If you would like to take a cruise, however aren’t within the crowds or hustle and bustle of an enormous ocean liner, you might wish to take into account a river cruise. River cruises supply the chance to go to lesser-known ports all over the world, due to the small dimension and maneuverability of the vessels. In addition they usually present distinctive, customized service, as most welcome fewer than 200 friends at a time. On high of that, you will spend nearly all of your journey exploring a special port every day, as most locations alongside the waterways are pretty shut collectively.

That will help you decide the perfect river cruise line for you, U.S. Information analyzed traveler and knowledgeable critiques, and detailed the onboard facilities, shore tour choices, value factors, numerous itineraries and total expertise to anticipate beneath. Learn on to see which river cruise line ticks all of the packing containers for what you are in search of in your subsequent cruise trip. (Observe: Some sailings could also be affected as a result of coronavirus pandemic. Cruise traces might require vacationers to point out proof of COVID-19 vaccination or current a damaging COVID-19 check earlier than boarding. For the most recent data, please go to the CDC website and every particular person river cruise line’s web site.)

High River Cruise Traces

  • Viking River Cruises
  • Uniworld River Cruises
  • American Cruise Traces
  • AmaWaterways
  • Avalon Waterways
  • American Queen Voyages
  • Tauck
  • Emerald Cruises
  • Scenic Luxurious Cruises and Excursions
  • Crystal River Cruises

Viking River Cruises

Top River Cruises

(Courtesy of Viking River Cruises)

Value vary: About $2,000 to $11,000 per particular person
Sails to: Europe, Asia, Africa, U.S. (beginning summer season 2022)

Based in Russia in 1997, Viking River Cruises is among the most well-known river cruise traces crusing at present. Viking’s 60-plus ships carry roughly 75 to 250 folks (relying on the vessel) and traverse main rivers throughout Europe, together with the Danube, the Rhine, the Douro and extra. Different fashionable routes sail to locations in Asia, Russia, Ukraine, Egypt and – beginning in summer season 2022 – alongside the Mississippi River.

Vacationers could also be acquainted with Viking’s sister model, Viking Ocean Cruises, which operates bigger ocean voyages with an emphasis on opulent lodging and numerous enrichment actions. Viking’s river cruises observe an analogous highway map, with meals, most shore excursions and Wi-Fi entry (the place relevant) included within the base fare, and facilities and actions like visitor lectures, cooking demonstrations, musical performances, libraries, outside decks and extra. Choose Viking river boats are additionally outfitted with swimming swimming pools, whereas cabins characteristic minibars, premium toiletries, purified water and TVs.

On board, you may look forward to finding principally English-speaking passengers. Viking’s excessive value level usually attracts older crowds within the 55-plus age group, and vacationers have to be at the least 18 years outdated to cruise on the road. Latest cruisers thought-about their river voyages on Viking to be bucket listing experiences, praising the scenic shore excursions, top-notch service and comfy rooms. Nonetheless, a couple of had been dissatisfied with the meals high quality and choices on board, with some noting that snacks weren’t provided between mealtimes. Viking’s river cruises for 2022 and 2023 final between eight and 23 days, and costs vary from round $2,000 to $11,000 per particular person. For extra data, go to the Viking River Cruises website.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Top River Cruises

(Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises)

Value vary: About $2,000 to $23,000 per particular person
Sails to: Europe, Asia, South America

Uniworld gives luxurious sailings in historic cities throughout Central Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, India, Egypt, Russia and Peru. Its 19 ships – which intention to create the texture of a boutique resort with their trendy decor, vintage art work and specialty eating places – maintain a mean capability of 120 cruisers, and the corporate boasts one of many highest staff-to-guest ratios within the trade (one crew member for about each 2 vacationers).

Stateroom facilities range by vessel, however might embody marble bogs, Egyptian cotton linens, French balconies, iPod docking stations, Nespresso espresso machines, rainfall showers and extra. The road’s all-inclusive charges cowl all meals, alcoholic drinks, excursions, gratuities, onboard health courses, web and Wi-Fi entry, plus leisure and enrichment courses. Uniworld prides itself on its top-notch delicacies, which is made with native components sourced from the ports in your itinerary.

