River Cruise Lines

River cruise lines dot the globe, but the large majority of ships glide on a few large rivers in Europe. Accommodations and amenities vary in comfort and inclusiveness, but for the most part they are similar to luxury ocean lines. Daily land tours and wine and beer with meals are frequently included. Most ships range from 100-200 passengers in capacity.

AmaWaterways American Cruise Line American Queen Steamboat A-Rosa
Avalon Waterways Uniworld Viking River Cruises  

Other Cruise Genres:

Family and Casual Lines Premium Lines Luxury Cruise Lines Unique and Adventure Lines

 

AmaWaterways

Considering a AmaWaterways Cruise? Call 800-427-8473, extension 7961 for friendly, helpful and expert advice.

Highlights:Begun by a former executive with Uniworld and Viking cruises, AmaWaterways has merged traditional river cruising with some high tech extras like web-TVs and wireless audio receivers for tours. As is common for river cruises, pricing includes local wines and beers along with daily tours. AmaWaterways ships in Europe are modern and most cabins feature French (step-out) balconies and nice amenities.

The Crowd:  AmaWaterways markets in the US/Canada market and attracts mostly English-speaking seniors.

Ships:
AmaDagio (in-service-2006): 150 passengers, 360 feet
AmaLegro (in-service-2007): 150 passengers, 360 feet
AmaDante (in-service-2008): 148 passengers, 360 feet
AmaCello (in-service-2008): 148 passengers, 360 feet
AmaLyra (in-service-2009): 148 passengers, 360 feet
AmaDolce (in-service-2009): 148 passengers, 360 feet
La Marguerite (in-service-2009): 92 passengers, 235 feet - Mekong
Zambezi Queen (in-service-2009): 28 passengers, 150 feet - Botswana
AmaBella (in-service-2010): 161 passengers, 443 feet
AmaVerde (in-service-2011): 161 passengers, 443 feet
AmaKaterina (in-service-2011): 212 passengers, 443 feet - Russia
AmaLotus (in-service-2011): 124 passengers, 302 feet - Mekong
AmaCerto (in-service-2012): 164 passengers, 443 feet
AmaPrima (in-service-2013): 164 passengers, 443 feet
AmaVida (in-service-2013): 106 passengers, 260 feet
AmaReina (in-service-2014): 164 passengers, 443 feet
AmaSonata (in-service-2014): 164 passengers, 443 feet

Regions Offered: Europe, Africa, Russia, Vietnam/Cambodia

Category Stars Comments
Children's Programs NA None offered.
Luxury ★★★★ Very modern and comfortable.
Cuisine ★★★★ Local cuisine and ingrediants are featured.
Service ★★★★
Adventure ★★★ Botswana and Mekong River are offered, but major focus is the major rivers of Europe.
Price $$$-$$$$  
Star Ratings: ★★★★★ - World Class | ★★★★ - Excellent | ★★★ - Very Good | ★★ - Good | - Fair

American Cruise Lines

Considering a American Cruise Line Cruise? Call 800-427-8473, extension 7961 for friendly, helpful and expert advice.

Highlights:Though in its current incarnation, American Cruise Lines began in 2000, the owner began the line initially in the 1970s, establishing a reputation for excellence and a close connection to the local American culture. Though many of its cruises sail along the Atlantic coast, the ships and onboard experience are more like a river cruise due to their small size and intimate atmosphere. Every night there is a lecture offering historic, natural and cultural information about the ports. Wine and beer are offered free at lunch and dinner and the nightly cocktail party is each day's signature social event. The cabins on the line’s ships are larger than any of their competitors and several of the ships offer a large number of balcony cabins. Cuisine is simple with excellent local ingredients. Service is personalized. Shore excursions are offered for a nominal fee.

The Crowd:  Mainly senior couples from the US and Canada.

