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What Are The Best River Cruises

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Best French River Cruises

6 Best European River Cruise Lines. Which One Is Right For You?

Traveling aboard a riverboat provides a fresh new perspective on France. Whether you cruise the Seine to immerse yourself in Parisian culture and World War II history or ride the Rhône to explore the French Riviera or Provençal countryside, youll find the right fit with one of Taucks thoughtfully curated French River Cruises, receiving rave reviews, sailing-after-sailing.

Best River Cruises In Usa

With the Mississippi, the Columbia, and more, America is home to some enormous and iconic rivers that have played key roles in the development of the nation. Each river has its own stories to tell and stunning scenery to offer, and one of the best ways to enjoy the rivers of America is by taking a river cruise. With cruise lines like American Queen Steamboat Company and American Cruise Lines offering multiple routes and experiences at great prices, theres never been a better time to book a USA river cruise. Read on to learn about a few of the best river cruises you can choose. Hours/availability may have changed.

Do River Ships Have Accessible Cabins

Lines which offer accessible cabins, usually situated close to the reception area, include AmaWaterways, CroisiEurope, Emerald Cruises and Scenic. If you have mobility issues but donât need an accessible cabin you will benefit from booking a room near the centre of the ship, which will also be close to the dining room and bar, to save a long walk every time you go back and forth from the cabin.

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Southeast Alaska Cruise From American Cruise Lines

Bald eagles, blue glaciers, humpback whalesthis is the ideal eight-day vacation for wildlife lovers. That is, wildlife lovers who want to see it all from their own private balcony. Of course, if you choose to leave your luxe quarters, the American Constellation has naturalists and historians on hand to answer all the questions you possibly could have on salmon .

8 days fares from $5,135 sails June through September

Frequently Asked Questions About River Cruises

2018 Editors

What is river cruising?

Its a form of leisure boat travel along inland waterways most popularly along the worlds major rivers, including the Mississippi, Danube, Rhine, Volga and Yangtze. River cruise boats are smaller than ocean liners to maneuver smaller waterways and can carry up to 250 guests. This reduced capacity makes the whole experience of river cruising more intimate than typical ocean cruising.

Are river ships different from other cruise ships?

River ships are much smaller in size compared to giant ocean liners, so they cater to fewer guests. It is easier to get to know some of the other travelers on a river ship. Also, because rivers are shallow, river cruises tend to be smoother sailing than ocean liners.

How long does a typical river cruise last?

River cruises are typically just over a week in length and include several port stops during each passage. Instead of spending many days at sea, you will spend less time sailing on a river cruise and can expect to awaken each day in a new port.

What are some amenities found on river cruises?

Ocean liners often sail with amenities such as pools, fitness centers, casinos, entertainment venues and so on. River ships tend to have fewer onboard amenities and instead offer educational, cultural or culinary experiences to keep things lively on board.

What can I expect a river cruise to include?

Whats the best season for a river cruise?

What should I pack for a river cruise?

What type of person enjoys a river cruise?

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Volga: Russia Made Easy

White church along the Volga River in Russia

Length: 3,530km

Timing: The bulk of the river is navigable between March and December.

The river: Stretching from the hills north of Moscow down to the Caspian Sea, the Volga is Russia: impossibly vast and wrinkled with an operatic and turbulent history narrated in the folktales, buildings and cities that line its banks.

The sights: The route between Moscow and St Petersburg is a popular one, following the Volga for part of the way, fording rural villages and some of Europes largest lakes. But the true Volga experience is found on its lower reaches, strung between Moscow and caviar capital Astrakhan . This covers 3,000km in a blur of onion-domed cathedrals and Red history, pit-stopping at the UNESCO-listed city of Yaroslavl and drifting through the Republic of Tartarstan before pitching into a vast, wild delta speckled with lotus flowers and flamingos.

Detours: The Neva River makes up the final stretch of the Moscow-St Petersburg route, seeping from Lake Ladoga through the delta that St Petersburg sits on. Its a quick way to get a taste of Russia and see some fine architecture.

What Are The Best River Cruises For Families With Kids

Adventures by Disney is the best option for families since they curate their onboard and onshore activities with kids and teens in mind. Uniworld is also a good choice with an array of added perks for kids of all ages.

Otherwise, most welcome children but don’t offer extra programming for them, and Viking doesn’t allow children at all.

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Hooghly: History And Tigers In Indias West Bengal

Length: 260km

Timing: Year-round October to April brings milder temperatures.

The river: This West Bengal tributary of the Ganges embraced river tours, after its once dried up flows were bolstered by a diversion from the main stem. Since then, shallow-draft ships have opened up the route, with week-long cruises from Farakka to Kolkata ploughed by a handful of luxury craft, pushing deep into West Bengals storied fringes.

