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River Boat Cruises in Europe

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The Viking Pride

Europe has the most developed and extensive river boat sector in the world. River boat cruises are offered along the Danube, Main, Rhine, Moselle, Rhone, Saone, Seine and Douro rivers. Competition is brisk and the selection wide. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, AMA Waterways, Viking River Cruises and Avalon Waterways, in addition to many smaller companies, all have numerous vessels plying European rivers.

Europe’s rivers were the highways and trade routes of early Europe. As a result, the river banks became the birthplace of many towns and cities. River boat cruises afford the traveler the opportunity to visit great cities, such as Paris, Vienna, Budapest – and smaller towns, like Koblenz, Trier, Wurtzburg.

BY exploring Europe via its beautiful rivers, one experiences European travel in a more traditional manner, approaching destinations the way they were originally meant to be reached. And since river boats are relatively small, carrying perhaps a couple hundred passengers, they are able to dock in the heart of town. Gone are the hassles of train and bus travel. Passengers spend less time getting there, and more time being there.

A river boat cruise along one of Europe’s great rivers allows the traveler to immerse himself in the cultures of several regions in one trip. Consider the Danube, the second longest river in Europe. The Danube rises in the Black Forest and empties into the Black Sea. Along the way, it passes through 10 countries. More than a dozen languages are spoken along its banks.

The Danube is witness to 2000 years of European history, with all the variety of culture, food, and architecture that that history implies. Four capitals grew up along its banks – Vienna, Budapest, Bratislava and Belgrade – more than any other river in the world.

The Rhine rises in the Swiss Alps, passing through Switzerland, Austria, Lichtenstein, Germany, France and the Netherlands, before emptying into the North Sea. Only about half the length of the Danube, the Rhine still engages the traveler, boasting more than 40 castles and fortresses along a single stretch in Germany.

The rivers, the sites, the options and the opportunities go on and on. A river boat cruise offers just about the best way for a traveler to visit the heart of Europe. Perhaps even more accurately stated, it is the best way for the traveler to be touched by Europe’s heart.

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