Top Five Cheapest River Cruise Lines For Drink

November 12, 2014

The cost of a drink may not be the top reason to choose one particular cruise over another (or at least, we won’t admit that to our GPs) but if your drinks (or at least some of them) aren’t included in the upfront price you pay then the cost of them on a river cruise should be considered.

Once you’ve paid for your trip it’s up to you how you budget for the spending money and we all know how quickly we can spend money when we’re in holiday mode; more than a little merry and ready to splash the cash!

Letting your hair down is the whole point of a holiday, whether you’re on the beach or rolling down the river.

Responsibilities and the stress of home are where they’re supposed to be – at home – so a couple of cocktails shouldn’t be frowned upon.

So what if that couple turn into a couple more?

As long as you can find your way back to your cabin there’s no harm done – except perhaps, for the dent in your wallet…

We all know how quickly the cost of a tipple or two can add up and when on holiday you might be wanting to have a tipple or two every night. Then there are all those waters, coffees and soft drinks to consider…

Don’t assume that all-inclusive actually means that ALL drinks are included (it pays to always read the small print!).

The cost of your river cruise could include no drinks, some drinks, drinks with dinner or all drinks.

If it’s anything other than the latter you need to be aware of how much your favourite beer, cocktail or glass of dry white wine or combination of the above will set you back onboard.

Of course, cruise companies aren’t going to make it easy for you to do the math – there’ll be different drinks prices for each cruise line, often varying between ships and destinations too!

Luckily for you has come up with a handy list of which five reiver cruise lines offer the best general value for money on a round of drinks (including a bottle of beer, bottle of water, soft drink, cup of coffee, glass of wine and a spirit plus mixer – just maybe not all at the same time!) so that you don’t have to worry about working it all out yourself.

Because we’re nice like that.

Calculator at the ready…!


5 – AmaWaterways:

Boasting thirty different itineraries across the world, AmaWaterways is one of the river cruising industry’s high-flyers – or should that be smooth sailers?

Most of its voyages take place on the rivers of Western Europe, including the Danube, Rhone, Seine, Mosel and Main.

Selected house wine, beer and soft drinks are included with your lunch and dinner on an AmaWaterways river cruise but if you fancy a tipple at any other time you’re going to need some spends.

Not too much though because with soft drinks priced at around £1.50 and a bottle of beer at £2.75, you won’t have to worry about the bar tab costing a small fortune.

Unless you and your party plan to drink the bar dry that is.

Even if you do, coffees are included – perfect for nursing the hangover in the morning!


Riviera Travel river cruise

Riviera Travel

4 – Riviera:

This deluxe river cruise provider can be found on many of the European waterways, including the Danube, the Rhone and the Rhine (oh my!) whilst also offering incredible tall ship cruises and Mekong cruises through Asia for those who wish to venture that little bit further.

If you’re a fan of spirits, you’ll love a Riviera cruise, with spirit and mixers costing as little as £2.35!

That’s an incredibly low price for a drop of the hard stuff!

So, if you fancy an after-dinner V&C or an afternoon G&T – or any other combination of letters – you’ll be happy to know that your pocket won’t suffer; even if you do decide to push the riverboat out and make it a double!

Coffee is included too, just in case you need it the following morning or you’re used to a mid-morning brew with your newspaper.


APT cheap cruise holiday

APT River Cruises

3 – APT:

See the world’s waterways the way they should be seen onboard an APT river cruise – this line offers an extensive range of itineraries including visits to Europe, USA, Russia, Egypt and the Far East.

Plus, with drinks prices on the low side, including £4 for a glass of wine and around £2.50 for a bottle of beer, you’re sure to enjoy whichever cruise itinerary you choose to the maximum.

You’ll be seeing the world up close and personal in style and the price of your onboard drinks means you’ll have money left over for when you step off the boat at every port.

If you choose to spend it on novelty fridge magnets, postcards and ‘I was here’ t-shirts then good luck to you!

Depending on which style of APT cruise you choose, you might also find some drinks included in the upfront price.

On Luxury and Royal Collection cruisess you’ll get wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner, and on Mekong cruises the drinks are completely free – it’s all you can drink on this Asian river, people!

Whichever cruise you plump for, you can guarantee that the drinks menu will be impressive and you can get as tiddly as you like without it blowing your souvenir budget (within reason, of course. We hate to be spoilsports but you don’t want to miss out on the experience of river cruising because of having to sleep off the booze the next day!).


2 – Emerald:

Don’t worry, you won’t need a blinged up budget to afford drinks onboard an Emerald cruise!

In fact, selected house wine, beers and soft drinks are complimentary with lunch and dinner and bottled water and coffee are freebies, too.

This makes this sparkly cruise line a brilliant choice for teetotallers or those who just like the odd glass with dinner and not a drop more.

If you would like to quench your thirst with a premium spirit and mixer, you’re looking at spending just under a fiver but with drinks prices the way that they are nowadays you could spend more than that at a local bar!

Despite this though, the overall cost of a round is as cheap as ice chips, owing in part to the £2.50 bottled beers and £3.50 wines – and those soft option freebies – meaning that you can keep your glass topped up without wondering about the dent it’ll make in your holiday spends.

You just might want to go easy on the doubles.


Discover Egypt cheap cruise

Discover Egypt Nile Cruises

1 – Travelsphere & Discover Egypt:

Discover Egypt and Travelsphere come in joint first offering amazing value for money at the onboard bars – and we love their super simple pricing policy, with drinks costing between £1 and £4 (it makes our math much easier and we’re sure you’ll appreciate it when pricing up a round a few drinks in!).

If you’re a big drinker (or those doubles are your downfall) then you could also consider the Discover Egypt £90 drinks package – book it before you set off on your river-bound travels and you can have the drinks all-in.

Bear in mind though, that it might be a less a case of walk like an Egyptian and more a case of walk like a very wobbly drunk person when it comes to finding your cabin at the end of the night!

Travelsphere offers all-inclusive deals on certain itineraries too but elsewhere, who can complain at a bottle of beer for £2 and a spirit and mixer costing between £3 and £4?

That’s cheaper than the local back home (and we’d know!).

Discover Egypt offers similarly great value, with bottled beers for £3, water, coffee and soft drinks for a quid and wine and spirit mixers for between £3 and £4.

You may be sailing on the Nile but it’s undeNILEable how affordable the drinks prices are….(tumbleweed).

Make sure you stock up on those pound coins in advance!


Whilst it’s well worth being armed with our handy price guide; as the saying goes, you can’t get any cheaper than free!

Some itineraries and river cruise lines include all of your drinks as standard so that you don’t need to worry about budgeting for your dinner drinks or nightcaps and your spending money can be spent elsewhere (like the boutique or in the souvenir shops – who doesn’t need another magnet for their fridge back home?).

American Queen Steamboat, Hebridean, Scenic and Tauck all offer all-inclusive drinks, whether you want a caffeine kick, a pint or a G&T.

Remember that other famous saying though – there’s no such thing as a free (liquid) lunch!

Weigh up the cost of your overall holiday to really work out which cruises offer the best value for money and use that to help you decide on the perfect river cruise for you.


Can we put our calculator away now?


If you’re interested in booking a river cruise you can find a lot more information here.


If you need more help comparing the costs of drinks between river cruise lines checkout our handy comparison guide here.