Uniworld’s typical clientele are usually of their 50s or 60s and reside in North America, the U.Ok. and Australia, although the river cruise line has choose vessels geared toward a youthful demographic. For instance, two of its ships – The A and The B – had been designed with millennials ages 21 to 45 in thoughts. The compact ships have onboard bars and nightclubs, yoga courses, rooftop lounges and extra, and there are many telephone charging ports scattered all through the frequent areas.

Latest cruisers provided ample reward for his or her voyages, complimenting the fashionable lodging, attentive employees and engaging excursions. Although complaints had been few and much between, a handful of previous vacationers felt the expertise was not well worth the excessive value level. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises’ 2022 and 2023 sailings vary from eight to 25 days and price between $2,000 and roughly $23,000 per particular person, relying on the itinerary. Study extra on Uniworld’s website.

[Ready to plan a cruise? Find the best value sailings on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.]

American Cruise Traces

Top River Cruises

(Getty Pictures)

Value vary: About $2,300 to $14,000 per particular person
Sails to: U.S.

Because the title suggests, American Cruise Traces sails completely on rivers throughout the USA. Well-liked cruises go to locations alongside the Mississippi River, all through New England and lining the Columbia and Snake rivers within the Pacific Northwest. The road additionally excursions Alaska, the Southeast and the Puget Sound between Washington State and the Canadian border.

American Cruise Traces operates 14 comparatively new river vessels (the common ship is about 4 years outdated), starting from trendy riverboats to small coastal ships to genuine paddlewheelers. The vessels can carry between 100 and 185 passengers. Snug cabins can accommodate as much as three folks per room, although some are designed completely for solo travelers. Every room gives image home windows, a spacious rest room and – in some circumstances – a non-public balcony. Within the ships’ public areas, cruisers can get pleasure from every day onboard leisure like jazz and blues performances, in addition to displays by historians and space consultants.

The road guarantees an all-American expertise; as such, you may look forward to finding American employees aboard the American-built ships and meals that pays homage to the locations you’ll go to, from New Orleans-style andouille sausage gumbo to New England-inspired seafood boils. Complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served each evening previous to dinner, and meals, snacks and wine and beer are included within the base fare.

Vacationers on American Cruise Traces are inclined to lean North American and are sometimes of retirement age. Latest cruisers loved the trendy decor and attractive meals on board, although a couple of stated the housekeeping providers and disorganized actions may use some enchancment. Voyages in 2022 and 2023 final between 5 and 22 days and costs vary from about $2,300 to $14,000 per particular person. For extra data, go to the cruise line’s website.


Top River Cruises

(Courtesy of AmaWaterways)

Value vary: About $1,400 to $26,000 per particular person
Sails to: Europe, Asia, Africa, South America (beginning winter 2023)

Whether or not you are seeking to sail by way of the guts of Europe or in search of a once-in-a-lifetime journey touring locations like Vietnam, Egypt, South Africa or, starting in 2023, Colombia, take into account a river cruise with AmaWaterways. A family-owned enterprise based in 2002, AmaWaterways operates 26 river cruise boats (the road’s latest vessel, Magdalena, begins crusing in 2023) that welcome round 160 passengers on common. The cruise line goals to offer excursion-rich experiences and gives distinctive themed sailings for passengers with sure pursuits. Wine-themed voyages are excellent for oenophiles wishing to discover a few of Europe’s hottest wine regions, whereas golf-themed cruises will transport passengers from one well-known golf course to the subsequent. Or, go for a vacation river cruise to go to magical Christmas markets round Europe.

On board, friends can anticipate cabins appropriate for {couples} or single vacationers, in addition to a set quantity of connectible rooms designed for multigenerational households. Staterooms are spacious and have one or two balconies per cabin, in addition to perks like bathrobes and slippers, plush bedding and luxurious toiletries. In-room Wi-Fi is complimentary, and friends can have entry to films and music on demand.

