Choosing the Right European River Cruise
by Wendy Perrin
This question came in from reader RScime:
"We're planning our first European river cruise. The itinerary offered by AMAWaterways for Amsterdam to Basel is the most attractive, but AMAWaterways doesn't seem as well known as, say, Uniworld or Viking River Cruises. How would you rate them? Should we go with the better named with known reputations?"
Good question. True, Conde Nast Traveler readers rate Uniworld and Viking River Cruises higher than AMAWaterways in our Readers' Choice Awards. (Here's a list of Conde Nast Traveler readers' favorite small ships.) Still, I've heard good things about AMAWaterways -- its ships are fairly new, with cabins with French balconies and bicycles for shoreside exploration -- and we did recommend it in our August issue, in our round-up of best cruise deals around the world.
I've never taken a European river cruise myself, but I can tell you that if it were me, I'd choose the ship that spends the most time in the cities I want to explore. And I'd book the trip through a dead-honest, well-informed, and super-connected European river cruise specialist who has sailed on all three cruise lines. Margret Propper of Brownell Travel (you can read a description of her here) is on my annually updated list of Top Travel Specialists and can provide an in-depth and reliable comparison of the ships and itineraries you're choosing among. I strongly recommend you contact her. Keep in mind that AMAWaterways has several sales going on right now.
Anybody else have an opinion or advice for RScime? If you've taken European river cruises yourself, be sure to let us know which specific ships you've sailed on. Thanks!