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European River Cruises

Porto Portugal Old Town
Porto Portugal Old Town. Douro River, Portugal. Photo by DaLiu/Getty Images

European river cruises are one of the most immersive and enjoyable ways to taste the diversity of Europe’s cultures, wines, foods, and activities.

AAA is proud to offer three of the best 2022 European river cruises for passionate travelers who want to experience multiple destinations during their European tour. Not only will passengers enjoy a premium, amenity-rich cruise experience, they will also be immersed in local culture at every port of call.

Continue reading to learn more about AAA’s European river cruise deals for 2022 or get in touch with one of our travel agents to book your tour.

Traditional Christmas Market in Germany
The traditional Christmas market at Marienplatz in Munich, Germany. Photo by Chalabala/Getty Images.

2022 European Christmas Markets River Cruise

There are few things more festive than a European Christmas market decked out in twinkling lights and lined with wooden stalls serving mulled wine, cider, and seasonal goodies.

On this week-long European river cruise, passengers will get their fill of Christmas markets at every port of call, with more than one port boasting multiple holiday markets around the city.

What Your AAA Concierge Cruise Includes

  • Seven nights aboard a river cruise.
  • Access to onboard entertainment including musical performances, tree trimming demonstrations, and holiday cooking exhibitions.
  • A complimentary on-land excursion at each port on the cruise itinerary.
  • Visits to famous UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Meals aboard the cruise.
  • Drinks such as beer, wine, and soft drinks to complement lunch and dinner.
  • A cocktail reception event at the start of your cruise.
  • A farewell dinner at the conclusion of your cruise.
  • 24/7 access to specialty beverages such as coffee, tea, and bottled water.
  • Local destination performances and educational, cultural lectures.
  • A special gift from your AAA cruise team.
  • $125 per passenger onboard credit.
  • $125 per person savings off the cruise fare.
  • Airport transfers on date of embarkation/disembarkation with Viking Air purchase.
  • Complimentary WiFi while aboard the cruise ship.
  • Coverage of port taxes and other fees.

European Christmas Market River Cruise Itinerary

December 1: Munich, Germany
During the winter, popular Munich activities include visiting Müller’sches Volksbad (an indoor swimming pool with a sauna), drinking mulled wine at Marienplatz Christmas market, viewing the city via its “Christmas tram,” and visiting one of Munich’s 80+ art museums.

December 2: Passau, Germany
Indulge in a hearty Bavarian meal, wander Artists’ Alley, and stroll through Weihnachtsmarkt (Passau’s Christmas market).

Visitors to Passau may also be interested in viewing the meeting point of three rivers (the Danube, Inn, and Ilz).

December 3: Linz, Austria
The third stop on this European river cruise is Linz, where Baroque churches tower over futuristic museums filled with interactive exhibits. Linz is also famed for its Linz Cake — a regional dessert filled with spices and jam.

December 4: Krems, Austria
Although a relatively small Austrian city, Krems has a lot to offer in terms of sightseeing and activities.
Krems is a favorite location for wine enthusiasts as the town is comfortably situated in a region that is famous for its production of fine wines.

Winzer Krems is a popular winery that was built in the 1930s and is a noteworthy destination in the city, along with Aggstein Castle (a fortress built in the 1200s) and Karikaturmuseum (an art museum).

December 5: Vienna, Austria
Vienna is famed for its Christmas markets and winter festivities, including ice skating, Ferris wheel rides, and a New Year’s concert.

Vienna also possesses St. Stephen’s Cathedral and Schönbrunn Palace, which are magical sites to see when they are dusted with snowfall.

December 6: Bratislava, Slovakia
The capital of Slovakia and a wonderland during the winter months, Bratislava is filled with tiny winding streets, stunning architecture, and a unique, blue church (one of the most photographed locations in the city).

December 7 and 8: Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is the city to visit during the winter season. Whether you’re hoping to indulge in the thermal baths and spas, go ice skating, or ride the Christmas light tram, Budapest is ready to accommodate.

