A few years ago I have seen some statistical data for the revenue from cruise line sales. It encompassed around $1.5 billion worldwide. This number was average and surely it is much higher today. Liners intended for traveling along rivers and lakes can accommodate from 1000 to 2000 tourists simultaneously.
In Europe river tourism is quite popular: enough rivers are navigable and crosses almost all capitals and other main cities. Most developed in navigable river routes are Germany, France, and Hungary.
Though so many cities in Europe are close to the open river banks, some of them cannot be reached. Exceptions encompass Barcelona, Venice, Dubrovnik, Hamburg or Marseilles and several others in which you will not be able to immediately go through or drive to the city center upon arrival.
Journey duration and destinations
Such river cruises usually take from 7 to 15 days, depending on the route. Popular starting points are Strasbourg, Paris, Venice, Bordeaux, Cologne, Budapest, Vienna, Passau, Seville, Lyon, Potsdam, Hamburg, Dresden, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Basel, Bratislava, Amsterdam. So check airline flights in advance to catch a good price on one of these destinations.
The choice of routes is really impressive: more and more people are attracted by cruises on the Rhine, and the Danube along the Rhine and Main, along the Rhine and Mosel (one of main wine making valley in Germany), along with the rivers of Rhône and Douro, along with the Siena and others. Danube and Rhine River cruises today make up the most of the European cruises.
Such cruises as Amsterdam-Strasbourg (where you will get acquainted with the culture and customs of just three European countries – Holland, Germany, and France) or Austria – Slovakia – Hungary are very used to be experienced.
Before coming in EU area do not forget about a visa (if you are not EU resident). As well as any other kind of traveling across Europe, river cruises also require having a Schengen multi visa (if you will go to more than one EU port). Note that a visa will be given on behalf of that country embassy, which you will stay the longest period while traveling.
Care about your clothes. Do not pick too much items, though they should fit different events carried on the board, probably some thematic evenings (see the liner timeline and events).
In a case of sea sickness, bring some pharmacy. Though cruise lines are currently being developed in such a way to significantly reduce the likelihood of a liner pitching, 3% of passengers still suffer from sea sickness.
For maximum convenience, to use all sockets on board it is recommended to have an adapter or converter.
A portable GPS navigator can download a port city map, which is very useful when you visit them.
An electric kettle will allow you to drink tea or coffee directly into the cabin.