European Waterways River Cruises Review: Cruise Ship Guide, Itineraries, Bookings & Deals

European Waterways River Cruise Ships offer a unique and immersive travel experience that allows guests to explore the picturesque waterways of Europe while enjoying luxury accommodations, exceptional service, and cultural enrichment. Based on the provided sources, European Waterways stands out for its focus on slow travel, personalized experiences, and a deep connection to the local culture and communities along the routes. Let’s delve into the key aspects that define the European Waterways River Cruise Ships experience. European Waterways River Cruise Ships provide guests with a unique opportunity to embrace the concept of slow travel, allowing them to unwind, relax, and savor the journey at a leisurely pace. Cruising along the historic canals and rivers of Europe, passengers have the chance to appreciate the scenic beauty of the landscapes, quaint villages, and charming towns that line the waterways. The gentle pace of the cruise, typically around 4 mph (6 kph), encourages guests to slow down, disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the surroundings. This decelerated version of travel offers a refreshing change of pace and allows travelers to fully appreciate the beauty of the European countryside.

In a Nutshell…

  1. Luxury Barges: European Waterways offers luxury barge cruises in Europe. Their vessels are styled as “floating boutique hotels,” accommodating between six and 20 passengers.
  2. Exclusivity: With an average of just eight guests on board, the intimate and personalized service ensures a sense of exclusivity throughout the cruise.
  3. 50 Years of Experience: European Waterways boasts 50 years of expertise in river cruising, making them one of the largest barging companies in Europe.
  4. Diverse Destinations: Their fleet travels through nine countries across Europe, including popular tourist destinations like BurgundyBordeauxAlsace & Lorraine, and Champagne.
  5. Private Charters: Families or groups of friends can charter entire hotel barges, creating a home-away-from-home experience.
  6. Themed Itineraries: Choose from classic routes or special themed itineraries such as GolfCulinaryBiking, or Opera.
  7. Barging & Biking: Complimentary bikes are available on board for guests who enjoy exercise during their cruise. Dedicated biking theme cruises are also an option.
  8. Shopping & Markets: Explore fascinating shops and local markets during your luxury European cruise. Fresh produce and artisanal products often find their way into onboard meals.
  9. Wine & Whisky Tours: Cruise through renowned wine-growing regions like BurgundyBordeaux, and Champagne. Wine tours and tastings are a highlight.
  10. Beyond Rivers: European Waterways also offers cruises in regions like Holland, Venice, the Scottish Highlands, Ireland’s River Shannon, England’s River Thames, and Belgium, Germany & Luxembourg.

History of the European Waterways River Cruises

European Waterways, a pioneer in European barge cruising, has established itself as a prominent provider of luxurious and immersive river cruise experiences. With a focus on offering hotel-quality barge cruises across eight European countries, the company has redefined the concept of slow-paced and exclusive travel, providing passengers with unforgettable and relaxing voyages.

Since its establishment, European Waterways has been at the forefront of barge cruising, with a fleet of 17 barges operating in Europe. The company’s emphasis on delivering personalized and themed barge cruises, ranging from culinary to cycling, and from families with children to wine enthusiasts, showcases its dedication to offering diverse and tailored travel experiences.

The company’s cruises along peaceful inland canals wind through picturesque countryside, providing travelers with a luxurious and immersive experience. Daily escorted excursions to off-the-beaten-path destinations, such as wineries, castles, and markets, allow passengers to immerse themselves in the local culture, history, and gastronomy, creating unforgettable memories and enriching their overall travel experience.

European Waterways’ commitment to excellence is reflected in its fully staffed barges, each equipped with a captain, chef, housekeeper, and tour guide. The vessels have been refurbished using hardwoods and solid brass, offering amenities such as spa-pools on the sun deck, air conditioning, central heating, and bicycles, ensuring that passengers enjoy a comfortable and relaxing voyage.

The company’s ability to arrange specialty and theme barge cruises, combined with its offering of private whole barge charters, showcases its dedication to providing personalized and immersive travel experiences tailored to the interests and preferences of every traveler. The cruise options cater to a wide range of interests, from art and antiques to wine, allowing passengers to indulge in their passions while enjoying the scenic beauty of the European waterways.

European Waterways’ legacy as a pioneer in European barge cruising is defined by its commitment to offering luxurious and immersive river cruise experiences, personalized and themed cruises, and a vision for delivering unparalleled travel experiences. The company’s dedication to excellence and innovation has positioned it as a leading provider of exclusive and culturally enriching barge cruises, setting the stage for unforgettable voyages along Europe’s scenic waterways.

This review provides a comprehensive exploration of European Waterways’ historical significance, commitment to luxurious and immersive river travel experiences, and dedication to delivering personalized and themed barge cruises, showcasing the company’s remarkable journey and its vision for the future of barge cruising.

