2. Comparison shopping pays off.
With so many European river cruise lines to choose from, it’s wise to do research online to compare similar itineraries before you book. The best part about the riverboat boom? Now that cruise companies are competing for your business, they’ve stepped up their packages. “Package deals that include free or reduced airfare or complimentary extras on board can help reduce costs significantly,” says Lisa Norton, a vice president at Emerald Waterways. Just don’t expect the kind of bargain-priced packages you’ll find on big ocean cruises. River cruises tend to cost more per person than their super-sized counterparts, but deals can still be had if you shop around on portals like CruiseCompete—a great first-stop in comparison shopping.
Insider tip: There are typically no hidden fees on European river cruises, but tips for the crew are not included.