Next year marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, and river cruise lines are commemorating the event with dedicated voyages for history lovers.

What was once a scene of death and destruction is now a place where thousands of visitors come to pay their respects and commemorate the Normandy Invasion which signaled the end of the Second World War.

River lines across Europe in 2024 will host dedicated voyages visiting key sites that played a part in the end of the Nazi stranglehold. Scenic, Viking Cruises, APT and Avalon Waterways have created special itineraries to combine war history with their cruise offerings.

Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking, said: “Many of our guests, particularly those with family members who served in the armed forces, have a keen interest in World War II history.

“In keeping with our commitment to offering experiences for ‘the thinking person’, we are pleased to unveil this special voyage that commemorates the 80th Anniversary of D-Day –one of the most significant milestones in modern history.”

Viking’s cruise will visit key D-Day sites where guests will hear stories of the battles fought 80 years ago on the ground beneath their feet. As well as admiring sites across England and France, guests will have an exclusive insight into Second World War history such as visits to Bletchley Park, the home of codebreakers, the Churchill War Rooms, the Portsmouth D-Day Museum and much more.

Other lines also run cruises focused on military history

Scenic has an 11-day Normandy & Gems of the Seine itinerary, with multiple departure dates and visits planned to a range of meaningful sites. Guests can expect to see the Memorial Museum of the Battle of Normandy, Juno Beach Centre, Benysur-Mer Canadian War Cemetery and the Utah Beach American Memorial, amongst others.

Avalon Waterways has an extensive list of history-centric European river cruises, with a highlight being the Grand France sailing over 15 days, specifically themed around Second World War history.

Riviera Travel is also known for its historical cruises around Normandy and the Seine, with plenty of departure options and a strong historical focus with visits to the beaches around Arromanches-les-Bains.

APT runs a 15-day Western Front Explorer, which includes a visit to the Passchendaele Memorial Gardens, where you’ll be treated to some of the stories, music and poetry of the First World War. European Waterways runs barge cruises with a focus on First World War history, with the 12-passenger floating hotel taking you to sites of conflict such as Vimy Ridge, Villers-Bretonneux and more.

Of course, war history extends well beyond Europe. A Mekong River cruise, such as the Cambodia and Vietnam cruise with Aqua Expeditions, will take you to key sites of the Vietnam War as well as cover the Cambodian genocide. Emerald Cruises’ 13-day Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong itinerary covers similar territory