Ships:
Queen of the West (built-1995): 120 passengers, 230 feet
American Glory (built-2002): 49 passengers, 144 feet
American Spirit (built-2005): 100 passengers, 199 feet
American Star (built-2006): 100 passengers, 188 feet
Independence (built-2010): 104 passengers, 195 feet
Queen of the Mississippi (built-2012): 150 passengers, 295 feet

Regions Offered: Atlantic Coastal cruises, Hudson River, Mississippi River and Columbia & Snake River cruises.

Category Stars Comments
Children's Programs NA None offered.
Luxury ★★★
Cuisine ★★★ Simple and well-prepared using seasonal and local ingredients.
Service ★★★★
Adventure ★★ US only, but offering small and interesting ports along the Atlantic coast and important rivers.
Price $$$$  
Star Ratings: ★★★★★ - World Class | ★★★★ - Excellent | ★★★ - Very Good | ★★ - Good | - Fair

American Queen Steamboat Company

Considering a American Queen Steamboat Cruise? Call 800-427-8473, extension 7961 for friendly, helpful and expert advice.

Highlights:Featuring the world’s largest paddlewheel steamboat, American Queen Steamboat Company aims to step back into the past but include some modern amenities. The American Queen offers Victorian decor and decadent southern cuisine. The ship has some lovely suites with balconies, but most cabins are small. Pricing includes all meals, beer and wine with lunch and dinner, shore excursions, mountain bikes for exploring and old style entertainment. A daily gratuity of $14.50 per person per day is not included. Calliope music and big band jazz are featured.

The Crowd:  Mostly older, experienced cruisers with a smattering of families during school holidays.

Ships:
American Queen (built-1995, in-service-2012): 436 passengers, 418 feet
Empress of the North (built-2003, in-service-2014): 116 feet

Regions Offered: Upper and Lower Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. Beginning in 2014 the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Category Stars Comments
Children's Programs NA None offered.
Luxury ★★★★ Public rooms evoke Victorian elegance. Cabins are generally small but well-appointed. Some single cabins available.
Cuisine ★★★★ Overseen by celebrity chef, Regina Charboneau.
Service ★★★★ All American staff.
Adventure
Price $$$$  
Star Ratings: ★★★★★ - World Class | ★★★★ - Excellent | ★★★ - Very Good | ★★ - Good | - Fair

A-ROSA

Considering a A-ROSA Cruise? Call 800-427-8473, extension 7961 for friendly, helpful and expert advice.

Highlights: A-ROSA is a German-owned river cruise line that has dedicated 3 of its newest ships to the English speaking market. The line has the most-inclusive pricing of all the river lines. Wine, beer and cocktails are included in pricing along with tours, bikes, taxes, air travel, transfers and gratuities. Cabins are a bit on the small side, but new and elegant in a modern way. Activities are oriented toward active travelers. The ships have extensive spas and workout rooms (for river ships) and a top-deck pool. There are more cabins for three than on most river lines. Buffets are more common than on some other lines, but the cuisine at the buffets is excellent.

The Crowd:  Younger and more active than on some other river lines.

Ships:
Stella (built-2005): 174 passengers, 413 feet
Aqua (built-2009): 186 passengers, 443 feet
Silva (built-2012): 202 passengers, 443 feet

Regions Offered: Rhine, Danube, Rhone/Saone

Category Stars Comments
Children's Programs NA None offered.
Luxury ★★★★ Small cabins but strikingly modern decor and elegant facilities.
Cuisine ★★★★ Healthy Mediterranean cuisine is the focus. Upscale buffets and sit-down dinners.
Service NA. No information available.
Adventure Limited to a few rivers in Europe.
Price $$$  
Star Ratings: ★★★★★ - World Class | ★★★★ - Excellent | ★★★ - Very Good | ★★ - Good | - Fair

AvalonWaterways

Considering a AvalonWaterways Cruise? Call 800-427-8473, extension 7961 for friendly, helpful and expert advice.

