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The German Corner with its monument of the emperor, the Elector's Palace. the mile-long river promenade, Stolzenfels Castle, the embodiment of Rhine romanticism, and towering above them all: Ehrenbreitstein Fortress. The spectacular cable car across the Rhine, the wine village, the Forum Confluentes ... and so much more. Koblenz is not only one of the oldest cities in Germany, but also one of the most many-sided with regard to its tourist attractions. 

Ticket Office Koblenz

Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 56068 Koblenz Breite/Lat: 50.359752 Länge/Lon: 7.604660

Tel. 0261 – 1291610 Fax 02 61 / 16 06 97 E-Mail: kd-koblenz(at)k-d.com

Useful Information

Information concerning the landing-stage.

  • The KD landing-stage in Koblenz is accessible to passengers with restricted mobility.
  • Passengers are requested to be at the landing-stage 15 minutes before the scheduled sailing time. 
  • Passengers who have not purchased their ticket at the KD ticket office in Koblenz are requested to report at the ticket office.
  • Payment options: cash, Maestro, credit card (Eurocard, Mastercard).

Getting to the landing-stage by public transport

From Koblenz Main Station take no. 1 bus in the direction of Altstadt/Deutsches Eck to the stop Rheinstrasse/Fähre. From here approx 2 min. walk. From Koblenz Stadtmitte (city centre) Station 3 min. walk to Löhr Centre bus station. From here take no. 1 bus in the direction of Altstadt/Deutsche Eck to the stop Rheinstrasse/Fähre. From here approx. 2 min. walk. Alternatively it is a 20 minute walk from Koblenz Stadtmitte Station. 

Getting to the landing-stage by car

From the north (Cologne/Bonn) take autobahn A61 to Koblenz interchange, then autobahn A48 to exit Koblenz North (B9 main road) or autobahn A3 to Dernbach interchange then onto autobahn A48 to exit Koblenz North (B9 main road) and continue towards city centre. From the south (Mainz, Ludwigshafen) take autobahn A61 to exit Waldesch/Koblenz, then continue on B327 main road towards city centre. 

From the east (or from Frankfurt area) take autobahn A3 to Dernbach interchange, then autobahn A48 to exit Koblenz North and on main road B9 towards city centre.

From the west (Trier) take autobahn A48 to exit Koblenz North then on main road B9 towards city centre.  Please note that there are no parking places near the landing-stage. We advise you to use one of the following multi-story car parks: Görresplatz - approx 5 min. walk from the landing-stage Schloss - approx 9 min. walk from the landing-stage Car park on Peter-Altmeier-Ufer - approx 8 min. walk from the landing-stage  Schängel Centre - approx 8 min. walk from the landing-stage.

Information for coaches

Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer (Rhine) There are 8 parking spaces and 5 drop off/pick up places for coaches on Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer (Rhine promenade), in close proximity to the landing-stage.

Further information on driving a coach into the city and on where to park is available from Koblenz Tourist Information. 

Please note that the Europa Bridge towards the city centre is closed to traffic over 3.5t. There are diversions signposted to the city centre from the A48 at exit Bendorf on the B42, from Koblenz interchange via the exit Koblenz-Metternich and from the A48/B9 interchange.

Suggested tours

Nostalgia route.

Our highlight on the romantic Middle Rhine – on the trail of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pure nostalgia is offered between Koblenz and Rüdesheim. Experience the most famous sights on the river which embodies German Romanticism in authentic surroundings on board the paddle steamer GOETHE.

  • KD departure time from Koblenz: 09.00

Trip to castles

Nowhere else are there as many medieval castles as on this inimitable section of the Rhine, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in June 2002. To mention just three of them: Ehrenbreitstein Fortress at the Deutsches Eck in Koblenz, Stolzenfels Castle and the uniquely well-preserved Marksburg Castle in Braubach, to mention just three.

  • KD departure times from Koblenz: 09:00 and 14:00

Combined ticket cable car & fortress

A tour on and over the Rhine. Purchase our combined ticket and experience the beauty of the Rhine in and around Koblenz on the water and from lofty heights. This includes a boat trip through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley plus a spectacular cable car ride up to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.

Offers on site

Public city sightseeing tour – koblenz’s romantic old town.

Get to know one of Germany’s oldest cities on a tour of the historic old town. The romantic lanes between the Basilica of St. Castor and the Church of Our Lady, the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial on the Deutsches Eck, the Schängelbrunnen fountain by the city hall and the Forum Confluentes with the Romanticum on Zentralplatz square are just a few of the attractions.

By cable car to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

A trip on the Koblenz cable car will give you a spectacular view of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Upper Middle Rhine Valley. It is Germany’s first tricable gondola lift and is one of the most modern cable car systems in the world. More than ten million guests have ridden in one of the eighteen panorama gondolas since 2011 and have travelled up to the plateau where Ehrenbreitstein Fortress stands. By the way, this presents no problems for persons with limited mobility, because the cable car is 100% barrier-free.

Discover the interactive experience exhibition in which the romantic Middle Rhine Valley is recreated with all the variety and special features it offers on around 800 m²: Set off on a fantastic journey through time as a passenger on a steamship, experience the romance of the Rhine at first hand and get to know the Rhine in all its guises and with all the exciting legends and fairytales connected with it.

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

Over recent years the fortress itself has evolved into one of the most important cultural centres in the region. Around 700,000 people from all over the world visited and experienced Ehrenbreitstein in 2015. The current fortress was built between 1817 and 1828, but it is much older in origin. An adventure route covering 5,000 years of history extends through the entire site. It takes you over the paths on which Prussian soldiers once patrolled, deep into an excavation site shown using multimedia, and high up to the flag tower with its magnificent view. The Landesmuseum Koblenz in Ehrenbreitstein Fortress comprises four exhibition houses. With its focus on an archaeological tour, the “Wine Region Rhineland-Palatinate” and sophisticated photography, the museum offers an astonishingly wide range of topics. The cultural highlight of 2016 is the special exhibition Eiszeitsafari (“Ice Age Safari”), which will take place from 20 March to 30 October. The rich variety of around 400 large and small events per year is also remarkable.

Tourist Information Koblenz

Zentralplatz 1 56068 Koblenz Tel. 0261-19433 Fax 0261-1291620 E-Mail info(at)koblenz-touristik.de

Do you have any questions? We will be happy to help you!

Service centre.

Tel. +49 (0)221/2088-318 Fax +49 (0)221/2088-345


Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find the answers to the most important questions about KD's services.


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Koblenz River cruises

river boat cruises koblenz

Select Your Experience

Koblenz river cruises | unesco-listed landscapes and charming vineyards.

Double the river, double the fun! Koblenz River cruises offer the best of the Moselle and Rhine rivers. You have the unique advantage of exploring both these waterways, from historic castles along the Upper Middle Rhine valley to sun-soaked vineyards in Moselle villages. From Koblenz, you will sail past the imposing Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, the Neo-Gothic Stolzenfels Castle, the legendary Lorelai Rock, and various other ancient castles along the Rhine Gorge. The Cochem cruise sails through River Moselle, where you can catch glimpses of the Eltz Castle, Reichsburg Cochem, and some of Germany’s finest vine-clad slopes. 

Navigate your Koblenz River cruises guide

Why go on a koblenz river cruise, things to know before you book koblenz rhine river cruises, which koblenz boat tour to choose, find your best koblenz river cruise match here, koblenz river cruises map, your guide to checking in and boarding koblenz river cruises, 5 steps to an easy and hassle-free koblenz cruise, what to see on koblenz rhine river cruises, top sights on koblenz moselle river cruises, plan your koblenz river cruise experience, frequently asked questions about koblenz river cruises.

Why go on a Koblenz river cruise?

Versatile itineraries

Since Koblenz is the meeting point of the Moselle and Rhine rivers, you can take advantage of its convenient location. Rhine cruises from Koblenz will take you into the heart of the Rhine Valley, dotted with majestic castles, while Moselle River cruises will lead you to Trier and Bernkastel-Kues. Customize your Koblenz boat tour depending on whether you are in the mood for UNESCO-listed landscapes and ancient castles or would prefer to look at the lush vineyards of the Moselle Valley. 

Rich historical and cultural experience

On Koblenz Rhine River cruises, look out for the Ehrenbreitstein Castle and Marksburg Castle, among the few Rhine fortresses to have never been seized, and the Stolzenfels Castle, known for its fairytale-like exteriors. Along the Moselle boat tours departing from Cochem, you will encounter historic towns like Bernkastel-Kues and Rudesheim am Rhein, dotted with half-timbered houses and narrow streets. These cruises include audio commentary and allow you to immerse yourself in the region’s culture and learn more about the city’s storied past. 

Lush-green scenic views

Sail past lush vineyard-covered hillsides and picturesque villages as you cruise along the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO-listed landscape. On the eastern bank of the Rhine, you will find the Lorelai Rock, a steep slate, famous for its echo effect. It is rumored that a heartbroken maiden had drowned from that rock and transformed into a siren. The Moselle Valley is known for its terraced vineyards along the river, which produce the finest Riesling wines. Experience the valley’s charms from the river. Look out for its steep slopes, dramatic hillsides, and the half-timbered houses in its quaint villages. 

Fine wines and culinary delights

Both the Moselle and Rhine Valleys are famous for their sloping vineyards and first-class wine production, particularly Germany’s famous Riesling wines. Most Koblenz cruises pass by renowned wineries like Weingut Dr. Loosen, Weingut Markus Molitor, and Weingut Heymann-Lowenstein, where you can sample some wines and enjoy tasting tours. If you choose cruises with dining options, you can pair regional specialties with authentic German cuisine.

Luxurious boat tours

The Deutsches Eck, also known as the German Corner in Koblenz is the prime launchpad for unforgettable journeys. From luxurious, open decks, comfortable lounges, detailed audio commentary in English and German, and fine dining options, Koblenz River cruises ensure you have a relaxing journey. Koblenz cruises are perfect for those looking to unwind by the water. Sail past most of the city’s iconic historic sites and classic vineyards without the hassles of other forms of public transport.

  • On Koblenz River cruises, you can customize your itinerary based on your preferences. The primarily traverses through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, with its cliffs and ancient castles. If you want to delve deeper into Moselle’s vineyard-clad slopes and wine culture, you can opt for the . 
  • There’s a cruise for every budget. The takes you on a relaxing tour along River Moselle with views of medieval castles, vineyard-clas slopes, and quaint villages at around €14. The sails past Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Marksburg Castle, all the way up to Lorelai Rock, starting from €58. 
  • The Rhine cruises are ideal for visitors who have around half a day to spare, as they are around 6 hours long. If you are short on time, opt for the . 
  • The Nostalgia route Rhine cruise offers a fantastic 1913 paddle steamer for your journey, making for an authentic and intimate cruising experience. 
  • Koblenz River cruises departing from Cochem include audio commentary in English and German, allowing you to immerse yourself in the history of the castles and wineries passing by. 
  • All Koblenz cruises, whether they depart from Deutsche Eck or Cochem, are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs. These boats are equipped with ramps and offer priority entry facilities for visitors in wheelchairs. You can also bring your guided dogs or a segway on board to help you navigate the decks better. 

