Best European Cruises: Top 5 Vacations At Sea, According To Experts

The activities and amenities featured on today’s cruise ships are spectacular. They feature world-class amusement parks, water slides, and athletic facilities to keep you happy on the deck. Even better, ships traveling through Europe provide an amazing opportunity to see multiple spots on your bucket list without all the hassle of lanes, trains, and automobiles. Some of the best European cruises stop at all the cultural hubs and tourist destinations while keeping you entertained en route.

One company is even looking ahead, envisioning “flying cruise” ships that stay airborne for months or even years! A recent study reveals the design of a nuclear-powered flying hotel that promises to keep your head permanently in the clouds. The high-flying Sky Cruise concept sees a gigantic airplane skin to a cruise ship that’s able to be constantly airborne. Developers envision 5,000 guests arriving by passenger planes that dock with it. For now, though, you’ll have to stick to the seas.

It’s important to consider getting the best bang for your buck when deciding on your next trip. One recent poll reports that the average American has had to cut spending, including their vacation budgets, because of inflation. With big bucks at stake, it is important that when choosing a cruise, you get all that you are looking for and more.

Choosing a cruise that is tailored to your wants and needs is necessary among the many hundreds of options available. We’ve got you covered! StudyFinds searched 10 expert websites to find the five best European cruises for you to embark on this year. Let us know which one is on your bucket list in the comments below!

European cruise ship sailing
(Photo by Daniele D’Andreti on Unsplash)

The List: Best European Cruises, Per Travel Experts

1. Regent Seven Seas

Trip Savvy says this is the most lavish stay: “For an ultra-luxurious yacht voyage through the Meditteranean, Regent Seven Seas is an excellent choice with all-inclusive pricing and premium service. In Pisa and Florence, guests can enjoy the historic sites of Renaissance Italy, or in Barcelona, they can visit the sublime architecture of Antoni Gaudí. Every stateroom on the 700-passenger ship is a spacious suite with a private balcony. On Regent, everything is included: airfare, specialty restaurants, gratuities, Wi-Fi and beverages are all part of the pricing. There’s plenty to do onboard as well, ranging from a relaxing spa, onboard cooking lessons, trivia and lively evening shows.”

“Regent is a zero-compromise favorite cruise line for honeymooners. Its impressive fleet of luxury ships sails throughout northern Europe and the Mediterranean. Itineraries highlight Europe’s most magical destinations, from the fjords of Norway to the countryside of Tuscany,” adds Traveler’s Joy. “Best of all, Regent includes off-shore excursions, so you can count on a packed itinerary filled with local knowledge and one-of-a-kind thrills. After days of adventure in and around lively ports, returning to your suite’s private balcony and watching the sea move is sublime. Gourmet restaurants, a top-notch fitness center and spa, award-winning theater, and a massive swimming pool are just some of its ships’ onboard attractions.”

“For an in-depth exploration of the continent, consider Regent Seven Seas’ luxury 79-day Grand European Sojourn. Sailing on board Seven Seas Voyager from Lisbon return, cruisers will have the opportunity to truly linger in ports with nine overnight stays, in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Turkey and Israel. Guests will sail through the British Isles before visiting ports in Italy, Greece and Turkey. The cruise sets sail on June 28, 2024,” explains Escape. 

2. Viking Cruises

Escape describes one of their European trips: “Explore ancient ruins and medieval streets on Viking’s new 15-day Ancient Adriatic Treasures voyage. Sailing from Venice to Istanbul or vice versa on the new Viking Mars, guests discover Adriatic and Aegean treasures on this trip that begins with an overnight stay amid the canals of Venice.”

“What makes Viking Ocean Cruises unique on its Norway itineraries is that the line is inspired by, and influenced by, its founder and president, Torstein Hagen. He’s Norwegian, and his roots are all over each of the four ships in the line’s fleet,” says Forbes. “The marriage of Viking’s Nordic sensibility — via menus, eateries, artwork and even a Nordic-centric spa and itineraries that call at both popular and lesser-known but equally interesting Norwegian ports — elevates the experience, particularly but not limited to Arctic Circle towns and villages. Its Midnight Sun voyages, when the sun never really sets, are a huge draw for Viking, but even more intriguing is the fact that the line is offering the polar opposite, dead-of-winter voyages, too.”

“This adult-only line runs round-trip sailings from Malta on its newest vessel, Viking Venus. Viking has a reputation for providing passengers with an in-depth insight into destinations through both its shore tours and on board lectures by historians and other guest speakers. Unusually for an ocean line, complimentary shore excursions are included in every port — be it the highlights of Athens with a trip to the National Archaeological Museum or a tour of Barcelona with a stop at Gaudí’s famously unfinished La Sagrada Família,” adds The Times. 

