Medium Ship Line #1: Marella Cruises
U.K.-based cruise line Marella, which is operated by TUI UK, has a fleet of four ships that hold between 1,100 and 2,000 passengers, sailing itineraries around Europe, the Middle East, North America, and the Caribbean, with some special journeys to Asia. The sailings are billed as all-inclusive, and they do include alcoholic beverages and tips, but some of the specialty restaurants cost an extra fee.
Luxury River Cruise Lines Of 2021
River cruises are vessels smaller than ocean liners, allowing them to dock in city and town centers of inland waterways. River cruises are typically overnight cruises that travel to an inland passage like a river, lake, etcetera, and more often frequent at smaller ports with great privacy, intimacy, and security. The popularity of river cruising is increasing by about 10% annually. River cruises sail along with locations with plentiful opportunities to explore riverside towns and cities, exploring the captivating tourist industry in many parts of the world. Since these ships spend much time near cities, towns, and ports along the way, they often include shore excursions with guided tours to aid guests in being better acquainted with the culture, art, and history of such destinations. Before or after a guided tour, the guests can wander around local stops or maybe even arrange for additional personal shore excursions. Every port offers ample opportunities to find something to see and do, such as go to a local concert, explore a famous museum, or even visit an ancient castle. As you journey into the center of iconic cities and towns in your intimate and smaller cruise ship, you indulge in 5-star cuisines and accommodations.
Crystal Debussy Ship of Crystal CruisesAvalon Tapestry II Ship of Avalon WaterwaysRiver Countess Ship of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise CollectionViking Legend Ship of Viking Cruises
New Orleans To Memphis With American Queen Steamboat Company
If youve been dying to eat grits, drink iced tea and say yall as much as you possibly can, a voyage through the Mississippi Delta on an actual steamboat probably sounds just right. Youll depart from NoLa and from there, explore the romantic antebellum South, visiting historic mansions and towns as you head up to Memphis .
9 days fares from $2,999
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What Is The Best Rated River Cruise Line
The top 10 winners in the category Best River Cruise Line are as follows:
- Viking River Cruises.
- Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.
- American Cruise Lines.
. Moreover, which river cruise company is the best?
Three of the top 10 river cruise lines on the list Crystal, Tauck, and U River Cruises focus all of their efforts on the rivers there.Read on for the full list.
Also, which Viking River cruise is the best? Viking River Cruises
|Popular Itineraries & Destinations Back to Top|
|15-Day Grand European Tour||Amsterdam to Budapest Includes Rhine, Main & Danube Rivers Stunning Rhine valley vistas, food and wine of Wachau Valley, and much more in this “Best of Europe” river cruise|
Keeping this in consideration, what is the most luxurious river cruise line?
In our opinion, the following companies are the very best luxury river cruise lines in Europe:
- Crystal River Cruises.
- Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection.
- Scenic River Cruises.
- Viking River Cruises.
What is the best European river cruise itinerary?
The most popular itineraries are one-week sailings between Budapest in Hungary and Passau, situated in Germany and close to the Austrian border, or weeklong round trips from Passau. The Wachau Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site located between the Austrian towns of Krem and Melk, is particularly stunning.
Medium Ship Line #: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
As far as all-inclusive cruises go, Regent Seven Seas is the real deal. Everything from specialty excursions to meals and alcohol to airfare is included in the rates. Even the mini-bar is free! The only things youll have to pay for are spa treatments, laundry, and the casino. The cruise lines five ships each carry 750 passengers or fewer, but the ships are actually quite large, offering each guest plenty of personal space, especially in their cabins. Regent Seven Seas specializes in round-the-world itineraries. Next up for Regent: the Seven Seas Grandeur, scheduled to launch in 2023.
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Medium Ship Line #: Cunard
While Cunards Queen Mary 2 fits more than 2,600 passengersand a number of cats and dogson board, her sister ships, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria only have a capacity of about 2,000 passengers. Though theyre quite similar in layout, the QE and the QV differ in design. Both nod to the historic ocean liners of the early 20th century, but the QE takes on a bolder Art Deco vibe, while the QV features more subdued yet equally elegant decor. Guests on board both ships are likely to partake in afternoon tea before donning a glamorous gown for dinner.
Apt Luxury River Cruises Review Which Recommended Provider
Like Scenic, APT is another Australian river cruise company offering luxury river cruises in Europe and Asia. But in addition to the luxury cruises, APT also has an essential cruising tier for those wanting to see the sites for a little less expense. It didn’t rate poorly in a single part of our survey, but customer service and the quality of food on offer are really where it really stands out.
, or read our full APT Luxury River Cruises review for more information.
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Medium Ship Line #: Silversea Cruises
Silverseas fleet has 10 ships, of which just three are technically medium-sized, with passenger counts around 600 peoplebut thats considered quite a large number for the luxurious cruise line, which specializes in smaller expedition vessels. Silversea Moon, which debuted in 2021, and its sister Silversea Muse are the largest, each carrying up to 596 passengers. The line sails to more than 900 destinations around the world.
