So you want to cruise the rivers of Europe, Asia or South America? But which line should you choose?
Despite the fact that many ships are the same size, thanks to the locks on European rivers, they pack a plethora of different options. And more are being added every season.
Once it was a piano man and bar. Now spas, salons and swimming pools, white gloved butlers and top shelf liquor are the order of the day aboard many lines.
So how to make your choice? Here’s a guide to help you sort out who’s offering what.
Fleet: Avalon Waterways has a number of ships which sail on European rivers on the Danube, Rhine, Rhone and more, as well as across Asia and South America
Size: River cruise ships and Small cruise ships
Feature Facilities: Sky Deck games area, whirlpool and lounge chairs, dance floor, Club Lounge, Panorama dining room, Observation Lounge, Adventure centre with bikes and exercise gear, Fitness centre
Entertainment: 100 free movies, AvalonGo mobile app
Complimentary shore excursions: Classic, active or discovery
Great for: Active cruising, with fitness centre, bikes, activities managers and exercise gear.
Style: Elegant, contemporary
Cost: $461 (average price per day per person)
Fleet: Boutique Rivercruise collection
Destinations: Europe, Egypt, Vietnam & Cambodia, India, Russia and China
Feature Facilities: Six elegantly designed suites including two Grand Suites, three dining venues, an Italian kitchen on the upper deck, spa, library, lounge and bar
Wi-Fi: Ship-wide internet and Wi-Fi access
Amenities: Asprey and Hermes
On-board: Serenity River Spa, heated swimming pool
In-Suite Butlers: Available to all guests in the European fleets
Style: Complete luxury
Cost: $431 (average price per day per person)
Fleet: Viking Longships
Destinations: Europe, Russia, Ukraine, Asia, Egypt
Feature Facilities: Coffee and cookie station, on-board pianist, walking track and sports deck, library, 24 hr Guest Services.
Amenities: Freyja toiletries
Dining: Indoor and outdoor options
Complimentary shore excursions: One per port of call
Beverages: Beer, wine and soft drinks with onboard lunch and dinner
Style: Elegant, intimate, Streamlined Scandinavian
Cost: $399 (average price per day per person)
Destinations: Europe, Mekong, Russia, Myanmar, South East Asia
Feature Facilities: Pillow menu, a wellness centre, complimentary in-suite mini bar, private hair, beauty, shoe shine and massage treatments available, cooking classes, tips and gratuities included
Wi fi: Free
Exercise: Electric bicycles
Beverages: All beverages are included
Complimentary shore excursions: Including Free-choice for active, moderate and relaxed options
Great for: High staff-to-guest ratio and state of the art fleet with spacious suites Style: 5 star luxury, gracious floating hotel
Cost: $466 (average price per day per person)
Destinations: Europe, South East Asia, India, China, Myanmar, Russia
Facilities: Heated swimming pool and swim-up bar, cooking classes, gratuities included, wellness centre, sun deck, unlimited tea and coffee
Wi fi: Available
Dining: Up to seven different dining experiences onboard
Complimentary shore excursions: Boasting fewer passengers per tour
Great for: Active cruising, with fitness centre, bicycles, activities managers
Cost: $473 (average price per day per person)
Destinations: Europe, Canada, Egypt, South America, South East Asia, Tasmania, Russia, Japan
Feature Facilities: On-board fitness classes, swimming pool and bar (on board the Star Ship fleet), evening deck cinema, Hairdresser, lift, Golf Putting green, Sky Barbeque, Sun deck, Walking track
Wi fi: Free
Gratuities: All included
Meals: Most included
Complimentary shore excursions: Comprehensive daily guided tours
Great for: Seamlessly linked land tours and cultural excursions
Style: Award-winning deluxe
Cost: $429 (average price per day per person)
Fleet: Custom-crafted Riverboats
Destinations: Africa, Antarctica and the Arctic, Asia, Australia and NZ, Canada, Europe, Latin America, USA
Feature Facilities: Panorama Lounge and Bar, Sundeck, masseuse, bicycles, fitness centre, on board spa, Jacuzzi / plunge pool, putting green, on-board pianist, unlimited complimentary beverages.
Complimentary shore excursions: Exclusive destination driven experiences Great for: Exclusively inclusive, immersive tours
Style: Custom designed, intimate ambience, contemporary
Cost: $632 (average price per day per person)
Fleet: Renovated Riverboats
Destinations: Europe, Africa
Feature Facilities: Sun deck, Library, Panorama Bar, concierge, laundry, business centre
Dining: all meals included, as well as afternoon tea and late night snacks.
Complimentary city walking App: Onshore exploration is at your own expense
Great for: Saving your pennies while still hitting all the popular towns
Style: Melodic elegance (renovated ships formerly of the MS Sound of Music), bright, whimsical
Cost: $125 (average price per day per person)
Fleet: Five-star world-class design
Feature Facilities: 4:1 ratio of guests per crew, Lounge bar, Spa and wellness area, fitness room, outdoor swimming pool, sundeck, laundry service.
Dining: Fine dining option available
Shore excursions: Limited mainly to guided walks, but with optional hand-picked extras
Great for: Travellers who don’t want to pay for unwanted extras
Style: Luxury, minimalist
Drinks: Not included (a 14 night drinks package is available for an additional $389 per person)
Cost: $264 (average price per day per person)
* Prices are based on average cost per person per day for 2019/2020 price estimates, from individual websites, based on the most similar itineraries.