You get a real sampler of Germany along the Main (pronounced "Mine") River: UNESCO-designated towns that ooze charm, castles, lush Bavarian forests, and fast-paced Frankfurt, the country's financial powerhouse. The Main's navigable section runs between Mainz and Bamberg, but most itineraries combine the river with the Danube, Rhine, or Main-Danube Canal (and sometimes all three.) Other voyages include the Moselle, or leave from Paris or Prague.
Trips vary from six days to more than three weeks. Short cruises travel between Nuremberg and Frankfurt, while a popular longer route runs between Budapest and Amsterdam. The cruise season runs March through December, including some Christmas market-themed trips.