Cruises, sailboats, ferries, and barges

Tips on all the ways to board a boat while on vacation, from sea cruises to river cruises, gondola rides to ferry trips, expedition cruises to rental barges—and how to save money on all of them

Gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice.
Gondolas on the Grand Canal in Venice.

The original highways of Europe were its rivers—haven't you ever wondered why nearly all its great cities and even many small towns are sited on a major waterway or a bay on the coast?

For centuries before the invention of leisure travel, the standard way for someone to fulfill their wanderlust was to sign on aboard an ocean-going vessel and sail the seas as a member of the crew (somehow, the scurvy and rampant piracy were left out of the brochures).

These days, it's come full circle and Europe's routes of commerce share their watery thoroughfares with pleasure craft.

Whether it's barging the canals of France, plying the waters of the Adriatic from Italy to Greece aboard a ferry, cruising the Seine in Paris, flitting amongst the fjords of Norway, river cruising down the Rhine, taking a Mediterranean cruise on a modern-day clipper ship, or simply taking a ride in a Venetian gondola or punting the rivers of England, the boarding of a boat might be part of European itinerary.

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This article was by Reid Bramblett and last updated in April 2011.
All information was accurate at the time.

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Copyright © 1998–2013 by Reid Bramblett. Author: Reid Bramblett.