The sights: Indias imperial west is the incentive here, with visits to Murshidabad and its impossible Palace of 1,000 Doors, which was the seat of the Murghal nawab , as well as the Battlefield of Plassey, where the last independent ruler of the region was defeated by the British in 1757. Stops at the ruined city of Gaur and terracotta temples of Kalna delve even further back into an era and region little explored by visitors.

Detours: Trips upstream along the Ganges from Farakka are possible in August/September, when the high waters allow you to journey to the holy city of Varanasi, spying gangetic river dolphins and pilgrimage sites en route.

Irrawaddy: Myanmar By Water

9 Best River Cruises In The World

Temples of Bagan, Burma

Length: 2,170km

Timing: Year-round dry season sees cooler temperatures

The river: Like South-East Asias other alpha rivers, the Irrawaddys Himalayan source offers stark contrast to the hot plains of Burma that most cruisers experience. Here, luxurious colonial-style riverboats regularly skim the waters between Yangon and Mandalay , dipping in at Inle Lake and Bagan.

The sights: Two-day cruises from Mandalay to the temple complex of Bagan are a fine way to quickly soak up the region. The city is still flecked with remnants of its colonial heyday, especially around its old docks, while the golden monastery speaks of another era entirely. Both cities feature on the round-trip to Bhamo , before peaking in the stark gorges and remote villages, such as Katha, of the distant north, near the Chinese border, where fewer visitors tread.

Detours: To escape the crowds further, the Chindwin tributary branches of Burmas Upper Irrawaddy and brushes steep-sided cliffs, lush jungle, and en route to Homalin, with potential land trips across the border to the Indian state of Nagaland offering a different world entirely.

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Amazon River Cruise With Jean

Renowned explorer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau hosted a series of Aqua Expeditions cruises in 2018. He shared stories of his own journeys, and discussed the amazing Amazonian ecosystem, aboard the Aria Amazon as it sailed along the Peruvian Amazon. Cousteau also led passengers on bike and kayak excursions into the jungle. The Aria offers three-, four- and seven-night cruises watch for pink dolphins and giant waterlilies as you traverse the rivers and nearly-hidden, black water lakes. Visit the Aqua Expeditions website for information on health and safety concerns in the region.

Best River Cruises Around The World

Last updated on September 9, 2021 in Leisure, Tours

To many travelers, a cruise conjures up images of a huge ocean-going boat lumbering from one tropical island to another. However, there is another more intimate type of cruise that is just as popular with travelers today the river cruise.

The boats for these cruises are typically much smaller than the behemoths that travel the sea and are the perfect platform for traveling by river from one interesting site or city to another. An overview of the best river cruises around the world:

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The 10 Top River Cruise Lines

If you’d like to take a cruise, but aren’t interested in the crowds or hustle and bustle of a massive ocean liner, you may want to consider a river cruise. River cruises offer the opportunity to visit lesser-known ports around the world, thanks to the small size and maneuverability of the vessels. They also often provide exceptional, personalized service, as most welcome fewer than 200 guests at a time. On top of that, you’ll spend the majority of your trip exploring a different port each day, as most destinations along the waterways are fairly close together.

To help you determine the best river cruise line for you, U.S. News analyzed traveler and expert reviews, and detailed the onboard amenities, shore excursion options, price points, diverse itineraries and overall experience to expect below. Read on to see which river cruise line ticks all the boxes for what you’re looking for in your next cruise vacation.

Best River Cruise Companies Overview

The best European river cruises for families

With the average price of a European cruise coming in just shy of £280 per night, river cruising might not look like a budget holiday. But factor in food, drinks and daily excursions, which are all typically included as standard, and the figures start to sound more reasonable.

Take Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, top of our annual river cruise survey. It promises an all-inclusive experience, so you wont face any on-board surprises. Plus, youll get free beer and wine with lunch and dinner, as you do with Emerald Waterways, APT Luxury River Cruises and Viking River Cruises, three of our other Which? Recommended Providers this year.

Of course, you wont find the range of on-board facilities of the vast ocean liners, but then you wont be spending whole days at sea either. River cruises get you straight to city centres so theres more time for sightseeing and excursions. That said, with nearly all meals taken on board and usually only one dining option youll want to be sure the food and drink pass muster.

In the table below, we show the results from our annual river cruise survey. Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours remained top of our table for the second year running with impressive customer service scores. Its sister company Emerald Waterways came joint second with APT Luxury River Cruises, Viking River Cruises was rated fourth, while Riviera Travel came fifth. All five brands received our Which? Recommended Provider Rating.

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Best Danube River Cruises

Waltzing its way from Germany’s storied Black Forest and through ten countries in Europe before spilling into the Black Sea, the Danube River has inspired countless artists, writers and composers with its stunning power and beauty. Discover the best Danube River Cruises for you from the always-popular Blue Danube to the ever-sophisticated Royal Danube, Berlin & Krakow.

Nile River Cruises In Egypt

Feel like Cleopatra on the Nile when you journey down the same river where they honeymooned on the Egyptian queens royal barge.

