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Best Time To Go On A River Cruise

The best time for river cruises varies depending on the destination, but in general you're likely to find that the Spring and Summer months tend to be most popular, particularly in Europe. It is worth bearing in mind that weather fluctuations can have an impact on your river cruise; in months where the region experiences more rainfall, rising water levels can disrupt itineraries quite heavily. For that reason, it is best to take a river cruise during the dry season.

Here we have compiled as much information as possible about our selection of river cruise destinations, so as to provide you with reliable recommendations for the best time to go on a luxury river cruise.

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Chobe & Zambezi
Dutch Waterways

Chobe & Zambezi River Cruises

May to October

The best time to visit the Chobe and Zambezi National Parks on a river cruise is during the summer months, when there is the most wildlife migrating through the parks.

August is possibly the best month to see hippos, buffaloes, leopards, hyenas, zebras and elephants, but it gets very hot so we recommend visiting either earlier in the summer or at the beginning of Autumn.

Chobe River Cruise

Danube River Cruises

April to December

A fantastic year-round cruising destination, the Danube offers one of the best cruising experiences for both beginners and seasoned river cruisers alike. The best time to visit this beautiful region is during the summer months, but you may want to avoid August when it will be very hot and most tourists will be around.

The Danube is also a great place to visit during the festive season for some of Europe’s biggest Christmas markets.

Danube River Cruise

Douro River Cruises

April to June, September to October

Perhaps the most underrated river in Europe, the Douro is the perfect destination for a spring or early autumn cruise when the weather is dry and warm.

Active cruisers will appreciate the temperate weather conditions for bike rides and hikes in the Douro Valley in April and May, while wine lovers will enjoy experiencing the grape harvest in September and October – some vineyards even allow guests to participate!

Douro River Cruise

Dutch Waterways Cruises

May to September

High season in the Netherlands is June to August and is the best time to visit for good weather on a luxury summer cruise. Shoulder season – that’s May and September – provide cruisers with fewer crowds and more moderate prices, plus the weather is still lovely and warm.

A benefit to going in late spring and early summer is that the famous tulip fields will be in full bloom; a bike riding excursion is best at this time of year on a Dutch Waterways River cruise.

Dutch Waterways River Cruise

Mekong River Cruises

November to April

A real exotic river cruise for the more adventurous travellers out there is on the iconic River Mekong in Southeast Asia. The Mekong flows through Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam and each country has its ‘peak’ season, but for most Mekong cruise itineraries we recommend visiting from November through to April.

At this time, during the dry season, you will enjoy warm days and cooler evenings – perfect conditions for exploring temples, hiking in forests, and relaxing on the sun deck.

Mekong River Cruise

Nile River Cruises

October to April

The best time for a Nile River cruise is between October and April when the temperatures are cooler but it is still pleasantly warm, making it the perfect time to explore tombs and temples in the Valley of the Kings as well as the Pyramids in the desert.

The months of May and September are slightly hotter but tend to be less expensive, so are still viable months for travel to Egypt and the Nile.

Nile River Cruise

Rhine River Cruises

April to December

Another European classic, the Rhine is a great year-round cruising destination. For the best weather, we recommend taking a Rhine river cruise during the summer months, particularly in May or June when the weather is favourable but there aren’t the summer crowds.

Alternatively, head to the Rhine during the festive season for the iconic German Christmas markets, which usually start in late November.

Rhine River Cruise

Rhone River Cruises

May to September

We recommend visiting the Rhone region in early summer or early autumn, when it is warm, dry, sunny, and quieter than the busy peak summer months of July and August.

Southern France and the Mediterranean coast are absolutely glorious throughout the summer, so why not finish your luxury Rhone River cruise in Avignon and head to the beach for a few days of rest and relaxation post-cruise?

Rhone River Cruise

Seine River Cruises

May to September

What could be better on a summer’s day than a romantic river cruise through the centre of Paris on the Seine? Take a luxury river cruise along France’s most famous waterway on a real bucket list voyage.

Head to the Seine at any time throughout the summer, but as in most European destinations, try to stick to May or September for idyllic weather conditions but fewer tourists.

Seine River Cruise

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