Outdoors of their cabins, passengers can get pleasure from facilities like small swimming pools and solar decks, health tools, a hair salon, therapeutic massage providers and extra. Latest vacationers had excessive reward for his or her experiences, noting the gorgeous ports and enjoyable excursions, in addition to the nice onboard service and comfy lodging. Nonetheless, some felt that sure locations had been much less spectacular than they had been made to look within the on-line advertising supplies, so make sure you do your personal itinerary analysis earlier than reserving so you already know what to anticipate.

AmaWaterways primarily attracts North American vacationers of their 50s who get pleasure from collaborating in lively shore excursions that contain strolling or biking. Nonetheless, passengers from the U.Ok. and Australia sail on this river cruise line as properly. You may look forward to finding a mixture of {couples}, households and solo cruisers in your vessel, due to AmaWaterways’ numerous cabin choices. Journeys in 2022 and 2023 vary from seven to 16 nights and price round $1,400 to $17,000 per particular person, relying on the itinerary. In summer season 2023, AmaWaterways will sail the longest river cruise ever: a 46-night voyage throughout seven waterways in Europe. Costs for that voyage begin round $26,000 per particular person. Study extra about AmaWaterways on its website.

Avalon Waterways

Top River Cruises

(Courtesy of Avalon Waterways)

Value vary: About $1,100 to $11,000 per particular person
Sails to: Europe, Asia, Africa, South America

Serving Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, Avalon Waterways sails 20 riverboats alongside fashionable thoroughfares just like the Danube, the Seine, the Nile, the Rhine, the Ganges and extra. Launched in 2004, Avalon stands out for its spacious vessels – generally known as Suite Ships – which characteristic among the largest rooms within the river cruise trade and beds that face wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling home windows, offering panoramic views. Further stateroom perks embody complimentary breakfast in mattress; L’Occitane toiletries; height-adjustable sitting areas; ample space for storing; and your alternative of a delicate, medium or agency mattress.

Throughout the ship, passengers can get pleasure from facilities like a solar deck with lounge chairs, whirlpools and a sport space, in addition to quite a few eating places and bars and a 24-hour self-serve espresso station. Vacationers may also have their decide of Basic, Lively or Discovery shore excursions – starting from customary excursions with a neighborhood information to mountaineering outings alongside a hilltop citadel – relying on their pursuits and bodily talents. Most up-to-date vacationers reported having an awesome expertise on their Avalon river cruises, highlighting the pleasant, educated employees and attractive meals. Nonetheless, some had been dissatisfied of their itineraries, stating they felt they overpaid for the sights they noticed on the journey.

Avalon Waterways attracts English-speaking cruisers from quite a lot of nations, sometimes of their 50s and 60s. Nonetheless, youngsters ages 8 and older are welcome on board (although there aren’t any designated children golf equipment), and a few voyages appeal to youthful or older passengers. River cruises on this line sometimes final between 4 and 15 days in 2022 and 2023, and costs vary from round $1,100 to $11,000 per particular person. Fare inclusions range by itinerary. For extra data, go to the Avalon Waterways website.

American Queen Voyages

Top River Cruises

(Courtesy of American Queen Voyages)

Value vary: About $1,300 to $6,000 per particular person
Sails to: U.S., Canada (by 2023)

In fall 2021, American Queen Steamboat Firm merged with Victory Cruise Traces to kind American Queen Voyages. Primarily based in North America, American Queen Voyages sails a couple of routes within the U.S., together with the Mississippi River; the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers; and the Columbia and Snake rivers. It’s set to develop its sailings to Canada and different areas within the U.S., such because the Pacific Northwest, by 2023.