Highlights: Known for their larger than average cabins and informative excursions and experts, Avalon offers a river cruise experience with comfort and a strong local connection. Owned by Globus, the American escorted tour company, the line markets to English-speaking markets and offers an inclusive product with mostly 7-day itineraries, but some shorter that appeal to younger cruisers. Entertainment is limited, but the local entertainers and craftsmen are often brought on-board. Prices include local wines and tours.

The Crowd: Mostly older couples with an interest in international culture and arts.

Ships:
*MS Kasr Ibrim (in-service - 1997): 130 passengers, 200 feet - Nile River
*Santa Cruz (in-service - 1998): 88 passengers - Galapagos Islands
Avalon Tapestry (built-2006): 164 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
*Victoria Anna (in-service - 2006): 338 passengers - China Rivers
Avalon Tranquility (built-2007): 170 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Imagery (built-2007): 170 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Scenery (built-2008): 138 passengers, 361 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Creativity (built-2008): 138 passengers, 361 feet - Europe Rivers
*Victoria Jenna (in-service - 2009): 378 passengers - China Rivers
*MS Mayfair (in-service - 2010): 148 passengers, 245 feet - Nile River
Avalon Felicity (built-2010): 138 passengers, 361 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Luminary (built-2010): 138 passengers, 361 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Panorama (built-2011): 166 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Vista (built-2012): 166 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Visionary (built-2012): 128 passengers, 361 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Angkor (built-2012): 32 passengers, 131 feet - Mekong River
Avalon Artistry II (built-2013): 128 passengers, 361 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Expression (built-2013): 166 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Impression (arriving-2014): 166 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Illumination (arriving-2014): 166 passengers, 443 feet - Europe Rivers
Avalon Poetry II (arriving-2014): 128 passengers, 361 feet - Europe Rivers

* Chartered by Avalon Waterways

Regions Offered: Europe, Nile, China, Southeast Asia, Galapagos.

Category Stars Comments
Children's Programs NA None offered.
Luxury ★★★★ Cabins larger than most river lines. Elegant public areas.
Cuisine ★★★★ Cuisine gets strong reviews from cruisers.
Service ★★★★ American style service.
Adventure ★★★
Price $$$-$$$$  
Star Ratings: ★★★★★ - World Class | ★★★★ - Excellent | ★★★ - Very Good | ★★ - Good | - Fair

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Considering a Uniworld River Cruise? Call 800-427-8473, extension 7961 for friendly, helpful and expert advice.

Highlights: Uniworld is the Cadillac line of river cruising and offers a higher level of luxury than its competitors, along with new and recently renovated ships with innovative features and designs. After its purchase by Travel Corporation a few years ago, the ships were updated to match the companies Red Carnation boutique hotel chain with exuberantly elegant designs and features. This has made Uniworld the clear leader in river cruise luxury. In 2014 the line will start including drinks and gratuities in its pricing to match some competitors. Uniworld is a US-based company and markets to English-speaking clients.

The Crowd: Mostly American with a few other English-speaking cruisers. Mostly 65 or older, as is common with other river cruises.

Ships:
River Ambassador (built-1996): 128 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Baroness (built-1997): 128 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Countess (built-1999): 134 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Queen (built-1999): 132 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Princess (built-2001): 132 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Empress (built-2002): 134 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Duchess (built-2003): 134 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Royale (built-2006): 132 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
River Beatrice (built-2009): 162 passengers, 410 feet - Europe
SS Antoinette (built-2011): 164 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
SS Catherine (built-2014): 159 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
*River Tosca (in-service - 2009): 82 passengers, 236 feet - Nile
*Prince Abbas (built-1998): 140 passengers, 10,000 tons - Nile
*River Orchid (in-service - 2013): 60 passengers, 168 feet - Mekong
*Century Legend (built-2013): 398 passengers, 456 feet - Yangtze
*Century Paragon (built-2013): 398 passengers, 456 feet - Yangtze
*River Victoria (in-service - 2011): 204 passengers, 423 feet - Russia

* - Ships not owned by Uniworld

Regions Offered: Europe, Egypt, Russia, Southeast Asia, China

Category Stars Comments
Children's Programs NA None offered. Scheduled family sailings several times a year.
Luxury ★★★★★
Cuisine ★★★★★
Service ★★★★★
Adventure ★★★
Price $$$$  
Star Ratings: ★★★★★ - World Class | ★★★★ - Excellent | ★★★ - Very Good | ★★ - Good | - Fair

Viking River Cruises

Considering a Viking River Cruise? Call 800-427-8473, extension 7961 for friendly, helpful and expert advice.

