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First things first: seeing Europe from the water is simply beautiful. Whether you choose to charter a private boat or yacht, or book a luxury cruise, you’ll be taking in the idyllic sights of historic architecture, sweeping vineyards, icy fjords, or picturesque cliffs—just to name a few—from the comfort of the high seas.
When exploring a continent like Europe when it’s easy to see multiple countries in one trip, it can be overwhelming to plan the itinerary. You want to see a lot, of course, but you don’t want to rush the experiences. You want to take your time with the local food, history, shopping—and you should. Without the added stress of navigating car rentals and road signs in a foreign country, you’ll maximize the amount of time you can spend exploring UNESCO world heritage sites and storied rivers.
Here are some reasons why traveling through Europe by boat is one of the very best ways to experience this dynamic continent.
Chartering a Yacht
For those who prefer a little more privacy than you'd find aboard a cruise, chartering a sailboat or yacht is a great way to explore Europe's waterways, cities, and villages without having to worry about the navigation. Plus, you'll have the opportunity to get to know your captain, and have an on-board private chef. Yes, please! Pro tip: consider this option for a honeymoon or romantic getaway.
Booking a Luxury Cruise
If you don't want to worry about any of the planning at all—you just want to explore, relax, and dine on some of Europe's finest cuisine—then a luxury all-inclusive cruise is the way to go. Brands like Uniworld and Crystal Cruises offer elegant accommodations; think chic cabins with en suite bathrooms, spas on board, live music, and design-forward interiors.
Getting a Taste of Everything
Imagine sipping Champagne and munching on a fresh cheese plate near Paris one day, and a few days later, enjoying a fresh beer and pretzel along the banks of the Rhine in Germany. Often times, a cruise itinerary, like this one from Crystal Cruises or this one from UniWorld, will be a week or more in length, and include three to four countries.
Traveling in a Large Group
Be it a multi-generational family reunion or a wedding party, booking a trip for a large group traveling together can get wildly complicated. There are hotel rooms to secure, restaurant reservations to make, and lots of opinions to account for. Make everything easier on yourself and your family by booking this type of trip through a cruise line, many of which cater to large groups. Group members can choose to participate in the company's planned tours, or opt to explore on their own.
Navigating Language Barriers
It can be a bit intimidating to book a trip to a non-English-speaking country without any experience speaking the language—even if you practice ahead of time (which we encourage). Cruises eliminate that stress, because the entire crew typically speaks English fluently—and most importantly, guided tours are offered in English, usually with earpieces if you’d like to toggle to another language. Guides can also be extremely helpful in making recommendations and offering tips about shopping, eating out, etc. if you choose to do your own thing.