River Cruise Departing from Koblenz

Departing from Koblenz

Best for: Visitors wanting to see medieval castles along the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, who want to explore beyond, and have a few hours on hand. Duration: 6 hours Boarding point: Anleger 5 KD Ticket Office, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 56068, Koblenz Guide: Not included Accessible to wheelchair users: Yes Pets and service dogs: Only service dogs allowed Cancellation policy: Flexible, up to 24 hours

  • These river cruises sail past the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO-listed landscape. Catch glimpses of famous medieval castles like the Marksburg Castle, Ehrenbreitstein Castle, and the legendary Lorelai Rock. The cruise offers sweeping views of the dramatic hillsides and steep drops in the Rhine Valley. 
  • The Koblenz Rhine River cruise offers a 1913 paddle boat steamer for your journey for a more authentic experience. 

Recommended tours:

Koblenz river cruise departing from Cochem

Departing from Cochem

Best for: Visitors looking to experience Moselle wineries and vine-clad hills, who are short on time, and budget-travelers Duration: 1 hour Boarding point: KD Ticket Office, Moselpromenade, 56812, Cochem, Germany Guide: Audio commentary in English and German Accessible to wheelchair users: Yes Pets and service dogs: Included Cancellation policy: Flexible, up to 24 hours

  • The Cochem sightseeing cruises traverse along River Moselle and pass through iconic medieval castles like Reichsburg Cochem and the lush vineyards of the Moselle Valley.
  • Learn about the historic sights along the Rhine River banks with the included audio commentary.  

Address: Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 56068, Koblenz, Germany Nearest landmarks: Deutsche Eck, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Basilica of St. Castor, Koblenz Old Town, Kurfurstliches Schloss Nearest train station: Koblenz Hauptbahnhof (Main station)

  • ICE or regional trains travel from Frankfurt, Cologne, and Trier to Koblenz Hauptbahnhof. These trains will reach you to the main train station in about 1.5 to 2 hours. 
  • After reaching Koblenz Hauptbahnhof, you have to take a bus. Multiple bus lines such as 1, 5, and 20 travel to Rhein-Mosel-Halle, the closest bus stop to the Konrad-Adenauer KD Ticket Office. 
  • After reaching this stop, you need to walk for around 5 to 7 minutes to reach the port.

Address: Moselpromenade, 56812, Cochem, Germany Nearest landmarks: Reichsburg Cochem, Moselle Promenade, St. Martin’s Church, and Bundesbank-Bunker Cochem Nearest metro station: Cochem (Mosel)

Cochem is a picturesque town, sandwiched between the Reichsburg Castle hill and the Moselle River. It has a historic Old Town neighborhood, complete with half-timbered houses and quaint shops. 

  • Direct trains run from Trier Hauptbahnhof and will take you around 1.5 hours to reach Cochem. 
  • You can also take a bus to Wittlich train station in Bernkastel-Kues and reach Mosel by train. 
  • Upon arrival, head south on Enderstrasse towards Moselpromenade. Walk along the scenic bank for about 12 to 15 minutes to reach KD Ticket Office.
  • Pre-book tickets online: May to August are the busiest months for Koblenz River cruises. The weather is warm and the school holidays are in full swing. Make sure to reserve tickets in advance if you are planning a visit around this time. 
  • Check ticket details: After confirming your payment, look over the e-ticket. Confirm your tour duration, the boat’s boring point, timings, and route. 
  • Carry a valid ID: You need to show a valid identification card before boarding your cruise. Be sure to bring it along with your ticket voucher. 
  • Bring your voucher: The ticket voucher is crucial to your journey. You need to validate your email voucher at the ticket office before embarking on your Koblenz cruise. 
  • Settle in comfortably: After validating your voucher, step on the boat. Look over the open decks and choose a comfortable seat for the rest of your journey. 

German Corner

German Corner

Rhine, confluence of Moselle and Rhine German Corner, also known as Deutsche Eck, is a significant landmark in Koblenz. This is the meeting point of the Rhine and Moselle rivers. The site features a statue of Emperor William I and offers scenic views of both rivers. The area also hosts cultural events and music festivals. 

Ehrenbreitstein Fortress

Eltz Castle

Right bank of River Moselle This fairytale-like castle is situated in the Moselle Valley, surrounded by steep hills. It has remained under the same family’s care for around 800 years. The interiors of the Eltz Castle boast stunning medieval interiors. Although it is slightly away from the main river course, it is a must-visit for history buffs. 

Cochem Castle

Nostalgia route River Rhine cruise

  • Operating hours: Only available at 9am
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Boarding point: KD Ticket Office, Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 56068, Koblenz, Germany 

1-hour panorama cruise in Cochem

  • Operating hours: 10:30am to 6pm
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Boarding point: KD Ticket Office, Moselpromenade, 56812, Cochem, Germany

Koblenz River cruise timings

Weekends are comparatively more crowded than weekdays. Pre-book tickets online to skip ahead of long lines, especially between the months of June and August, when summer holidays are in full swing. Parking is limited around the KD Ticket Office, both in Koblenz and Cochem, so if you are planning a weekend visit, we recommend taking the metro. Weekdays see fewer visitors on board, however, the summer months are crowded throughout. 

The spring and fall months, April, May, September, and October are the best months to go on a Koblenz River cruise. The weather is pleasant and perfect for outdoor activities like cruises and hikes. The crowds are manageable around this time. The summer months, June to August welcome a higher number of visitors, especially families and students in large groups vacationing during their summer break. If you visit in the summer months, make sure to pre-book tickets online in advance. 

Getting to Koblenz river cruise

Address: Konrad-Adenauer-Ufer 56068, Koblenz, Germany Find on maps

  • By metro: ICE 10, ICE 11, ICE 42, IC 30, IC 31, RE 5, RE 1, RB 10, and RB 81
  • Nearest station: Koblenz Hauptbahnhof

Address: Moselpromenade, 56812, Cochem, Germany Find on maps

  • By metro: RE 1, RE 11, and RB 81
  • Nearest station: Cochem (Mosel)

Koblenz River cruise facilities

  • Wheelchair accessibility: Koblenz River cruises are equipped with ramps to onboard visitors in wheelchairs. They also offer priority embarkation for passengers with limited mobility. 
  • Accessible restrooms: There are accessible restroom facilities on Koblenz boats with wide, spacious stalls, where wheelchair users can stroll in comfortably. 
  • Height-adjustable tables: You will also find adjustable tables on decks to accommodate parents with children or any visitor who may need to make use of them. 
  • Open decks: The open decks on Koblenz cruises also have luxurious seating options. You can stroll around or take a seat to soak in the scenic views. 
  • Safety gear: You will also find safety gear like life jackets and first-aid kits on board to aid passengers in case of an emergency.

Koblenz river cruise rules

  • Follow boarding procedures: Carry your email ticket voucher and arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled departure to board comfortably.
  • Carry a valid ID: Make sure to bring a valid identity document along with your ticket voucher. You need to show proof of your identity to step on board. 
  • Follow the pet policy: Most Koblenz cruises allow pets on board. However, ensure they are kept on a leash and do not get in the way of the staff or other passengers. 

Koblenz river cruise visitor tips

  • Visit the Deutsche Eck early in the day: The German Corner is the meeting point of the River Rhine and Moselle, offering views of the medieval castles and wineries in their valleys. Arrive a few minutes early and take in the scenic views from that spot before embarking on your journey. 
  • Check for special events: The Koblenz Wine Festival and the Rhine in Flames are two of the most important events that are hosted in Koblenz. Align your visits with local festivals to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the city. 
  • Bring a jacket: The weather may get chilly if the weather turns foggy or after sunset hours. Dress in layers or carry a jacket to be comfortable throughout your journey. 
  • Arrive early to the boarding port: To avoid last-minute rushing, reach the boarding port at least 30 minutes before your tour’s scheduled departure. 
  • Check the weather forecast: Make sure to check the weather report before embarking on your Koblenz River cruise. Foggy weather conditions may affect your visibility. 
  • Use public transport: If you are planning on visiting over the weekend or in the summer months, consider using the metro to reach your boarding port, as parking is limited around this time. 

Most Koblenz cruises start from . Depending on which type of cruise you choose and for how long, the cost will vary. For example, the 1-hour sightseeing cruise departing from Cochem starts from €14. And, the 6-hour cruises following the Nostalgic route along River Rhine cost around €58.

It is best to pre-book Koblenz cruise tickets online to ensure guaranteed access to the boat no matter the crowd on the day of your visit. In the summer months, particularly between June to August, a number of locals also visit Koblenz during the summer holidays. Online ticket bookings ensure a worry-free experience. You may also chance upon exclusive discounts and complimentary add-ons. 

Koblenz is the meeting point of the River Rhine and Moselle. You have the opportunity to explore both these waterways if you choose Koblenz cruises. Cruises going towards the Upper Middle Rhine Valley , a UNESCO-listed landscape, famous for its medieval castles, depart from Koblenz. And, boat tours leading towards the wineries, villages, and vine-clad slopes around River Moselle depart from Cochem. 

The Nostalgia route Rhine cruise departs from Koblenz and goes south towards the Lorelai Rock. In between, the cruise sails past the medieval Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, the Romanesque-Gothic Marksburg Castle, and the fortified Rheinfels Castle, one of the largest ruins along the Rhine. These medieval castles are nestled amidst the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO-listed landscape. 

Depending on which route you choose, you can see a number of castles, wineries, and vineyards on Koblenz cruises. The Nostalgia route Rhine cruise takes you through the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, dotted with the Marksburg Castle, Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, Rheinfels Castle, and more. The Cochem sightseeing cruise sails along River Moselle and crosses past Reichsburg Cochem, Eltz Castle, Thurant Castle, and more. 

The Koblenz cruises are unique in the sense that they offer expansive views of both the Moselle and Rhine Valleys on your tour. You may see more or less of the valleys depending on the route you choose. The Cochem sightseeing cruise , which sails down River Moselle offers better views of the vineyards, wineries, and quaint towns nestled in the Moselle Valley. The Nostalgia Rhine cruise offers more expansive views of medieval castles and wineries in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley.

Depending on your cruise route, you can also choose the kind of boat you want to sail on. The Nostalgia Rhine route cruise offers a 1913 paddle boat steamer for a more authentic experience. The Cochem sightseeing cruise offers a luxurious boat with state-of-the-art facilities. 

There are various scheduled departures throughout the day for Koblenz River cruises. The 6-hour Nostalgia Rhine cruise is only available at 9am. The 1-hour Cochem sightseeing cruise operates from 10:30am to 6pm.

June to August offer the warmest temperatures, perfect for scenic, outdoor cruises. However, you will see a huge surge in visitors around this time, particularly due to the summer holidays. Choose the shoulder seasons, April, May, September, or October to sail along the Rhine and Moselle Rivers. The temperatures are pleasant and cooler than the summer months.

There are a variety of boat tours available. If you are short on time, choose the 1-hour Cochem sightseeing boat tour . This cruise traverses between the vineyard-clad slopes and small villages along River Moselle. And, if you have more than half a day to spare, go for the Nostalgic route along the Rhine River . It will take you all the way from the Upper Middle Rhine Valley to the legendary Lorelai Rock in around 6 hours.

Koblenz River cruises are accessible to passengers in wheelchairs. The panoramic boats as well as the 1913 paddle steamer boats, both are equipped with ramps and have experienced staff on board to assist visitors in navigating around the decks.

