River cruises cast European gems in new light

cruise ship going down a river with greenery and buildings in the background

Joanne Brookfield

Posted May 26, 2022

The European continent is a glorious tapestry interweaving a long history through a multitude of cultures and landscapes, which results in sights and scenery unlike anything we have here in Australia.

Architecture that varies from enchanting medieval towns that look like they belong in fairytales to more familiar, sprawling contemporary urban centres, Europe is back on the radar of Australian holiday seekers this year, and for good reason.

The landscape is just as diverse, ranging from soaring alpine peaks, vine-clad hills and cottage and castle gardens bursting with colour. Add to the mix the endless options when it comes to fabulous food, wine and art and it’s no wonder Europe is a bucket-list destination.

However, with so much on offer, where do you even begin? Are you wanting croissants in Paris?  To listen to some Mozart in Vienna? Would you want to see where King Richard the Lionheart was imprisoned or visit infamous sites from the Second World War, such as Nuremberg? Bavarian beer or a tipple of plum brandy from Belgrade?

Why book a European cruise?

You can actually do all of this, and much more, without having to organise a single thing by booking. a multi-destination trip – making memories without the stress-fuelled administrative nightmare that can occur if you’re trying to get all the logistics to line up by yourself.

While multi-destination trips on the ‘Old Continent’ have traditionally focused on road-based, cross-country voyaging, a travel experience is emerging as the hottest trend in European sightseeing.

Imagine, instead, the idyllic nature of gliding across the continent aboard a brand-new river-ship with the only thing to worry about is whether the camera battery is charged. “River cruising really does bring incredible benefits as a way to explore Europe,” says Travelmarvel’s Europe Product Manager Rochelle Jonson-Deak. 

“In addition to the beautiful scenery and leisurely pace you enjoy while cruising the most iconic rivers in Europe, guests also have their land touring taken care of with locally guided tours, including all the must-see highlights, as well as ample free time to do a little shopping or perhaps hop on a bicycle to explore more,” she explains.

Those iconic rivers include cruising along the Rhine, Main and Danube. Europe’s longest river, the Rhine, will take you through lush vineyards and past ancient castles, such as the World Heritage-listed Augustusburg Castle.

Considered the best example of 18-century Rococo architecture in Germany, you can alight to explore the sprawling estate with its immaculate gardens, which have been restored to their original design, so it’s like wandering through a massive canvas alive with perfectly planted colour and swirling parterres. 


Travel down Europe's longest river, the Rhine.
Take the time to sight-see in Germany.

Cruise into the picturesque Cologne, home of Germany’s most visited landmark Kolner Dom. As the world’s tallest twin-spired cathedral it dominates the skyline and although the foundation stone was laid in 1248, it wasn’t until 1880 that the impressive building was finally completed.

Be charmed by quirkier experiences, such as a ride on the Winzerexpress mini-train and spend time discovering the delights of the Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Instrument Museum, where hundreds of self-playing instruments, spanning three centuries, are on display.

As the Rhine becomes the Main, towns along the cruise include Nuremberg, which although widely known as the site of infamous rallies during the Second World War, actually has a far grander history dating back over a thousand years. Similarly aged towns, such as Warzburg, Rothenburg and Bamberg, all with their cobblestone streets, terracotta roof tiles and rest of their incredibly preserved medieval architecture, are all included.

Jonson-Deak points out that when a tour itinerary is planned by European travel experts, not only does it mean such must-see destinations can be enjoyed with ease, “we are also able to offer exclusive experiences that are not available to the general public such as having an afternoon tea with a local family in the German town of Mitenberg or visiting a private orchard in Belgrade to learn about brewing plum brandy,” she says.

When on the Danube, Austria’s highlights include Melk Abbey, a Benedictine monastery that has been active since 1089 and the vineyards of the Wachau Valley and Durnstein; while in Vienna, enjoy everything from markets to Mozart. Optional tours include excursions to Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic, or for Sound of Music fans, Salzburg; with the Danube taking the tour all the way into Hungary’s capital.


Relax in luxurious surrounds in state of the art rooms.
Enjoy world-class dining aboard the cruise ships in total comfort.
Along with luxurious rooms, there are also pristine bathroom facilities.
Catch some sunshine on the viewing deck.

Travelmarvel’s flagship river cruise, ‘European Gems’ is fifteen memorable days, starting in Amsterdam, the home of canals, clogs and tulips, and finishing in the heart of Budapest, or vice versa.

If a fortnight doesn’t feel like enough time, there’s the option to spend three nights in Paris before the cruise, and then a further three nights in Prague after disembarking the ship and the same journey can also be booked in reverse.

Additional voyages aboard Travelmarvel's range of ships are also available throughout the Balkans and across the breadth of Portugal, while several Croatia coastal cruise itineraries explore the allure of the azure Adriatic Coast and Dalmatian Islands.

“A couple of years’ worth of restrictions has led to us valuing our freedom more than ever,” says Jonson-Deak . “Travellers want to get out there and explore and what better way to do so than aboard our three new river ships, The Travelmarvel Polaris, Capella and Vega which are filled with state-of-the-art facilities and fine furnishing to make your journey that much more special.”


cruise ship in open waters

All aboard the Princess Eleganza.

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