Planning & Preparation



The biggest decision facing travellers planning for a European river cruise is destination: there are so many wonderful places from which to choose! Rest assured, whether you choose a river cruise in Europe, Russia, or Egypt, it will be an exciting, interesting, pampering, scenic, and unforgettable journey. Once the destination has been chosen, other important cruise planning decisions include length of trip, time of year, level of comfort, size of vessel, and finally the travel agency or boat company with whom to book. Important factors may be the type of scenery and landscapes desired, types of monuments, activities, amenities, interests, and price.

Length of Cruise

Cruise durations can range from a few days to several weeks, with the average river cruise being one or two weeks. Shorter cruises typically focus on a very specific region or area, while longer cruises may highlight several cities and even countries. Barge cruises are generally always six nights/seven days.

Time of Year

Europe is a place that has advantages for travelers all year round. In general, the cruising season is from March to November. Traveling in early spring or late summer will be less-crowded and the weather may be great, though the best and most reliable weather tends to occur in July and August, which are also the most crowded months. There are special Christmas, New Year’s, and winter cruises available, which feature particular cultural traditions, such as the Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria.

In Russia, the summers tend to be very hot and humid, making spring and autumn the more comfortable times of year in which to travel, though it is necessary to have something warm for the cool evenings.

The seasons in Egypt are slightly different. Though cruises on the Nile are available all year, the peak season is from January until March, when the temperature is not so sweltering hot. August is unbearable for most, except serious sun-worshippers. September is slightly cooler and fewer people will be crowding the monuments and sites, which is a welcome thing for the most-popular sites and attractions.

Level of Comfort

When choosing the level of comfort, it is important to consider the comfort and size of the cabins, the common rooms, and what things are included in the cruise, such as the type of cuisine and quantity of excursions. Are you more of a quaint and cozy person, preferring hearty meals or do you want to be bathing in luxury with gourmet meals? Whether you prefer simple and comfortable, deluxe, or luxury, there are cruises to suit every taste.

Size of Vessel

Regarding the overall size of the vessel, it is essential to think about the quantity of passengers aboard: how many people do you feel comfortable sharing a ‘home-away-from-home’ with on your holiday? River ships accommodate from 50 to 150 passengers and barges accommodate from 6 to 18, sometimes 24.

Traveling with Children

River cruises can be an educational and interesting experience for children, as for adults, yet river cruise ships are not equipped with special play rooms or activities and it is up to the parents to entertain or find entertainment for their children. A barge cruise can be more adapted, especially on smaller barges which accommodate 6-8 passengers, as these are often charted by families with their children.