Most river cruises departing from Koblenz and Cochem allow pets on board. Check your ticket details for more information before embarking on your journey.

All cruises going along the Rhine and Moselle rivers are suitable for children. The boats have ramps and experienced staff to assist parents with prams and strollers and make sure that they have an enjoyable experience.

Best Day-Trip Boat Cruises on the Moselle River in Germany

Published on January 8, 2024

by Henk Bekker

in Germany , NAdX , Rhine River

The best sightseeing day-trip cruises on the Mosel River (Moselle) in Germany are from Cochem, Koblenz, Trier, and Bernkastel-Kues.

KD Moselprinz for Moselle River panorama cruises from Cochem in Germany

The meandering Moselle River ( Die Mosel ) is one of the most popular rivers for day-trip sightseeing cruises in Germany. Internationally less famous than the Rhine, many consider the Moselle Valley more beautiful and a more relaxed destination to visit. The Moselle cruise season is long with day-trip excursions and panorama cruises departing from Easter to October and also during the advent season over Christmas. Gebr. Kolb is the main cruise line on the Moselle with KD currently only having a presence in Cochem — buy KD tickets online . The area around Bernkastel-Kues is probably the most beautiful and best part of the Moselle for day cruises but many boats operate also from Cochem and Trier. Combining a bike ride, boat cruise, and wine tasting is a popular day-trip tour on the Mosel.

Cruising on the Moselle River in Germany

The Mosel (Moselle in French and English) flows from France (Epinal, Nancy, Metz), and forms the Luxembourg-German border (Schengen, Remich), before meandering through Germany towards its confluence with the Rhine River at Koblenz. Traditionally, it was a major transportation link for French mining and industrial products meaning water levels are controlled to make year-round cruising possible.

For pleasure cruises, the constantly meandering river with steep vineyards, picture-perfect villages, and castles is perfect for sightseeing but progress is slow. The Moselle valley is narrower than the Rhine with steeper slopes and more curves to make the landscape more interesting. Although the Loreley Valley of the Middle Rhine remains the most popular stretch of river for excursion cruises in Germany, many consider much of the Moselle more beautiful.


Moselle River Boat Cruises and Cruise Lines

Multiple-day cruises on the Moselle River are popular but less common than on for example the Rhine or the Danube Rivers. Day-trip excursion cruises usually operate within small regions, especially around Cochem, Bernkastel-Kues, and Trier where panorama cruises and excursions are possible. From Koblenz , riverboats mostly cruise up the Rhine rather than up the Mosel.

Gebr. Kolb operates most Mosel excursions and panorama cruises in Germany. The main departures are from Cochem, Bernkastel, and Trier. Köln-Düsseldorfer ( KD ), the largest operator of pleasure boats on the Rhine River , currently limits its activities on the Mosel to sightseeing panorama cruises in Cochem — easily booked online .

Moselle River Cruise Prices

Return tickets for Moselle River cruises are only marginally more expensive than one-way fares. On long cruises such as Cochem to Koblenz or Traben-Trarbach, the one-way fare is around €28 (return €39). Panorama cruises are usually around €13 for one-hour cruises or €20 for two-hour cruises. Children under 14 pay half the price.

On some cruises, two may cruise for half price on an exact birthday. Students usually receive some discount, seniors mostly not. Dogs usually go for free, bicycles may add €3-4 depending on the cruise. KD has a long list of special fares but these are more useful on Rhine cruises.

Tickets for the panorama cruise of KD in Cochem are easy to buy online (and usually a bit cheaper). However, for other cruises buy tickets from kiosks at major stops or directly on the boat. Tickets may be bought online too but for Kolb it is still a cumbersome process.

Trains are often not an option to return from a cruise on the Moselle River. Koblenz, Cochem, and Trier are linked by frequent trains but the railways are not in the river valley and many of the smaller towns are only sporadically reached by public transportation. Buses are rare at night.

Best Times to Cruise on the Mosel

Bruttig-Fankel on the Mosel in Autumn

Boat cruises are available most days on the Mosel from early April (or Easter if it falls in March) to late October. Weekends usually have more cruises while the lowest number of cruises are on Mondays. During the main season from May to September, cruises depart every day of the week. More interesting options, including biking and wine tastings , are also only available in the main season.

Longer cruises such as Cochem to Koblenz are usually done only once or twice a week while shorter cruises may depart several times per day. Cochem has the highest number of options, although cruising in the region between Bernkastel-Kues and Traben-Trarbach is probably the most spectacular.

The Moselle Valley in Germany is beautiful year-round but autumn, when the vines turn yellow and red, is probably the most beautiful time of the year to visit and cruise on the Mosel.

Cruises in winter are limited but some are available during the romantic Advent and Christmas market seasons, especially in Bernkastel and Trier. Don’t expect any cruises in January, February, or March.

Moselle Panorama Cruises in Cochem

Moselle River cruises are popular from Cochem on the Mosel in Germany

Cochem, where the beautiful Reichsburg (Imperial Castle) towers over the city and Moselle Valley, is one of the best Mosel towns for day trips and sightseeing riverboat cruises. Gebr. Kolb and Köln-Düsseldorfer (KD) both have several sightseeing panorama cruises per day. Kolb further has excursion tours from Cochem to many Moselle towns.

The panorama excursion cruises are usually an hour with up to 12 departures per day. These panorama cruises are very similar and the best choice is usually simply the next boat to depart. Prices, around €12 for the one-hour cruise, are the same for both cruise lines. Buy KD cruise tickets online or simply from the kiosk or when boarding.

Mosel Excursion Cruises from Cochem

Kolb offers a variety of excursion cruises from Cochem to other popular Moselle destinations. Cruises downriver to Koblenz or to visit Burg Eltz are classics but the views are better upriver from Cochem. These riverboats call frequently at stops along the route, where it is possible to join the cruise or to disembark for sightseeing.

The most frequent excursion on the Moselle from Cochem is to Beilstein (via Ernst , Bruttig, and Schleuse Frankel) — around an hour each way. This is the only routing on this part of the Moselle where it is possible to interrupt a cruise and continue with a later boat.

A few times per week, it is possible to cruise upriver from Cochem to Traben-Trarbach — around four hours each way. An alternative is a cruise from Zell to Cochem — three hours each way. Both cruises allow for some sightseeing at the destination before returning.

The classic cruise from Cochem to the confluence with the Rhine in Koblenz is done only on Fridays. Cruising time is around four hours each way with more than two hours allowed for sightseeing before turning back. Trains are an easy alternative to return to Cochem from Koblenz.

Boats also cruise several times per day from Cochem to Karden — from here, it is a two-hour hike to beautiful Burg Eltz .

The Goldstück often arrives from Alken while a fun combination is a bike ride and wine tasting .

Moselle River Cruises from Bernkastel-Kues

Summer night with cruise boats on the Moselle River in Bernkastel-Kues in Germany.

Beautiful, romantic Bernkastel-Kues is one of the most picturesque Moselle wine towns. It is a popular departure point for Mosel cruises but is also frequently the destination. Not only is Bernkastel-Kues a particularly beautiful town but the meandering Moselle is at its most beautiful in this region.

Popular excursion cruises connect Bernkastel-Kues and Traben-Trarbach several times per day. Although the flight distance between these two towns is only around 3 miles, the meandering river needs around 15 miles with cruises taking around 2 hours (with stops). Boats also frequently arrive in Bernkastel from Alf, Bully, Zell, Leiwen, Piesport, and Trier.

One-hour panorama cruises depart several times per day from Bernkastel from Easter to October. Panorama cruises are also offered in advent — the beautiful Christmas Weihnachtsmarkt in Bernkastel-Kues attracts visitors from many parts of Europe.

Moselle River Cruises from Trier

Trier, famous for its Roman monuments and as the birthplace of Karl Marx, is also a popular departure point from Moselle River cruises.

Panorama cruises — one or two hours — depart frequently. Seniors (60+) should check the times for Seniorenfahrten when a coffee and waffle add only €1 to the regular cruise price!

Excursion cruises from Trier go downriver to Bernkastel-Kues (over four hours each way) or upstream and into the Saar River to Saarburg (two hours).

Trier also has many Christmas markets and event cruises in winter.

Henk Bekker in armor

About the author:

Henk Bekker

Henk Bekker is a freelance travel writer with over 20 years of experience writing online. He is particularly interested in history, art, and culture. He has lived most of his adult life in Germany, Switzerland, and Denmark. In addition to European-Traveler.com , he also owns a travel website on the Lake Geneva region of Switzerland and maintains statistical websites on car sales and classic car auction prices . Henk holds an MBA from Edinburgh Business School and an MSc in Development Finance from the University of London.

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Rhine Experience Koblenz 2025

Rhine Experience Koblenz 2025 0

Highlights of the Rhine River Cruise

Experience the best of the city and nature.

From Cologne to Nijmegen, Düsseldorf, Koblenz, Mainz and Rüdesheim to Cologne.

How to turn black powder into colourful works of fire art? We'd have to do our own research first. But one thing is certain: at "Rhine in Flames" we celebrate our joie de vivre in all colours and shapes. Perhaps also the anticipation of the next part of the journey on the Rhine, the beauty that we have already seen, the relief that everyday life is far away. In any case, the fireworks display in the Rhine Valley against the unique backdrop of castles and wine villages is always a particularly emotional and unforgettable event for boat travellers.

[Translate to English:] Blick auf Düsseldorf Medienhafen mit Skyline bei Abenddämmerung

Düsseldorf’s old town – also known as ‘the world’s longest bar’ – is the heart of the city. Freshly pulled Altbier (the local beer) in over 300 pubs brings a wide variety of people together for friendly nights out. But you don’t need alcohol to have fun in Düsseldorf. Luxury shopping boulevards like Königsallee, Kö for short, are great places to buy Christmas presents, while snow-covered green spaces and the beautiful Rhine Promenade are lovely places to stroll while taking a break from the legion of wonderful museums in this city of art.

[Translate to English:] Blick auf Koblenz am Deutsches Eck bei Sonnenaufgang

Discover Koblenz during your Rhine cruise. Its history dates back over 2,000 years, making it one of Germany’s oldest cities – and one of its most picturesque, with a wealth of sights and cultural attractions. Marvel at Koblenz’s palaces, stately homes, grand townhouses, narrow lanes and romantic corners. And watch as our A-ROSA ship sails close to the famous Deutsches Eck headland.

[Translate to English:] Blick von Weinbergen auf Rüdesheim mit St. Jakobus Kirche

The town of Rüdesheim lies in the middle of the UNESCO World Heritage Upper Middle Rhine Valley at the end of former merchant trading paths. At this strategically important place, it was once secured by not only one but four castles. The picturesque town is known worldwide for its excellent wine. The old town with its small, cozy alleyways is also worth a visit on this Rhine cruise. The "Drosselgasse", with its half-timbered houses, is also known as the "longest wine bar in the world" and is said to be the most visited tourist attraction in Germany after Cologne Cathedral!

1st Day Cologne Dep 06:00 pm

We will set off on our exciting Rhine cruise from here, heading for the northern or the southern Rhine. But you shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to explore this cathedral city, with its wealth of monuments and attractions. The best way is to arrive the day before your cruise departs, so that you can relax – or simply extend your stay in Cologne after the cruise has ended.

