Lower-Priced River Cruises
River cruises are a delightful way to travel but unfortunately most of them tend to be quite expensive. However, if you live in the United Kingdom or are willing to depart from there, a couple of lines offer somewhat lower prices on sailings.
Shearings (www.shearings.com) has a number of cruise sailings as well as other holidays, and some seem quite reasonably-priced considering that the cost includes transport from the U.K. For example, a nine day autumn colours cruise on the Rhine costs about $1760 for two people, and a tour of the Christmas markets in Belgium and Holland comes in at $1670 for two. Prices vary depending on date of departure.
Another possibility is the River Cruise Line (www.rivercruiseline.co.uk,) though costs seem higher here. One cruise that looks especially attractive to me is 17 days on the Danube, travelling all the way to the Black Sea. The price, including transportation from London, is about $3200 per person.
River cruises commonly are pretty much all-inclusive, with extensive touring, wine and sometimes other drinks, sometimes tips. The lower-cost cruises may not include quite so much, but if you prefer to get around on your own or if you don't drink alcohol, this may not be a problem.
If you happen to be driving in the U.K., there is a free service known as Frixo (www.frixo.com) that can save you time and gas money by providing information on current road and traffic conditions. In this very densely populated country, traffic jams are a common reality and it is good to be forewarned. Frixo covers motorways and other major highways in England, part of Wales and southern Scotland.