Best Time To Book A European River Cruise

A European river cruise is a passport to the Old World’s most captivating landscapes and cultural treasures. As you glide along Europe’s iconic rivers, you’ll embark on a journey that marries the serenity of the water with the allure of centuries-old cities, charming villages, and lush countryside. This enchanting mode of travel offers a unique perspective on the continent, providing an intimate, leisurely exploration of Europe’s historical sites, culinary delights, and hidden gems that await around every bend of the river. Join us as we embark on an exploration of the magic that is a European river cruise.

The best time to book a European river cruise can depend on a few factors, including your personal preferences, the destination you want to visit, and your budget. However, here are some general guidelines to consider:

1. Early Booking Discounts

Early Booking Discounts

In general, booking your European river cruise well in advance can often lead to significant early booking discounts. Cruise lines often offer attractive deals to encourage travelers to secure their reservations early, which can help you save money.

2. High Season vs. Low Season

European river cruises typically have two main seasons: the high season and the low season. High season generally falls during the summer months (June to August) and around major holidays like Christmas and New Year’s. The low season includes the shoulder months like April, May, September, and October. Booking during the low season may offer better deals and fewer crowds, but you might have to contend with cooler weather.

3. Themed Cruises

Some river cruises have specific themes, such as Christmas markets, wine tasting, or art-focused itineraries. If you have a particular interest in a themed cruise, booking early can ensure you secure a spot on the specific cruise that aligns with your preferences.

4. Last-Minute Deals

On the other hand, if you are flexible with your travel dates and don’t mind waiting, you may find some last-minute deals. Cruise lines may offer discounted prices to fill up remaining cabins close to the departure date.

If you have your heart set on a particular destination or itinerary that is in high demand, booking early is recommended, e.g., the Douro River in Portugal. Popular destinations and sailings tend to fill up quickly, and waiting too long might mean missing out on your preferred cruise.

6. Group Travel

If you plan to travel with a large group of people, booking early can ensure that you can secure multiple cabins close together on the same ship.


Booking a European river cruise early, especially if you have specific preferences or constraints, is generally a good idea. However, if you are flexible with your travel plans and can wait for potential last-minute deals, that could also be a viable option. Ultimately, the best time to book a river cruise is when you find a deal that meets your needs and fits your budget. October is WAVE cruise season. We have Earlybird savings across all our River Cruise brands for travel in 2024, but the sale ends 31 October 2023! Scenic, Viking, Uniworld, Emerald, Riveria, Avalon, APT or TravelMarvel. Let WorldLee Journeys help you to choose the one that’s right for you.

Book with WorldLee Journeys for an additional $250 off the Earlybird Saving offers.

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