Prague River Cruise Review

Prague River Cruise Review

Over the years I’ve given a lot of advice about Prague river cruise options, lunch, dinner, guided or not, types of food, best ways to book etc. It’s great to get out on the river between April and October so now I’ve decided to review what I think are the best offers on the river so you can quickly see what might interest you. Book places and options online.

sumava prague river cruise
Sumava Paddle River Cruiser

Common things to expect

1) Welcome Drink, usually a fizzy wine.
2) Expect a shared table unless you reserved a private table in the booking.
3) On-time departure. They don’t wait i.e. if they say departure at 8pm then they are boarding from 7-30. No refund for a late arrival but they may reschedule as spaces allow.
4) Specific boat. Tours may use a specific tour boat used like the paddle boats Šumava and Vltava or the glass sliding roof Rhapsody and Grand Bohemia.
5) Where you see the meeting point “Cech Bridge” then head for the Hotel Intercontinental then cross the road and go down to the riverside. The piers are numbered. When you arrive back here after 11pm, expect a 5 minute walk to the Old Town Square which you can use as a taxi/uber pickup point.
6) The “Upriver” route will include going under Charles Bridge, nice views of Prague Castle, going upstream past the canal locks, Shooters Island, National Theatre, Dancing House and Vyšehrad. Nice riversides to see during the day but fairly dark at night. The “Charles Bridge Area” does not go through the canal lock and stays within 200 metres of Charles Bridge at all times.
7) For the Upriver cruises aim to eat in the canal lock towards the beginning of the cruise when they are queueing the boats.
8) For higher value “dinner” Prague river cruises then they will often “Pick-up” but may only provide a bookable option to “drop-off”. So if you do not book the return, follow the advice in point 5 above and ask a local hotel to call a taxi for you.
9) All dinner cruises have live music. Music on lunch cruises and smaller boats may be recorded or have no music.
10) Boats with no open upper deck are all Non-Smoking.

More Tips

I’ve split this into three sections Dinner cruises, Lunch cruises and Short cruises. I’ve put more detail further down the page but, the names change so our choice in each section is going to be the type of boat and how you want your food i.e. a la carte or buffet. Anything that says “Glass roof” or “Open top” are the newest single-level cruisers. Anything that says “Eco” is an electric powered cruiser. Some of the short cruise boats are quite small.

Prague Evening Dinner River Cruises – Approx 3 hours

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Prague Lunch River Cruises – Approx 2 hours

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Prague Short River Cruises – 60 minutes or less with some kind of refreshments

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Prague Glass Roof Cruise – 3 Hours (Unguided, Buffet Food Higher Standard, Modern Boat, Contemporary Music)

tour boat on the river vltava with the gothic stone charles bridge and prague castle in background

Welcome drink, other drinks are extra and although its unguided they do give you a multi-language mini-guide but its no substitute for a proper guide book. This Prague river cruise has both a higher standard buffet and a higher spec boat. In this case they specifically they use the Bohemia Rhapsody, Crystal or the Agnes with it’s sliding glass roof so it’s a single floor boat. I’ve found that the live music is often a contemporary guitar based style. More expensive but worth it for the upgraded boat and food.

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Prague By Night – Dinner Cruise 3 Hours (Unguided, Buffet Food, Regular Boat, Czech Music)

tour boat on the river vltava at night with prague castle lit in background
Prague by Night

This is probably the best value option for people who want a night Prague river cruise. Music varies depending on the band but it’s not obtrusive. You’ll receive a welcome drink but any other alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks you will pay extra. This is an unguided option so sit back and enjoy the sites but if you want to know more about them make sure you have a guide book handy. They use several different boats and it really depends on the schedule which one you are booked onto.

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JAZZBOAT – Dinner Cruise 2.5 hours (Unguided, Set Menu Optional, Specific Boat, Live Jazz)

prague jazz boat
Jazz Boat

This is the Jazzboat cruise so needless to say the music is going to be contemporary jazz. The 3-course meal is optional and you select your choice at the time of booking. You can pay extra for a private table or expect to be sharing. You get a welcome drink as part of the booking but anything else is extra. If you have fine weather you might find it better to eat upstairs on the covered top deck as the inside tables are more for drinks and snacks. The band plays in the salon but the music is piped throughout the boat. You cannot pre-book specific tables in the salon.

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Lunch Cruise 2 Hours (Unguided, Buffet Food, Live Czech Music)

I think 2 hours is just right for a lunch cruise. It has to be to allow for getting through the canal lock both ways, allowing time to eat and seeing the views. It’s unguided so take a guidebook with you or my tip, use google maps to get more info on the different buildings on the riverside. Standard offer welcome drink, buffet lunch and live music. The boats used are varied so you could get one with an open top deck but it’s not guaranteed.

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Tour Tip: Any cruise service 1 hour or less does not serve lunch or dinner but may include a drink and snack. Little Venice is also called “Historical River Cruise” below. If you want space to move around then choose one of the bigger boat options.

Basic Cruise 60 minutes (Guided, No Food/Drink)

This is the cruise that you get if you book a Hop-on-Hop-off 48 hour pass. When I say “Guided” it’s via automated commentary in English with headphones available for other languages but you’ll need to be seated to use those. It does not do the upriver part and instead stays close to the Charles Bridge. No food, no drink. If you want a short river trip on a larger boat, options for inside and out, scenic and guided (automated) then this is probably for you.

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Basic Cruise 45 mins (Very Small Boat, Guided by the boat operator, No Toilet)

This is called the Devils Channel Cruise but it’s basically the same route covered by the “Little Venice” guys so you get to see the water wheel and the mill but most of the trip is out on the river criss-crossing under Charles Bridge so you can enjoy the riversides seeing the Bridges, Prague Castle, Rudolfinum etc. No food, no drink. I like it because it’s a small boat and when the weather is good they just have a top cover. No moving around on the boat though and no toilet.

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