A-ROSA Sena in Köln

2nd Day Nijmegen Arr 07:00 am Dep 04:00 pm

The Romans astutely identified the ideal location along the Rhine River nearly 2,000 years ago, laying the foundation for the oldest city in the Netherlands. Today, this Hanseatic city captivates visitors with its rich historical sites and the vibrant energy brought by its thriving student population. Nijmegen's liveliness extends to its city beaches, where you can immerse yourself in the beauty of its unique surroundings.

Kirche in Nijmegen

3rd Day Düsseldorf Arr 03:00 am Dep 07:00 pm

Helau ! Carnival is at home in the German city of Düsseldorf. But this Rhine metropolis has a lot more to offer beyond that. The state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia enchants visitors with its long history, its diverse range of cultural attractions (including museums and theatres) and its offbeat architecture. And you’ll find Fortuna here too – in the form of a football club. Lucky you! Discover Düsseldorf during your Rhine cruise and you’ll have plenty of stories to tell when you get home.

Medienhafen Düsseldorf mit A-ROSA entdecken

4th Day Koblenz Arr 10:00 am

Rhein-Kreuzfahrten nach Koblenz

5th Day Koblenz Dep 04:00 pm

6th day mainz arr 12:30 am dep 04:00 pm rüdesheim arr 07:00 pm.

Mainz bleibt Mainz (or ‘Mainz is always Mainz’) is more than a carnival motto. It is an expression of the easy-going way of life that makes the locals proud of their city, makes it easy for non-locals to settle in and helps visitors to enjoy their stay here. With 2,000 years of history, Mainz is not just one of the oldest cities in Germany – it is also a place where you can see history come alive wherever you turn.

St. Martin Dom in Mainz mit A-ROSA

The town describes its biggest attraction, the world-famous Drosselgasse, as ‘144 metres of joie de vivre ’. This centre of Rhine Romanticism once inspired poets and musicians – it was here that Brahms composed his Symphony No. 3. Rüdesheim is the best-known spot in the Rheingau and has plenty of cultural attractions, including stately homes and fortifications. And no visit to the towns and countryside of this area of the Rhine would be complete without a Rüdesheim coffee, which was invented here.

 Weinplantage Rüdesheim

7th Day Rüdesheim Dep 12:00 pm

8th day cologne arr 08:00 am.

In Köln geht Ihre aufregende Rhein-Kreuzfahrt zu Ende. Bevor Sie jedoch mit tausend Erinnerungen an Ihre Reise die Heimreise antreten, nutzen Sie doch noch den Tag, um sich weiter umzusehen und die Domstadt zu erkunden. Denn: einmal in Kölle, sollte man auch den Dom besucht haben. Bis bald und Ahoi!

A-ROSA Premium all inclusive

Enjoy your most beautiful time with maximum comfort and with the all-round carefree package: A-ROSA Premium all inclusive.

Your desired cabin? Voilà! Sauna, fitness area, pool? Always at your service! Top culinary menus? Enjoy your meal! Attractive discounts on all massage and beauty treatments? Of course! Plus many other benefits that will always put a smile on your face, while you have nothing to do but think about your next wish.

Included Services

  • Full BoardPlus: Comprehensive breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets with live-cooking stations, embarkation snack, as well as daily tea and coffee time
  • High-quality drinks included throughout the day: tea, coffee and coffee specialities, water, soft drinks, beer, prosecco, as well as a selection of wines
  • A-ROSA Best Price until 31 July 2024, Super Early Booking Discounts for bookings made until 30 November 2024 and Early Booking Discounts for bookings made until 28 February 2025 for cruises from March – October 2025 and bookings made until 31 August 2025 for cruises from November 2025 until January 2026.
  • Kids up to 15 years of age cruise for free on deck 1¹
  • One free change of reservation up to 30 days before departure
  • Comprehensive service concept with Guest Relations Management
  • Varied onboard entertainment for cruises of 7 nights or more with local performers
  • Room service in every cabin grade (during bar hours)²
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  • Free e-bikes for independent exploration, subject to availability⁴
  • English-speaking travel and hotel management
  • Transfer between airport or TGV train station and ship when arrival is booked through A-ROSA⁵
  • Toiletries as well as bathrobes on request
  • Ship transfers

¹ Children up to and including 15 years of age travel free of charge when accompanied by at least one (two in Cat. G) supervising adult on Deck 1. From Deck 2 children receive a 30 % discount. Furthermore, children up to 7 years of age accompanied by 2 supervising adults can use a sofa bed free of charge on the A-ROSA SENA in categories B - D. On the A-ROSA ALVA, A-ROSA ALEA & A-ROSA CLEA children accompanied by at least one supervising adult receive a 30 % discount. The children’s discount is only valid for the cruise itself. Limited availabilities on all cruises. ² Drinks only, according to the room service menu. Except A-ROSA ALVA, A-ROSA ALEA and A-ROSA CLEA ³ Except A-ROSA ALEA and A-ROSA CLEA ⁴ A-ROSA ALVA, A-ROSA ALEA & A-ROSA CLEA: E-bike rental not available. ⁵ If a flight or TGV booking is made through A-ROSA, the transfer is included. You will receive the relevant details with your travel information.

PLEASE NOTE: Transfer between railway station and ship on the Danube & Rhine can be booked for an additional fee.

A-ROSA Best Price

A-ROSA Best Price until 31 July 2024 , Super Early Booking Discounts for bookings made until 30 November 2024 and Early Booking Discounts for bookings made until 28 February 2025 for cruises from March – October 2025 and bookings made until 31 August 2025  for cruises from November 2025 until January 2026.


Choose exactly the cabin you like. If available, we will book your desired cabin with cabin number.

Dates & Prices

03. aug 2025 - 10. aug 2025 a-rosa viva from € 1,198 pp select cabin from € 1,198 pp.

Spacious, comfortable outside cabin. Elegant design and first-class materials ensure an atmosphere of well-being. Cabin facilities: safe, air-conditioning, TV, hair dryer, bathroom with shower and toilet, sauna towel, wool blanket, telephone, bathrobe.

Kabine A-ROSA Flusskreuzfahrt auf der Seine

Spacious, comfortable outside cabin with Juliette balcony. Elegant design and first-class materials ensure an atmosphere of well-being. Cabin facilities: safe, air-conditioning, TV, fly screen, hair dryer, bathroom with shower and toilet, sauna towel, wool blanket, telephone, bathrobe.

Seinekreuzfahrt mit A-ROSA Kabine

Arrival & hotel

Suitable accommodation for their arrival and departure.

You want a relaxed arrival and departure? Then choose one of these hotels! Your advantage: You arrive already one or two days before disembarkation and can consciously look forward to the journey with A-ROSA. Or you can let your vacation come to an end in a very juicy way before you start your journey home. All hotels are personally and carefully selected by us to round off your vacation.

Hotel Dorint Cologne 2025 from € 138 pp

Luxury in the middle of the city center is what the Dorint Hotel am Heumarkt Cologne offers you. The panoramic elevator with a view of the cathedral takes you to your chic room, which includes everything you need to work and relax. In addition, an exclusive fitness and wellness area (fee required) with glass-roofed pool and the chic Harry's New-York Bar await you.

Prices include the tax for the promotion and advancement of culture. Not valid during certain exhibitions in Cologne.

Included services Overnight stay incl. breakfast, extended stay possible

Hotel Rhein

Standard Room

Double occupancy

€ 138   pp

Single occupancy

€ 238   pp

Superior Room

€ 178   pp

Family 2 Rooms with connecting door

2 rooms with connecting door

€ 228   pp

Maritim Hotel Cologne 2025 from € 118 pp

The Maritim Hotel Cologne is located directly on the Rhine, only a few steps away from the charming old town, the cathedral and the city centre as well as the central station. The hotel impresses with its extraordinary architecture and has 454 rooms and suites, all of which are equipped with a bathroom/toilet, minibar, safe, radio, TV and a telephone. In the spacious, glass-roofed hotel lobby you will find a variety of boutiques and restaurants.

Maritim Köln

€ 118   pp

€ 128   pp

€ 218   pp


€ 1.568   pp

€ 288   pp

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Admire Rhine Valley vistas from a 900-year-old castle. Sample the culinary delights of Austria’s Wachau Valley. Learn the Viennese waltz, visit Melk’s Benedictine Abbey and delve into Nuremberg’s World War II history. Indulge your senses on this 15-day journey spanning the best of Europe, tracing the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers between the windmill-dotted waterways of Holland and the stunning landscapes of Hungary, with engaging encounters at every bend.


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To learn more about each port of call and our included as well as optional excursions, click on the individual days below.

Itinerary and shore excursions are subject to change and may vary by departure.

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Your Stateroom Includes:

River-view stateroom

Bottled water replenished daily

110/220 volt outlets

Queen-size Viking Explorer Bed (optional twin-bed configuration) with luxury linens & pillows

Private bathroom with shower, heated floor & anti-fog mirror

Premium Freyja® toiletries

Plush robes & slippers (upon request)

40" or 42" flat-screen Sony® TV with infotainment system featuring Movies On Demand, plus CNBC, CNN, FOX & more

Telephone, safe, refrigerator

Individual climate control

*All amenities on board Viking Longships; amenities vary on other ships.

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More days means more to discover, with extension packages you can add before or after your Viking cruise or cruisetour. Enjoy additional days to explore your embarkation or disembarkation city, or see a new destination altogether with a choice of exciting cities. Pre & Post Cruise Extensions vary by itinerary and are subject to change.

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10 hot river cruises to book this year

Donna Heiderstadt

There are classic river itineraries — the Danube, the Rhine, the Rhone and the Nile — that anyone who appreciates the ease and camaraderie of river cruising can book with most of the top cruise lines. But those aren't your only options.

The most exciting river cruises to book this year are the new offerings that go off the beaten path, explore an unsung river or combine a standard seven-night sailing with a novel land tour.

For cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Here are 10 new itineraries for 2024 and 2025 that are taking river cruising beyond the familiar, including several on recently launched or soon-to-debut river ships.

AmaWaterways' 7-night Wonders of Colombia and Magic of Colombia

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Love South America but have already cruised the Amazon? Consider AmaWaterways ' newest ship, AmaMagdalena. Debuting in January 2025, the 60-passenger ship will sail two alternating seven-night itineraries year-round on Colombia's Magdalena River, traveling from Cartagena to Barranquilla and vice versa.

With the Wonders of Colombia itinerary , you'll board AmaMagdalena in coastal Cartagena, a popular Caribbean port on Panama Canal transits that you can now also enjoy on a river cruise. Arrive a day early or book a two-night precruise add-on to see sights such as the historic Walled City, San Felipe de Barajas Castle and the Gold Museum.

Following a sunset sail away, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and tastes of Colombia via a local music experience in Palenque, the first "free town" in the Americas after a 1713 decree from the Spanish crown freed residents from slavery. You can also check out 19th-century Calamar on a paola (a two-person bicycle taxi) and the jazz music and local handicrafts available in Santa Barbara de Pinto and Mompox.

El Banco and Magangue round out the list of port calls before the cruise ends with a tour of the floating village of Nueva Venecia and an evening Carnival celebration in the seaside port of Barranquilla.

