Prospective cruisers often ask me what the best Europe cruises are, but that question is difficult to answer because Europe is massive. It encompasses some 45 countries and includes such cruise regions as the Mediterranean, the Baltic and Northern Europe, the British Isles and the Canary Islands.
While cruisers are spoiled for choice in this part of the world, it can be difficult to know where to begin when researching voyages.
To help you out, I've narrowed down my favorites for the best cruises to Europe for different types of travelers, including families, couples and solo travelers.
Note: Pricing was accurate at the time of publication. Fares are subject to change without notice, and they do not include additional fees or port taxes.
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Best European cruises for families: Disney Dream
Disney Cruise Line is great for kids; if you're planning a cruise in Europe with kids, Disney Dream is a logical choice for best European cruise for families.
Character meet 'n' greets, awe-inspiring nighttime entertainment and fun dining experiences mean your kiddos will never be bored. The ship's stellar kids clubs go above and beyond with a likeness of Andy's room from "Toy Story" and a replica of the Millennium Falcon from "Star Wars" (with visits from R2-D2 and a squad of stormtroopers).
Disney Dream is not the line's newest ship, meaning it's a bit more manageable in terms of both size and price. It's not the oldest, either, so families will find more things to do on board than on the line's smallest vessels.
Ashore, Disney's family-friendly excursions will take you to laze on the beach, explore museums and learn about history.
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Disney Dream sails three- to 12-night cruises to Northern and Western Europe, the British Isles and the Mediterranean. Cruise fares start from $308 per person, per night, for a windowless inside cabin. You can visit ports like Belfast and Liverpool on cruises from Southampton; Florence and Rome (Civitavecchia) on Barcelona sailings; and Reykjavik, Copenhagen and Lisbon on open-jaw itineraries.
Related: Best cruise lines for families
Best European cruises for couples: Viking Star
If you're a couple seeking an upscale Mediterranean experience that offers real value and a chance to reconnect with your partner, look no further than Viking.
The line's Viking Star sails various Mediterranean itineraries, and the European ports the ship visits offer plenty of opportunities for you to feel the love. Have a phenomenal lunch at a table for two in France, take a pizza-making class together in Italy, get a little giggly at a wine tasting in Greece, or run the casino tables together in Monaco.
Viking includes at least one free shore excursion per port in its fares. That means you can wander Europe's romantic cobblestone streets hand in hand with your sweetie without paying a penny extra.
While fares aren't the cheapest you'll find, you'll get a lot for your money. In addition to the tours, Viking includes Wi-Fi, specialty dining, and beer and wine with lunch and dinner in its prices.
Plus, all cabins on Viking's ships have balconies, which is great if you want some fresh air but feel like keeping to yourself. Complimentary room service is available 24/7, so you can order dinner to your cabin for a relaxing alfresco dining experience for two.
Want even more ways to pamper yourselves together? Check out the phenomenal thermal suite in the ship's spa, which offers sauna and steam rooms, tile loungers and aromatherapy rooms at no extra charge. Or, splurge on a couples massage, which will leave both of you feeling loose and refreshed.
Even better, Viking ships do not allow children on board. It's a great excuse for you and your significant other to rekindle the romance without other passengers' kids running around.
Viking's Mediterranean sailings range from seven to 21 nights. Back-to-back itineraries are rarely the same as Viking Star circles the Med. The ship visits ports such as Barcelona, Spain; Marseille, France; Florence (Livorno), Rome (Civitavecchia), Sicily and Venice, Italy; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Dubrovnik, Croatia; Athens and Santorini, Greece; and Kusadasi, Turkey.
Fares start from $381 per person, per night, for a balcony stateroom.
Related: The 10 best cruises for couples seeking romance and together time at sea
Best European cruises for seniors: Seabourn Sojourn
If you're a senior traveler who loves great food and excellent wine, one of the best luxury European cruises you can book is a Canary Islands cruise on Seabourn's Seabourn Sojourn.
The small ship carries fewer than 500 passengers, and you won't find raucous parties or tons of children. Instead, you'll be met with stellar service, gourmet food, a room with a view (all cabins have at least a window) and relative peace and quiet. The long itineraries are ideal for wealthier passengers with lots of time to travel.
Seabourn Sojourn's voyages to the Canaries span 10 to 28 days and visit the islands of La Palma, Gran Canaria and Madeira, as well as Lisbon, Portugal. Fares start from $434 per person, per night, for an ocean-view cabin. Extras like Wi-Fi, gratuities and alcohol (including the in-room mini-bar) are rolled into the fares.
