Best European Cruises

by Danielle Contray

Have you scuttled your hard-earned vacation because of the tanking economy? Think again. Cruises have historically been a good value—most meals and incidentals are typically covered once you get on board—and with the dollar gaining on the pound and euro, it's a great time to strike an even better deal on itineraries through Europe. As booking rates drop, cruise lines have been offering everything from waived fuel charges to free airfare to convince you to come aboard. And then there's the convenience factor. Imagine making your way across the continent without ever looking at a train timetable or figuring out whether the A4 motorway actually goes to Paris. Imagine never having to repack your suitcase. And imagine having someone plan out your entire itinerary for you.

But lest you think that cruising is the non–thinking man's vacation, we give you Europe in all its variety, whether you want a luxury liner with formal-dress nights, a small-ship adventure cruise, or an educational jaunt complete with lectures from botanists and former world leaders. Mega-lines hit the big ports like Venice and Athens, riverboats dock at vineyards in Burgundy, and private yachts ply party islands and secluded coves. So get ready to say good-bye land and hello open water with this year's most value-packed European vacations.

Published March 2009. Pictured: Seabourn cruise ship, Greece.

NEXT: If you're nervous about your maiden voyage to the Continent...

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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