Highlights:Though only established in 1997, Viking Cruises is now the dominant river cruise line for English-speaking travelers and has more ships than any other cruise line in the world. By 2014, Viking will have 30 innovative "green" long ships. In addition, the line has decided to expand into the oceans with the release of the Viking Star in 2015. Cuisine has a local flavor and wine and beer are included with lunch and dinner. Gratuities are voluntary.

The Crowd:  Like with other river cruises, older couples dominate the crowd and the majority are English-speaking.

Ships:
Viking Helgi (built-1984): 210 passengers, 423 feet - Russia
Viking Truvor (built-1987): 210 passengers, 423 feet - Russia
Viking Rurik (built-1990): 196 passengers, 423 feet - Russia
Viking Lomonsov (built-1990): 202 passengers, 423 feet - Ukraine
Viking Ingvar (built-1990): 210 passengers, 423 feet - Europe
Viking Fontane (built-1991): 110 passengers, 311 feet - Europe
Viking Schumann (built-1991): 110 passengers, 311 feet - Europe
Viking Sky (built-1999): 150 passengers, 360 feet - Europe
Viking Europe (built-2001): 150 passengers, 375 feet - Europe
Viking Neptune (built-2001): 150 passengers, 375 feet - Europe
Viking Pride (built-2001): 150 passengers, 375 feet - Europe
Viking Spirit (built-2001): 150 passengers, 375 feet - Europe
Viking Mandalay (built-2002): 60 passengers, 180 feet - Burma
Viking Sun (built-2005): 198 passengers, 433 feet - Europe
MS Vienna (built-2006): 164 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Helvetia (built-2006): 198 passengers, 433 feet - Europe
MS Omar El Khayam (built-2007): 160 passengers, 280 feet - Egypt (Lake Nasser)
RV Indochina (built-2008): 60 passengers, 180 feet - Europe
Viking Legend (built-2009): 189 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Duoro (built-2011): 124 passengers, 261 feet - Europe
Viking Prestige (built-2011): 189 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Emerald (built-2011): 246 passengers, 361 feet - Yangtze
Viking Mekong (built-2012): 60 passengers, 168 feet - Europe
MS Esplanade (built-2012): 150 passengers, 253 feet - Nile
Viking Aegir (built-2012): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Embla (built-2012): 190 passengers, 440 feet - Europe
Viking Freya (built-2012): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Idun (built-2012): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Njord (built-2012): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Odin (built-2012): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Atla (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Baldur (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Bragi (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Forseti (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Jarl (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Magni (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Rinda (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Skadi (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Tor (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Var (built-2013): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Hemming (built-2014): 106 passengers, 262 feet - Europe
Viking Torgil (built-2014): 106 passengers, 262 feet - Europe
Viking Alsvin (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Bestla (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Buri (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Delling (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Eistla (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Gullveig (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Heimdal (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Hermod (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Idi (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Ingvi (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Kvasir (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Lif (built-2014): 190 passengers, 443 feet - Europe
Viking Star (built-2015): 928 passengers - Ocean-going vessel

Regions Offered: Europe, Russia, China, Egypt and Southeast Asia.

Category Stars Comments
Children's Programs NA None offered.
Luxury ★★★★
Cuisine ★★★★
Service ★★★★
Adventure ★★★ Viking offers a few European rivers not offered by other lines such as the Elbe and Mosel.
Price $$$  
Star Ratings: ★★★★★ - World Class | ★★★★ - Excellent | ★★★ - Very Good | ★★ - Good | - Fair