Since 2013, the river cruise sector is booming in Europe, especially Romantic Rhine cruises are very popular among tourists. However, these tourism operations generate large amounts of waste, possibly increasing plastic pollution in the freshwater environment. There is a research gap regarding Rhine River cruise companies’ practices related to plastics. To gain insights into these practices, first the political arena in which these vessels operate must be investigated by applying the Policy Arrangement Approach introduced by Arts, van Tatenhove and Leroy (2000). Furthermore, the practices are explored with the help of the Social Practice Theory of Shove, Pantzar and Watson (2012). The results of this study revealed that the market took responsibility for the river cruise sectors’ management of waste as state regulation in this area is limited. Moreover, the regulations inconsistency between harbours and lack of a dense network of waste facilities along the international waterways is a deterrent. Passengers may add to the plastic waste problem by flushing feminine hygiene products and incontinence materials down the toilets on a structural basis, which could end up in the river. Additionally, river cruise vessels leave a trail of microplastics in the water because no microfiltration system is used on board. In the conclusion, policy recommendations are provided for Rijkswaterstaat because this actor is responsible for the water quality in the rivers of the Netherlands. The core objective is that the plastic waste influx in the Rhine River diminishes, and that tourism and environmental protection of the Rhine converge for the greater good of our planet.