3. AMA Waterways 

Par Excellence explains the culture behind the name: “Ama means love in Italian and AMA Waterways puts love into everything they do. Touted as a floating sanctuary, the AMA Waterways River Cruise Line offers a luxury experience for its guests. Three families who all love River cruising came together in 2002 to create this award-winning company. Keeping the guest list low means that the restaurants and bars are never crowded, yet still provide an intimate and cozy setting. Their focus on a delectable selection of food is apparent in the fact that they are members of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.”

“This double-width ship, which sails on the Danube, has a whole host of facilities that kids will love. When the theatre isn’t in use, it becomes a cinema showing the latest kids’ movies,” writes Cruise Mummy. “There are also Playstations and Nintendo Switches as well as board games and, importantly, a decent-sized swimming pool. Whilst most of AmaWaterways’ river ships have bicycles that guests can use ashore, AmaMagna also has child-sized bikes so that the whole family can explore together.”

“AmaWaterways has debuted three new ships: AmaMagna, twice the width of traditional cruise ships; AmaMora, a twin balcony ship; and AmaDouro, sailing exclusively on the Douro River. There are plenty of exciting additions to each ship, including a Zen Wellness Center and more spacious staterooms and full-balcony suites. AmaWaterways sails on rivers worldwide, including the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam, Botswana; Chobe River in Africa; and rivers in Europe, including the Rhine, Danube, Douro, Seine, Moselle and more. There are specific wine tours, speciality tours and Christmas tours to book, too,” points out Elite Traveler.

4. Celebrity Cruises

Looking for something especially modern? Trip Savvy loves this new addition to the cruise scene. “Celebrity’s much-anticipated new ship, the Celebrity Edge, launched in December 2018 and will be plying the waters of the Mediterranean this summer and fall. Better yet, the 10-night voyage allows extra time to experience all the vessel has to offer. The avant garde ship steps away from traditional ship layouts (it was designed entirely in 3D), and has trend-setting features like a rooftop garden with live musical performances, a curtainless theater with 10 panoramic screens, Eden Bar, a glass-enclosed lounge with interactive performances and ‘Magic Carpet,’ a cantilevered ‘elevator’ deck that spans 13 floors. The cruise sails round-trip from Rome and visits three countries in six ports of call.”

“Sail to Turkey and the port town of Kusadasi to discover the gateway to Ephesus: ancient ruins of a city that was once home to 250,000 people. You’ll also stumble upon the site of the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,” adds The Times. “Celebrity’s Aegean Sea itineraries are steeped in history and other options include marvelling at the architectural masterpiece of the Acropolis in Athens and taking a boat ride to Delos — said to be the birthplace of Apollo.”

“Travelers vacationing with the entire family — from grandma to kids — should check out Celebrity Cruises. The cruise line offers more options for everyone onboard (think kids club to casinos), as well as varied shore excursions and affordable pricing options to make it a more viable trip for larger groups,” mentions Travel + Leisure

5. Silversea Cruises

According to The Times, “This all-inclusive small ship cruise line with its Italian heritage is the top choice for those who want to sail in style. The Grand Mediterranean itinerary on Silver Moon ticks off 52 ports and 16 countries in 66 days, including a visit to Jerusalem which is first for a Grand Voyage. You’ll wander along the gondola-filled canals of Venice, cruise through the striking Bay of Kotor and drop anchor in the impressive medieval castle town of Monemvasia that was carved into a steep rock.”

“This luxury cruise liner prides itself on personalized service. Small ships (typically less than 600 passengers) keep the overall vibe very intimate and laid-back. Gourmet dining, dance classes, live theater and movie screenings, a cozy library, and grand casino are just some of the onboard offerings throughout its line of ships,” explains Traveler’s Joy. “Generously sized, ocean-view suites – each with personal butler service – are well worth the splurge. Unlike some cruise lines, all-inclusive with Silversea means absolutely no up-charges. Enjoy everything to your heart’s content.”

“Silversea is tailor-made for those who like to cruise with fewer passengers onboard. The line offers ships with between 51 to 364 suites, meaning they max out at far fewer passengers than its larger counterparts, which enables more personalized service and higher-end amenities. It also offers all-inclusive packages to reduce the stressors that often come with pay-as-you-go travel,” writes Travel + Leisure.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links.

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About the Author

Saloni Ordia

Saloni is a freelance B2B SaaS writer who excels at creating in-depth product-focused content. When she is not writing, you can find her in the kitchen whipping up new recipes or curled up with a rom-com novel.

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