg), Speyer (near Heidelberg), Strasbourg, Breisach and Basel.

Rhine-Main-Danube  Amsterdam to Bucharest

Main River - towns from west to east

Mainz (Main - Rhine junction), Frankfurt, Miltenberg, Wertheim, Wurzburg, Bamberg

Main-Danube Canal

The Main-Danube Canal (pronounced "mine") was opened for traffic in 1992. It covers 106 miles from Bamberg to Regensburg and joins the Main River to the Danube. As a result, river cruises of 2,200 miles from Rotterdam, Netherlands to the Danube Delta at the Black Sea.  The towns along the Main-Danube Canal, from west to east, are: Bamberg, Nuremberg, Kelheim and Regensburg.

Western Danube - towns from west to east

Regensburg, Linz (near Salzburg), Passau, Melk, Durnstein, Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest.

Eastern Danube - towns from west to east

Budapest, Osijek, Belgrade, Kostolac and Bucharest.

Mosel (German) or Moselle (French) River

The Moselle River is situated in the picturesque Moselle Valley, famous for its beautiful scenery and excellent Moselle wines. Rising in northeastern France, the Moselle forms part of the border between Germany and Luxembourg, then flows northeast into Koblenz, Germany, where it joins up as the left tributary to the Rhine River.  The towns along the river include Koblenz, Cochem, Bernkastel and Trier.  A Moselle River cruise is ideal for wine lovers. Riesling, Elbling, Müller-Thurgau, and Kerner wines are all produced in this area.

Seine River

A Seine River cruise typically visits Paris, Giverny and Rouen.

Rhône & Saône

The Saône River in France flows into the Rhône River. Prominent towns on the Rhône include Lyon, Avignon and Arles.