Have you even wondered what it’s like to work for King Charles? Or wanted to see the war rooms in London where the D-Day landings of June 1944 were planned? You can on a river cruise.

A themed river cruise used to mean a trip to a vineyard and a wine-tasting. But things have moved on. AmaWaterways is not only offering wine cruises hosted by expert wine-makers, but these days companies are dreaming up ever more exciting cruises to cater for every interest.

Uniworld is one such, with a handful of cruises this year and next that delve into Jewish history and heritage on excursions to museums and synagogues that walk cruisers through hundreds of years of culture and persecution.

Uniworld couple sititng on a ship under a bridge in Europe
Uniworld couple sititng on a ship under a bridge in Europe

For those interested in world war history, there is a D-Day anniversary cruises on the Seine throughout the rest of this year to mark 80 years since the June 1944 landings in France. The cruises start with four nights in London to see the Churchill War Rooms and Bletchley Park.

What’s coming up for themed cruises in 2025

Coming up in 2025, Avalon Waterways has cruises in Holland and Belgium that are accompanied by a botanist that visit national parks, botanical gardens and even a floating farm, and also beer-themed voyages hosted by beer experts that include with brewery tours, tastings and food-and-beer pairing dinners.

Jazz enthusiasts, meanwhile, can get on down to their favourite sounds on the Rhône and Saône Rivers in France on various itineraries Avalon has put together that pair the cruise with time in Paris and/or Nice, and are timed to be in Vienne on July 12th 2025 for the town’s annual jazz festival.

Prefer Mozart and Strauss? Then waltz over to the Danube, where cruises follow in the footsteps of the great composers who lived and worked along its banks.

Guests on Tauck sitting around a table in the Palais of Versaille in Paris drinking wine
Guests on Tauck sitting around a table in the Palais of Versaille in Paris drinking wine

Both AmaWaterways and Riviera Travel have new voyages in 2025 that take passengers on a musical journey along the river, with tours to museums dedicated to the likes of Liszt and Mozart, as well as private concerts.

Tauck’s Musical Magic cruise on the Danube has all the above, and also workshops, seminars and private concerts on board, the chance to sit in during an orchestra rehearsal and a highlight night at the opera in Vienna.

Departures for 2024 are all but full, but the music cruises appear each year on the Tauck schedule. Just remember to get quick for 2025 as they sell fast.

Bigger choice for solo travellers

Solo travellers have an additional reason to snap up a Tauck cruise; namely to bag a cabin with no single supplement. The offer, repeated each year, applies to all Category 1 rooms on all its European river cruises, and the supplement is often reduced on higher-category cabins on selected sailings.

River cruising is ideal for solo travellers thanks to the small vessel (an average of just 160 passengers and often many fewer) and inclusive pricing, with excursions and some or all drinks covered. “Guests might be on their own, but on a river cruise they are never alone,” says Avalon president Pam Hoffee. Her company regularly has no single supplement offers, as does Uniworld.

Riviera goes one better, with dedicated solo sailings for those travelling alone that have no supplements on any cabin grades. There are 31 departures in 2025, including voyages through France (April and November 2025), around Belgium and Holland (April 2025) and on the Rhine and Moselle (July and October).

Solo traveller on a river cruise
Solo traveller on a river cruise

None keys in with Riviera’s ever-growing portfolio of themed sailings – the choice includes uncovering the history of the Peninsula War on the Douro in Portugal and art and history on the Danube, both in 2025, and that chance to meet King Charles’ former butler (October 2024) – but that probably on the cards as demand for solo and special-interest river cruises continues to grow.

Find out more at:

Avalon Waterways