Best season for European river cruise?

I will soon retire from teaching, so I will not be limited to summer travel. Which season is the best for a river cruise? Thanks!

Posted by Betty
Missouri City
201 posts

We just did a Danube River cruise in May. The cruise started in Nuremburg and ended in Budapest. The weather was beautiful except for the first day in Nuremburg and it was quite warm the entire week. However, two weeks after we returned home, there was severe flooding along the Danube due to continuous torrential rains. But European weather can be unpredictable from year to year, no matter what month you choose.

Posted by kat
parkdale
197 posts

Did the Danube in autumn, ending in Budapest. October weather was ideal, or late Sept.
Budapest was one of my favorite stops and was the final stop. I wish I had added on a few days there. The last day involved the Captain's dinner and packing for a 2am departure to the airport, so we had little time in Budapest. Love the river cruise. No packing/unpacking. You will enjoy it!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

Hi Sharon, How exciting for you. Really any time except school holidays is a good time to be in Europe. Spring has longer days than fall. Winter has cheaper prices (not recommended for a river cruise - but for your next trip). After 60, there are many discounts. Don't be shy to ask (when you get to that age).

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10839 posts

The best season for river cruises is the Fall. (Spring and Fall days are the same length.) With Spring rains and snow melt, Spring has the potential problem of high water which can prevent the boats from getting under certain bridges. Mid Sep to mid October probability the best time period.

Posted by Sharon
TX
505 posts

Thanks so much, everyone. I think we will begin to plan an October cruise. Now to decide which cruise line and where! And Chani, I am already that age, so I will keep your tip in mind!

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

Sunset in Paris on May 1 is 9.06 p.m. and days are getting longer.
Sunset in Paris on October 1 is 7.29 p.m. and days are getting shorter. I rest my case. Sharon, I would first choose a cruise line. Not all lines are equal but many offer similar cruises. A good introduction is cruisecritic.com/river Planning is half the fun!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7670 posts

Comparing spring to fall, you have to look at dates relative to the equinox. October 1 is eight days after the fall equinox, and sunset is at 7:29. But eight days after the spring equinox is March 28, not May 1. Sunset on March 28 is at 7:15. I rest my case.

Posted by Betty
Missouri City
201 posts

We did our cruise with Gate 1 and even though it's not as expensive or deluxe as Viking, etc., the food and service were great. The tour managers and local guides were topnotch as well. They do a number of Danube River cruises with different pre and post cruise extensions as well as Rhine cruises. http://www.gate1travel.com/river-cruises.aspx

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3487 posts

Sharon - actually, fall sounds better to me because the days are shorter. Long daylight hours are great if you are going to be places that are mainly "scenic nature" but longer evenings can be nicer in the cities, where the old, old buildings and bridges are illuminated. Less rain, less chance of flooding - sounds good to me.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10839 posts

Nancy, you beat me to it. I was going to compare to Summer Solstice - May 1 is 51 days before Summer Solstice and Oct 1 is 72 days after Solstice. Hardy an equal comparison for length of days. But if you want to make the argument that May days are long than October days - that is accurate. Case closed.

Posted by shirley
Toronto, Canada
292 posts

I admit in advance that this spring saw the worst flooding in 500 years in Germany but spring rain always means that flooding or high water could impact a river cruise. If the rivers get too high the boats can't pass underneath the bridges. This year my sister got put off of three boats (they kept swapping boats - between those going upriver and being stuck for those going downriver who were stuck). Her trip was in May/June and was supposed to start in Amsterdam and end in Budapest. They ended up being docked in some industrial area outside of Vienna and bussed out to different places. My other friends also had issues with a river cruise in Europe in the spring a few years ago due to high water (not flooding). So I think early fall is better.