Best Excursions: Crystal Cruises
Crystal has greatly expanded its luxury cruise brand to include ocean and river cruise ships, yachts, expedition ships, and even a private jet charter. The company also offers some extremely exclusive, high-end shore excursions, as well as volunteer excursions so passengers will feel more involved in the ports of call. The company has an impressive 2,000 excursions to choose from in ports all over the world. Onboard Crystal Cruises theres trivia, magic and comedy shows, movies, live music, theater performances, and the fabulous Crystal spa. The two ocean-going ships, Serenity and Symphony, carry around 900 guests, and offer butler service in suites and all-inclusive pricing.
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River Ship Line #: Delfin Amazon Cruises
Sailing the Amazon River in Peru isnt quite like other river journeysits a blissful escape into the wilderness, where you might be surrounded by pink dolphins or piranhas at any given moment. Delfin, the first Relais & Chateaux cruise line, makes the journey incredibly comfortable, offering boutique hotellike accommodations aboard its three rustic-luxe ships. And, as part of the Relais & Chateaux family, the cuisine is spectacular, incorporating regional dishes made with local ingredients.
American Queen Steamboat Company
Did you know you dont have to fly to Europe to take a luxury river cruise? American Queen Steamboat Company operates cruises in three unique regions of the country so youre never far from a fun and relaxing cruise vacation. Known for their gorgeous paddlewheelers, American Queen Steamboat Company curates itineraries which show off the best of Americans famous rivers like the Mississippi. Enjoy high-end service, delicious cuisine and shore excursions steeped in the history and culture of each region. Amenities like 24-hour room service, private balconies and nightly entertainment vault American Queen Steamboat Company to the top of the river cruise line rankings!
American Queen | Photo: American Queen Steamboat Company
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Large Ship Line #: Norwegian Cruise Line
Things escalated quickly for Norwegian: the cruise line jumped from medium-size ships to mega-ships practically overnight , with just three ships in its current fleet sized somewhere in between. But thats soon about to change. Norwegian currently has six ships on order as part of Project Leonardo, each of which will hold about 3,300 passengers. Its interesting to see a cruise line scale back from its mega-ships and opt for a more manageable size for such a large order. The first, Norwegian Prima, is expected to launch in 2022 some of its highlights include the fastest slides at sea , a three-level go-kart racetrack, and a three-story theater that transforms into a nightclub after the evening’s show.
New River Ships In Europe North America Asia
As is typically the case, Europe will be at the center of the growth. River cruise giant Viking alone is adding four new ships in the region. AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Emerald Waterways, Uniworld and Tauck have new Europe river ships coming, too.
Debut vessels in other parts of the world include everything from a notable paddlewheeler for the Mississippi River to a first-of-its-kind new build for the Nile in Egypt.
River lines arent alone in adding a profusion of new vessels to the market this year. This also will be a significant year for new ocean-going ships .
Read on for a list of the 10 new river ships were most excited to book.
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The Top 10 River Cruise Lines
This year’s World’s Best Awards survey was open for voting January 11 through May 10, 2021, as destinations around the world were lifting COVID-19 restrictions. Survey rules have always allowed readers to reflect on their travel experiences over a three-year period. We hope that this year’s honorees will inspire your own travels as you get back out into the world.
The past year put the entire travel industry through the wringer, perhaps no segment more so than cruising. Though the pandemic forced ships around the world to remain in port, readers nevertheless looked back fondly on their times at sea while ranking the world’s top 10 river cruise lines for Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards.
Every year for our World’s 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 five categories, including river cruising.
Rainer Witzgall/Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
Find the rest of the list and what other qualities set Uniworld apart below.
Best Small Ships: Silversea
If youre ready to be completely pampered, Silverseas five-star service, smaller ships, and all-inclusive pricing is difficult to beat. Onboard, passengers enjoy free-flowing wines, in-suite dining, gourmet cuisine, enrichment lectures, 24-hour butler service, and included gratuities. Since most Silversea ships carry less than 300 guests, the company is a hybrid between yachting and cruising. Silverseas entertainment is very relaxed, so expect to unwind in luxurious lounges or in the onboard spa. There is no shortage of dining choices on Silversea vessels, ranging from intimate venues serving Asian fusion to open-air patios highlighting regional specialties.
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Small Ship Line #1: Crystal Yacht Cruises
In early 2015, Crystal brought a yacht into its fleet for the first time, and following its success, the cruise line decided to custom-build a polar-class expedition megayacht. The ultra-luxe Crystal Endeavor, which sails to remote locations like the Arctic and the Antarctic, as well as urban ports around the world, launched in 2021, and can carry up to 200 passengers.
Medium Ship Line #1: Royal Caribbean International
While it’s true that Royal Caribbean is better known for its large and mega-ships, the cruise line also has a fair number of medium-size ships whose maximum capacities are just shy of 2,500 guests. Each of these ships belongs to the Vision class or Radiance class, two families of older vessels whose smaller sizes allow them to explore more adventurous destinations, such as Alaska and Cyprus. But they also sail the Caribbean, offering Royal Caribbean loyalists a more intimate experience than the fleet’s larger ships.