This river cruise line operates 4 genuine paddlewheelers that maintain between 150 and 400 passengers. All-inclusive sailings embody limitless onboard Wi-Fi, limitless drinks (and an open bar), limitless guided excursions, eating all through your cruise and extra. On board, vacationers will discover a principal eating room, an leisure corridor, a solar deck, card rooms and lounges. Every cruise serves up tasty native delicacies that varies by itinerary. Staterooms characteristic plush linens, espresso makers and minifridges, TVs, non-public balconies (in choose lodging) and extra.

Latest cruisers had been impressed with American Queen Voyages’ choices, noting the road’s well-kept vessels, nice employees and scrumptious meals. Then again, some vacationers skilled web connectivity points all through their journeys, and others had been unimpressed with the customer support brokers they spoke with over the telephone.

American Queen Voyages’ 2022 and 2023 cruises final from 5 to 20-plus days and price between $1,300 and $6,000 per particular person. The road primarily caters to vacationers of their 50s, although you might discover the occasional grandparent and college-aged grandchild. The road is very appropriate for passengers who use wheelchairs, due to its abundance of accessibility choices. History buffs additionally have a tendency to love the itineraries and enrichment packages on board. Study extra on the American Queen Voyages website.


Top River Cruises

(Courtesy of Tauck)

Value vary: About $3,000 to $13,000 per particular person
Sails to: Europe

Journey firm Tauck wears a number of hats: It operates small ship voyages all over the world, land excursions throughout seven continents, small group journeys for a mean of 24 vacationers at a time, household excursions and – lastly – European river cruises. Take your decide from 9 river vessels to discover fashionable waterways just like the Moselle, the Rhine, the Danube and the Rhone. All-inclusive fares cowl shore excursions, onboard actions and leisure, gratuities, drinks and extra. Plus, Tauck gives unique entry to unforgettable experiences like wine tastings at non-public vineyards and gala dinners in historic castles.

Tauck’s river boats are freshly renovated (between 2018 and 2019) and carry between 84 and 130 passengers. Greater than 80% of the staterooms characteristic French balconies and floor-to-ceiling home windows, permitting for glorious views. Different in-room facilities might embody adjustable local weather controls, satin linens, pillow-top mattresses, terry fabric robes and extra. Outdoors of your cabin, you will discover perks like a solar deck, a placing inexperienced, enrichment packages like cooking demonstrations, a health heart and complimentary bikes to discover on shore.

Tauck caters to prosperous, English-speaking cruisers – primarily Individuals within the 55 and up age group – although you might also discover households with grownup youngsters on board. The road appeals most to vacationers preferring all the small print of their journey to be taken care of for them, versus those that prefer to plan actions unbiased of the cruise line. Latest passengers converse extremely of their river cruise experiences, highlighting the distinctive stage of group and spacious, luxurious lodging. Nonetheless, some had been left wanting extra out of the meals high quality on board.

River voyages with Tauck vary from eight to 25 days in 2022 and 2023, and costs run between $3,000 and virtually $13,000 per particular person. Go to Tauck’s website for extra data.

Emerald Cruises

Top River Cruises

(Getty Pictures)

Value vary: About $1,200 to $10,400 per particular person
Sails to: Europe, Asia

Beforehand generally known as Emerald Waterways, Emerald Cruises transports vacationers throughout among the hottest rivers in Europe and Asia, together with the Danube, the Rhine, the Douro, the Mekong and the Volga. The all-inclusive expertise covers all meals, drinks with lunch and dinner, shore excursions, Wi-Fi entry and gratuities within the base fee.

Emerald operates 9 vessels holding between 84 and 180 passengers; all boats boast luxurious public areas and lodging with en suite bogs and flat-screen TVs. Widespread space facilities embody heated indoor swimming pools, solar decks, spa and wellness services, and quite a lot of eateries. Onboard health courses can be found, as are different types of leisure. On shore, cruisers can lease bicycles to discover historic metropolis facilities.

Cruisers on latest sailings – particularly first-time sailors – loved their experiences on Emerald Cruises. Excessive factors included the attentive crew members and stress-free reserving and planning course of. Nonetheless, some famous that the ship might be noisy at evening and that the meals was mediocre.

