Its Not Easy To Choose 5 Best River Cruises But Here Are My First
If a cruise sounds appealing but the idea of spending your vacation with 4,500 other guests isnt your cup of tea, it might be time to rethink that ocean cruise. You may be ready for a slower-paced river cruise.
With so many riverboats and itineraries to choose from, how do you find the one thats right for you? There are river cruises around the world that beckon to the worldly traveler, like a five-night journey on the Chobe River in Botswana. And then there are also trips that appeal to the novice cruiser, such as a four-day sailing around Venice, Italy with CroisiEurope. The options are almost endless. In truth, theyre all best river cruises!
Its not an easy decision and only you can decide which waterways and ships cater to fit your needs but here are my current best river cruises that deliver awe-inspiring views, a leisurely pace and ample time to explore exciting destinations full of history, culture and charm.
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Reasons To Book United States River Cruises
There are several reasons we have our eyes on United States River Cruises. Youre not alone if youve been itching to travel outside your own region for the past couple of years. All the dreaming and planning in our own home got us to think about why we didnt previously consider a river cruise in our own backyard. Eureka!
Quarantining during a pandemic has allowed us to mull over lots of topics, including river cruises. We have lots of rivers in the United States, after all.
Thats when we started to research river cruises in the United States. Our eyes grew wide with possibilities. The more we thought about it and discussed it, the more apparent it became that we would have to set some goals to take a river cruise in America as soon as possible.
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Go Leaf Peeping On The Hudson River
If you have been wanting to go leaf-peeping, check out the eight-day river cruise on the Hudson River. With the Catskill Mountains on the western shore and the Taconic and Berkshire Hills to the east, the Hudson River is steeped in history and beauty.
The towns along the river date back to Dutch and English rule and feature some of the most magnificent architecture in America. The cruise gives you a glimpse into the world of millionaire mansions like the Vanderbilt Mansion, the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and art centers. You can tour the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The itinerary begins and ends in New York so plan for a couple of days exploring the Big Apple.
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North America River Cruises
Find a River Cruise that explores North America. There are 18 cruises to choose from, that range in length from 8 days up to 36 days. The most popular month for these cruises is August, which has the most tour departures. Considering other destinations? Check out all river cruise tours.
- Halifax, Lunenburg, Bar Harbor, Portland, Boston, Provincetown, Newport, Marthas Vineyard Island, New York City+2 more
- Age Range
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We Know About Health Precautions And Regulations Best In America
When the Coronavirus took us all by storm in 2020, we had just landed back from Spain the day the former President somewhat frantically declared he’d be closing borders for travel in from Europe. Back then, it was easier to hear the world news regarding the virus.
As time went on, though we’d hear about cases in Italy, or a study in Israel, for example, here and there we mostly heard about the news in our own country most. This persists to this day.
It has always been easiest to stay on top of the health situation news in America.
Having a full scope of knowledge about the health situation in our own country is comforting. It provides some security about signing up United States river cruises. There are fewer variables when you are Close to Home .
Though this isn’t deterring us from dreaming of travel worldwide, and we whole-heartedly believe cruises are the safest way to travel anywhereit’s still something nice to consider.
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Columbia And Snake Rivers
These nine-day American river cruises on the American Queen Steamboat Companys American Empress sail from Vancouver, Washinton to Portland, Oregon and show you a glimpse at some of the most gorgeous scenery in the Pacific Northwest. From the paddle wheeler, youll get to see the dramatic waterfalls at the Columbia River Gorge, the pioneer town The Dalles, and sea lions and filming sites from the hit 1980s film, The Goonies in Astoria. For more lesser-known options at sea, check out these off-the-beaten-path cruises.
Lower Mississippi From New Orleans To New Orleans
Seeand eatthe highlights of New Orleansfrom beignets to po boysbefore setting sail on American Cruise Lines America Song. Youll head to Natchez and Vicksburg in Missouri for Civil War sites and St. Francisville and Houmas House, Louisiana for historic plantations with a stop in the middle in Baton Rouge to see the Louisiana State Museum and the capital buildings. Occasionally, the line also offers a food-themed cruise out of New Orleans, too.
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The Best River Cruises Blend Refined Onboard Accommodations With Exciting Itineraries Along Some Of The Worlds Most Memorable Waterways
After pandemic-related challenges at the beginning of last year, river ships got back to what they do best: exploring inland waterways in Europe, the United States, and select other destinations around the world. Travel + Leisure readers enthusiastically returned, setting out on voyages both classic and new.
Every year for our Worlds Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated individual cruise ships on their cabins and facilities, food, service, itineraries and destinations, excursions and activities, and value. Those assessments were combined to generate results for the cruise lines in six categories, including river cruising.