Danbue Krems District in Austria
The Danube District of Krems in Austria. Photo by Sergey Fedoskin/Getty Images.

2022 Grand European Tour River Cruise

Ready to spend two weeks floating down Europe’s famous rivers with enlivening performances and only the best wine and food? If this sounds like your kind of adventure, read on to view an itinerary of this world-class European river cruise.

What Your AAA Concierge Cruise Includes

  • Two weeks aboard a river cruise that covers four countries and 14 ports.
  • Stops at UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • 14 complimentary on-shore excursions (one per each port of call).
  • Cultural enrichment education including lectures and performances.
  • Welcome aboard and farewell events featuring cocktails and dinner.
  • Complimentary drinks served with lunch and dinner.
  • Complimentary meals (onboard) featuring a range of regional delicacies along with American favorites.
  • Airport transfers on the day of embarkation/disembarkation with Viking Air program.
  • Complimentary WiFi aboard your river cruise.
  • A special gift from your AAA cruise concierges.
  • $200 per passenger onboard credit.
  • $125 per person savings on cruise fare.
  • All port taxes and fees.
  • Access to specialty beverages including coffee, tea, and bottled water.

15-Day Tour Itinerary

Days 1 and 2: Budapest, Hungary
Budapest is a city that one could happily explore for many weeks. It is culturally vibrant, festive, and teeming with diverse activities for every type of visitor to enjoy.

Days 3 and 4: Vienna, Austria
Vienna in the autumn is breathtaking, with sparser crowds of tourists and still ample activities to be enjoyed. Take part in the city’s annual wine “hike” to get a diverse taste of the fine wines that are produced in the region.

Day 5: Melk, Austria
Melk’s largest claim to fame is a Baroque abbey (Melk Abbey) that was constructed in the 1700s. Inside, visitors can marvel at marble corridors and the elaborate architecture that permeates every corner.

Day 6: Passau, Germany
Known colloquially as the Three Rivers City (because it is the meeting place of three rivers in Germany), Passau is an excellent place to visit to get a taste of Bavarian culture and baroque architecture.

Day 7: Regensburg, Germany
Home to St. Emmeram’s Basilica, an 11th-century Romanesque-style church, and an old medieval bridge, Regensburg offers many understated and grand architectural wonders to explore.

Day 8: Nuremberg, Germany
Nuremberg is famous for being the site of the Nuremberg Trials (a series of trials that prosecuted Nazi leadership following World War II). Besides being a city rich in architectural and historic significance, Nuremberg is also known for its advances in the culinary world — specifically for being the birthplace of delicacies such as bratwurst sausages and gingerbread.

Day 9: Bamberg, Germany
A thoroughly charming medieval town, Bamberg is dotted with Gothic and Romanesque architecture, towers, a cathedral, and numerous gorgeous structures for visitors to lose themselves in.

Day 10: Würzburg, Germany
Royal housing, elaborate gardens, pristine museums, and prominent fortresses all jump out to emphasize their grandeur in the streets of Würzburg. Many of the city’s landmarks are hundreds of years old and offer a unique peek into medieval life in Germany.

Day 11: Wertheim, Germany
Wertheim wouldn’t be a historic German city without a few museums, stunning churches, and castles to enrich visitors.

Day 12: Koblenz, Germany
Churches, city squares, palaces, and monasteries can be found built in the most intricate and interesting styles in Koblenz. One way to soak in all of the architectural glories of the city is via the Koblenz cable car that operates from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Day 13: Cologne, Germany
Famous for being home to 12 Romanesque churches, Cologne is a city bursting with history, vibrancy, and architectural wonders.

Day 14: Kinderdijk, The Netherlands
Famous for its 19 stone windmills that were built in the 1700s, Kinderdijk is a lovely autumn destination for viewing the mills surrounded by fiery fall colors.