Destinations of European Waterways River Cruises

  1. Burgundy: Cruise along the serene River MarneRiver SaôneRiver Cher, and River Yonne in the heart of Burgundy, France. This region is renowned for its vineyards, historic towns, and picturesque countryside. Sip exquisite wines, explore charming villages, and indulge in French gastronomy.
  2. Bordeaux: The scenic Gironde Estuary and Dordogne River lead you to Bordeaux, a wine lover’s paradise. Discover the world-famous vineyards of Bordeaux, sample fine vintages, and explore the elegant city with its neoclassical architecture and vibrant culture.
  3. Alsace & Lorraine: Cruise through the captivating waterways of Alsace and Lorraine, where medieval castles dot the landscape. Explore the charming towns of Strasbourg, Nancy, and Metz. Immerse yourself in the rich history, art, and cuisine of this unique region.
  4. Champagne: Raise a glass to luxury as you sail along the Marne River through the Champagne region. Visit prestigious Champagne houses, stroll through vineyards, and savor the effervescent spirit of this celebrated wine-producing area.
  5. Holland: Beyond France, European Waterways also explores the picturesque waterways of Holland. Cruise along the Dutch canals, passing windmills, tulip fields, and charming villages. Amsterdam, with its historic architecture and vibrant culture, awaits your discovery.
  6. Venice: Glide through the romantic waterways of Venice, Italy. Explore the iconic Grand Canal, visit St. Mark’s Square, and immerse yourself in the Venetian art scene. Venice’s timeless beauty and unique charm make it an unforgettable destination.
  7. Scottish Highlands: Venture to the rugged landscapes of Scotland. Cruise along the Caledonian Canal, passing through the dramatic Scottish Highlands. Loch Ness, ancient castles, and mist-covered mountains create a mystical backdrop for your journey.
  8. Ireland’s River Shannon: Discover the Emerald Isle as you sail along the River Shannon. Explore Ireland’s lush countryside, visit historic sites, and enjoy traditional Irish music and hospitality. The River Shannon offers a tranquil escape into nature.
  9. England’s River Thames: Follow the meandering path of the River Thames through the heart of England. Explore London’s iconic landmarks, visit historic towns like Oxford and Windsor, and enjoy the quintessential English countryside along the way.
  10. Belgium, Germany & Luxembourg: European Waterways also navigates the waterways connecting these three countries. Explore the charming cities of Brussels, Cologne, and Luxembourg City. Delight in the blend of cultures, historic architecture, and culinary delights.


European Waterways River Cruise Ships are known for their intimate and personalized approach to cruising, with small vessels that accommodate a limited number of passengers. This creates a cozy and welcoming atmosphere onboard, where guests can enjoy attentive service and a sense of camaraderie with fellow travelers. The crew members are friendly, professional, and dedicated to ensuring that guests feel valued and well taken care of throughout their voyage. From guided tours in nearby towns to interactions with local communities, European Waterways fosters a sense of connection and engagement that enhances the overall cruise experience. The personalized touch extends to the dining options, cabin accommodations, and onboard activities, creating a tailored and memorable journey for each guest.

European Waterways River Cruise Ships offer travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture, gastronomy, and attractions of less-visited locales along the waterways of Europe. From exploring chateaus and markets to visiting wineries and historical sites, guests can gain a deeper understanding of the regions they traverse. The itineraries are carefully curated to showcase the best of each destination, with a focus on authentic experiences and interactions with locals. Whether participating in guided tours, sampling regional cuisine, or strolling through charming villages, passengers have the chance to connect with the rich heritage and traditions of the places they visit. European Waterways’ commitment to cultural enrichment ensures that guests leave with a newfound appreciation for the diversity and beauty of Europe.

European Waterways River Cruise Ships are renowned for their outstanding service, first-class amenities, and attention to detail. The crew members onboard are professional, friendly, and attentive, going above and beyond to ensure that guests have a memorable and comfortable experience. From exquisite dining options featuring first-class cuisine to well-appointed cabins with modern conveniences, European Waterways prioritizes guest satisfaction and comfort. The onboard spa, hot tub, and leisure facilities provide passengers with opportunities to relax and unwind while enjoying the scenic views along the waterways. The commitment to excellence in service and amenities sets European Waterways apart as a top choice for travelers seeking a luxurious and enriching river cruise experience.In conclusion, European Waterways River Cruise Ships offer a unique and immersive travel experience that combines slow travel, personalized service, cultural enrichment, and outstanding amenities. Whether cruising through the picturesque canals of France or exploring the historic waterways of Europe, guests aboard European Waterways can expect a journey that is as relaxing as it is enriching. For travelers seeking a unique blend of luxury, local immersion, and personalized experiences, European Waterways River Cruise Ships provide a compelling choice that promises unforgettable adventures and meaningful connections with the heart of Europe.

– Reviewed by Contributing Author Silvester Thomson

Pin to Pinterest

Enjoyed this guide? Help others find it too! Share the following Pinterest pin to your Pinterest account, by simply clicking on the top left corner. And Remember: Sharing is Caring !

N.B. – The information on this review has been compiled by contributing author and Cruise Expert Silvester Thomson for and is provided “as is” for the convenience of online readers. The Sources come from personal opinions, online research on official and unofficial websites, and in some cases with the help of AI generated content. It should not be taken as fact, as it can be mistaken or altered by future ship modifications from the cruise line done after review. does not and cannot verify all information and should not be taken as granted fact. All readers must take measures to find reliable facts by their travel agent or from the official page of the cruise line to verify any doubts.

* Some links posted in this article may represent an advertisement that provides a small compensation to the website owner