Related: Best cruises for seniors who love to travel by sea
Best for solo cruisers: Norwegian Epic
When Norwegian Epic debuted in 2010, it introduced Norwegian Cruise Line's first cabins for solo travelers. Designed with single beds and a bit less square footage, these so-called studio cabins are clustered around an exclusive lounge reserved for solos. Special activities allow folks traveling alone to mingle and make new friends.
Since Norwegian Epic began sailing, nearly all of the line's new ships — Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Encore, Norwegian Prima and Norwegian Viva — have been built with accommodations for one, which don't charge occupants a single supplement. However, it's Norwegian Epic that has a presence in the Western Mediterranean, offering solo cruisers a chance to explore Europe on a ship with staterooms just for them.
On board, passengers have plenty of choices for activities and dining. In addition to the usual cruise-ship offerings — pool games, dance parties, game shows, trivia and movie screenings — Epic offers many fun diversions, including an adults-only beach club at the back of the ship, spa treatments, a bowling alley and even gaming lessons (the latter three for a fee).
The vessel sails five- to 12-night voyages back and forth between Rome and Barcelona, calling on ports that include Naples, Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, Marseille, Cannes and Florence (Livorno). At press time, last-minute fares started from $90 per person, per night, for a studio cabin for one.
Related: The best cruise lines for solo travelers
Best European party cruises: Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady
If your Europe bucket list includes the Greek Isles, you don't want to sail with children, and you enjoy a lively party atmosphere, you can't go wrong with Virgin Voyages' Resilient Lady. The third ship in the line's fleet, Resilient Lady offers some of the best cruises to the Greek Islands.
Expect a casual vibe where passengers dress up like mermaids, crew dress up like drag queens, and performers look like real people. Toss in an onboard tattoo parlor, a food court (it's not a buffet), free fitness classes and an app that lets you order Champagne to wherever you are on the ship, and you've got a product that has turned the cruise industry on its head.
Wild nights on board include raucous and sometimes raunchy theater shows, impromptu dance parties and Scarlet Night, a poolside bash reminiscent of a rave where everyone's dressed in red. If that's not enough, attend enough daily activities, and you might be invited to a secret nighttime tour of the crew bar, drinks included.
The ship offers a regular program of 7-, 10- and 14-night voyages, starting from $148 per person, per night, for an inside cabin. The itineraries involve a mix of ports in Greece, Montenegro, Croatia and Turkey, depending on the specific sailing you choose.
Related: The best adults-only cruises to try if you can't stand being around kids on vacation
Best European cruises for 'wow' factor: Hurtigruten's Richard With
Looking for a sailing that no other cruise line offers — one that will make everyone on TikTok and Instagram jealous? I'm putting my money on a line you've likely never heard of: Hurtigruten.
What began more than 130 years ago as a way for Norway's residents to move themselves and cargo up and down the Norwegian coast continues today as both a means of transportation and a way for cruisers to experience the country's culture.
On the cruise line's Norwegian Coastal Express route, Hurtigruten's Richard With ship calls on 34 ports in just seven days. Some are quick stops in the middle of the night while cargo is loaded and unloaded, but you technically could get off the ship in each port if you wanted to. That in itself makes this itinerary buzzworthy.
Still need convincing? These voyages also cross into the Arctic Circle and sail into Geirangerfjord (northbound from Bergen to Kirkenes) and Trollfjord (southbound from Kirkenes to Bergen), affording absolutely breathtaking views and, of course, bragging rights.
The two routes can be combined into longer 13-day sailings, meaning you'd sail round-trip from Bergen and see all the fjords. Seven-night northbound itineraries from Bergen to Kirkenes start at $331 per person, per night, for an inside cabin.
Ultimately, the best cruise to Europe is a bit subjective in that it depends where in Europe you'd like to go and what your travel style is. Be sure to weigh a combination of destination, price and onboard vibe when deciding which is best for you and your travel party.
Have more cruise questions? TPG has answers:
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- Man overboard: Why do people fall off cruise ships?
- What is baked Alaska, and why is it paraded around cruise ships?
- What are the largest cruise ships in the world?
- What is a gentleman host on a cruise?
- What is the Jones Act and how does it affect cruise ships?
- What is a lido deck on a cruise ship?
- What’s a cruise cabin guarantee and will it save you money?
- What’s the difference between a cruise concierge and a butler?