Choose the Magic of Colombia itinerary , from Barranquilla to Cartagena, and you'll visit the same ports, just in a different order. Rather than end your cruise with the Carnival celebration, you'll experience it on your first day. You can also book several precruise and postcruise land tours, including three nights precruise in Medellin, three nights postcruise in Panama or both.

AmaMagdalena will be joined in June 2025 by 64-passenger AmaMelodia. Both vessels will offer spacious (237- to 516-square-foot) staterooms and suites, as well as a heated pool on the sun deck and two dining options: the main restaurant, serving Latin American cuisine and Western favorites, and an intimate alfresco dining experience.

Related: Best river cruise lines around the world

American Cruise Lines' 15-night National Parks & Legendary Rivers

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American Cruise Lines ' itineraries on the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon and Washington already attract travelers who appreciate the stunning landscapes of the Pacific Northwest, but now the cruise line has a 15-night National Parks & Legendary Rivers itinerary that takes scenic appreciation to another level.

The trip combines an eight-night cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers with a seven-night land tour to three national parks: Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton. The itinerary visits five states and begins or ends in either Portland, Oregon, or Jackson, Wyoming, depending on whether you do the land or cruise portion first.

What will you see on this cruise? If you start in Portland, you'll overnight before boarding one of the company's modern, 180-passenger river ships: American Jazz, American Harmony or American Song. Your first day will be spent enjoying scenic cruising along the Columbia River, with Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens as a backdrop, as you head to Astoria, Oregon. The historic seaside city is known for its beautiful Victorian houses and red trolleys.

Geology enthusiasts and anyone who remembers the devastating May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens will be fascinated by the port call in Kalama, Washington, where you can take an included guided excursion to the National Volcanic Monument. The following day will be spent cruising the Columbia River Gorge before you arrive in Stevenson, Washington, where a visit to 620-foot Multnomah Falls is a highlight. The final two days feature views of the dramatic landscapes of the Snake River in eastern Washington as you call on Richland before disembarking in Clarkston.

The guided national parks tour begins with a drive to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, for a lake cruise followed by an overnight in Kalispell, Montana. Once in Glacier National Park, you'll navigate Going-to-the-Sun Road and dine at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge.

The tour continues on to Yellowstone National Park, where your adventure guides will offer insight as you explore Mammoth Hot Springs, Norris Geyser Basin, Tower Fall and Old Faithful, among other highlights. A visit to Grand Teton National Park and its Jackson Lake Lodge follows, with your final day spent admiring the park's incredible mountain vistas and abundant wildlife.

Related: The best US river cruises

American Cruise Lines' 50-night The Great United States

river boat cruises koblenz

If 15 nights aren't enough to satisfy your wanderlust, American Cruise Lines offers a 50-night version of The Great United States program for 2025.

The 2025 sailing encompasses three cruises. It takes the 15-night National Parks & Legendary Rivers itinerary described above and adds a 21-night Mississippi River cruise from New Orleans to St. Paul, Minnesota, aboard 180-passenger American Serenade, which will call on 21 ports in six states. Along the Mississippi, you'll have a chance to visit Civil War battlefields in Vicksburg, Mississippi; Mark Twain's boyhood home in Hannibal, Missouri; and the landmark Gateway Arch in St. Louis. You can also enjoy legendary blues music on Beale Street in Memphis.

That segment will be followed by a 14-night, 14-port cruise along the coast of New England on 125-passenger American Pioneer (debuting in 2025). The ship will sail round-trip from Boston and visit scenic coastal ports in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including the quintessential New England islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

Tour options will include visits to the Maine Botanical Garden in Boothbay Harbor and Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, an SUV adventure along the dunes of Provincetown on Cape Cod and a tour of the gilded mansions of Newport in Rhode Island.

In total, you'll check off 15 states from your must-visit list during this river cruise. That's an impressive number of destinations to visit in a single trip.

Avalon Waterways' 7-night Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro

river boat cruises koblenz

Portugal's Douro River Valley is beloved by oenophiles. Over the past few decades, it has also attracted river cruisers seeking a relaxing itinerary punctuated by sleepy small towns and the daily enjoyment of local food and wine.

In March 2024, Avalon Waterways added the Douro River to its offerings when it debuted 102-passenger Avalon Alegria sailing an itinerary called Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro . The seven-night cruise is round trip from Porto, where there's time at the start and end of your cruise to explore this colorful city's historic port-wine cellars, churches and bridges (including the Ponte de Dona Maria Pia, designed in 1877 by Gustave Eiffel).

Noteworthy stops range from an afternoon call on Porto Antigo, with included excursions to monasteries and churches in Braga and Guimaraes, to a call at Peso de Regua, where sightseeing and wine tasting go hand in hand. You'll even have an opportunity to add an optional excursion from Pinhao to the elaborate 18th-century Baroque palace Casa de Mateus (of rose wine fame).

Save time for the onboard activities, too. After a full-day excursion from Barca d'Alva to Salamanca, Spain — a city known for its mix of Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque architectural styles — you can learn how to paint azulejos (Portugal's famous blue-hued handmade tiles) or enjoy a pastry-making demonstration on the ship the next morning.

Related: The best river cruises in Europe

CroisiEurope's 7-night A Cruise Through Four Exquisite European Valleys

river boat cruises koblenz

Germany is known for its scenic river valleys, and a new itinerary from French river cruise line CroisiEurope doesn't skimp on beautiful vistas. Called A Cruise Through Four Exquisite European Valleys , the seven-night, round-trip sailing departs from Strasbourg, France, and visits the Rhine, Neckar, Moselle and Saar river valleys.

The ship for this itinerary, 81-passenger Elbe Princesse II, is one of CroisiEurope's three paddle river boats. It normally navigates the Elbe River between Berlin and Prague. However, from July to October 2025, the ship will be cruising the Rhine and its tributaries.

This river cruise kicks off on the Saar River, famous for the Great Bend at Mettlach (the river equivalent of a hairpin turn), and overnights in the town of Saarburg, Germany. After a morning scenic cruise onto the Moselle River, you'll visit Trier, Germany, known for its ancient Roman structures and its photogenic medieval buildings, before continuing on to Cochem, Germany, where you can enjoy an afternoon visit to the hilltop Reichsburg Castle.

Larger cities like Koblenz, Germany, located at the confluence of the Rhine and Moselle rivers and home to Ehrenbreitstein Fortress, are also on the itinerary. The trip features a stop in wine-centric Rudesheim, Germany, as well, so you can sample some vino and enjoy a ride on a scenic train while in the Rhine Valley.

The final day calls on a trio of German ports on the Neckar River. In the morning, you'll visit Mannheim and disembark for a coach transfer to Heidelberg, home to pink-hued Heidelberg Castle, historic churches and atmospheric beer halls. You'll then reboard Elbe Princesse II in Heidelberg and sail to Eberbach, a medieval city with an abundance of half-timbered homes and ancient fountains. The ship will overnight as you enjoy a final gala dinner before disembarking in Strasbourg the next morning.

Riverside Luxury Cruises' 11-night Danube and Main River Discovery

river boat cruises koblenz

With the March 2024 debut of 110-passenger Riverside Debussy, Europe-based newcomer Riverside Luxury Cruises has added more than a half-dozen new three- to 21-night itineraries, with options on the Rhine, Main, Moselle and Danube rivers. In October 2024, the ship will sail an 11-night Danube and Main River Discovery itinerary from Budapest to Frankfurt that combines the highlights of two rivers and visits four countries: Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany.

You'll embark Riverside Debussy in Hungary's capital before cruising past the illuminated Hungarian Parliament Building on your way to Bratislava. The capital of Slovakia is home to a hilltop castle, a walkable pedestrian zone and pubs serving local beer.

The next day, discover the history and artistry of Vienna with visits to its Hapsburg-era palaces, 16th-century St. Stephen's Cathedral and numerous museums. Charming Durnstein, Austria, is known for its medieval castle and a riverfront abbey with a pretty blue-and-white spire, while the golden-hued abbey in nearby Melk, Austria, celebrates the flavor of apricots in preserves and liquors.

As you reach Passau, Germany, which sits on the confluence of three rivers, you'll enter Bavaria and discover a walkable city with a domed 17th-century Baroque cathedral. The next day on the Main River (a Rhine tributary), you'll tour Regensburg, Germany, including its UNESCO World Heritage-listed city center, before spending two days exploring Nuremberg, Germany, which has a notably complex history.

Rounding out the cruise are calls on Bamberg, Wurzburg and Wertheim, Germany, with bustling Frankfurt — where historic remnants of the Middle Ages meet modern skyscrapers — serving as the departure port.

Related: River cruise packing list: What to pack when traveling by riverboat

Scenic's 66-night Scenic Cruising Through Europe

river boat cruises koblenz

If you have two months to spare, a fascination with history, a love of fine wines and a generous budget, you can explore the rivers of Europe in one epic trip with Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. The new 66-night Scenic Cruising Through Europe journey — available on two dates in 2025 ( May 4-July 9 and Aug. 16-Oct. 21 ) — explores more than a half dozen major rivers and waterways and calls on almost 60 ports in 13 countries.

The first part of the journey begins in Bucharest, Romania, with an overnight in a luxury hotel before you set sail on one of Scenic's 163-guest Space-Ships from Giurgiu. You'll cruise the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers all the way to Belgium and the Netherlands, then backtrack along the Rhine to Basel, Switzerland, taking some time to explore towns along the Moselle River.

This portion of the trip will take 36 days, and you'll explore ports in Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. You'll spend two days each in Budapest, Vienna and Amsterdam, and scenic highlights include Austria's Wachau Valley and Germany's Rhine River Gorge, with its many hilltop castles.

After a flight from Zurich to Paris, you'll start the next leg of your trip when you board 124-passenger Scenic Gem for a 10-night cruise on the Seine River. Visit historic Rouen and Honfleur or take excursions to Claude Monet's home and gardens at Giverny and the WWII beaches at Normandy.

Next, you'll fly from Paris to Bordeaux and board 149-passenger Scenic Diamond for a 10-night journey along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers in the heart of France's Bordeaux wine region.

On day 57, you'll fly from Bordeaux to Porto, Portugal, to board 96-passenger Scenic Azure on the Douro River for the final 10-night leg of your trip. You'll explore the legendary port cellars of Porto, taste wine amid the terraced vineyards of the Douro Valley and venture into Spain for a day trip to Salamanca. Your river cruise — and this epic 66-night journey — concludes back in Porto with an overnight, allowing you more time to experience this exceptional city.

Tauck's 13-night Romantic Capitals: Prague to Paris

river boat cruises koblenz

Tauck's newest river offering in Europe for 2025 is its 13-night Romantic Capitals: Prague to Paris itinerary. This multiriver and land journey is available from April to October on Tauck ships Joy and Savor.

You'll start your journey with two nights at the Fairmont Golden Prague Hotel and enjoy ample time to take in sights such as Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. You'll then transfer to Regensburg, Germany, for a nine-day cruise to Trier along the Main, Rhine, Moselle and upper Danube rivers, as well as the Main-Danube Canal.

Ports and cities visited on excursions include Frankfurt, Koblenz, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wurzburg, Wertheim and Boppard, Germany. Exclusive experiences available to Tauck guests range from a private reception and dinner at Schlosshotel Kronberg near Frankfurt to a visit to the legendary Nurburgring racetrack near Koblenz.

