European Cruises

See the Continent by water: European cruises offer travelers a new (and simultaneously old) view of its most iconic regions. From cruises that sail up Scandinavian fjords, to boats that traverse the Mediterranean’s many islands and cities, to vessels that ply Europe’s great rivers, these journeys present their passengers with a veritable buffet of western civilization. Many boats now feature spas, heated pools, French balconies, and—yes—WiFi. Travel + Leisure looks at the latest developments in European cruises and evaluates the options based on the best routes, accommodations, amenities, and values.Mediterranean CruisesTravelers aboard Mediterranean cruises partake of pristine beaches and ancient ruins, Renaissance palaces and medieval castles. And don’t forget the famous Mediterranean diet! (Pass the olives.) Many cruise routes navigate the coasts of Spain, France, Italy, and Greece, but journeys that visit Istanbul, North Africa, and the Canary Islands are available as well. Glam up for a cocktail reception in Monaco’s Grand Casino, indulge at a private wine tasting at a Sicilian family vineyard, or sample tapas and sherry during a high-drama flamenco performance in Andalusia.Scandinavian CruisesCruises that travel the Baltic Sea can carry their passengers from the wonders of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum to the stunning fjords of Norway. Winter cruises expose travelers to the icy beauty of Europe’s north (as well as its cozy holiday markets) but summer cruises—the most popular time of year for Baltic tours—reward passengers with a more temperate climate, lush meadows bursting with flowers, and nearly 24 hours of daylight.River CruisesRiver boats now cruise up and down the Danube, the Rhine, the Main, the Moselle, the Rhône, the Seine, and the Elbe, as well as smaller Dutch and Belgian waterways. The river cruise industry is a crowded field, but it means there are that many more options for travelers. Many river cruises are all-inclusive of airport transfers, WiFi, alcohol, excursions, and tips. Meanwhile, onshore activities may include biking and hiking tours, a night at the opera, walking tours of historic sites and museums, as well as opportunities to sample regional cuisine—and sometimes even lessons on how to cook it. Did we mention butler service? What could be more European than that?Looking for a sun-dappled sail through the Cyclades? A journey through the dramatic landscapes lining the Baltic? A leisurely river cruise through Europe’s great capitals?  T+L is here to help you navigate.

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These Cruises for World War II Buffs Combine Travel With History Lessons

The upcoming 75th Anniversary of D-Day has brought renewed interest to the historic event, when more than 160,000 Allied troops landed on the French coastline to fight Nazi Germany. Supported by more than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, the Allies gained a foothold despite huge casualties. While it took nearly another year to overcome Adolph Hitler’s troops, D-Day began the arduous process of defeating the enemy. Travelers can educate themselves about D-Day by visiting the cities and towns that were occupied by Nazis during the war, and by seeing firsthand the places where the invasion was planned. Paris, Prague, Berlin, London, China, Japan and more are all exciting but different destinations today — perhaps because of the events of 75 years ago. Visiting these places with the added insight of historians and military experts can provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences, as well as memorable vacations. River cruises on Europe’s narrow waterways allow guests to understand the landscape of the countries as they pass, and shore excursions with expert guides bring history to life. The Pacific Islands, Balkans, Greece, and even Australia are all home to places that were significant in World War II. As you make this year’s travel plans, why not consider one of these luxurious cruises that come with tempting cuisine, fascinating sights, and gorgeous destinations along with history lessons that are a lot more interesting than you remember from school.