Imagine unpacking your bag just once and settling in to your river ship cabin with an ever-changing view. You indulge in a generous array of amenities as Europe’s most charming villages, lush vineyards, bucolic landscapes, and vibrant cities are delivered to your door. Along the way, you indulge in three mouthwatering meals a day, savor local wine, and have a seasoned cruise director by your side to fill you in on the fascinating history and rich culture of thrilling ports. What’s more, city centers and fairy tale village squares are a delightful stroll from every dock. 

It’s the most relaxing way to see Europe. And with Gate 1 Travel, you can choose from dozens of itineraries, from Germany to Russia, aboard our privately owned ship or on private charters, during springtime or over the holidays. You can even explore some of Europe’s most scintillating cultural capitals before or after your cruise. Read on to learn more!

Embark the Deluxe MS Monarch Empress – 

Built by Gate 1, Controlled by Gate 1

The beautiful MS Monarch Empress is the very first European river ship built to Gate 1’s specifications for our travelers. Come aboard our deluxe vessel and you’ll enjoy some of the most spacious and comfortable accommodations on Europe’s rivers. Cabins range in size from 144 to 210 square feet and include large bathrooms. A full 80% of rooms offer French balconies, providing private views as the stunning riverbanks unfold. What’s more, rooms can be configured with one or two beds; when configured with one, you’ll sleep in comfort in a bed that is larger than a U.S. full-sized.

With room for just 144 passengers, the ship is designed with the view in mind, with large windows in the cabins, dining room, lounge, and other public space – and with few exterior visual obstructions on the outside decks. Throughout, you’ll find soothing blue and white interiors with cherry wood accents, top of the line furnishings and stylish décor. At mealtimes, you’ll have full outdoor views through floor-to-ceiling windows. Lounge on the sun deck and watch the passing scenery. Share a drink with fellow travelers in the lounge. Curl up with a book or surf the internet in our generously sized library.  The MS Monarch Empress promises all the comforts and pleasures of a deluxe floating hotel.

What’s more, because we own the ship, we fully control the quality of your experience. The MS Monarch Empress is staffed by Gate 1, with Tour Managers, waitstaff, chefs, housekeepers and more all committed to ensuring you have the most memorable experience on Europe’s waterways. One Departure Only: Meet Gate 1’s President! We’ve reserved the MS Monarch Empress for our special Presidential River Cruise along the Danube. This special departure sets sail in June of 2019, the perfect time of year to take in Europe’s splendor. The hills are once again emerald-green, vineyards are blooming, the bottled wines from last fall’s harvest have had time to settle, and locals are enjoying the great outdoors. It’s no wonder the president of Gate 1 Travel wants to join you! If experiencing the Danube in early summer is on your list, we suggest you reserve soon as this one-time only departure will fill up quickly!

More Gate 1 River Ships Mean More Discovery

You may also join one of our private charters aboard a First-Class river ship. These intimate ships feature spacious outside cabins, each fully air-conditioned with private bath facilities, shower, telephone and flat screen satellite TV. They are the ideal way to sail amidst the rainbow of colors along Holland’s waterways in springtime, cruise the romantic waters of the Danube, or explore the lilting waters of Germany’s Rhine River. 

Now, here’s your guide to Gate 1’s river cruises:


Sail Through Five Countries on One Sweeping River Cruise

To take in the full sweep of Europe’s rivers, you can’t go wrong with our Classic European River Cruise. With the 1992 opening of the Main-Danube Canal, river ships could traverse the entire continent from Holland to Hungary. This favorite itinerary takes full advantage of the engineering triumph, spanning the entire continent in 16 days. We break down the journey section by section for you here. 

THE RHINE: From Dutch Treats to Rich German Culture

Begin in Amsterdam, the charming canal-laced city of gabled houses and graceful bridges built on the wealth of the Dutch Golden Age. This cultural center is rich in treasures, from the art collections of the Rijksmuseum to the bustling stalls of the Albert Cuyp market. As “old world” as Amsterdam feels, it’s Nijmegen that is Holland’s oldest city. And it enjoys a lovely setting on the Waal River. As you wander its charming streets, you are tracing 2,000 years of history.

Soon after entering Germany, the unmistakable twin spires of the Cologne Cathedral come into view. This stunning piece of architecture has watched over the city for centuries and it’s a thrill to tour the atmospheric Old Town, lined with timber-framed houses and distinctive brauhausen (pubs) in its towering shadow. Koblenz, nestled where the Rhine meets the Moselle River, enjoys a picturesque setting, dotted with stunning Romanesque architecture and imposing defensive towers that recall the town’s founding as a Roman stronghold that protected the rivers’ convergence.

THE MAIN: Into the Charms of Franconia

The beautiful medieval town of Miltenberg, with its 14th-century hilltop castle of the same name, is one of the Main River’s true treasures. Its narrow, crooked streets lead to half-timbered houses and are a pleasure to explore. Wertheim, too, boasts a hillside fortification, this one of stunning red sandstone. Taken together, these tiny riverside villages remind travelers of the depth of history that has unfolded on these riverbanks. Castles such as these once collected tolls from cargo ships and defended the sovereignty of kingdoms.