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Which part of the ship is best for cruises? ›
starboard side of the ship is best to stay on. Your decision will depend on a variety of factors, from your stateroom type to your cruise itinerary. Here are helpful tips for choosing which side of the ship will suit you best.Which cruise has the most decks? ›
Royal Caribbean Wonder of the Seas
Its maiden voyage in March 2022, becoming the fifth member of Royal's Oasis-class ships. The aptly-named Wonder of the Seas has 18 decks (16 guest-accessible decks), 2,867 staterooms and 19 pools (the most on any cruise ship).
Card room. Casino — Only open when the ship is at sea to avoid conflict with local laws.Is one of the famous cruising regions in Europe? ›
One of the top European cities for cruising is Barcelona. It is also a major cruise hub where ships regularly embark. This European city is decorated with gothic architecture, and you can walk around Casa Mila or La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí's architectural masterpieces.
If you're after views, the best room on a cruise ship will be a balcony cabin at the ship's rear end. Aft balcony accommodations at the ship's corners are also the largest and often give more outside area than conventional balcony cabins, allowing you to enjoy both the beautiful views and the extra space.What is the best floor to stay on a cruise ship? ›
You want to be as close to the pivot point as possible to feel the least movement. Avoid cabins near the front (bow) or back (stern) and on decks higher than the middle deck of the ship. So, on a ship with fourteen passenger decks, your best options are below deck seven.Is it worth it to upgrade to a balcony on a cruise? ›
Balcony cabins on cruise ships are more spacious due to the outside space. They have spectacular ocean views, fresh sea air, and a private seating area. Although these cabins are more expensive, the rewards of a private balcony sometimes outweigh the cost. If it fits within your budget, balcony cabins are worth it!Where are the best and worst cabins on a cruise ship? ›
Best "Low-Motion" cabins
The "best cabins for seasickness" are located at the ship's edges (top decks, bow, and stern). The worst area in the front section, as the bow is first hit by waves. Higher deck front cabins fell more the up and down motion, while for the aft cabins the motion is less noticeable.
To reduce motion sickness, choose a stateroom in the middle of the ship on a lower deck. You will feel any sway of the ship less in this section. Although it may seem counterintuitive, if you're worried about seasickness on a cruise, book a stateroom with a window or a veranda.How many cruise ships sink a year? ›
Cruise ships very rarely sink, and when they do it is often when they don't have passengers on board. Just over one cruise ship every 5 years has sunk in the last 100 years. Regarding sinking with casualties, that's only one every 7 years. In the last 50 years, there have been 15 cruise ships that have sunk.
Where is the most stable part of a cruise ship? ›
The best cabin location for those worried about seasickness is midship on a low deck. As a ship rocks and rolls in the waves, it is most stable at its lowest, most central point.Where do they keep abandoned cruise ships? ›
Decommissioned ships are almost always sent to one of two scrapyards. The largest is Alang, located in India's Gulf of Khambhat, which recycles more than half of the world's decommissioned cruise ships. The second largest is Aliaga in Turkey.What is the world's most popular cruise vacation? ›
- Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean Anthem Of The Sea – Photo: Courtesy Glyn Lowe (Wikicommons) ...
- Disney Cruises. Photo: Disney Cruises. ...
- Celebrity Cruises. ...
- Carnival Cruise Line. ...
- Norwegian Cruise Line. ...
- MSC Cruises. ...
- Holland America Cruise Line. ...
Of these, Carnival is by far the leading cruise company in Europe, accounting for 45 percent of the total market in 2021. Carnival owns and operates numerous brands, including Costa, AIDA, and P&O Cruises.What is the cruise capital of Europe? ›
Southampton is widely recognised as the cruise capital of Europe. The Port of Southampton plays host to a wide variety of cruise lines, including P&O Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, MSC and Princess Cruises, and welcomes more than two million passengers to the city each year.Is it better to stay on the upper or lower deck of a cruise ship? ›
The higher the deck, the better and, often, more panoramic the view. Cabins on top decks aren't always the best on the ship, but many suites and specialty cabin categories are typically located on upper decks. Like to be near all the action? Most mega-ships place their lido (pool) areas on higher decks.Is it better to stay on a lower deck on a cruise ship? ›
Lower Deck cabins are – as the name suggests – below deck, away from the busier communal areas of the ship. This means they're quieter, and therefore better for sleeping, with a whole extra floor separating you and the restaurant, bar, and top deck above.Can you sleep on the balcony of a cruise ship? ›
There are no rules that say that passengers on cruise ships can't sleep on their balconies. That said, cruise lines do generally advise against it. Despite this many people enjoy sleeping on their balconies and you won't have any problem doing so if you want to.Is it better to be in the front or back of the ship on a cruise? ›
The back of the ship tends to be considered the next best cabin position after midships. Whilst the front of the ship gets the most movement the back also does get some. Whilst it's nowhere near as bad as the front of the ship, you may still notice some movement in rough seas.Where is the most comfortable rooms on cruise ship? ›
The nicest and most expensive cabins on any ship are generally on the highest decks. That typically means just below the pool deck. However, the pool deck is often the loudest during the day (and often well into the night).
