Food and Wine magazine


Champagne River Cruise

Champagne River Cruise

Courtesy of French County Waterways

A cruise is a terrific way to see Europe, but usually it’s a commitment. Most run two weeks or more. Luckily, there are a few excellent options for anyone who doesn’t want to wait for retirement to take a maiden voyage. From cruising Croatia for three days to sipping your way through Reims in just under a week, here are the best short trip cruises to hop onboard while abroad.

1 Day: Day Cruise in Germany
A short drive or train ride to the picturesque village of Rüdesheim am Rhein will take you to Bingen-Rüdesheimer’s ships for an afternoon of castle-viewing and wine tasting along the Rhine River.

3 Days: Weekend Sailing to Croatia and Slovenia
In just three days on the Star Clipper, you can hit three of Europe’s hottest new food destinations. The cruise starts and finishes in Venice, but makes stops at Piran, Slovenia (just an hour-long bus ride from Ljubljana’s excellent JB Restaurant and the amazing wine cellar at Vander Restaurant), and Rovinj, Croatia. In Rovinj, book a truffle-seeking excursion with Restaurant Zigante to seek out the famous white truffles of Istria (guests get to keep any truffle found during the excursion), or just opt for a truffle-topped dish at the decadent Wine Vault Restaurant near Lone Bay.

6 Days: Cruise the Mediterranean
Windstar Cruises offers a very rare six-day journey through six cities and two countries. Not only is the cruise is a great way to country-hop in only a few days, but the chefs onboard cook some great food using local ingredients purchased each morning at each port. (Feel free to tag along with the chefs as they shop.)

1 Week: Champagne River Cruise
Sip Champagne in Champagne aboard a boutique river cruise operated by French Country Waterways. Only four suites exist onboard this all-inclusive ship, making the experience even more intimate as you stop along the way to tour the Coronation city of Reims, visit family-owned Champagne houses, and stroll the battlefield at Belleau Wood.