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How To Choose A Cruise in Europe

Updated on January 25, 2015
How To Choose A Cruise in Europe
How To Choose A Cruise in Europe | Source

Looking For Some Help Choosing A Cruise?

Once you have decided to go on a cruise, you would think the sailing would be smooth. However, in today's cruising world there are so many choices to be made...that the choice can be overwhelming. This page is designed to help you choose a cruise.

You'll find a list of great reasons to cruise in Europe and a list of things to think about before you even start into the charted waters of picking a cruise. Plus you'll receive some recommendations for excellent travel guides to help you along the way.

As a disclaimer, I would like to tell you right away that I am NOT a travel agent. I am a mother of two teenage boys who has had the opportunity and pleasure to travel to a few places in our wonderful world. Each trip has taken considerable research and I thought I could share some of my experiences with you.

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The European cruise season is between April and November although some cruises operate in December and a few sail year-round. The shoulder season is April, early May, November and December. The rest of the season is high season.

Europe offers a wide range of activities including great sights, shopping, beaches, museums and a large range of cultures and languages.

There is definitely something for everyone!

Ten Things To Think About Before You Pick A Cruise Anywhere

A bit of thought before you start looking at cruises will prove immensely helpful. The following list was taken from The Complete Guide to European Cruises by Fodor's. The answer to each of these questions will steer you toward the best cruise for you.

  • Who will be going on the cruise?
  • What can you afford to spend for the entire trip?
  • Where would you like to go?
  • How much vacation time do you have?
  • When can you get away?
  • What are your interests?
  • Do you prefer a casual or structured vacation?
  • What kind of accommodations do you want?
  • What are your dining preferences?
  • How will you get to the embarkation port?

Why Choose A Cruise In Europe?

  • Ports are close together so you can visit several of them in a reasonable amount of time.
  • The seas in Europe are relatively calm.
  • The climate is moderate.
  • An easy way to get around Europe.
  • A comfortable way to travel.
  • Unpack just once!
  • Cruising is economical with your accommodations and meals paid for in a package.
  • A great way to see the highlights of Europe!

Types of Europe Cruises

  • Mediterranean Cruises ~~ Often feature Greece, the Greek islands, Turkey, Italy and Croatia.
  • Northern Europe and Baltic Cruises ~~ Often feature the cities of Stockholm, Berlin, Helsinki, Oslo, Amsterdam and Brussels as well as Bergen, Rotterdam and St. Petersburg.
  • British Isles and Iceland Cruises ~~ Often features ports of call in England, Ireland and Scotland.

If you are going to spend a lot of money on a vacation, make sure to spend a little bit on a good guidebook (or maybe even two!)

Fodor's European Ports of Call

Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call (Travel Guide)
Fodor's European Cruise Ports of Call (Travel Guide)
This guide also offers everything you need to know to choose and plan a European cruise including information on itineraries, rates, cabins, crews, cuisine, activities and entertainment, children's programs, pools and spas, fitness facilities, passenger profiles and more. It has a more extensive listing of information on each port than the first book but (as mentioned before) does not give recommended excursions.

European Cruise Travel Guide Recommendations - (Or what I would do if I had it to do over again.)

Whenever I travel, I use Fodor's and Frommer's travel guides so I am pleased to say that the books recommended here met with my approval. All three of these books are great and, at less than $50 for the three, you cannot go wrong with any of them. (You could go wrong without them, though!)

  • If you have not picked a cruise yet, I would purchase both Frommer's European Cruises and Ports of Call and Fodor's The Complete Guide to European Cruises. I believe that each offers a bit that the other does not have and together they provide a lot of information to help you make a decision on your cruise.
  • If you have picked a cruise, I would consider purchasing Frommer's European Cruises and Ports of Call and Fodor's European Ports of Call or possibly just Frommer's European Ports of Call if you are willing to give up the recommended cruise line excursion information.
  • Do not make the mistake that I did and purchase Fodor's The Complete Guide to European Cruises and Fodor's European Ports of Call. The Complete Guide contains all of the information that is in the Ports of Call book so the second book becomes unnecessary if you are purchasing the first.