Is the front or back of a cruise ship better for motion sickness? ›
The middle of the ship and not too high is your safest bet. A mid-ship stateroom with a balcony for quick access to fresh air may be ideal. If not available, consider a room that is either lower or closer to the back, as the front of the ship tends to experience the most movement.What deck level is best on a cruise ship? ›
The best deck on a cruise ship to avoid seasickness is the lowest passenger deck. This is because the top of a ship sways from side to side much more than the bottom. To avoid motion sickness, choose a cabin close to the waterline.What is the difference between a veranda and a balcony on a cruise ship? ›
French Balcony cabins have floor-to-ceiling glass doors, while Verandah cabins have larger outdoor spaces with chairs and tables where guests can relax in the fresh air and enjoy their own private view of the river.What is an upscale cruise? ›
Its service oriented. Luxury cruises are typically smaller ships that carry less than 1,000 people and provide more intimate service. It offers exquisite dining, six-star service, and smaller vessels to reach the destinations that larger ships can't.What is the noisiest part of a cruise ship? ›
Cruise cabins near the elevator or stair access points are some of the noisiest staterooms at sea and their location will lead to a lot of noise during most parts of the night and therefore, should be avoided.Where is the safest place to stay on a cruise ship? ›
If seasickness is a worry of yours, the best way to avoid that is getting a room in the center of the ship. As cruise ships tend to bob on waves and slightly roll from side to side, the heart of the ship is its only part that stays virtually in the same place.What part of cruise ship is worst for motion sickness? ›
If you're prone to motion sickness, the worst cabins you can get on a cruise ship are at the front and rear.What size cruise ship is best for motion sickness? ›
Pick a big ship
The smaller the ship, the more movement you'll feel. To minimize the risk of seasickness, book one of the world's largest ships, such as Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas.
The lower you are, and more towards the middle of the ship, you will not feel it as much. Cabins at the front and back of the ship tend to sway the most, so you want to avoid any rooms in these areas.How many cruise ships have been attacked by pirates? ›
The Cruise Passenger publication says: "There were only six reports of pirates attempting to attack cruise ships over the last 10 years – in fact there has never been a successful pirate attack on a cruise ship.
How often do cruise ships encounter rough seas? ›
The good news is that cruise ships will rarely travel through a rough sea. They are equipped with the latest in weather tracking information and navigation systems so they can avoid any potential storm or heavy seas.How many people miss their cruise ships? ›
People very rarely disappear on a cruise ship. On average it's around 19 people that go missing each year. This is out of the many millions of cruise ship passengers that travel aboard one of the 314 cruise ships that sail the world's oceans each year.What is the most stable cruise ship? ›
When the stabilizers aren't needed, they are retracted into the side of the vessel. Older and smaller ships are less likely to have this technology and are much more apt to feel the motion of the ocean. A mega-ship, such as Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, might just be the best cruise ship to avoid seasickness.Where is the smoothest sailing on a cruise ship? ›
Best Deck for Seasickness and Access to Amenities
The best location to book your cabin will be in the center of the cruise ship and on the lower deck. The lower you go down, the less rocking you will experience during your trip. If you suffer from any motion sickness, this area is ideal for you.
The forward is subject to the most movement out of anywhere on a ship. And the higher the deck, the more pronounced that rolling and swaying motion tends to feel. Movement at the aft is a bit less drastic than the forward, but still isn't the most stable place for those who are prone to seasickness.What is the oldest cruise ship still in service? ›
Corrections & Clarifications: In a previous version of this article, the name of the Swedish city of Gothenburg was misspelled. The MV Astoria is the oldest cruise ship currently sailing, and Cruise and Maritime Voyages embraces the story of its vintage vessel.Do people still live on cruise ships? ›
Imagine living on board a ship full-time, allowing you to travel without a mortgage weighing you down. Well, one retired couple is doing just that. In an interview with CNN, former Seattle residents Angelyn and Richard Burk revealed they've been residing on cruise ships since leaving behind their home base in May 2021.What is the life expectancy of a cruise ship? ›
The average lifespan of a ship is 25-30 years. After this span, the ship may become too expensive to operate, but most importantly, to become unseaworthy putting human safety at risk. So, have you ever wondered what happens to a ship when it is too old to sail?Which cruise line has the best customer reviews? ›
Best for Customer Satisfaction: Disney. Why we chose it: Disney received the highest overall average rating from customers on Cruiseline.com, and its staff and service were also ranked highly.What is the average price of a world cruise? ›
World cruises start from around $10,000 per person and can cost as much as $300,000 per person if you choose the best suite on the most luxurious cruise line. Expect to pay around $15,000 to $25,000 on a mainstream cruise line, and between $60,000 and $100,000 on a luxury cruise line, on average.
