Your biggest difficulty planning a European cruise is narrowing down where you want to go. A Western Mediterranean itinerary usually includes stops in Barcelona and Monaco, as well as ports in Italy. Eastern Mediterranean cruises encompass eastern Italy, Croatia and Greece, and sometimes even Turkey and Israel. A Baltic Sea voyage brings you to Scandinavia and Russia; the Norwegian Fjords carry their own beauty. Don't forget about British Isles cruises, which allow you to visit castles in England, Scotland and London. For sun lovers, it's hard to beat the Canary Islands.
As river cruising continues to boom, more and more lines compete for attention on the European waterways. While many American travelers have heard of companies such as Viking, Grand Circle, Tauck, AmaWaterways, Crystal and Avalon -- to mention just a few -- there are also some European companies out there that Americans probably don't know that may deserve consideration. Here's a look at who they are and what they offer.