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Tour Europe by Ship

Skip the bus and leave the driving to a skipper.


ABOVE: Tenders take passengers ashore from cruise ships in Santorini, Greece.

Have you ever:

  • Put off a European vacation because you lack the patience to plan an itinerary, haul yourself and your belongings from city to city, and cope with foreign languages along the way?
  • Thought about an escorted tour, but rejected the idea because touring with a group seems too much like a class trip?
  • Wished you could visit places like Corsica, Dubrovnik, or Spitsbergen that sound intriguing but aren't convenient to reach from where you live?
  • Complained about the need to unpack every night and pack again the next morning?

If your answer to any of these questions is "yes," it's time to consider touring Europe on a ship or boat.

The idea of cruise-based travel is simple: You sail along Europe's coastline or inland waterways, stopping frequently for shore excursions. It's like staying in a moving hotel that takes you around Europe: You unpack once at the beginning of the voyage, and you never have to touch a suitcase again until it's time to leave the ship. And when you're finished with each day's sightseeing, you can return to the familiar cocoon of your cruise vessel for dinner, conversation with your fellow passengers, and a good night's sleep.

Next page: Four ways to cruise

In this article:
Cruise types
Port-intensive cruises
A typical cruise day
Shopping for a cruise
Before you book

Also see:
European Cruises - Articles Index

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on Europe.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel for, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors  (including Europe for Cruisers) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

For more information, see About Europe for Visitors, press clippings, and reader testimonials.