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Unlike their larger ocean cousins, river cruises mean the boat is never far from shore—OR the continuous carousel of castles, vineyards, historic architecture, and quaint towns that parade past your deck chair. From friendly and casual to elegant and refined, river cruises offer on-board dining and entertainment as well as excursions at each port to enjoy the culture up close. Here are some of the best.

Four Phenomenal River Cruises

If you’ve never been on a river cruise, you’ve been missing out! River-bound ships tend to be smaller in size, with around 50 to 200 guests total, offering a more private and service-oriented experience without the crowds. River cruises also generally cater to adults only, making them perfect for people seeking a little romance. Given the limited capacity and incredible experiences, popular river cruises fill up fast. Plan to book a year in advance for the best pricing and availability especially if you are considering one of our favorites:

1. Cruising the Rhine

European Rhine River itineraries begin in Amsterdam and end in Basel, Switzerland, allowing you to visit cities in Germany and France in between. Along the way, you’ll see rolling hills lined with vineyards, medieval castles and fortresses, historic villages, and rock formations steeped in legends as well as relish excellent cuisine and wine as the cruise passes through the heart of Germany’s main wine region.

Great for: First-time river cruisers, as the ship flows through four different countries

2. Cruising the Danube

Tourists have been cruising the second-longest river in Europe for almost two hundred years—a testament to the richness of sights along the path of the gray-green Danube. Luxury cruise lines carry visitors past Austria’s beautiful Wachau Valley and through historic towns and cities, many with roots in ancient Roman civilization. The crown jewels of this cruise are the cities of Budapest and Vienna, where travelers can experience cultural splendor that captivates lovers of food, history, architecture, art, and music.

Great For: Aspiring photographers, with countless opportunities for capturing natural and man-made marvels

3. Cruising the Seine

From romantic riverside ruins and lush vineyards to glittering cities, farms, forests, and charming villages, a Seine river cruise is a very popular way to see notable cities in France including Giverny, Rouen, and—most notably—Paris. These short river cruises allow you to take in many of the highlights of the capital city—the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Musée d’Orsay, Notre Dame Cathedral—as you float along. The river viewpoint also allows you to gain some good insight into Paris’s history, evolution, and architecture. In fact, the banks of the Seine in Paris were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.

Great for: Couples looking for a romantic getaway

4. Cruising the Mississippi

Ten states glide past your vantage point on the sun deck of a river cruise along the Mississippi. Experience the vibrant cultural center of the “Big Easy,” see the dramatic landscapes of the Upper Mississippi, and relive the adventures of Mark Twain’s time on a trolley ride through Hannibal, his boyhood hometown. As the boat continues north, pasture gives way to forests and the wildlife of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Great for: An epic adventure that doesn’t require a passport

The Travel Team is here to help plan a river cruise experience that exceeds your expectations. Most of our trusted travel advisors have personally traveled onboard these cruises and can offer first-hand tips on:

  • The differences between each river cruise companies’ vessels, prices, and experiences, and which one might be the best fit for you
  • Hotels and can’t-miss excursions to explore before and after your cruise
  • Updated travel restrictions and guidance
  • The best promotions available for cruises and flights

Plan Your Escape

Begin your adventure by filling out the form below or calling 1 (800) 245-8326 to contact one of our dedicated travel experts.

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