3 questions about river cruises answered here: itinerary, time and cost

Itinerary, time and cost.  These are three topics which many people ask questions about.   What’s your favorite itinerary?  What’s the best time to river cruise?  How much does it cost to river cruise?  You ask about itinerary, time and cost – we answer.

Ama Kristina

Ama Kristina

1. What’s your favorite itinerary?

One (unhelpful) answer to what’s my favorite itinerary is …my next one.  But really it’s not pertinent what my favorite is since everyone likes different things.  We have many clients that love the Douro River while others find it too structured (it’s one of the few you can’t sail at night).  Many of our clients love the Danube but others prefer smaller towns than Budapest and Vienna.  I am partial to the Rhone River in Southern France but if you aren’t into Van Gogh or red wine you may find it not to your liking.

We were recently on the Bordeaux wine cruise and had a great time.  But you really need to be a red wine enthusiast to get the most out of the cruise.  Although there were many non wine experiences, I doubt if someone that abhors wine would name this their favorite itinerary.  Do you love flowers?  Then maybe the Tulip time cruise out of Amsterdam would be your favorite cruise.  So a favorite itinerary really is an individual choice.

Each river has a different experience and each traveler has different expectations, preferences and interests.  A favorite itinerary really is a match between these factors. Actually there’s more to it.  There’s some trips where you have a great crew and you really hit it off with many of your fellow guests.  Sometimes that becomes your favorite cruise – regardless of the itinerary.

What’s the best river cruise itinerary is another great resource.

2. What’s the best time of year to go on a river cruise?

The answer to this one is another “it depends”.  Everyone defines “best” differently.  Here’s some examples (with answers) – limited to European destinations.  If best means…..

  • Best value, then aarly Spring or Christmas cruises are the best
  • Warmest weather, then July and August are the best time
  • Most popular, then Spring and Fall are the best times
  • Able to see Tulips, then March and April are the best times
  • Attend a wine cruise, then March, April, July, August, Oct and November are great times

See what I mean?  What do your really mean by best?  We had clients from Phoenix say that they wanted to go when it was cool  (April in France was our solution) since they didn’t want more hot weather.

What is the best time of year to go on a river cruise is good read as well.

3. How much does a river cruise cost?

Ah, the $64,000 question.  Well, not really.  But again, prices vary so much. There’s several factors here:

  • River Cruise Cost

    River Cruise Cost

    Which cruise line:  there’s luxury and all inclusive brands and there’s more no frill lines and obviously the price varies considerably

  • Time of year:  Prices are lowest in early March and late December and they peak in the Fall
  • Cabin category:  Prices are highest for the largest cabins and for cabins nearer the top of the ship.
  • Which ship are you on:  Prices are lowest for the older ships which perhaps have less amenities or different configuration cabins.  Or sometimes they are just older.
  • Are there promotions offered?  Some sailings have promotions which might take the form of lower prices or on board credits
  • What else is included:  Many river cruises add pre and post cruise extensions that can add considerable cost (but of course also add to the experience).  Many passengers buy airfare from the river cruise supplier which is always a significant cost.  Other adders might include airfare, transfers, port charges, single supplements  or  optional excursions.

Here’s an example of how two of these parameters affect pricing

Itinerary, time and cost are factors in determining price

Prices vary by many factors including departure date and cabin category


Three questions, three answers about itinerary, time and cost

Let’s review our questions about itinerary, time and cost:

  1. What’s your favorite itinerary?  Mine’s the Rhone but that’s irrelevant.  Your favorite will depend on the types of things you really like.
  2. When’s the best time to go on a river cruise?  It depends on what you mean by “best”.   The Fall is the most popular time.
  3. How much does it cost?  It varies greatly depending on time of year, category, river and inclusions.  Prices can range from $2000 to $7000 per person depending on many things.

Of course your answers will depend.  Talk to a river cruise specialist (travel agent) to help you determine answers that make sense to you.  We know what questions to ask you but also how to interpret your answers.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Feel free to browse our other blog posts as well; to get you started, here’s a few posts that you might be interested in:

What’s the best river cruise itinerary?

My favorite river cruise ports

Myths about river cruises


Susan Wolfson
My goal is to Make Your Next Vacation Your Best Vacation!®
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