Day 15: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Famous for canals, Dutch cheese, cyclist-friendly layout, and the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam is a culturally and historically significant European city one could spend days getting acquainted with.

Note: This river cruise itinerary may also be done in the reverse order, hitting all of the same ports of call (except for Wertheim) and with the addition of Krems and Miltenberg.

Salamanca Cathedral in Spain
Salamanca’s Cathedral. Photo by Saiko3p/Getty Images.

2023 Portugal, Spain and The Douro River Valley Cruise

Spanish and Portuguese cultures are famed for their hospitality, laid-back approach to life, and excellent wines.
If these are things that you look for when planning a holiday, consider booking this premium European riverboat cruise for your next vacation.

What Your Cruise Includes

  • Seven nights aboard our world-class cruise ship, the S.S. São Gabriel, with complimentary meals prepared by refined chefs using only the freshest, best ingredients.
  • Three nights in Lisbon staying at the luxurious Corinthia Hotel Lisbon (or similar lodging) with breakfast included.
  • Unlimited beverages while onboard (these include fine wine, beer, spirits, specialty coffee and tea, soft drinks, and mineral water).
  • Gratuities for cruise personnel.
  • On-board entertainment.
  • A gala dinner.
  • Visits to six UNESCO World Heritage sites.
  • Eight on-shore excursions led by local, English-speaking guides. This includes a personal excursion where you get to choose your own activity.
  • An insightful, “Do as the Locals Do” guided program to give passengers the chance to experience life like a local in various ports of call.
  • Premium portable audio-headset systems for every excursion.
  • Complimentary WiFi access.
  • Access to Nordic walking sticks.
  • AAA benefit: Save $125 per person!

11-Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Porto (embark)
Porto is filled with charming (and delicious) restaurants on every corner and inviting bars beckoning passersby to enjoy a glass of local port wine. Stops of note include Porto Cathedral, the Church of Santa Clara, and Livraria Lello.

Day 2: Porto and Entre-os-Rios
In Entre-os-Rios, passengers may explore lush wineries and vineyards, the Church of Saint Genesius of Boelhe, and the undisturbed countryside.

Day 3: Entre-os-Rios, Régua and Pinhão
Régua is famous for being home to the first demarcated wine region, so needless to say the city is very passionate about wine culture. Go for a tasting session and experience all the variations of port from the region.

Day 4: Pinhão, Pocinho and Vega de Terrón
Being a wine region makes Pinhão a central location for wine tasting and touring to the heart’s content.

Day 5: Vega de Terrón (Salamanca) and Barca d’Alva
One of the distinctive features of Salamanca is Chafariz dos Pretos — a beautiful fountain that can be found near the market square. Other notable features are the twin cathedrals and Plaza Mayor (the main square).

Day 6: Barca d’Alva & Régua
Well known for its ancient ruins, fine wine, and vineyards, Barca d’Alva is the perfect place to kick back and live like a local, indulging in fine wine and relaxation for an afternoon.

Day 7: Régua (Guimarães) and Porto
The town where Portugal was born, Guimarães has an intriguing history filled with some of the grandest architecture in the country. Immerse yourself in the contrasting architectural styles by visiting the quaint streets of Guimarães’s historic quarter followed by a visit to the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza.

Day 8: Porto (disembark) & transfer to Lisbon
On this day, passengers will disembark from the cruise and take a coach to Lisbon, where the remaining three days of travel will be spent in San Francisco’s sister city.

Days 9–11: Lisbon
Lisbon has all of the attractions that a visitor could wish for: mouthwatering Portuguese cuisine (try bifana and Pastéis de Nata), a bustling shopping scene, charming alleyways, and the iconic colorful trams dotting the roads.

It’s a city that invites all tourists to explore, get lost, and immerse themselves in the community spirit of Portugal.

Contact Your AAA Agent for the Best River Cruise Deals

Ready to embark on a river cruise around your favorite European destination? Contact your local AAA travel agent for more details on our river cruises and to book your adventure.

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