Large Ship Line #: Princess Cruises
Part of the Carnival family, Princess Cruises has a fun claim to famethe TV show The Love Boat was set on its Pacific Princess ship. If youve never seen an episode, youre in luck, as one of the onboard TV channels airs reruns around the clock. But you wont want to stay cooped up in your stateroom when you discover all the activities on board its 17 ships, from its special Seawitch craft beer program that sees the cruise line partner with breweries around the world to Discovery at SEA, a series of programs based on TV shows from the Discovery, Inc. family of networks, including Animal Planet, the Discovery Channel, and the Science Channel. In October 2019, Princess Cruises newest ship, the Sky Princess, set sail, debuting a new class of stateroom called Sky Suites, which is the lines most luxurious offering. Its next two ships, Enchanted Princess and Discovery Princess, are scheduled to launch by the end of 2021.
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.
Berlitz Cruising And Cruise Ships
#1 Ship 2017, 2016
In itsCruising & Cruise Ships 2017edition,BerlitzratedViking Seafirst in her category, noting her many elegant touches and excellent inclusive value. This year,Viking Star, which was rated highest in her category in 2016, earned second place behind her sister shipViking Sea.;
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Large Ship #: Msc Cruises
Nearly half of MSCs fleetnamely those ships in the Musica and Fantasia classesfalls into the large cruise category, with its newer builds firmly taking a bigger is better stance. The eight large vessels primarily sail in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean, though they do offer itineraries in North and South America, Asia, and Northern Europe, too. The family-friendly ships skew on the upscale side, and theyre known for their incredibly international crowds.
Medium Ship Line #: Azamara
Though Azamaras three 700-passenger ships are lovely, with top-quality dining and plenty of on-board activities to fill days at sea, passengers choose this cruise line for the experience at its destinations, which span all seven continents. Azamara not only offers personalized shore excursions , they also do a number of overnights, allowing guests to explore more destinations farther inland. The overnights also allow passengers to experience an evening out on the town in port cities, if they so choose.
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Medium Ship Line #: Viking Ocean Cruises
Originally a river cruise line, Viking has launched six ocean-going vessels since 2015, the most recent being the brand-new Viking Jupiter, whose maiden voyage took place in February 2019. The ships are nearly identical, carrying 930 passengers each, housed in balcony staterooms. Though not all-inclusive, Viking Ocean guests do receive one free excursion in each port , beer and wine with lunch and dinner, and an unlimited Wi-Fi connection.
Small Ship Line #: Paul Gauguin Cruises
The single ship Paul Gauguin focuses solely on the Pacific, treating its 332 guests to picture-perfect beaches and dramatic scenery in Tahiti, Bora Bora, and Fiji year-round. On Mota Mahana, the lines private island in French Polynesia, passengers sip cocktails from the floating bar, or paddle out over coral reefs on kayaks and paddleboardsstraight from the ships water sports marina. For those wanting to get under the waves, an onboard PADI scuba program certifies divers in some of the clearest waters on the planet. Best of all? The ships rates are all-inclusive. In 2019, Ponant acquired the cruise line.
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Choosing A River Cruise
River cruise boats are restricted to a certain size to accommodate narrow water passages. Stateroom dimensions will be similar from line to line, and onboard amenities are scarce. For these and other reasons, the most critical factor in selecting a river cruise is determining where you want to go.
Once you have a destination in mind, its all about the details. From priceless art and luxury interiors to interesting themes to culinary expectations, finding the best river cruise is all about identifying whats most important to you as a traveler.
If climbing stairs are difficult for you or you have a disability, it is essential that you discuss accommodations while onboard and at ports of call with the river cruise company. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not apply to river cruise ships nor are those regulations followed outside of the U.S.
Attributes Of The Top River Cruise Companies
Please note that the table can be scrolled horizontally so that you may view all data.AmaWaterwaysAvalon WaterwaysCroisiEuropeCrystal River CruisesEmerald WaterwaysRivieraScenicTeeming River CruisesUniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection **Viking River Cruises
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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.
