It’s not too late to score a great deal on a European river cruise for fall 2019. September, October, and November are lovely months to enjoy the sights along the rivers of Europe. Expect beautiful fall foliages, wine harvests, and festivals adding to the experience. Plus, you’ll likely find better airfares in autumn than in the peak of summer. Here are eight great European river cruise deals that you can book right now — and they’re all under $3,500 per person.
1. A 9-Night Douro River Sailing on Viking
If you love wine — and especially port — Viking’s 9-night itinerary (Nov. 24 to Dec. 3, 2019) on the Douro River is an excellent option. Yes, it’s late in the season, but the weather can still be quite pleasant in Portugal. Temperatures in Porto in late November average around 60 degrees, and are even warmer further south in Lisbon, where this itinerary starts with two hotel nights. Plus, the intimate design of the 106-passenger Viking Osfrid makes it the perfect place to sip your way through the historic port cellars of Porto and cruise amid the terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley and the UNESCO World Heritage city of Salamanca, Spain. Fares from $3,399 per person.
2. 7-Night Danube Itinerary on U River Cruises
Anyone who hasn’t tried river cruising because they think they’re not in the “demographic” — in other words, they’re not retired — or think it's too expensive, might consider this itinerary from U River Cruises. This two-year-old offshoot of the luxury river cruise line Uniworld has put a youthful spin on the genre by painting two of its ships black (with bold interior décor to match), offering more active excursions, and scheduling night-time visits in some ports. The 7-night Danube Flow itinerary still has availability for Sept. 7, 14, 28 and Oct. 5 and 12. Passengers will cruise from Regensberg (Germany) to Budapest, with port calls in seven other cities. Fares from $1,999 per person.
3. 6-Night Holland and Rhine River Cruise on CroisiEurope
CroisiEurope, which is based in Strasbourg, France, is offering its Holland and The Romantic Rhine Valley itinerary on three key dates in late October, with a choice of three different ships: the five-anchor MS Gerard Schmitter and MS Deuce France (its premium category ships), as well as the standard four-anchor MS Victor Hugo. The 6-night itinerary begins in Amsterdam, ends in Strasbourg, and visits Cologne, Rudesheim, Mannheim, and Heidelberg. CroisiEurope is known for attracting multiple nationalities by offering an affordable and amicable onboard experience. Cruise fares start at $1,467 per person (Oct. 23), $1,480 per person (Oct. 17), and $1,926 per person (Oct. 1).
4. 7-Night Rhine and Moselle Sailing on AmaWaterways
Another great option for wine lovers is AmaWaterways’ 7-night Rhine & Moselle Splendors (Oct. 31 to Nov. 7) aboard the 144-passenger AmaDante. This special wine-themed cruise embarks in Luxembourg, ends in Basel, Switzerland, and is hosted by Arthur White, President of Arthur Earl Winery and Santa Ynez Wine Corp. The itinerary includes visits to Trier, Cochem, Rudesheim, Ludwigshafen, and Breisach (all Germany), and Strasbourg. Fares from $3,299 per person.
5. 7-Night Belgium and Holland Itinerary on Emerald Waterways
Most Belgium and Holland itineraries are scheduled for late March through early May, when the tulips are in bloom throughout these neighboring countries. But Emerald Waterways’ 7-night Charms of Belgium & Holland sailing (Oct.18 through 25) aboard the 180-passenger Emerald Sky offers a unique and scenic autumn perspective. Passengers will cruise round-trip from Amsterdam and visit the historic cities of Utrecht, Arnhem, Maastricht, and Dordrecht in the Netherlands along with Antwerp in Belgium. Fares from $3,145 per person.
6. 7-Night Burgundy and Provence Cruise on Uniworld
Cruising the Rhone River in southern France offers a blend of gorgeous scenery, historic medieval towns, and several celebrated wine regions. You can experience it all on Uniworld's 7-night Burgundy & Provence sailing (Oct. 27 to Nov. 3) from Lyon to Avignon on board the 162-passenger S.S. Catherine. The itinerary calls on Viviers, Tournon, Tarascon, and Macon (Beaune). There’s also ample opportunities both onboard and off for wine tasting and vineyard visits. Fares from $3,499 per person.