Cruise: Best river cruise for 2020 holidays revealed – but which company came bottom?

River cruises offer a twist on the regular cruise holiday, offering a luxurious onboard experience as well as spanning a number of metropolitan destinations. However, with tickets often costly, many cruisers want to be sure they are getting the best experience.


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Which? Travel’s latest river cruise survey took into account over 100 passenger experiences on a number of popular river cruise lines, as well as the cost of the tickets and amenities on offer.

The line they crowed the best river cruise line of the year is Australian brand Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours.

Though the cruise operator is on the pricey side, with an average price per night roughly £349, Which? say it is “well worth it.”

Its upfront pricing structure includes gratuities, 24-hour room service, private butlers, a concierge laundry service and a choice of at least two excursions at every stop.

The cruise operator was also the only one to score a full five stars for its cabins thanks to luxury toiletries, a free minibar and a pillow ‘menu’ with eight choices available in standard suites.

UK-operator Emerald Waterways was also highlighted thank to its low-cost offering.

The cruise line has sailings spanning rivers including the Danube, Rhine, Main, Rhône, Douro, Mekong, Nile and Volga.

Though tickets come at a lower cost per person per night, they still maintain a luxury onboard experience.

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Meanwhile, it was Saga River Cruises which garnered the lowest score from cruise enthusiasts.

Though they were the second-cheapest brand in the survey, Which? said it proved “a bargain isn’t always bliss.”

It was cabins, facilities and excursions that left travellers with a bad taste in their mouths.

In fact, across all of these areas they scored just two stars.


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Which? blame this, in part, on the fact Saga charters its ships.

With that said, the line is due to launch its first river cruise ship in 2021. reached out to Saga to get their take on the survey.

Other mahor brands included in the 2020 survey were AmaWaterways, Riviera Travel, Saga Cruises, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, Emerald Waterways, APT Luxury River Cruises, Uniworld, and Viking River Cruises.

Across the board, Which? say that River Cruises are on the rise due to the mix of opulent features and a reasonable price.

According to the consumer rights brand: “With the average price of a European cruise coming in just shy of £280 per night, river cruising might not look like a budget holiday at first glance.

“But factor in food, drinks and daily excursions, which are all typically included as standard, and the figures start to sound more reasonable.”

Cruisers who opt for a river holiday can also make the most of a more intimate experience.

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