River cruise with tandems
The Pilbeams welcome tandems on their tours. We enjoyed our bike & barge tour of the Hanseatic cities in the Netherlands with them in 2018. We were one of 3 couples with tandems on that trip.
Another option is cycling along a river, have done the Meuse (spelling) and Danube both of which were excellent with lots of opportunity to enjoy the attractions along the way, I know other rivers and canals are available.
The hardest part is getting there and back bearing in mind you will want to return from a spot down river
I concur with Chris’s suggestion – there are lots of river and canal paths that can be followed without the expense of a cruise ship, and you get to see so much more when you stay overnight in riverside towns and villages. There is a map in TC Journal Feb-Mar 2023 page 33 showing some possible routes, and some pointers on pages 34 and 35. On larger rivers there are passenger boats on which you can travel with a tandem for a few hours to get the cruise experience at an affordable price - although we find that using the many cross-river ferries amply meets this requirement! Another option would be to ride round a large lake like Lake Konstanz.
To get to the start point is always a challenge. We solved it by getting a Pino tandem with S&S couplings so that we could take the two halves on Eurostar and TGVs in lightweight ripstop nylon bags which we take with us. We’ve never had to split the Pino for local trains in any of the countries we’ve ridden in. If we drive from the UK to the start point we then take a train back to the car at the end of our ride.
The channel tunnel run a service from folkestone to calais for cycles including tandems, you are picked up at the holiday inn folkestone and taken in a minibus via the tunnel to france .
We are taking this route later this year then cycling to vienna
I have cruised most of the European rivers with Emerald Cruises. One problem which may deter river cruise companies being interested in accommodating a tandem is the lack of space on board. Most ships carry a few small wheeled solo bikes, and ebikes are becoming more common. But a full sized tandem, even with S&S couplings would be difficult to fit in the spaces available. When we sailed the Danube in 2022 (Regensburg to Budapest) there was a group of cyclist on board. A minibus with a trailer full of bikes met them each morning and they rode along the river, sometimes returning to the ship before an overnight sailing, sometimes being picked up further along the river. Perhaps hooking up with a bike tour provider might be a way to get the tandem transported off the ship. Another problem is that most river cruises are one way. You'd either have to do the return cruise or find some other way of getting the bike back to the original destination.
However, I would have thought it would be no more expensive - and very probably cheaper - to cycle the rivers without the cruise ship. Accommodation of all standards and prices would be easy to book in advance. Most places, even small villages, seem to have bike shops for spares and repairs.
Having sailed on the Mosel (Moselle if you stray into France) last summer, I can confirm that the scenery is beautiful. There are many picturesque villages (Cochem and Bernkastel for example). Riesling wine is so much better now than it was in my student days - or perhaps drinking it from glasses instead of swigging it from the bottle improves the taste!
We have done 4 river cruises with Santana, including the Rhine & Moselle, they were fabulous.
This year we are going with boatbiketours.com, and they allow you to take your own bikes on most of their ships. There are 4 of us going on their Amsterdam to Bruges trip and we are taking our own tandems.
Don't forget the European Bike Express which can help you to do a linear ride, though it may not be convenient for most river trips.
We enjoyed a not too arduous circular trip last summer called the SaarLorLux, leaving our car (free) at a hotel car park having spent a first and last night there. This took us along part of the Moselle and the Saar - see map at https://www.visitluxembourg.com/plan-your-stay/map?ident=IMXTOOLS_ADDRESSBASE_3217_27943#eyJJTVhUT09MU19BRERSRVNTQkFTRV8zMjE3XzI3OTQzIjpbIjYuOTkzMDEyIiwiNDkuMjMxMzczIl19
Happy to share our itinerary if you are interested.