Low Key River Cruises in Europe?

I see a lot of information on river cruises in Europe but they're all pretty expensive. Does anyone know of a more low key, less frills option? As for where, pretty much any of the major rivers I would be interested in.

If it helps, by comparison I used to live in Alaska and found great enjoyment (and great cruising) on the Alaska State Ferry vs. a cruise line. In truth, I never took a cruise line in Alaska but took the Alaska Ferry several times and it was a great no frills/great scenery trip. If you've been on the ferry you know what I'm looking for. Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Posted by Paul
Austin, TX, USA
1 posts

Great question. Did you get any answers? I'm looking for a river journey that gets me to riverside destinations, but with minimum fuss and minimum (or no) guided tours.

Posted by Brad
Gainesville, VA
7866 posts

If you've looked at Viking lines, that seems to be pretty standard. I can't recall other lines I checked out but they seemed to be pretty much the same. I liked Viking's itineraries better than the others I looked at.

I notice a lot of the river cruises are selling at half the brochure price at vacationstogo.com. Vacations to Go is an online travel agent, I've searched and booked cruises with them without any problems. Price wise, they seem to quote the same prices as all the other online travel agents.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

How about a u-drive canal boat of some kind? If you eat a couple of meals on board, they cost close to the same as staying in low to mid range hotels.

You won't get on the rivers, but the canals are great. Locaboat has them (as do others) in France and Netherlands.

I prefer the Midlands, since you're going through fields for an hour, then though people's backyards.
Also in the UK, you can go from Inverness to Ft William through the lochs and Caledonian Canal.

About as low-key as you get get. Tie up to the bank where ever you want and wander into the towns. Some places have lock operators, sometimes you work your own.

Posted by Anna
Lawrenceville, Georgia
693 posts

Nancie, the only thing I can think of would be a freighter on one of the major rivers. I know they have them on the Rhein and most likely the Donau and perhaps on the Elbe. Probably some kind of tug? I'd check with one of the German cruise lines to see if they have info on some of the outfits that own the freighters and then approach them directly.

I just noticed that the original post is more than a year old. How did this get resurrected? Is Nancie even still in Wiesbaden?

Posted by Nancie
53 posts

I'm not sure how this one came up again but I'm just glad it did. I never had a response last time and now there are several great suggestions. The trip in Scotland sounds really great. Please keep the suggestions coming.

And yes, I'm still here and still in Wiesbaden.

Posted by Iain
Edmonton, AB, Canada
668 posts

THere is a service on the Rhine - I am pretty sure Rick covers it in hjs book. K & R ? Not sure of the name, but it connects many of the towns in the most interesting part of the river around Koblenz, St Goar etc.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
12666 posts

It came up a year later because Paul dig it out, posted a response, and it moved to the top of the pile. Paul never bothered to look at the date. Instead of raising dead question, should just ask a new question.

Posted by Nancie
53 posts

Well, I'm thrilled the question came back up since I never got any respones the first time.

Posted by Wendy
32 posts

I am researching KD Rhine cruises right now. Google KD Rhine, there are many low frills day trips where you can get on/off their boats between Cologne and Meinz on the Rhine for a flat one way fare of 27E.

Posted by Nancie
53 posts

I do love the KD Day trips on the Rhine but I was looking for multi-day trips on other rivers, like the Danube for example.