In Wurzburg, the “Pearl of the Romantic Road,” Germany’s scenic route that reveals the heart of Franconia, another castle looms large: the Marienberg fortress. But the scene stealer here may be the ornate Bishops’ Residenz Palace, a baroque masterpiece that boasts the largest ceiling fresco ever painted. More beauty greets you in Bamberg, set on the old Regnitz Island. This city suffered very little during World War II and so its buildings are remarkably preserved; more than 2,000 of them are listed as historical monuments.

THE DANUBE: Austro-Hungarian Treasures 

History remembers Nuremberg most as the site of Hitler’s rallies and as the host of the post-war Nuremberg trials. But this historic and lovely city has a colorful side, too. Accented by half-timbered houses, cobbled streets and a history of crafting delightful toys, it rests on the Main-Danube Canal.

Downriver, Regensburg graces the river’s banks. This is a true European gem, one of the continent’s best-preserved medieval cities thanks to its escape from World War II bombing. As the Danube approaches the Inn and Ilz rivers, Passau emerges where the three rivers meet. Surrounded by tranquil waterways, it enjoys a singular and pretty setting. Passau also enjoys fame as the home of Europe’s largest pipe organ; its 17,774 pipes grace Passau with their musical grandeur from the baroque St. Stephan’s cathedral.

Austria’s Benedictine Melk Abbey perches like a confection on a bluff overlooking the Danube. Its imperial rooms house a library of 85,000 historic volumes. The views of the Wachau Valley from the abbey’s terrace are stunning. This architectural masterwork is the perfect prelude to the wonders of Vienna, elegance unparalleled. Its circular roadway, the Ringstrasse, is lined with some of the most graceful buildings you’re every likely to see, like the famed Opera House. And the city’s sprawling palace of Schonbrunn is a glittering monument to the Habsburg Dynasty that ruled the region for centuries. 

But little compares to cruising into the heart of Budapest, the Danube’s grand dame. The fortress of Fisherman’s Bastion rises on one bank and the mighty Parliament watches over from the other while the iconic Chain Bridge arcs over the water like a crown. 

If you prefer a shorter trip, you can browse our wide selection and enjoy just a segment or two of the above journey. Or explore one of the above rivers in more depth, adding time in a nearby city before or after your cruise.


Gate 1 Travel’s river cruises not only put you at the front door of Europe’s great cities and charming villages. They are also a great launchpad for further exploration. Here’s how you can enhance your river cruise experience by exploring one of the above rivers in greater depth, adding city stays, or discovering another river entirely!

Tulip Time River Cruises: Witness the Low Countries in Bloom. Explore the waterways of Holland and Belgium in the springtime. There’s no better way to witness the vibrant colors of tulips, daffodils and countless other blooms than by river ship. Along the way, you’ll explore medieval cities, see the famed windmills of Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and breathe in the clean open air as you cruise through the vast Rhine delta system. If you wish, you may select our Tulip Time itineraries that include city stays in Amsterdam, Paris, or both.

Rhine River Cruises. Germany’s wine country comes to life as you drift along “Father Rhine,” lined with vineyard-laden sloping hills, welcoming wine-making villages and storybook hamlets. You’ll follow the Rhine where it forms the border of Germany and France, exploring French Strasbourg and its charming Old Town. Take in the canal-laced lanes of Amsterdam. Or add time in Lake Como, Lucerne, Bruges, or Paris. 

Danube River Cruises. Experience the best of Bavaria, Austria and Hungary during a cruise into some of Europe’s most scenic corners. Visit all the Danube ports discussed above, plus have the chance to visit Salzburg, Austria’s alpine-ringed city where The Sound of Music was filmed, or Bucharest, the Romanian capital with an atmospheric Old Town. While you’re in this corner of Europe, you can elect to also spend time in France, Germany, or Poland … uncover the historic treasures of Budapest and Prague, and more. 

Russian River Cruises. Gain invaluable insight into what really makes Russia tick: its welcoming people, rich traditions, and vast repositories of arts and culture. Cruise between historic Moscow and glittering St. Petersburg, passing tranquil countryside dotted with onion-domed churches, vibrant small cities, and tiny villages. Along the way, enjoy ample opportunity to experience Russian culture up close. If you wish, select the itinerary that gives you time to discover more of St. Petersburg and Moscow.


There is no place like Europe for the holiday season, and no better way to experience long held traditions of yuletide than on a Gate 1 River Cruise to the continent’s festive Christmas Markets. Old Town squares come alive with local traditions that conjure Christmases past. Each year, cities in Germany and Austria offer a feast for the senses. Aromas of cinnamon, gingerbread, baked apples and roasting chestnuts waft through the air. Gaily decorated stalls brim with handmade ornaments, toys, and endless ideas for holiday gift-giving. Artisans are often on hand to demonstrate their crafts, carolers roam about the snowy squares, and stalls are decorated with the finest finery. It’s hard to find a more perfect place to ring in the holiday season than in Central Europe. 

And if you’d like to celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, then join us on a special Rhine and Main sailing from Basel, Switzerland to Nuremberg, Germany. The tourist crowds have long gone home as a chill in the air arrives, so you’ll feel less rushed as you explore. 



All the exciting corners of Europe are waiting to be explored by river ship with Gate 1 Travel! No matter which itinerary you select, you’ll enjoy an intimate experience that only a small ship allows … included city tours at all ports … the full services of a Cruise Director and/or Tour Manager … and an incredible all-inclusive value. All while unpacking your bags just once and letting Europe come to you!


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