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Best cruises along the Danube

Explore the celebrated Blue Danube with lines fit for luxury, seniors and more.

Updated

Budapest, Chain Bridge over Danube River and Hungarian Parliament Building.

When it comes to river cruises, look no further than the Danube. This celebrated river runs through scenic Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and the Ukraine. Satisfy your senses with top cruises offering luxury getaways, European nightlife, picturesque castles and more.

Top 6 Danube River cruises

Best for seniors: Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruising has sailed Europe’s rivers for more than 40 years. Cruise from 8 to 23 days with a wide range of itineraries.

Senior travelers can sit back and relax as the cruises offer efficient, simple embarkment and disembarkment of the vessel.

  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Card, Cheque
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for groups: APT

Enjoy the beautiful sights of the Danube in luxury with APTouring. The cruise line offers personalized flyers for you and your group, super deals for return flights, specialized touring programs, themed dinners and cocktail functions as well as the opportunity for group hosts to enjoy free travel.
  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, American Express

Best for families: Uniworld

Set sail on the next family holiday with select cruises offering activities to entertain the whole family. Kids can enjoy chess on the sun deck, meet the captain and take part in a hands-on cooking class with the ship’s chef. Those up to age 17 are eligible for 25% off their fare, excluding suites, when traveling with an adult.

Voted the No.1 river cruise line, Uniworld allows you to experience luxury dining, wellness activities and outstanding service.

  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for young people: Crystal Ocean Cruises

For a taste of the European nightlife, look to Crystal. Itineraries include the best of Budapest’s bars and clubs along the Danube.

Crystal cruises also offers yoga and pilates, personal training, evening dancing, golf driving nets, full-size paddle tennis courts and unlimited Internet for young adults onboard its vessels.

  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for on a budget: Croisi Europe

If you’ve dreamed of cruising the rivers of Europe but felt held back by your budget, it’s time to pack your bags with CroisiEurope. Budget-friendly cruising options include meals, an open bar throughout the voyage, free onboard Wi-Fi and entertainment, helping you to enjoy everything the Danube has to offer without the hefty price tag of other lines.
  • No free room service
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Carte Blanche
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

Best for luxury: Scenic

If you’re after a luxury escape, Scenic has you covered with cruises that focus on the Jewels of Europe and Black Sea Explorers. From butler service to fine dining and top-shelf beverages, you won’t ever want to leave.

When touring with Scenic, you can stay in the finest luxury hotels and resorts on offer. And with Scenic FreeChoice, you can enjoy activity selections in key destinations without extra fees.

  • Room service included
  • No free alcohol
  • Food included
  • No price matching
  • Visa, American Express, Diners
Price ($-$$$):
Book now

How we picked our best cruises

We analyze a wide variety of cruise lines, weighing the quality of the route and prioritizing well-paced itineraries with port stops at top destinations along the Danube.

We also consider onboard dining, the flexibility of options and the quality of restaurants against online passenger reviews. And we review cabin amenities against each price point, looking for cruise lines known to provide the highest value.

Finally, we analyze the reviews of personal travel blogs, the company’s overall reputation and even first-person experiences, if available.

When is the best time to cruise the Danube?

The European summer is from June to August, with August the peak season for most countries along the Danube. To avoid the crowds, we recommend traveling in May or June, when the weather is warm but you find so many tourists.

  • Seasonality. Cruises on the Danube are available year-round, with special cruises over the Christmas holiday. The weather will be cooler but the lights and Christkindlmarkt spectacular.
  • Cheapest time to go. You’ll find the cheapest fares around December — during the cold European winter.

What are must-do cruise excursions on the Danube?

One of the main ports along the river is in Belgrade, Serbia. We recommend taking a stroll into the city, where you can cover a lot in a short time.

  • Kalemegdan Fortress. With 360 degree views of the city enjoy traditional Serbian cuisine at one the many cafes and restaurants including the savory burek, ćevapis sausage, karađjorđjeva schnitzels and homemade flatbreads called lepinja.
  • Skadarlija. When in Belgrade, you can’t go past the vintage street of Skadarlija. With an entire strip of restaurants you won’t be short on choice, but we do recommend Dva Jelena, Tri Sesira and Sesir Moj.
  • Knez Mihailova. You can shop your heart out in the city’s main strip, or relax at its seemingly endless cafes. This street also leads to the city’s fortress and temple.
  • Nightlife. If you’re after a night to remember, spend an evening exploring the bars and clubs down on the Sava.
  • Church of Saint Sava. One of the biggest Orthodox churches hosts a crypt that’s a sight you won’t soon forget.

Current cruise deals

Tours4fun Tours4fun

Winter in Europe 10-15% off tours and things to do

T&Cs apply

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Deal ends

Avoya Travel Avoya Travel

Up to 75% off cruises to the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska and Beyond

T&Cs apply

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Deal ends

U by Uniworld U by Uniworld

30% savings on select 2020 river cruises in Central Europe

T&Cs apply.

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Bottom line

First-timers and veteran cruises alike will find the experience they’re looking for on the Danube. But sailings to other locations abound: compare cruise lines, amenities and more for the best fit with your lifestyle and budget.

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