The European river cruise market is the leading cruise market in the world and is also one of the fastest growing tourism segments in Europe. However, the demand structure of the European river cruise market has seen significant changes over recent years, and the aim of the studies described in this article was to identify the determinant factors and the ensuing changes in supply and demand within this market. The primary trend observed was a shift in demand, as the share of tourists from outside Europe has been growing with the share of Europeans (to date, the main group of customers) shrinking. These changes are attributable to social, economic, political, and technical factors that have resulted, in particular, in changes in river cruise passengers’ preferences, which in turn have led to specific reactions by river cruise operators. The analyses have shown that river cruise passengers, who are seem increasingly interested in being educated about the local culture, traditions, ecology, wildlife, arts, foods, and history, expect that the river cruise offer will be extended to include new destinations. They also expect an extended offer of wellness-related services and more active river cruises, as well as high-quality passenger space on board ship. In response, European river cruise operators have developed a cruise network and a fleet of river cruise vessels based on these emerging river cruise markets and increased the diversity and comprehensiveness of their offered services. The evolution of the European river cruise market will also constitute a challenge for emerging river cruise destinations, which will need to meet the changing expectations of both passengers and operators.