Don’t be put off because you worry about the weather, winter is actually a splendid time to look for great bargains if you’re planning a European river cruise. In general, European river cruises are reasonably busy, much more so than ocean cruises, as in most cases river cruises comprise short sailing trips and a shore excursion every day. The daily sightseeing programme is optional, and occasionally during the winter months, you might prefer to enjoy the onboard facilities if the weather is particularly inhospitable.
Although the idea of getting some winter sun from a selection of Caribbean luxury cruises is tempting, a healthy dose of realism about the potential costs can soon bring you back to reality and, anyway, winter cruises are not just about sun-seeking. For instance, a mini European river cruise in winter can give you a refreshing short break, plus a delightful shopping experience in some of Europe’s most famous Christmas markets. In winter you will find cruise ships and tourist attractions are less crowded and cities are generally easier to navigate. Moderate temperatures mean that sight-seeing is a much pleasanter experience than it can be in the hot, sticky months of high summer.
As an alternative to a mini cruise, you can always opt for European river cruise deals that include a wide range of different destinations and activities. For example, you might like to explore Eastern Europe, taking in Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and Serbia. You will really feel that you have sampled the delights of each country, even if only for a day or two in each case. In terms of the best time to travel, temperatures in Bulgaria and Serbia, for instance, in September and October reach about 24º and 18º respectively. Later in the year, the temperatures can plummet but in the late autumn and early winter months, they are moderate and pleasant.
Just as you would be sure to investigate the best deals on business class fares to Europe if you planned to fly, so it makes sense to check out the individual cruise operators to see which ones may have a sale on river cruises during the winter months. The best comparison websites will line up all your choices for your preferred dates and tell you about any additional savings, perks or bonuses that are available, including, for example, cut-price beverage cards. In many ways, cheap flights business class to Europe don’t compare well with a decent discounted cruise, as unlike your flight, your cruise will include accommodation and food in the base price for the duration of your journey, and you can get expert onboard advice and guidance on the top visitor attractions in your destinations.
Among the best European river cruise deals available for the winter months are those that travel from Budapest to Amsterdam, from Marseille to Lyon and from Frankfurt to Munich. Check out the excursions onshore as well as the itineraries that take in a wonderful collection of cities en route. The Budapest cruise will take you to Vienna and Melk on the Danube in Austria on the way to Amsterdam. The Marseille cruise travels the Rhône visiting Arles, Avignon, and Chalon-Sur-Saône, among others. If you opt to explore the waterways between Frankfurt and Munich, you can visit Koblenz, Wurzburg and the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bamberg.