Scenic Luxury Cruises And Tours Review Which Recommended Provider
Scenic specialises in luxury river cruises in Europe and Asia. It’s not cheap, but there are no nasty-surprises because everything’s included in the initial price, so the company still earns four start out of five for value for money. You have a choice of at least two excursions at every stop, while on-board, you’ll be treated to high-quality cabins, lots of space, excellent food and friendly and helpful staff.
, or read our full Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours review for more information.
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River Cruises Are An Incredible Vacation Experience Here Are The Best Of The Best As Voted By Porthole Cruise Readers
Far from the 20-story behemoths sailing the seven seas, river cruise ships offer a cruise vacation full of relaxation, enrichment and discovery. Many cruisers prefer the slower pace, focus on high-end amenities and impeccable service that comes with a river cruise. Porthole Cruise readers in particular have strong opinions about the best river cruise lines, and their firsthand knowledge of the different lines, ships and rivers is second to none!
Heres our list of the top five river cruise lines based on our annual Readers Choice Awards. Click on the link below to jump to each section!
Large Ship Line #: Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity Cruises currently sails around the world with a fleet of 14 ships, ranging in size from its petite Xpedition-class vessels, which carry 16 to 100 passengers, to its large 2,800- to 3,100-passenger Solstice class and 2,900-passenger Edge class, which debuted in late 2018 with Celebrity Edge, an edgy ship designed to appeal to a non-cruising clientele with innovations like Eden, a three-story hybrid experiential restaurant, craft cocktail lounge, and performance venue; and Le Petit Chef at Le Grand Bistro, a dinner restaurant that features a 4D animation projected on your plate throughout the course of your meal. Celebrity Edge will be joined by three sister ships in the next five years, starting with Celebrity Apex as soon as this year.
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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
A World Of River Cruises Beyond Europe
But, of course, the world is larger than just Europe.
When you think river cruise, Europe probably springs to mind first. Europe is, in fact, the biggest destination for river cruising.
Yet its also possible to;drift;on inland waterways;in many different countries, including in;Egypt , China, the U.S., India, the Far East and South America.
You can;sail on everything from a six-person luxury barge to a floating river hotel.
Weve been fortunate to enjoy several of the worlds best river cruises in China, Egypt , Namibia, Myanmar and our most recent, in France on the Seine River .
Indeed, ever since our first river cruise, weve been hooked on meandering slowly along rivers, soaking up some of the worlds most historic and cultural sights.
Were pretty sure that once you take your first river cruise, you too will be seduced by river cruising.
Dont miss! See our ultimate Cruise Guide youll find boatloads of cruise reviews
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River Ship Line #: Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection
Uniworld’s 17 ships cruise around the globe in Europe, Egypt, Russia, China, India, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Their excursions offer passengers the opportunity to get a little closer to their destinations of choice, with visits to local homes, farms, and artisans, and every excursion is rated by ability level. In 2018, two of its ships were overhauled for a new venture, U River Cruises, with itineraries, dining, and activities that appeal to younger prospective passengersthink silent disco, mixology classes, and rooftop camping.
Best River Cruise Line
The best overall river cruise line for the second-year running is Australian brand Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours.
Its expensive, with an average price per night of £349, but well worth it. It impressed passengers with everything included in the upfront price: gratuities, 24-hour room service, private butlers, a concierge laundry service and a choice of at least two excursions at every stop.
It was also the only river cruise line to score a full five stars for its cabins thanks to luxury toiletries, a free mini bar and a pillow menu with eight choices available even in standard suites.
If your wallet doesnt stretch to cruising with Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours then you could consider joint-second-placed Emerald Waterways.
Its the sister brand to top-rated Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, but more than £100 cheaper per night in our price comparison, and still offers a luxury experience.
Alternatively, you could pick the Which? Recommended Provider that has average prices just above £200 per night.
Read our full river cruise line reviews to discover which brand this is and the others that passengers rate best value for money.
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What To Know Before Buying A River Cruise
A river cruise is just what it sounds like, a smaller-scale cruise along inland waterways throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, China, Vietnam and many other locations. Sailing along narrow waterways means stopping at more destinations than you would on a typical ocean cruise, with easier docking and more picturesque shoreline views along the way. River cruises can be a great way to cover a lot of ground in Europe and Asia.
