We take a look at what’s on offer on the water in Europe next season.
River cruising is one of the most popular ways to see Europe and there is a host of Earlybird offers which makes plying the continent's grand waterways an attractive prospect.
Uniworld has discounts across a range of itineraries for travellers who pay in full when booking by October 31. For example, there are savings of up to $3800 per couple on the 27-day Grand European River Voyage from Amsterdam to Istanbul aboard newly remodelled luxury ship River Duchess. The cruise, from $13,890, heads along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers through Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia and Romania, before a flight to Turkey.
There are also savings of up to $1500 per couple available on selected itineraries when a deposit is paid by January 15 and, for Christmas 2012 cruises, up to $1800 per couple off those fully paid by March 31 and as much as $600 per couple off if deposits paid by April 30.
·Travel agents, uniworldcruises.com.au or 1300 780 231
A fleet of Space Ships with balcony suites ply the watersways of Europe from France to Russia and Scandinavia under the Scenic Tours banner. The itineraries offer all-inclusive luxury with top-class food, spacious accommodation and "sun lounges" - balconies that become fully enclosed at the touch of a button. Cruises vary from five-week itineraries through the heart of Europe to short options, such as the eight-day Switzerland and Amsterdam to Basel voyage.
Until November 30, fly free to Europe deals apply on a number of voyages, including the 15-day Romantic Rhine and Moselle River Cruise from Amsterdam to Basel, which costs from $7390 and on the 15-day Jewels of Europe River Cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest, which costs from $6790. Both packages include all on-board dining and drinks, private butler service, all excursions, events and entertainment, free wi-fi, airport transfers, tipping and gratuities.
·Travel agents, scenictours.com.au or 1300 723 642
This luxury cruise company will add two more ships to its fleet in 2013 when it will operate more than 30 different itineraries in Europe.
Until December 12, travellers can save as much as $3236 per couple and receive a free four-day Asian city stopover when combining a round-the-world airfare with Avalon's 15-day Magnificent Europe river cruise and a four-day break in New York. Round-the-world fares are $4834 from Perth with the river cruise, between Amsterdam and Budapest, from $5981 and the New York short break from $999.
Until November 27, book selected April cruise departures and get a return earlybird airfare from $1635, while travellers can save $300 per couple when booking any Avalon cruise of 11 days or more by December 15.
For bookings made by December 15, there are also savings of $1000 per couple on the inaugural cruises of Avalon Expression and Avalon Artistry II which enter service in April and May. Eight-day cruises are available from $3193 while 15-day itineraries are from $7131 including the discount.
·Travel agents, avalonwaterways.com.au or 1300 230 234
Locally owned Bicton Travel has a host of earlybird offers, many of which include cruising, available until November 30.
The Voyage of the Vikings is a 27-night fly-stay-cruise holiday from Copenhagen to New York aboard the Emerald Princess and visiting Iceland, Greenland and Canada, departing in August. Including return airfares from Perth, the package starts at $6995. The European Spirit package also includes earlybird airfares and costs from $4995 in May and July. The 20-night fly-stay-cruise package visits Paris, London and Barcelona before cruising aboard Norwegian Spirit to Italy, Greece and Turkey.
The Mediterranean Sojourn is a luxury 23-night package including return business class airfares and a balcony cabin for a cruise of the Med on MS Noordam. With departures in May and September it costs from $10,995.
·bictontravel.com.au or 9339 5199. For the Mediterranean Sojourn package, phone 9319 9697
Itineraries including return airfares to Europe, voyages and accommodation are included on the Cruise Abroad website. The Marco Polo will embark on four voyages in northern Europe between May and July.
Until October 31, the 31-day Grand Baltic and Northern Fjords cruise departing Tilbury, England, on May 5 and visiting Denmark, Germany, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and Scotland, costs from $6599 including airfares.
There are four earlybird specials offered by APT, all valid to November 30. Travellers can get free return airfares when booking any of four cruises including APT's 15-day Moselle, Rhine and Rhone voyage from Amsterdam to Arles which costs from $6995 per person.
Another three cruises qualify for an airfare tax only offer of approximately $800 per person, while on the 24-day Anzac Dawn Service and Magnificent Europe package, a companion travels to Europe for free.
On selected 21-day Magnificent Europe cruises from Prague to Paris, a $2000 airfare credit per couple is on offer. Additionally, the fly free deal, the companion flies free, and the $2000 airfare credit per couple offers, are available on selected Russian river cruise itineraries if booked by November 30.
·aptouring.com.au or 1300 336 932
Tauck has a huge range of itineraries from small-group cruising to family packages and river voyages. For bookings made by December 28, Tauck is offering two free nights in a hotel selected by Tauck, before or after the trip.
And if back-to-back packages are booked, each qualifies for the free nights. For example, four packages booked back-to-back qualifies for eight free nights.
A 10-day Venice and the Dalmatian Coast cruise aboard luxury yacht L'Austral is available from $6590 and includes most meals as well as visits to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Korcula, Split, Hvar, Rovinj and Pula with departures between May and September.
·Travel agents, tauck.com.au or 1800 122 048
All flights quoted in this article are per person and tour and cruise prices are per person, twin share. Conditions apply and deals are subject to change without notice. Prices are subject to change and availability.