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  • 23
  • May
  • 2017

How to Save Big on a European River Cruise

Searching for the best shore excursion deals? Let show you how to save big on a European river cruise!

European river cruiseIf you have ever taken a European cruise, you know that shore excursions are as important a part of your vacation as the cruise itself. Most European river cruises include at least one excursion per port, but the standard offerings may not allow you to visit the locations you have been longing to explore. The travel team at has put together some tips on how to save big on a European river cruise so you can enjoy all the excursions you have been dreaming of without breaking your budget!

Choose the excursion level and tours that are right for you…

European River cruise lines offer different levels of excursions and pricing models. Matching the number of excursions to your adventure preferences may enable you to see all the attractions you are interested in without incurring any additional expenditure beyond the fare on your European River Cruise:

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best European river cruise linesLuxury All-Inclusive Cruises

If you want to embark on as many excursions as possible in each port, choosing one of the luxury all-inclusive river cruises may actually help you save money. Fares on luxury all-inclusive cruises by Uniworld, Tauck, and Crystal River Cruises typically include multiple shore excursions at each destination, along with additional cultural enrichment experiences.  While these luxury all-inclusive cruises have a higher fare than other river cruises, their wide assortment of excursions and additional benefits such as included airfare can make luxury cruises some of the best European river cruise deals available.

Highlights Tours

If you are mainly interested in seeing the best-known features of the regions on your itinerary, a European River cruise that offers one included excursion per port to tour the highlights of the region will be your most economical choice. You can then purchase a few additional shore excursions to see any specific attractions off the beaten path. Avalon Waterways, AmaWaterways, and Viking Cruises are generally considered the best European river cruise lines in this excursion category.

Specialist Tours

Specialist or themed tours are generally designed for small groups. These tours often provide special access to areas or unique locations that larger groups and standard tours cannot access. Examples include special musical or theatrical performances, or ‘behind the scenes’ tours of restricted areas in castles.

european river cruise dealsIndependent Exploration

Sometimes the standard tours just do not have the excursion itinerary you are looking for, or you just have the urge to explore on your own. Many travelers enjoy taking DIY tours to discover regions without the hassle of keeping up with larger tour groups. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your independent exploration, while reaping some big savings:

  • Hire a private guide who can show you the areas of interest and “locals only” restaurants and shops where prices are lower
  • Research your destination. Some ports now offer tourist bonuses such as free bicycles for touring or discounted bus passes
  • Book tickets in advance! Booking excursions through cruise lines is convenient, but it is not always the best value. You can find significant saving when you book tickets for attractions such as museums, castles, and tours in advance. You also get the added bonus of skipping waiting lines. has a variety of European river cruise itineraries available. Let us help you find the cruise line, itinerary, and excursions that are right for you – call the CruiseExperts today at 1-888-804-CRUISE (2784). Don’t forget to like us on Facebook and join our InnerCircle for exclusive offers and cruise news you can use! Also, check out our new Resource Center, where you can receive expert knowledge from us before your next cruise or cruisetour!

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