The top three in the river cruise lines were very close in their scores. Viking, the worlds largest river cruise company, moved up two spots into the lead position. Tauck, the well-known tour and river-ship operator, retained its No. 2 spot. The itinerary was thoughtful as well as instructive, wrote one reader who traveled on the Joy. In the No. 3 spot is Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, with praise that included this rave from one voter who sailed on the : This was an exceptional cruise. The staff was excellent. I cant say enough about this cruise line and this ship.
Find the full list of the best river cruise lines and more on what sets Viking apart below.
Should I Rent A Car To Get To The Port Of Galveston
Some passengers may look into renting a car from the airport in Houston and driving to the Port of Galveston themselves.
However, this is typically not going to be the most convenient nor cost effective option, especially if youre unable to secure a one-way car rental and have to pay to park the car for a week.
It cant hurt to check pricing and availability, though, especially if youre traveling with a large family and would prefer having a private vehicle. It can also be a nice option if you plan to explore more of the Galveston or Houston areas before or after your cruise.
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Viking: Panama Canal & The Pacific Coast
This 18-day journey from Ft. Lauderdale to Los Angeles on 930-passenger Viking Orion promises one action-packed ride through six countries. Marvel at the Panama Canal, tour a sacred pre-Columbian Mayan religious site, go deep into jungles by ATV, or fly to Chichén Itzás pyramids and temples in Mexico. Eye a tropical jungle in Nicaragua, ride a horse-drawn carriage through Cartagenas old city, while an eco-bike adventure and a market-to-table culinary class await in Costa Rica. The ship affords many pleasures, with its greatly admired spa replete with a snow grotto, Manfredis superb Italian cuisine, and the beautiful Wintergarden, serving a delightful afternoon tea. Departs November 17 prices begin at $3,999.
We Havent Explored The United States Enough
We get starry-eyed when we have the opportunity to fly to another country, like going on a Danube River cruise from Germany to Hungary. But a pandemic made us value what is right in front of us even more than before. And the United States of America is pretty spectacular, from sea to shining sea.
The more we started to consider United States River Cruises, the more impressed we were with our options here from sailing itineraries to cruise ship lines.
A river cruise itinerary in the USA, on the Mississippi River, for example, would allow us to explore various regions that would take us much longer to visit if we were to drive to all of them. And signing up for a river cruise simply seems more realistic and attainable to us than us going through the motions of planning a trip to all these destinations separately.
River cruises are always high on our travel wish list. Louisiana, perhaps lower. But a river cruise that stops in Louisiana? Divine! Wed love to visit places the American Cruise Lines 8-day Mississippi River Cruise itinerary goes to, including Vicksburg, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans.
Or even an upper Mississippi River cruise itinerary, for example, would allow us to explore several cities in Missouri, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, including St. Louis and St. Paul, cities weve never been to. Or ports accessible from the Columbia River in Oregon and Washington, like Portland and Mount St. Helens.
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Hudson River Valley Fall Foliage Theme Cruise
This eight-day American river cruise on American Cruise Lines American Constitution sails round-trip out of New York City before taking you to Hyde Park, the Catskills, and West Point as well as Sleepy Hollow, all in upstate New York. But in addition to the history in the region, the highlight of the cruise is easily the changing colors of the autumnal leaves.
Hudson River With Usa River Cruises
No, were not just circling around Lady Liberty were boarding in NYC and heading north through the Catskill Mountains. Youll stop in historic towns like West Point, Kingston and Sleepy Hollow, taking in the sweeping views of the majestic Hudson River Valley . This cruise is perfect for anyone whos forgotten New York was more than the Manhattan skyline.
8 days fares from $4,415 sails September through October
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Highlights Of The Mississippi
âEverything was wonderful. I cannot remember having such a great time. The entire staff was great and so accommodating. I loved this trip. I have been on cruises on big ships and there is no comparison. It was so much nicer on a smaller boat. We had the chance to meet and probably had a meal, a drink or excursion with almost everyone on board.â
â Cindy E. – Frederick, MD
What Sets Us Apart
Complimentary & Inclusive
Our guests enjoy their onboard and onshore experiences while cruising the most fascinating parts of the country and we take care of the rest. Enjoy our complimentary offerings, including breakfast room service, select onshore excursions, all meals, evening cocktails, and more. All tips and gratuities are included with your cruise reservation.
An All-American Experience
We build, flag, and crew our ships right here in the United States. Our pride in the All-American experience we provide is the backdrop and an ode to the historic destinations we visit, especially in New England, with places like Boston, New Bedford, Gloucester, and so many others.
