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River Cruising in November is The Best Keep Secret

AMA River crusing

When it comes to travel, timing is everything. Spring and summer are, of course, popular times to travel. But we are going to let you in on a little industry secret. One of the best times to embark on a river cruise journey? November.  

While river cruising is a pleasure year-round, sailing in November offers unique opportunities unavailable at any other time of year. From seasonally exclusive events to stunning autumnal foliage and crowd-free Christmas Markets, November truly is a hidden gem of river cruising.

river cruising in Europe countryside

The seasonal events are perhaps the biggest draw to river cruising in November. It is a special month for wine lovers around the world: the time when the year’s new wine, called Beaujolais Nouveau, is released in France for all to enjoy. And what better way to celebrate this enchanting harvest time than with a wine tasting in Beaujolais, France, on our Essence of Burgundy & Provence itinerary? Here, you will experience a small taste of the 120+ wine festivals held across southern Burgundy during this time.  

Budapest and Vienna also commence their holiday celebrations early in the form of their world-famous Christmas Markets. Debuting annually as early as November 18th, the grand Christmas Markets are ornately decorated traditional marketplaces filled with artisanal gifts and seasonal treats.  Our river cruise guests can beat the holiday rush on any of our Taste of Christmas Markets itineraries, visiting these legendary Christmas Markets ahead of the crowds on board the most elegantly decorated ships on the Danube.  

river cruising in Europe Christmas markets

Many of our November itineraries sail during American Thanksgiving, which takes place this year on November 23, 2023, and next year on November 28, 2024. In the spirit of the season, we include a full-fledged Thanksgiving meal on board complete with all the festive trimmings you know and love. Bring along your family and celebrate together as you always would — but leave the cleanup to us! 

We have not even mentioned the best part of our November sailings yet. Compared to springtime and summertime, November cruises and airfare are typically offered at some of the lowest rates of the year, making river cruising more accessible for the entire family. Enjoy more intimate excursions, unique seasonal events, and beautiful landscapes in transition when you sail with us in November.  

With so many itineraries to choose from, here are five of our favorite river cruises especially well-suited for November departures. Each offers something unique, but every itinerary is sure to leave you with lasting memories.  

river cruising in Europe Burgundy France

Essence of Burgundy & Provence 

7-night cruise from Chalon-sur-Saône, France, to Arles, France 

November is nothing if not a time to share delicious meals with your loved ones. Indulge in French flavors on a palate-pleasing itinerary that highlights the essence of French cuisine. Taste your way through the French culinary capital of Lyon, visiting destinations that will linger on your palate – and in your heart – for years to come.  

2023 Departure Dates: November 2; November 9 

river cruising in Europe Porto Portugal

Enticing Douro

7-night roundtrip cruise from Porto, Portugal 

Rambling vineyards and charming native farms cling to the steep sides of the Douro River Valley, where golden foliage sways in the autumn breeze. This unspoiled country is the perfect November getaway, as Portugal’s Mediterranean climate provides a balmy reprieve for guests traveling from around the world.  

2023 Departure Dates: November 4**; November 11; November 18*; November 25 

river cruising in Europe Christmas market Danube

 Romantic Danube: A Taste of Christmas Markets

The timeless Christmas Markets of Budapest and Vienna are renowned worldwide for their luminous decorations and unmatched festivities. Get ahead of the seasonal crowds and experience these famous holiday traditions on one of our specially curated Taste of Christmas Marketsitineraries.  

2023 Departure Date: November 20*  

river boat cruising in Europe

  Magna on the Danube

7-night cruise from Budapest, Hungary, to Vilshofen, Germany 

Reimagining river cruising on the Danube!  With four distinctive dining venues, unique wellness amenities, and now a full-sized pickleball court.  The shipis unlike any other river cruise ship on the waters. Sail to the world-famous Christmas Markets of Budapest and Vienna ahead of the holiday crowds, then enjoy the luxury of space once you are back on board!  

2023 Departure Dates: November 5; November 12; November 19*; November 26 

Ready for your river cruise adventure?  Grab some friends and share the fun.  Donna Salerno Travel is ready to help plan your best trip ever.  Let us customize with pre- and post-stays to maximize your time in Europe & beyond!  Follow us for more travel inspiration on Twitter or Face Book.

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Donna Salerno


Donna Salerno Travel


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