Typical clientele aboard Emerald Cruises’ voyages embody American and British passengers round retirement age, although some youthful vacationers might make an look as properly. Youngsters 12 and older are permitted on board, however there aren’t any children golf equipment or designated actions for youthful cruisers. Particular rooms and dinner reservations can be found for solo vacationers. In 2022 and 2023, Emerald Cruises’ sailings sometimes final between 5 and 26 days, and costs vary from round $1,200 to $10,400 per particular person. Go to Emerald Cruises’ website to study extra.

Scenic Luxurious Cruises and Excursions

Top River Cruises

(Gillies Zaiser/Courtesy of Scenic Luxurious Cruises and Excursions)

Value vary: Lower than $2,000 to $23,000 per particular person
Sails to: Europe, Asia

From the Danube to the Mekong, Australian journey firm Scenic Luxurious Cruises and Excursions gives lavish, all-inclusive river sailings with an emphasis on customization. The extra upscale sister model of Emerald Cruises, Scenic affords vacationers the chance to do as a lot or as little as they need whereas on board and ashore.

Enrichment actions are hand-picked by the road’s “Journey Designers,” and vessels present a top-notch stage of service due to their excessive crew-to-passenger ratios. In reality, every passenger receives a delegated butler who can full nightly turndowns and make laundry preparations, amongst different duties. Spacious suites on board are bigger than these on most different riverboats (starting from 160 to 510 sq. ft), and high-tech balcony controls permit lodgers to let in as a lot or as little solar as they’d like with the contact of a button. Cruisers may also get pleasure from particular in-room touches like pillow menus.

In relation to eating, Scenic sources native components from the ports visited on the itinerary to offer an genuine expertise. All meals are included within the base cruise fare, together with drinks, gratuities, Wi-Fi entry, shore excursions and electrical bicycle leases in choose locations.

Latest cruisers had been happy with their experiences aboard Scenic’s vessels, praising the spacious cabins, pampering butler service, and educated crew members and tour guides. Nonetheless, some vacationers advisable skipping the particular Christmas market cruise, as they discovered it to be much less festive than anticipated.

Scenic’s river cruises appeal to a big Australian demographic, although American, British and Canadian passengers will also be discovered on board. Most vacationers are well-heeled adults ages 55 and older. In 2022 and 2023, Scenic’s river cruises span 5 to 36 days, and fares vary from lower than $2,000 to virtually $23,000 per particular person. Go to Scenic’s website for extra data.

Crystal River Cruises

Top River Cruises

(Courtesy of Crystal Cruises)

Value vary: About $2,800 to $15,200 per particular person
Sails to: Europe

An offshoot of Crystal Cruises – which operates two luxurious ocean ships – Crystal River Cruises operates a fleet of 5 river cruise ships on fashionable waterways all through Europe. Itineraries make stops alongside the Rhine, the Danube, the Major and the Moselle rivers.

On board, vacationers can anticipate elegant lodging with 24-hour butler service, all-day in-suite eating, one-touch lighting and bedside iPads, TVs with on-demand programming and premium toiletries. All-inclusive charges embody Michelin-inspired eating, choose wines and spirits, gratuities, Wi-Fi entry, choose shore excursions and bike leases on land. Outdoors of their suites, cruisers can get pleasure from a spa, an indoor pool, and enrichment packages like visitor lecturers and musical performances.

Latest cruisers praised the elegant riverboats and top-notch meals; many stated their expectations had been exceeded total. Nonetheless, a couple of had been dissatisfied with the customer support expertise throughout the reserving course of, and a few older passengers felt the shore excursions had been too hectic for his or her consolation ranges.

Nearly all of Crystal River Cruises’ passengers reside in North America, and most are prosperous and of their mid-50s. You may most persistently discover {couples} or small teams touring collectively, however often households will select Crystal throughout holidays or when college is out. Cruises in 2022 and 2023 final between 5 and 17 nights, and costs vary from $2,800 to $15,200 per particular person. See the Crystal River Cruises’ website for extra data.

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