Daily Onboard Entertainment
Learn about maritime history with stories and songs, view hand-drawn maps and illustrations that display the geology of the New England itineraries, understand coastal wildlife, or tap your toes to the piano and banjo. Whether musical or historical, there is something for everyone to enjoy on board.
Along with the most spacious staterooms in the industry, you will experience breathtaking views and unobstructed scenery on your private balcony. In New England, we recommend soaking up the fall foliage or summertime ocean views while enjoying your morning cup of coffee or evening cocktail.
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Best Us River Cruises
In the US, river cruising can involve a voyage down the Mississippi River on a historic paddleboat, meandering alongside glaciers in Alaska or heading down the Hudson River on ships that carry fewer than 150 passengers and move at a relaxed pace. Fewer fellow passengers mean shorter lines, while on-board historians and naturalists put travelers in touch with the surroundings with daily lectures on many river cruises. Shore excursions are included in the price as well. Another advantage: these smaller ships can reach places and ports that mega-ships cant. Below are several ships and itineraries worth considering.
Civil War and history buffs gravitate to this 7-night river cruise aboard the 4-year-old, 52-stateroom American Star. The cruise includes a stop at Daufuskie Island, accessible only by boat, where a small, native population has little contact with the outside world.
Ports/Destinations: Beaufort, SC Daufuskie Island/Hilton Head, SC Savannah, GA St. Simons Island, GA Jekyll and Amelia Islands, GA Jacksonville, FL
While youre in South Carolina, check out their Best Beaches.
Ports/Destinations: Dawes Glacier Fords Terror Juneau Chatham Strait Tenakee Springs Sitka
Ports/Destinations: Portland, OR Astoria, OR Rainier, WA Stevenson, WA Pendleton, OR Clarkston, WA
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Celebrity Cruises: Alaska Dawes Glacier
Catch one of the last U.S. cruises to Alaska, sailing eight days roundtrip from Seattle. This 2,218-passenger Celebrity Millennium voyage delivers high-energy vibes. Hop on a high-speed boat bear-searching in Ketchikan, fish for halibut just like Juneau locals. In Icy Strait Point, ascend a mountain via a ZipRider, then descend a 1,330-foot harnessed vertical drop at speeds more than 60 miles per hour. Consider booking The Retreat, all-suite accommodations with a private lounge and sundeck with dedicated attendants, and a swanky restaurant. Departs October 1 prices begin at $599 per person.
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Vaccines Play A Major Roll
The vaccine rollout across the United States is running nicely and this is allowing cruise lines to offer safe cruising for vaccinated guests.
Craighead also noted:
The accelerated rollout of vaccines is a gamechanger in providing for the health and well-being of the public, especially in the United States, where President Biden expects all adults will be eligible for vaccinations by May 1, 2021.
CLIA is exploring protocols that will include vaccinations once they are widely available. Individual member lines also have their own measures depending on which country.
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The cruise industry has been hit hard since first suspending operations in March 2020. According to research by BREA, more than 3000,000 jobs have been lost due to the suspension of cruises in the United States.
Pressure is increasing on the CDC, and hopefully, well hear something from them soon. With so many calls in the last week to allow cruising, this cannot be ignored. Keep checking Cruise Hive for all the latest developments on when cruises can resume.
Main Photo Credit: Rob Hainer / Shutterstock.com
Cruise Port At San Diego California
The United States cruise port in San Diego is one of the most convenient ports in the world. It mainly offers cruises heading south to Mexico or up the California Coast. But you can also find itineraries to Hawaii and even the South Pacific.
Holland America and Norwegian are the most common cruise lines that sail from here, but some ships from Silversea, Celebrity, and Disney Cruise Line have added San Diego to their United States cruise ports map.
Cruise ships dock right in the heart of Downtown San Diego. From here, cruisers can explore the top attractions of San Diego on foot, including the San Diego Gaslamp Quarter, the USS Midway and Maritime Museum, Balboa Park and much more.
If you still have not had enough time on the sea, you can do a Flagship Harbor Cruise to enjoy the sights of San Diego from the water. You can also hop on a ferry to cross the bay over to Coronado Island. Explore its quaint downtown, the famous Hotel Del Coronado, and its magnificent beaches.
Another fun excursion is a trip to La Jolla. Here, you can check out the seals sunbathing on the rocks, go kayaking around the caves and watch the sunset over the stunning coastline.
If San Diego is the starting and endpoint of your cruise and you need to park your car, your best option is airport parking the airport parking lots are a short cab ride away from the San Diego cruise terminal. If you arrive by Amtrak at Santa Fe station, you can even walk to the cruise terminal.
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