How Much Does a River Cruise Cost?

Value for money

I’m often asked: how much does a river cruise cost? and the answer isn’t straight forward.

VALUE is a key factor. With so much included, river cruises represent great value when compared to staying in hotels and paying for meals, tours, and evening entertainment.

River cruises are often regarded as a luxury reserved for those with plenty of money. However, there are a range of less-expensive options. Travellers can choose an ultra-luxury, all-inclusive ship, or a more cost-conscious option. When less is automatically included, you’ll choose how to spend your money.

When choosing a hotel, you’ll decide between luxurious, five-star establishments or less expensive options. Like hotels, river cruises also span a spectrum from affordable to opulent.

The Cost of a River Cruise:

There are various average prices published online but with so many factors influencing cost, it’s hard to be accurate. Below we will consider these factors and what is included in the price.

You are likely to be spending between £150 to £500 ($190 to $650) per person, per night.  For a 7-night river cruise, around £1,050 – £3500pp ($1,330 – $4,550) and these figures could be higher depending on the type of cabin selected. Top suites can cost several times as much.

If you would like to check the prices for specific dates and itineraries, please complete our enquiry form below. I’ll let you know about the latest offers.

Factors Influencing Prices:

River Cruise Line

Although most river cruise ships are the same size due to lock restrictions, the internal designs vary considerably. You can choose from contemporary to traditional, functional to opulent. River cruise lines put their own design stamp on the interior, and some are inspired by the country that they are sailing through.

Itinerary and duration

You’ll pay a premium for long hall destinations such as the Mekong and Mississippi. The Douro, in Portugal is usually the most expensive European itinerary due to the demand and limited capacity.


There are some great prices and offers available for early and late season when the destinations will be much quieter.

Cabin choice

If you want a balcony, you’ll pay extra. Is it worth it? Read my blog to find out my thoughts.

Travelling solo?

Supplements are usually charged for single occupancy. Some river cruise lines offer reduced or zero supplements, particularly for bookings close to departure time. This is something that I often help my clients with – I can look for low solo supplement options. I have travelled solo myself on several occasions.


Some river cruise lines include all drinks throughout the day (although there are usually some fine wines and premium options available for an extra charge).

Several offer wine and beer with meals, and sometimes offer a happy hour before dinner where other drinks and cocktails are included.

Flights and transfers

These are included with most of the premium brands. When arranging trips for my clients, I usually make sure that flights and transfers are included as part of a package.

Special offers and group rates

Most river cruise companies run special offers and early booking usually attracts a discount. As a trade partner, I often get access to unique offers and always find the best price that I can for my clients.

What’s included on a river cruise?

Looking at what’s included in your river cruise is crucial for accurate cost assessment. A seemingly expensive cruise might prove very good value when factoring in flights, transfers, drinks, gratuities, and excursions. A lower priced option might seem like a great deal but could double in price once essential extras are added.

  • Meals

Three meals a day are always included, and some ships offer snacks throughout the day and afternoon tea. On Scenic ships, you’ll find the River Café, with tasty sweet and savoury snacks available all day.

  • Entertainment

Some evening entertainment is always included. This can range from local artist coming onboard to perform to quiz nights or themed evenings such as the 70s evening onboard my recent Uniworld river cruise.

  • Drinks with meals

Drinks with meals are always included although the options available will vary. They usually include local wine, beer, and soft drinks.

  • Drinks outside mealtimes

Some river cruise lines offer an all-inclusive cruise where all drinks are included, although some premium options can be extra. Where all drinks are not included as standard, a drinks package may be available.

AmaWaterways have a sip and sail hour before meals where drinks are complimentary.

  • Mini bar

Available on some all-inclusive ships including Scenic.

  • Butler service

Sometimes reserved for Suite guests, all guests on Scenic river cruises have included Butler service. Riverside also offer butler service to their guests.

Uniworld provide this service to Suite guests.

  • Excursions

Premium all-inclusive river cruise brands such as Scenic and Uniworld include a range of high-quality execution. Some river cruise lines include one excursion per day with optional choices at an extra cost. Tui don’t include excursions as standard, but the tours are reasonably priced, and the trip can be tailored to suit your requirements.

  • Wi-Fi

Usually included but the connection quality is variable.

  • Flights

These are included with most of the premium brands as mentioned above.

  • Pool access

Always included when there is a pool onboard.

  • Spa treatments

Treatments are available at an extra cost on some ships.

  • Airport transfers

Usually included and always included if flights are part of the package.

  • Gratuities

Included for most river cruise but worth checking.

  • Taxes and port charges

Almost always included but worth checking

By understanding the diverse offerings and costs associated with river cruises, you can make an informed decision that fits with your preferences and budget. Whether you seek a luxury experience or a more economical adventure, the river cruise market has options tailored to your needs.

Please let me know if you have any questions. The information may above change, and I will make regular updates when I receive them.

The pool onboard Scenic Azure

Booking your river cruise

I will take the time to understand exactly what you want from your trip. I’ll share my knowledge so that you can choose the best option. Please complete the enquiry for below or email:

My service does not cost any extra and I can often get special offers too.