You'll continue your trip on land with a quick stop in Luxembourg for a walking tour of its capital city. Afterward, you'll board a train to Paris, where your journey will conclude with a two-night stay at L'Hotel du Collectionneur.

Uniworld's 13-night Cruise & Rail: Paris to Istanbul

river boat cruises koblenz

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has added a new 13-night Cruise & Rail: Paris to Istanbul itinerary to its 2025 journeys. The two-week cruise offers you the chance to experience these two legendary cities, visit landmarks along the Seine River and then travel by luxury sleeper train for five nights from Paris through six additional countries to Istanbul. A 14-night reverse itinerary from Istanbul to Paris is also available.

If you begin your journey in Paris, you'll board Uniworld's 128-passenger Joie de Vivre for a seven-night Seine River cruise. Highlights include visits to Claude Monet's home and gardens at Giverny and Normandy's medieval capital, Rouen, known for its 11th-century cathedral and Joan of Arc history. A second stop in Rouen gives you a choice of excursions to the beaches of Normandy. This portion of the trip concludes with a stop at Versailles and an overnight in Paris.

You'll then transfer to Gare de Lyon and board the Golden Eagle Danube Express. First stop: the vineyards of Champagne for a tasting. The next day, the majestic scenery of the Austrian Alps are a daytime highlight, while dinner and a private classical concert in Vienna are on the evening agenda. After a morning exploring the city, you'll be back on board as your train heads to Postojna, Slovenia, where you'll enjoy a nighttime tour of the intricate Postojna Caves.

A visit to the Serbian capital of Belgrade rewards you with a traditional feast, while the next day's stop in Sofia, capital of Bulgaria, offers architectural and archeological gems in a city dating back 7,000 years. Upon disembarking in Istanbul, you'll spend a night at the luxurious Four Seasons Sultanahmet and have time to explore nearby sights, which include the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Topkapi Palace.

Viking's 10-night Rhine & Main Explorer from Nuremberg to Basel

river boat cruises koblenz

Viking 's newest itinerary for 2025 is the 10-night Rhine & Main Explorer , which cruises from Nuremberg to Basel (or vice versa) from May to November and visits cities in Germany, France and Switzerland. It's a new mix of ports for Viking, including some lesser-known historic towns in Germany's Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria regions.

You'll board one of the cruise line's 190-passenger Viking Longships in Nuremberg, where an overnight offers time to learn about the city's medieval structures and past as a staging ground for Nazi rallies. More medieval architecture awaits in Bamberg, famous for its river-spanning Altes Rathaus (Town Hall) and its rauchbier (smoked beer). If wine is your preferred spirit, you're in luck, as Wurzburg, a city in Germany's Franken wine region, is also on the itinerary.

As you continue your cruise, you'll see the vibrant half-timbered houses and sample the hearty Bavarian cuisine (think: bratwurst and pork knuckle) of Marktheidenfeld, Germany. A visit to bustling Frankfurt, which provides a stark contrast between historic and modern Germany, is also in order after an afternoon spent sailing past the Main River's castle-topped hillsides.

France's Alsace region gets its turn when you call on Strasbourg, known for its beautifully preserved Old Town encircled by the Ill River. The itinerary also includes a stop across the Rhine in Breisach, Germany, the gateway to the Black Forest and a town full of vineyards. You'll end your journey with a full day of exploring charming guild house-lined Marktplatz, history-rich streets and more than 40 museums in Basel.

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'You're not fighting the crowds' in Europe when you visit on a river cruise

river boat cruises koblenz

Europe has no shortage of marquee tourist hot spots , but Diamond Meadows’ first river cruise there didn’t include them.

The 28-year-old graduate student took a cruise along the Rhine and Moselle rivers that took her to cities like Koblenz and Trier in Germany (she supplemented the sailing with train travel around Austria, Switzerland and elsewhere).

Meadows was traveling with her mom and her mom’s boss, who uses a wheelchair. The group chose the CroisiEurope Cruises sailing for the ease of sailing with a mobility device . But she discovered other upsides.

“It takes you exactly into the heart of the city,” said Meadows, who is based in Tennessee. Their roughly 160-guest vessel offered convenient drop-offs in smaller destinations, allowing them “to access so much more.”

Many European destinations were packed with tourists last summer . But river cruises in the continent can offer a more laid-back way to travel with small ships visiting a mix of popular and less-crowded ports.

Are river cruises better than ocean cruises?

Jen Campbell Boles, founder of the travel agency Explore More Family Travel, said that while cruising in general is a “great value for seeing Europe,” river sailings are particularly immersive. “One quote we always use in the travel industry is, ‘Ocean cruise liners take you to the destination, river cruises take us through the destination,’” she said.

Passengers visit not only major cities but also quaint villages and often disembark within walking distance of attractions. When they are done exploring, they return to a ship with an average of 150 guests.

“It's more intimate, it's cozier,” said Campbell Boles. “You're not fighting the crowds, obviously.”

That was part of the draw for Jim Jones, 57, who took Avalon Waterways river cruises with his wife in 2011 and 2014.

“The smaller cities were an attraction,” said Jones, who is based in Phoenix and works for a software company. He enjoyed visiting Avignon in the south of France, for example, which was once the seat of the papacy . “I’m a total history geek,” he said. On their first cruise, he recalled, “just about every town” they visited had a farmers’ market, allowing them to sample local food.

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Unlike ocean cruise ships, with their large casinos and plentiful bars, onboard “it was very relaxed and a much slower pace.”

River cruise vessels tend to have “less bells and whistles,” Campbell Boles said (though she added that guests get a more personalized experience as a result of their small size).

Adam Duckworth, president and founder of Travelmation, echoed that. He said the cruises are less about the ship than where it’s going. “This is truly an experience about itineraries.”

Are European river cruises cheaper than land-based trips?

While travelers can find land-based accommodations that are less expensive than river cruises, there are other factors to consider.

River cruises tend to bundle more costs, such as alcohol in the fare, than a mainstream ocean cruise line, Duckworth said (though exact policies vary by line). At least one excursion per day is typically included, as well, Campbell Boles added.

She said demand for Europe is still “through the roof” and land-based pricing is particularly high. “Even if you're staying in the highest category stateroom or suite, you're spending less than an equivalent hotel,” she said.

Are luxury cruise ships worth the money? We did the math for Silversea's Silver Nova.

Would you spend $14,000 on a cruise? Here's why these travelers splurged.

Transportation from one destination to another is also built into a river cruise, whereas travelers might have to take a train or make other arrangements to visit a mix of places. “I mean that really adds up in Europe, so this is a great way to see a lot more variety,” Campbell Boles said.

Passengers can also add pre- and post-cruise stays, allowing them to “get the best of both worlds.”

“What we say is that a river cruise oftentimes can be a premium product,” added Duckworth. “But for what you're experiencing – the comfort, the (lower) stress, the luxurious experience on board – we find it to be actually the best value through Europe from our experience.”

Are European river cruises kid-friendly?

Since river cruises require a certain amount of free time – most are at least seven days long – they have tended to be popular with older guests, according to Duckworth.

But in the past couple of years, he has noticed more multigenerational travel in the sector. “We're seeing grandparents bring their grandkids, we're seeing young professionals go on a river in Europe for the first time,” Duckworth said.

Some operators have offerings that are particularly well-suited to younger guests. Adventures by Disney offers river cruises with AmaWaterways, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises has a Generations Collection .

How long should I go on a cruise?: How long and short cruises compare

Even if programming is curated with kids in mind, though, Duckworth cautioned that river cruise vessels don’t offer the same breadth of amenities as large ocean ships. “If your kids want to go to a waterpark and they want to go on a FlowRider and they want to play putt-putt all day, there are great lines for you, but a European river cruise is probably not one of them currently,” he said.

Some lines also don’t allow kids or have varying age requirements, so it’s important to do some research beforehand.

For those going for the first time, Campbell Boles suggested starting with a cruise on the Danube or Rhine since they are “kind of the most iconic.”

“I mean, it’s Europe,” she added. “It’s going to be great no matter what river you go on.”

Nathan Diller is a consumer travel reporter for USA TODAY based in Nashville, Tennessee. You can reach him at [email protected].

river boat cruises koblenz

AmaWaterways Opens Reservations on 2026 River Cruises

R iver cruise line AmaWaterways has opened its 2026 season early today due to popular demand for its 2024 and 2025 cruise seasons, offering its full slate of river cruises and pre- and post-cruise land packages for travelers and their travel advisors to book now. 

A dedicated brochure for travel advisors and their clients featuring the 2026 river cruise season will be available later this summer. 

In 2026, the river cruise line will add two new ships to its fleet . The AmaSofia will sail the Danube River beginning May 24, 2026, while the AmaMaya will sail the Mekong River in August.The river cruise line is also offering two new land packages for those booking a seven-night Taste of Bordeaux sailing in 2026. Guests can choose a new four-night pre-cruise land package featuring two nights in Madrid and two nights in San Sebastián, or enjoy three nights in Paris. 

Those cruising along the Rhine and Moselle rivers in Europe will also enjoy new excursions in 2026, including a visit to Utretcht, a walking tour of Baden-Baden and a visit to France’s oldest Christmas market in Strasbourg on Rhine itineraries. Those sailing the Moselle will enjoy a visit to Wiesbaden, home to Roman-era thermal hot springs. 

AmaWaterways will become the first major river cruise line to sail Colombia’s Magdalena River in 2025. With many already sold out for 2025, the 2026 sailings offer more opportunity for interested travelers. Pre- and post-cruise optional land packages visit Panama City and Medellín, Colombia. The new itineraries were previously expected to debut in 2024, but have been pushed back to debut in January, 2025 . 

Additionally, the line offers one 11-night itinerary in Egypt onboard the AmaDahlia and  the newly launched AmaLilia  ships. It combines a seven-night voyage along the Nile with three nights pre-cruise and one night post-cruise in Cairo. The itinerary offers optional land packages to Dubai and Jordan. 

The cruise line’s five Chobe River itineraries offer incredible ways to visit Victoria Falls, Table Mountain and the incredible wildlife of South Africa, Tanzania and other countries in southern Africa. Guests can now reserve their spots on the 28-guest Zambezi Queen river ship for 2026. 

AmaMagna sails along the Danube in Bratislava, Slovakia.

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Rnc security closure on milwaukee river disrupts boat tour business.

Boat companies are navigating how to operate when the Secret Service plans to close parts of the Milwaukee River and harbor during RNC events.

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A docked boat is one that makes no money; just ask Jake Chianelli, a 20-year owner of Milwaukee Boat Line.

"During the course of the summer, we run narrated sightseeing tours every day, along with parties and festive events at night and private rentals," he said.

Vista King and Voyager are the two boats he operates, both will remain tied to the dock near Fiserv Forum during the Republican National Convention.

The Secret Service will restrict boat traffic on the Milwaukee River, from Cherry to Michigan Streets, costing his company cash.

"Those four days, you know, the ballpark gross sales is somewhere in the 15-20 thousand for those four days," he said.

But it's not just Monday through Thursday; Secret Service will close the river. New maps provided by the federal agency show the river will close at 8 a.m. Sunday ahead of the RNC. Chianelli already had Sunday booked and will have to adjust, which he says will double the loss.