We based our decision about which cruise to take based on where the cruise went. My teenage boys wanted to visit Norway and the Baltic Cruise we chose included countries that my world-travelled husband has not been to. (That is no easy feat!)

Are you going on a European cruise? - Have you already taken one? Make sure to take a moment and say hello!

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Years back I heard of a cruise that is on a Norwegian mail boat that goes up and down the cost stopping at all the little inlets and ports. That sounds interesting.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 

      8 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      A cruise is definitely in the near future for us. I'll be back to order a guide or two.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Very handful tips, often we ignore the basics while traveling. For example, investing in a guide-book is a good idea, that will help not to miss places worth seeing.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      9 years ago from UK

      A cruise is definitely a great way to see many of the most interesting coastal cities of Europe, whether you go for a Mediterranean cruise or the Baltic one. Thanks for putting together your helpful recommendations, Brenda!

    • almawad profile image


      10 years ago

      Hi ! I had been working as a tour guide in Hungary and I used to deal with tourists who arrived in our area by river cruise ships .Those were very popular - visiting so many countries by ships .One of my lens Hungarian Floral Patterns is abut the place in south Hungary where river cruise ships stop .Some ships looked really very luxurious - and tourists are pampered by gourmet food and great services -but it is not sure that it is my cup of cake . It must be terribly boring to spend so much time in a ship ...So if you long for a quiet time to meditate and watch the flow of a river while you are being served wonderful dishes and drinks - then you try it ..

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I've never been on a European cruise, but it sounds like fun!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      My all-time favorite place to visit is Europe. And, I'm more partial to Eastern Europe. We did have a dinner cruise on the Danube River, but no vacation cruise there yet.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      A European cruise sounds wonderful!

    • tandemonimom lm profile image

      tandemonimom lm 

      11 years ago

      I've never been to Europe OR on a cruise! Two things on my must-do list!

    • profile image


      11 years ago


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Another great "how-to" lens!

    • Paula Atwell profile image

      Paula Atwell 

      11 years ago from Cleveland, OH

      I love cruises but haven't been on one in a while. I have also only been to Europe once. But I don't think that I would want to take the Titanic robe on a boat. :) Blessed by an Angel.

    • kateloving profile image

      Kate Loving Shenk 

      11 years ago from Lancaster PA

      Are you going to go on a cruise?Are we on week 6 already of the Rocket Mom assignments?? LOL!!Good job with this lens!!

    • AlisonMeacham profile image


      11 years ago

      I am a cruise addict - have been on some wonderful ones. The next one is to Alaska in a few weeks. Haven't cruised Europe yet but definitely hope to. Excellent lens - Blessings to you

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I want go on a cruise to Europe now! It sounds like a great way to see a lot of countries on one trip and I love the part about only having to unpack once!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      11 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Brenda- I have been on a Mediterranean cruise, a British Isles cruise and a Rhine River cruise. All three were great! I highly recommend this way of travel. Your lens has some great guidelines! Lensrolled to my Rhine River Cruise lens. 5*

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      11 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I would love to take a cruise to Europe. Nice lens.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 

      11 years ago from USA

      looks like fun!

    • RuthCoffee profile image

      Ruth Coffee 

      11 years ago from Zionsville, Indiana

      A cruise would be great. I had never considered a cruise to Europe, I always think of tropical destinations. I'd actually prefer one of these!

    • profile image

      Dianne Loomos 

      11 years ago

      A European cruise sounds fabulous! What great information here.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      11 years ago from Arkansas USA

      The closest I've come to a European cruise is a ferry boat ride across the Straits of Gibraltar. I do love the idea of unpacking once, though. Great information, Brenda!

    • Holley Web profile image

      Holley Web 

      11 years ago

      Brenda, I would love to take a cruise, especially in Europe! This was wonderful information and much to consider. Love the Titanic robe!


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