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Small Ship Line #1: Ponant
Fine French cuisine, Hermès bath products, and personalized service come standard on Ponant’s fleet of globe-circling ships. The line has recently expanded its original fleet of four expedition ships and one sailing yacht with six new Explorer-class ships designed for luxury expedition-style cruising. Each features an infinity pool, an underwater viewing lounge, and itineraries that include destinations as far-flung as Papua New Guinea and West Africas Bissagos Islands. In 2019, Ponant acquired Paul Gauguin Cruises, adding another ship to the fleet, and just this year launched Le Commandant Charcot, an ice-breaking expedition ship.
Medium Ship Line #1: Princess Cruises
Of Princess Cruises 14-ship fleet, its five smallest include the Coral Princess, Island Princess, Sun Princess, Sea Princess, and the infamous Pacific Princess, which was the star of the TV show The Love Boat. The Pacific Princess is by far the smallest, holding just 680 passengers. The four other ships carry around 2,000 passengers and are the perfect size to sail through the Panama Canal.
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Best Cruise Experience: Holland America
Courtesy of Holland America
- Ship Name: MS Koningsdam
- Itinerary: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta
Holland Americas mid-sized fleet offers a more sophisticated cruise experience than most mainstream vessels, and although not adults-only, the MS Koningsdam offers a musically-themed cruise voyage that appeals to an older demographic. In the evening, there are instrumental concerts at Lincoln Center Stage, the BB King Blues Club, the two-story World Stage to Music Walk, Rolling Stone Rock Room, and Billboard Onboard an interactive setting for rock music. The ship also focuses on food and drink with live cooking demonstrations in Americas Test Kitchen and at Blend, a hands-on cocktail class. The 2,650-passenger Koningsdam sails to several destinations from the U.S., including sun-filled itineraries to the Mexican Riviera.
Why Is River Ship Length Important
One of the real subtle differences in river cruising is what the cruise line has on board their ships.
For accommodations, this includes # of passenger cabins, what is in the cabin & views from the cabin.
Unlike Ocean Cruising, there are no inside cabins, but there is a significant difference in window size & balconies.
On board facilities & equipment is another factor that should be considered.
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Further Insight Into Our Methodology
Ah, cruise lines. Love them or hate them, cruise lines are a popular vacation alternative for travelers of all ages, incomes, and backgrounds. They are convenient and accessible, requiring little planning of anything other than your budget. As the market has diversified, now there are cruises of every size visiting destinations worldwide and catering to just about every demographic. Booking a cruise is no longer as easy as defaulting to the biggest, most magnificent ship docked at the nearest port.
When researching cruise lines, our goal was to understand the industry as a whole first, and then how the companies operated individually. We started by searching for news and reports about recent developments in the industry, especially as concerns COVID-19. We read about cruise ships, how they work, and how they impact the environment. We also compiled preliminary data about fares and the other costs of going on a cruise. Once that was done, we made a list of the companies that best aligned with our designated criteria and values.
We split our criteria into three groups:
River Ship Line #: American Queen Steamboat Company
If nostalgias the name of your game, book a trip with the American Queen Steamboat Company, whose four paddlewheelers sail the Mississippi, Columbia, Snake, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. These are leisurely sailings: most are nine days long, with some outliers like the 15- or 16-day journey from Minneapolis to New Orleans.
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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Whilst you may not have heard of this much awarded company , you should certainly add it to yourroster of the best river cruise vessels in the world.
When you step on one of their vessels, you immediately start toappreciate the Uniworld difference. The concept is all aboutrecreating the feel of a small boutique hotel on board anall-inclusive river vessel, and every ship is different, personallydesigned by members of the Tollman family who own Uniworld’sparent, TravCorp.
If you’ve seen pictures of Uniworld’s ships then you’ll probablyhave been struck by the slightly garish interiors depicted in theofficial photography but in reality, the decor is a lot moresubtle than it appears in the oversaturated promo shots. Quirky,yes, but elegant and tasteful with it.
River Ship Line #: Tauck River Cruising
Taucks nine river ships specialize in navigating Northern Europe, with itineraries that highlight the castles of Germanys Rhine River or explore Paris and Monets gardens at Giverny on a Seine cruise. Special departures throughout the year welcome multigenerational family groups, including young childrena unique offering among river cruise lines.
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Where Does Danube River Cruise Start And End
Most Danube River cruises either start or end in Budapest or Vienna, but the port city on the other end of the cruise can vary, usually depending on the length of the cruise. Shorter sailings tend to favor Nuremberg and Passau, Germany. A lower Danube cruise will begin or end in Bucharest, Romania.
Herein, where does the Danube River cruise go?
On a Danube cruise, you’ll typically travel between Germany and Hungary, although some river cruises sail all the way to the Black Sea. The Danube is connected to the Main River via the Main-Danube Canal. Some itineraries include Nuremberg, which is located on the Main-Danube Canal and the Pegnitz River.
Similarly, what is the best time of year to cruise the Danube River? September, October and November:The nights are shorter and the temperatures lower, but fall is an ideal time to visit. Water levels have generally straightened out, the crowds are gone, the fares are cheaper, and there’s a nice chill in the air.
Moreover, where does the Danube River begin and end?