What time of year are cruises most popular? ›
The best time of year to book a cruise is often January through March.What is the largest luxury cruise in the world? ›
What is the biggest cruise ship in the world? The largest cruise ship currently in service is Royal Caribbean's Wonder of the Seas.What is the richest cruise line in the world? ›
Largest Cruise Lines Research Summary
The largest cruise line in the world is Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), with a revenue of $22.86 billion. As of 2022, the global cruise line industry has a market size of $7.67 billion.
For passengers looking to enjoy views, especially the scenery in the wake of a ship, we recommend higher decks and the back of the vessel. The higher you pick, the farther you'll see. If you're after views, the best room on a cruise ship will be a balcony cabin at the ship's rear end.Do cruises from Europe speak English? ›
The main language used on board is English. However, we offer our international guest service in German and Spanish on all fleetwide sailings and in French and Italian on all sailings in Europe and select worldwide itineraries.Where do Western European cruises go? ›
About Western Mediterranean Cruises
Spanning two continents (Europe and Africa), the region includes the artistic meccas of Italy, France and Spain and Arabic culture in Morocco and Tunisia.
The best deck on a cruise ship to avoid seasickness is the lowest passenger deck. This is because the top of a ship sways from side to side much more than the bottom. To avoid motion sickness, choose a cabin close to the waterline.Is it better to be in the middle or front of a cruise ship? ›
Generally, mid-ship is most favorable on lower decks, especially if you are prone to motion sickness. There is more noticeable movement in the more forward areas of the vessel, or on higher decks.Is forward or aft better on cruise ship? ›
The forward is subject to the most movement out of anywhere on a ship. And the higher the deck, the more pronounced that rolling and swaying motion tends to feel. Movement at the aft is a bit less drastic than the forward, but still isn't the most stable place for those who are prone to seasickness.Is it bad to be on a lower level of a cruise ship? ›
The most stable place to be on any cruise ship is low down on the vessel near its equilibrium point, which is generally near its center. Since inside cabins are closer to the center of a ship than “outside” ocean-view and balcony cabins, they can be more stable in rough seas.
Does the location of a cruise ship matter? ›
Whether your room is on the port or starboard side of the ship is in most cases totally irrelevant. There are a few rare itineraries where the side of the ship your room is on may matter subjectively, but it is not a factor that I recommend considering.Where are the best rooms on a cruise ship front or back? ›
The back of the ship tends to be considered the next best cabin position after midships. Whilst the front of the ship gets the most movement the back also does get some. Whilst it's nowhere near as bad as the front of the ship, you may still notice some movement in rough seas.What is the most stable area of a cruise ship? ›
Low and midship: Best cabin location to avoid seasickness
The best cabin location for those worried about seasickness is midship on a low deck. As a ship rocks and rolls in the waves, it is most stable at its lowest, most central point.
The front of a ship can be the most uncomfortable place to be in big waves. This is because the front of a ship pitches a lot more in waves than the center of a ship or even the back. Think of the teeter-totter you played on as a kid.Which side of the cruise ship has better view? ›
If you'd rather see the sunrise while sailing south or east, staying on the port side is your ideal choice as well. Choose the starboard side for the opposite situation: sunsets are visible on southbound and eastbound sailings while sunrises are visible on northbound and westbound cruises.Is the aft of a cruise ship noisy? ›
Aft cabins on cruise ships tend to be quieter, as they're farther from the midship bustle of activity that might be just a few decks above or below you, like bars, lounges, pools and the atrium.How do I find my way around a cruise ship? ›
- Use Interactive Wayfinding Screens. Digital wayfinding signage aboard Majestic Princess (Photo: Aaron Saunders) ...
- Use the Cruise Line's App. ...
- Checking Elevator and Stairwell Signage. ...
- Go Old School with the Cruise Line's Brochure Deck Plan. ...
- Watch For Directional Cues.