"We have our public cruises. We have an event going on that night," he said.

Chianelli says he will likely make the week of the RNC a maintenance week, to keep his crew members working.

2024 rnc public access map

In addition to the river closure, starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 13, the Secret Service will restrict boat travel underneath the Hoan Bridge and the area around Henry Maier Festival Park for a private RNC event at the festival grounds. The area will be closed until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 14.

2024 rnc henry maier public access map

Derek Collins is the co-owner of Milwaukee Pedal Tavern Boats and also operates the popular Duffy boat rentals. Collins will adjust his operation, moving the boats he operates inside the security zone on the Milwaukee River to docks at Boone and Crockett in the Harbor District.

"We won't be able to go to the traditional downtown routes, but we can still go up and down the Menomonee River," he said.

Collins says his boats will still be moving, just avoiding the closed sections of the river. The week of the RNC is typically one of his busiest, but so far, he's expecting an average week, and it's not yet filled with RNC bookings.

"We have a couple of rentals, but we're anticipating a few more," he said. "So, we're thinking we'll probably get a few more once people actually get to Milwaukee."

Private boaters who live inside the closed zone can request travel with U.S. Coast Guard approval. Ships inside the zone, like the ships Chianelli operates, can allow people to board dockside but can't go anywhere.

The Port of Milwaukee says no cruise ships are scheduled in the time when the area under the Hoan Bridge and around the festival grounds will be closed.

"At the moment, it is too early to tell if this will impact commercial vessels, but we can confirm that no cruise ships are scheduled. We are in the process of communicating the closure to Port tenants. Part of that communication will include a request for any anticipated shipments during the closure. If we learn that vessel traffic is anticipated, we will work with our tenants, customers, and the vessel owners to develop a plan," said Port Director Jackie Q. Carter in an emailed statement to 12 News.

Other cruise companies are getting creative.

Edelweiss Cruises will bring one of its boats to Port Washington to help mitigate the loss of not being able to operate on the Milwaukee River. A spokesperson for the company says they have not seen any RNC reservations. It will keep two of its boats docked on the Milwaukee River near the State Street Bridge.

RNC 2024 Milwaukee: Street closures and security checkpoints

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E. coli levels of paris’ seine river soar one month before summer olympics.

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The Seine River remains a contaminated soup of E. coli and other potentially dangerous bacteria — despite Paris’ billion-dollar clean-up efforts ahead of next month’s Olympic games.

The famous waterway is not only one of the City of Light’s most recognizable natural features, it’s also set to serve as the field of competition for triathlon and marathon swimming events when the 2024 Summer Olympics kick off July 26.

Divers jump in the Seine by the Alexandre III bridge

Samples collected by the Eau de Paris monitoring group earlier this month showed levels of E. coli bacteria in the Seine hovering around 10 times higher than acceptable levels.

Eau de Paris gathered water samples from four locations spanning the river’s length, including the Alexandre III Bridge, the starting point for the Olympic and Paralympic triathlon and marathon swimming events.

E. coli contamination of water is typically linked to the presence of fecal matter.

It’s usually not fatal, but it can cause a range of unpleasant symptoms like diarrhea, pneumonia, urinary tract infections and sepsis.

In April, the nonprofit Surfrider Foundation Europe, which tested the water in the Seine over a six-month period, recorded “ alarmingly high ” bacterial levels — double what World Triathlon standards allow.

A report put out by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s office detailing Eau de Paris’ test results said they also found enterococci, another kind of gut-dwelling bacteria, in the river water dating back several weeks.

Hidalgo’s office blamed the poor water quality on seasonal factors like sunlight, water temperature and the flow of the river, all of which impact bacteria’s ability to thrive.

“Water quality therefore remains degraded due to an unfavorable hydrological context: rain, high flow, low sunshine, temperatures below seasonal standards and pollution from upstream,” the report read in part.

The problem was compounded by an unusually rainy spring which has caused the river’s flow to be 4-5 times typical summer levels.

On the shores of the Seine River in paris.

France has spent $1.5 billion over the last decade in a futile attempt to clean up the river, trying everything from improving Paris’ sewer system to building new water treatment and storage facilities, France24 reported.

The triathlon events taking place in the Seine are scheduled for July 30, with marathon swimming events in the river set for Aug. 8 and 9.

Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet in April suggested the triathlon event could be pushed back toward the end of the 19-day games, but even at this late no plans are known to alter the schedule.

Hidalgo and French President Emmanuel Macron have both pledged to take a dip in the Seine ahead of the games to demonstrate its cleanliness, CBS reported .

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9 bucket list cruises for seniors and retirees.

These cruise lines appeal to older travelers with adults-only sailings, accessible staterooms and more.

Cruises for Seniors and Retirees

Two senior cruisers lounge on a sundeck.

Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Make the memories of a lifetime on a cruise for seniors and retirees.

Cruises are an often dreamt-about retirement goal, especially for long-time cruise lovers who have always been short on time. Retirement can be the ideal season of life to sail off into the sunset for several weeks, whether to far-off lands like Antarctica or a peaceful journey down the Danube. In some cases, seniors embrace their golden years by booking epic, monthslong voyages around the world.

Many small- and medium-sized ships cater to the over-60 crowd, but that doesn't mean guests will be relegated to shuffleboard and bingo games. Today's seniors still have plenty of adventures to experience and memories to make, both on board and on shore. The following cruise lines offer the top bucket list sailings for seniors and retirees.

Windstar Cruises

Uniworld boutique river cruises, oceania cruises, holland america line, cunard line, aurora expeditions.

A Windstar Cruises ship sails along the water in Moorea.

Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Anyone who has ever fancied a near-private yacht-style cruise experience will love the vibe of Windstar Cruises. Each of its yachts holds between 148 and 342 guests, with a 1-to-1.5 crew-to-guest ratio. This makes for more intimate sailings – not only because there's simply less ship to maneuver on foot, but also because Windstar ships have access to ports that megaships aren't permitted to enter. The end result is the unique ability to explore lesser-known destinations and smaller cities. While Windstar is not a strictly adults-only cruise line , you won't see any little ones on board, either. Children must be at least 8 years old to sail on the line, which further adds to the high-end ambiance.

In 2021 and 2022, Windstar's Star Breeze, Star Pride and Star Legend ships received a refresh. The three all-suite yachts were cut in half and enhanced with new suites and amenities, bringing the capacity to 312 passengers on each vessel. These Star Plus Class ships also boast new restaurants, a reimagined spa and fitness center, and more efficient engines, among other improvements. Elevators help make the Star Plus Class ships more accessible for anyone with limited mobility (note that Wind Class ships Wind Star and Wind Spirit do not have elevators). Additionally, Star Breeze, Star Pride and Star Legend each have four wheelchair-accessible suites, which feature a smaller queen bed and reduced "wheel around" space.

On board, passengers can drop by the Open Bridge anytime for an impromptu lesson in chart reading, listen to live music in the Lounge or jump directly into the water from the Watersports Platform. Culinary highlights include restaurant Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, which serves a twist on modern Spanish cuisine by the 10-time Michelin-starred chef, as well as culinary shore excursions with hands-on cooking classes and chef-led market tours to explore fresh local ingredients.

The cruise industry is abuzz with interest in one of Windstar's newest itineraries, which introduces passengers to the Middle East. The Inaugural Sparkling Sands & Cities itinerary sets sail in November 2023, visiting Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates; Doha, Qatar; and Muscat, Oman, among others. Foodies will be especially interested in the James Beard Foundation's Sparkling Sands & Cities of the Persian Gulf itinerary, scheduled to embark in February 2024. Windstar's other destinations include Asia, Canada and New England, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the South Pacific and more.

Read: How to Get Airport Wheelchair Assistance

A Penthouse Junior Suite on the Viking Mississippi river cruise ship.

Adam Hillier | Courtesy of Viking

Spanning seven continents via river, ocean and expedition vessels, Viking is considered a quintessential high-end cruise experience. For more than 25 years, it has provided destination-focused sailings designed to allow its guests to explore the world in supreme comfort. Its voyages particularly appeal to travelers older than 50 who are interested in science, history, culture and cuisine.

Every Viking cruise fare includes a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, onboard meals, beer and wine (with lunch and dinner service), Wi-Fi access, and all port charges and government taxes. On Viking's ocean and expedition vessels, guests also enjoy complimentary self-service laundry, access to the Thermal Suite in The Spa, high tea service, alternative restaurant dining and 24-hour room service. But the best part for older cruisers may be what's not included on Viking sailings: kids. This adults-only cruise line is dedicated to guests 18 and older.

Viking's fleet – with capacities ranging from 80 to 998 passengers (on river and ocean cruises, respectively) – feature elegant Scandinavian-style decor. The small ship cruises get closer to their destinations, spend more time in port and include more overnight stays, too.

One of Viking's newest ocean vessels, the all-veranda Viking Saturn, debuted in 2023 and focuses on European sailings. Its 10-day Empires of the Mediterranean route from Venice to Athens is particular popular, with stops in Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Greece. Another in-demand route is the Danube Christmas Delights itinerary on the Viking Longships, which visits enchanting villages, cultural capitals and iconic Christmas markets for a festive holiday cruise .

To suit their needs, guests can choose between different activity levels for walking tour-focused shore excursions. For bibliophiles, The Library on each ship is curated by acclaimed London bookshop Heywood Hill, as well as Cambridge University's Scott Polar Research Institute on the expedition vessels. Viking also holds exclusive partnerships with prestigious scientific institutions, which makes it possible for at least 36 experts – including field research scientists, mountain guides, submarine pilots and other specialists – to accompany passengers on each expedition journey.

Book a  Viking cruise on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.

A pavlova dessert served on board Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Billed as one of the world's most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise lines , Uniworld Boutique River Cruises features small ships with an average capacity of 120 guests and one of the highest crew-to-guest ratios on the rivers of 1-to-2.4. Part of the allure of the small ship size is a more personalized travel experience that delivers passengers to destinations ocean liners aren't able to visit (such as the Venetian Lagoon, where large ships have been banned from entry).

Uniworld ships are akin to floating boutique hotels, designed to reflect the destinations in which they sail – a vast list that includes ports in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America. Guests will appreciate the exquisite details on board, including unique artwork from some of the most famous artists in the world (think: Pablo Picasso and David Hockney), handmade fabrics from local artisans and handcarved furnishings.

Additionally, Uniworld's all-inclusive cruise experience includes all onboard meals, which are made with fresh farm-to-table ingredients, as well as unlimited premium spirits and fine wines. In the base fare, voyages also include a selection of shore excursions, daily entertainment, fitness centers, wellness classes, airport transfers, onboard gratuities, high-speed Wi-Fi access and more.

Uniworld makes it particularly easy to visit many of Europe's most enchanting Christmas towns on a single cruise, where passengers can visit the festive holiday markets and get all their seasonal shopping done. For seniors with more time to spare, the Rivers of the World Cruise is a once-in-a-lifetime journey. This 55-day itinerary departs from Lima, Peru , in October 2024 and takes 40 guests across three continents via four ships to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Find  Uniworld Boutique River Cruises  on GoToSea.