If you prefer to stay closer to home, there are abundant offerings for U.S. river cruises along the Mississippi, Columbia and Snake Rivers in Oregon and Washington, and Alaskan river cruises.
What has propelled the boom in river cruises are the unique cultural, historical and culinary themes offered by many river cruise lines. Some river cruises focus on wine or art from a region, others on cooking or cultural lessons.
Explore An International Horticultural Wonderland Abloom With Green Cities And Designed With Healthy Living In Mind
As a special Dutch treat included on this river cruise, visit Floriade 2022, the World’s Fair of horticultural shows. Explore an international horticultural wonderland that celebrates Green Cities of the Future on 148 acres of land repurposed and reclaimed from the sea for a future rich in sustainability, greenery, food, energy and healthy living. Featuring four themed districts connected by bridges, walkways, gondolas and trains, this once in a decade exposition will run from April to October as it showcases green-themed, flower-filled exhibitions from more than 40 countries, along with cultural entertainment, art and cuisine that make it fun for everyone. Truly an energizing experience!
Book Today… And Travel Dreams Begin
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Viking River Cruises Review
Great Destinations and Itineraries |
Getting its start in 1997, Viking River Cruises was among the first lines to set the standard for river cruising. The company has since built a strong reputation along with a large fleet of river-sailing longships, serving plenty of dates and destinations along the rivers of Europe, Russia, China, Egypt and Southeast Asia. The longships are made to be space-efficient and modern in design, accommodating 190 guests without feeling cramped.
Viking River Cruises start off at around $1,800 for 2019 and serve so many destinations throughout the year that new river cruise customers favor this company. If you are looking for an excursion with cultural and historical experiences, Viking has a proprietary Culture Curriculum featuring showcases for musicians and dancers, lectures and intellectual talks, or cooking lessons in the cuisine of the region, and other added onboard enrichment sessions. Onshore walking tours, lectures and experiences are also offered, although may come with an additional fee.
Viking River Cruises rate a 4.8 on a five-star scale. We found some complaints about spotty Wi-Fi access, small rooms and the crew being very busy. However, the overall opinion is that Viking offers quality excursions and the staff is very accommodating.
European River Cruises Highlights
- Glide through countries filled with captivating history, impressive cities and spellbinding beauty.
- Unpack once and wake up to a new city every day to the sights, sounds and flavours of Europe.
- Relax without having to navigate roads, your cruise is an all-in-one travel experience.
- Enjoy ultimate luxury from the second you step on board youll be spoilt for choice.
- Danube: With a dozen languages spoken on its banks, the Danube is a haven for traditional delicacies and panoramic views.
- Rhine: Explore fairytale castles and vineyards along the banks which highlight the value of the historical towns that line the waters.
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So What Is A Christmas Market
The fabled Christmas Markets are the real pull on these cruises. Many North American travelers may be unaware of these, as Christmas Markets are not a North American tradition. They are essentially;street markets. Usually set up outdoors, Europes Christmas Markets can offer an incredible variety of local crafts and wares and perhaps best of all delicious local Christmas delicacies. Mulled wine and cider are popular wintertime beverages, and are typically sold in these markets as well. For culture mavens, theres no better time to truly embrace local customs than at Christmas.
Unlike the North American full-body contact sport that is Christmas shopping, Europeans have the option of shopping in the Christmas Markets, as opposed to shopping malls. But;Christmas Markets;are;also social experiences: People will gather here after work to enjoy a nice meal and some delicious mulled wine or hot chocolate. Its fun to enjoy the pleasant, convivial atmosphere. Theres no fighting for parking. No battling checkout lines. Just people enjoying the company of others.
Of course, the opportunity to experience some of Europes grandest cities in their snow-covered glory is another reason to take a Christmas Markets river cruise, although, of course, there is no guarantee that youll experience snow. Weve done more than half a dozen Christmas Markets cruises, and wed assign a 50/50 chance of seeing snow on any given cruise.
Day 1 Arrive in Frankfurt, Germany
Day 4 Bamberg
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