Aside from deciding which cruise to take, one of the most common questions asked by our river cruisers is “what do I pack?” Being prepared for your European river cruise is important, especially if you’re coming from another country or continent. You’ll want to have everything you’ll need, but also have a little extra space set aside in case you pick up souvenirs along the way.
Cruising on one of Europe’s rivers with one of our luxury cruise lines is an experience you’ll never forget, and that’s where we’re here to help. Continue reading to learn essential tips from our experts that ensure you’ll have what you need to make the most of your journey, whether you take a Danube River cruise, Rhine River cruise, or any other.
In Spring and Fall, you can also expect a decent bit of rain. While Spring sees the heaviest downpours, it’s important to bring a rain jacket or umbrella. Alternatively, you can check with one of our cruising experts beforehand to see if your cruise line carries rain gear on board to help save room in your luggage.
Layer your clothes
Another important tip to help you prepare for your river cruise is to pack your clothes with layers in mind. Even if traveling in Summer, a light sweater may be helpful to fully enjoy a nice evening outside. Regardless of the time of year, this will allow you to add or subtract clothing layers for whatever activities you get into.
Make your clothes do double duty by dressing smart casual
Gone are the days of wearing suits and formal attire for cruises. With dress codes relaxing around the world, you can wear comfortable clothing on your European river cruise. Most days on the ship, you’ll be relaxing or exploring cities, dressed for the day's events.
Enclosed, small bags for everyday essentials
A small, zippered bag, like a purse, fanny pack, or cross-body bag, is an incredibly helpful tool to keep your everyday items in one place. While you might not need it on the ship, since most cruises are all-inclusive, you may want your wallet or phone when you’re on an excursion. The zipper keeps pickpockets at bay in crowded areas, while an easy to carry format makes exploring a breeze.
Color scheme your clothes
When picking out which clothes you’ll bring, you’ll want to have the goal of maximizing the number of wears each item can have. By choosing a color scheme for your clothes, you’ll ensure that all your bottoms and tops are interchangeable, making for several option outfits. In addition, while we recommend wearing your clothes multiple times, that doesn’t necessarily mean wearing the same dirty clothes over and over. Many of our cruise lines offer laundry services or rooms so you can keep them clean along the way.
Bring an outlet adaptor
One of the most commonly forgotten items when traveling abroad is an outlet adapter. Around the world, different outlet styles are used. An outlet adapter will save you the hassle of finding a store, and allow you to charge any electronic devices you’ll bring along.
Use a carry-on
We frequently get asked the question: “what is the best time of year for a European cruise?” The short answer is that it depends. While the actual river cruising season starts in March and ends around December, the optimal time of year to visit mostly depends on your own preferences. Things like weather, events, foliage, and cities are all factors that make the time of year you choose to cruise important. Depending on the time of year you choose for your European river cruise, you’ll have the chance to enjoy a sunny summer or cozy winter, each with their own great reasons to visit. Read on to learn more about the best times of year to cruise Europe’s rivers.
Best rivers for Spring cruises
Best rivers for Summer cruises
Not limited to Springtime, the Danube offers some of our favorite summertime river cruises. In addition, Douro River cruises through Portugal are at their best this time of year. Regardless of the river, this time of year affords cruisers warm, sunny weather and plenty of time outdoors.
The Danube River, traveling across a very large portion of Europe, visits the great cities of Budapest, Hungary and Bucharest, Romania. These two are especially fun to visit during the summer, when the cities have long days filled with light and beaches are just a hop away.
Along Elbe cruises, you’ll get to see some of Europe’s best Fall foliage while cruising through Germany and the Czech Republic’s tree-lined mountains.
With Fall Seine cruises, you’ll be cruising right into Paris at the perfect time of year. The city’s crowds have usually tapered off somewhat, and the daytime weather tends to hover in the 60s. Along with fewer visitors and inviting weather, September cruisers may catch glimpses of the ever-popular Paris Fashion Week.
Lastly, the city of Munich -- a commonly included excursion on Danube cruises, features it’s world famous Oktoberfest during the month of October. It’s the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the world, seeing approximately 6 million visitors each year.
European river cruise questions?
If you have trouble deciding which time of year is best for you, or just want to learn more about European river cruises, contact one of our cruising experts today. We’ve done it all -- and are excited to share it with you.
Our favorite time of year for Rhine cruises
Reasons to cruise the Rhine in the Spring
River cruises along Europe’s famed Rhine River are a favorite among our team. The river seems to come alive during this time. As Winters through Germany, the Netherlands, and other countries touched by the Rhine can be quite cold and snow-filled, it’s a welcome relief to see Spring.
On a Springtime Rhine cruise, cruisers will have the chance to enjoy the warming weather before it gets too hot. Though Spring does see more rain, it’s often sunny out. Sitting out on your ship's sun deck is incredibly enjoyable during the day, especially when there’s a light breeze.
We’ve mentioned them once, and we’ll mention them again. The Rhine’s festivals are incomparable. Not just flower festivals in the Spring, there are also wine, food, and music festivals in the Rhine’s riverside cities. In Würzburg, a city along the Rhine’s Main River tributary, visitors can check out the Weindorf Wine Festival or an annual Mozart Festival. The world’s largest wine festival, Wurstmarkt, takes place just a stone's throw away from Heidelberg, another commonly visited tributary city along Rhine cruises.
For those interested, a number of Easter markets exist around the holiday, where great food, unique gifts, and -- of course -- colorful eggs can be found.
The Rhine isn’t just great in Springtime
Whichever time of year you end up choosing for your European river cruise on the Rhine, it’s sure to be memorable. To learn more about Rhine River cruises, or for help planning the time of year that works best for you, contact one of our river cruising specialists today!