This upscale brand recently relaunched under A&K Travel Group with a reimagined vision. Crystal Serenity (which holds up to 740 guests) and Crystal Symphony (carrying up to 606 passengers) underwent a combined $150 million dollar refurbishment that includes updated suites and new wellness offerings at the Aurōra spa. While sailing the high seas with Crystal, passengers' needs are met at every step of the way – a perk made possible by the nearly 1-to-1 staff-to-guest ratio. A dedicated butler in every stateroom and suite will help with packing and unpacking, stocking your fridge, making restaurant reservations, booking excursions and more.

Crystal offers impressive enrichment programming, hosting high-profile lecturers with backgrounds in sports, entertainment and science. Spend some time refining your technology skills at Computer University@Sea and perfecting your ballroom dance moves, photography abilities, golf swing or bridge game. There's also a well-stocked library containing books on a range of subjects, along with board games and a pickleball court.

Dining options on board include Umi Uma, a Japanese-Peruvian dining venue developed by Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki (Nobu) Matsuhisa. Unlike some other cruise lines that charge a fee for each specialty dining reservation, Crystal allows guests to enjoy one complimentary reservation per person for sailings of 11 days or less. After dinner, nightly entertainment can be found in several venues, such as live music in the Galaxy Lounge.

Crystal sails on itineraries of varying length to the Mediterranean, the Baltic, Alaska, the Caribbean, Canada, Africa and the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific, and Asia. If you're planning a bucket list trip, consider the line's 123-night 2025 World Cruise, which travels to 62 destinations across 31 countries between Fort Lauderdale, Florida , and Barcelona, Spain .

Read: Crystal Symphony Review: First Impressions of Crystal's Revamped Ship

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The Aquamar Spa on Oceania Cruises

Courtesy of Oceania Cruises

Seniors with a penchant for epicurean delights tend to gravitate toward Oceania Cruises for their cruise vacations – it's known for having one of the finest culinary programs at sea. This cruise line focuses on small ship luxury, with seven ships currently in service carrying between 670 and 1,250 passengers each. An eighth ship, Allura, is set to debut in 2025.

Newer ships like the Vista – the first of the Allura class vessels, which joined the fleet in May 2023 – have wheelchair-accessible rooms and a plethora of onboard culinary venues. A few highlights include Aquamar Kitchen, offering an array of wellness-inspired dishes; The Bakery at Baristas, serving freshly baked pastries; and new signature restaurant Ember, an upscale American eatery. Don't miss the Cellar Master's Wine Luncheon: a two-hour, hand-selected tasting led by the head sommelier that features a five-course menu paired with premium wines for each dish.

Senior cruisers will enjoy the Aquamar Spa's signature massage therapies, which use natural ingredients and modern techniques to release stress and tension. The Vitality Center offers a steam room, a thalassotherapy pool and heated lounge beds for extra relief. Onboard entertainment on Oceania, meanwhile, includes musical performances and immersive shows with dance numbers led by "Dancing With the Stars" choreographer Britt Stewart. The Culinary Center is a fan favorite for seniors, offering the opportunity to practice cooking techniques and learn about the unique flavor profiles of regional dishes.

You'll be hard-pressed to find a location Oceania doesn't sail to, with cruises to Africa, Asia, South America, the Middle East, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, Antarctica and more, as well as transoceanic voyages and 180-day world cruises. Oceania also provides a good overall value, thanks to its included specialty restaurants, Wi-Fi access, shore excursions, round-trip airfare and transfers, and in-port shuttle service.

Explore  Oceania Cruises  deals on GoToSea.

Holland America Line's Westerdam ship sails through Yakutat Bay in Alaska

Courtesy of Holland America Line

As a premium, midsize cruise line, Holland America Line offers plenty of destinations, excursions and activities aligned to an older audience. The smaller ship size, which averages around 2,000 passengers per sailing, allows for many of the ships to dock in ports that are inaccessible to larger ships, getting passengers even closer to the destinations they're visiting. For older passengers who may have limited mobility, the option to simply disembark the ship without waiting for a tender or other means of transportation can make or break a trip.

Holland America Line, though family-friendly, offers myriad excursions that are primarily adult-oriented and open to all types of adventurers. Shore excursions are clearly marked with an activity level ranging from easy to strenuous, from leisurely wine tastings and relaxing strolls through ancient towns to ATV rides through the jungle and dog-sledding on a glacier only accessible via helicopter.

Onboard entertainment and activities are plentiful; guests often enjoy the multiple music lounges and venues on each ship, along with hosted programs such as bingo and trivia. For seniors who can't get enough of the pickleball trend, Holland America Line has partnered with the Professional Pickleball Association to bring branded courts and equipment on board. After all that action on the court, unwind in the Greenhouse Spa & Salon with a rejuvenating treatment. (Pro tip: Add on the Thermal Suite for access to the healing hydrotherapy circuit and heated, tiled loungers that will melt all your cares away.)

The numerous onboard dining options bring together cuisines and flavors from all over the world, with specialty restaurants featuring menus developed by a team of master chefs known as Holland America's Culinary Council. In addition to casual dining in the Lido Market and multicourse affairs in The Dining Room, each ship also features the Pinnacle Grill, an onboard steakhouse offering high-end meats and seafood. Other specialty restaurants vary by ship and may include Italian eatery Canaletto and the French-inspired Rudi's Sel de Mer.

Holland America Line sails all over the world. It does an especially nice job with its Greek island cruises and Adriatic Sea adventures. One of the line's newest ships, Rotterdam , is a crowd-pleaser with its sleek design details and an onboard art collection valued at more than $4.1 million. Still, longtime favorites like the refurbished Oosterdam and Eurodam host plenty of happy guests.

Compare  Holland America Line  cruises on GoToSea.

A White Night party in Monte Carlo on Azamara Onward

Courtesy of Azamara

Another all-inclusive, senior-friendly brand is Azamara, which boasts a long list of perks covered in the base fare. Your one-time payment covers meals and beverages, including standard spirits, international beers and a limited amount of wine by the glass; you can upgrade to a beverage package if you'd like access to premium brands. Other included amenities range from self-service laundry to gratuities to special cultural evenings featuring onboard or onshore performances by locals.

There are four ships in Azamara's fleet. Each carries up to 702 passengers, so they still fit comfortably into the small ship category and can access less-visited ports than larger vessels. Destinations on Azamara include ports throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand, the Americas, and the Caribbean; there are also transoceanic itineraries. If spending roughly half a year on a cruise ship sounds like your ideal retirement plan, consider the Azamara World Voyage in 2025. Over 155 nights, you'll visit 37 countries.

Each of the line's ships has staterooms designed to accommodate guests with mobility limitations, and Azamara has created customized shore excursion tours for guests with disabilities as well. Accessible tours are designed for full-time wheelchair users or guests unable to navigate motor-coach steps.

There are plenty of entertainment options on board, including Club Crooner's hits from current and classic songbirds, as well as ship-specific venues with various song and dance performances. Plus, every cruise hosts a White Night signature dinner and entertainment event on the pool deck (so be sure to pack your favorite white attire). Unwind with darts, arts and crafts, pingpong, shuffleboard, trivia contests, bingo and dance lessons. Don't miss opportunities to attend lectures through the enrichment program.

Find an  Azamara  cruise on GoToSea.

A refreshment platter served by a lounge chair at Cunard Grills

Christopher Ison | Courtesy of Cunard Line

Cunard Line's ocean liners have sailed between the U.K. and New York since 1840 – and the brand's relationship with the British monarchy is integral to its heritage. As such, each ship is named after a British queen. The newest ship, Queen Anne, joins the fleet in 2024.

In keeping with its history, Cunard Line has several signature experiences that help set the brand apart. Afternoon tea is a Cunard tradition observed daily in the Queen's Room; expect white-gloved waiters serving scones and finger sandwiches alongside infused teas in silver teapots (add Champagne for an additional fee). During gala evenings, guests don tuxedos and ballgowns for a sophisticated celebration you won't soon forget. Themes range from Masquerade to Roaring 20s; you'll get a heads-up before you pack your cruise attire .

Each of the four stateroom grades has its own dedicated fine dining restaurant with excellent service and indulgent menus, though there are several casual dining options as well – not to mention specialty dining venues for an additional fee. A host of activities will keep you busy day and night, including a library, open-air pools, fitness facilities, live music, theater performances, guest speaker events, board games, film screenings, art classes, planetarium shows (on Queen Mary 2) and group dance classes.

Accessible shore experiences are available in many ports, ranging from lower activity-level tours to adaptations for wheelchair users. Accessible staterooms are available on Queen Victoria , Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2 ; these come with modifications like wider entryways, nonslip bathroom floors and shower seats.

Explore  Cunard Line  deals on GoToSea.

A Zodiac cruise in Antarctica with Aurora Expeditions ship Greg Mortimer

Scott Portelli | Courtesy of Aurora Expeditions

Nothing says "once-in-a-lifetime" quite like embarking on an expedition to the world's most remote destinations – and, specifically, to Antarctica. For cruisers looking to explore this far-off land, Aurora Expeditions is one of the most trusted names in the industry. Founded by legendary adventurer Greg Mortimer, the brand sends an education-focused expedition team on each voyage, with a ratio of about one team member per every eight passengers. With an average of just 132 cruisers on these sailings, you'll get more one-on-one time with your expedition team.

Seniors can climb aboard Aurora Expeditions' Greg Mortimer or Sylvia Earle ship for innovative itineraries to the Great White Continent. When the ship isn't pausing to watch breaching whales, passengers can kayak between icebergs, visit penguin colonies or take guided hikes across the tundra. Aurora describes its cruises as "100% climate neutral," with a commitment to reducing its environmental impact.

All of Aurora Expeditions' voyages let travelers explore at their own pace, making it a great option for all ages. There are many included activities on each expedition, such as bird-watching, photography, lectures on wildlife, Zodiac cruises and near-shore excursions. The line will even outfit you with Muck boots and waterproof polar jackets. The entire voyage is laid-back, with an informal dress code.

On board, all cabins have a view of the ocean, and most have their own balcony. Tips are included in the cost of your cruise, and guests can enjoy a complimentary house wine or beer with dinner. Look forward to hearty dishes to help fuel your activities, with some buffet-style meals, a la carte options and a reservations-required restaurant on each ship.

Read: The Top Antarctica Cruises

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Jill Schildhouse has been an avid cruiser since the mid-'90s and has since visited dozens of destinations around the globe. Whether she's on the newest megaship, an older small ship or a luxury yacht, she loves life at sea. She used extensive research and her decades of experience as a cruiser to write this article (she has taken two cruises with her 70-year-old dad just this year). Schildhouse covers the travel industry for myriad top-tier outlets, including U.S. News & World Report, Travel + Leisure, AARP, Fodor's, Reader's Digest and Insider.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Solo Cruises (No Supplement Fare)
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  • First-Time Cruise Tips: Mistakes to Avoid
  • How Much Does a Cruise Cost?
  • The Best Travel Insurance for Seniors and Retirees

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    Billed as one of the world's most luxurious all-inclusive river cruise lines, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises features small ships with an average capacity of 120 guests and one of the highest ...

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    Food trucks will be set up at the Moonwalk and Crescent Park too, which both have views of the river fireworks show. July 4 Mississippi River cruises (Tuesday, July 4) The Steamboat Natchez is doing 4th of July jazz cruises. There are daytime and fireworks viewing options. Go deeper.