But they no doubt would be jealous of the vessels you can cruise on today.

Put a Nile River cruise on your bucket list! The tombs and temples of ancient Egypt are eye-popping

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Eastern Europe River Cruise

Appropriately fitting, this Eastern Europe River Cruise can be taken aboard the Longship Aegir, which was named after the Norse god of the sea who shares the same name. This cruise goes between Bucharest and Budapest, and while taking the “Passage to Eastern Europe” tour, passengers will also have the chance to stop in Croatia and Hungary.

A post shared by Katie Darling on Nov 20, 2019 at 3:39am PST

Half the excitement of this cruise is the ship itself, with floor to ceiling windows and staterooms that line the exterior of the ship, the views are 24/7. Along the 11-day journey, passengers will also sail right through Serbia’s Iron Gates, which is an amazing experience from the water.

Yangtze: Ghosts And Gorges Of China

The Best Things on AmaWaterways AmaMagna

Yangzi river In China

Length: 6,300km

Timing: Year-round spring and autumn offer cooler breezes and fewer mosquitoes.

The river: The Yangtze is big! It is said more people live on its banks than in the entire US, and even the boats that cruise it are huge, thanks to local demand and a dearth of low bridges. But it has changed. The controversial Three Gorges Dam has taken its toll, raising water levels and erasing villages along its most popular stretch, between Chongqing and Shanghai. The epic scenery, however, remains breathtaking.

The sights: Trips tend to vary between ten-day voyages from Chongqing to Shanghai and abbreviated three/four-day jaunts, usually to the towering gorges of Wuhan, which are part of a longer trip that includes flights to Beijing and Xian. Other Yangtze pit-stops include the ghost city of Fengdu , where a vast ghost king statue cradles a mountainside of monasteries and shrines, before drifting on to the first and most dramatic gorge, Xiling, its steep-sided, misty canyons velveted in a lush canvas.

Detours: A side-trip to Guilin rewards with trips on the Li River, floating amid karst rises and terraced hills meanwhile Suzhou 30 minutes by train from Shanghai is the gateway to the old water towns of Jiangsu province, laced with scenic canals and Qing-era gardens.

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Helpful Cruise Line Information

If you’ve cruised before you probably have a favorite cruise line. Here at we make it easy for you to sort through the cruise line of your choice for the best cruises at the best discounts on your favorite cruise line. Choose from the best cruise lines in the world including Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, Holland America, Celebrity, Crystal, Azamara, Oceania, Viking, Avalon, and Disney. You can be confident that you’ll get the cheapest cruise price possible with concierge like service from our cruise experts here at View information on your favorite cruise line.

One Of The Best European River Cruises

No, its not a Danube River cruise. Or a Rhine River cruise. Or even a Douro River cruise in Portugal.

Its a Seine River cruise in Normandy, France.

Lets travel back in time to France. The year is 1883.

Claude Monet was clickety-clacking on a train through the quaint village of Giverny when he spotted a charming two-storey house through the window. He instantly fell in love with its pink crushed-brick façade and jaunty green shutters and moved in.

Here he gardened and painted, and in time created his celebrated water-garden. It served as the inspiration for his series of masterpiece Impressionist paintings on water lilies.

For some 40 years , Monet continued to live and paint in this enchanting little slice of Normandy.

Monet picked well.

We too were enchanted by Giverny when cruising the Seine River one of the best river cruises in the world for a destination-rich itinerary.

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What Makes A Which Recommended Provider

Which? Recommended Providers are the cream of the crop and the accolade is only given to river cruise lines with the highest customer scores.

Thats not all. We know that pricing transparency is important, so we only offer it to the companies that provide clear information about gratuities, excursions and drinks at the booking stage. After all, it’s hard for customers to compare prices if they can’t find these details before parting with their cash. If the companies fall down in more than one area, theyre not eligible to be Which? Recommended Providers, whatever score they receive in the survey.

Similarly, a company can only be considered for WRP status if it has committed to promptly refunding customers for any cruises it is forced to cancel, such as if coronavirus travel restrictions prevent the cruise from going ahead.

And because Which? is independent, you can be sure that our recommendations are influenced only by our survey results. We’re not influenced by third parties and we don’t accept freebies from product manufacturers, retailers. or providers.

Concluding Thoughts On River Cruises

2017 Editors

Bottom Line:River cruising is a great option for culture-hungry travelers. Pay attention to the travel package details to get the best value for your money.

River cruise lines make researching their adventures fun, with video tours and details to suit the needs of many different types of travelers. Our three river cruise lines, for example, have well over 100 river ships between them and offer destinations around the globe. Consumers who dive into this research and understand the details of the packages they consider will get the most out of the experience. It also helps to get input from friends, family and acquaintances who have taken part in a river cruise experience. Look for feedback on travel websites and customer review forums. Finally, working with a travel agent can help you understand your options, and get you started on the voyage thats right for you.

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