Skip to main content

Live Outside the USA? Click here for other international cruise insurance options.

Tired of being crammed on a Caribbean cruise ship with 3,000 people? Try a different kind of voyage: an intimate river cruise. You can visit a different city every day and take your time exploring, instead of being hustled on and off the ship at busy ports. These smaller ships offer fine dining, thought-provoking lectures and luxurious accommodations. Here are five suggestions for unforgettable European and American river cruises.

Rhone River Cruise

France or Spain? Coq au vin or paella? Why not both? The ultimate European river cruise for foodies carries you from Paris to Lyon by high-speed train, and from there down the Rhone River to end in Barcelona. AMA Waterways’ Provence-to-Spain river cruise begins with three nights in Paris and includes excursions to Belleville, Avignon and Arles. This cruise offers several ways to sample the local cuisine and wine, such as a private cooking demonstration, wine tastings and a tapas tour.

Rhine River Cruise

One of the classic European river cruises is a leisurely trip down the Rhine River, from Amsterdam through Germany and France to Basel, Switzerland. Highlights include Dutch windmills, the cathedral in Cologne, and the ruined Heidelberg Castle. Viking Rivers offers an 8-day Rhine River cruise  that includes all meals and a river-view stateroom.

Eastern European River Cruise

You may never have thought about visiting Hungary for a vacation, let alone Serbia or Bulgaria. But a river cruise through Eastern Europe is an invitation to sample this area’s rich cultural heritage, from the art museums of Budapest to the stunning architecture of Belgrade. Note that Eastern European river cruises can have a more serious tone than, say, a wine cruise down the Seine. For instance, Grand Circle Travel’s Eastern Europe to the Black Sea cruise includes optional tours and discussions of Hungary’s fascist past and life under communism.

Mississippi River Cruise

What better way to experience the grand Mississippi than with a classic American river cruise on a steamboat? We’re not talking about a creaky old paddle wheeler, but the American Queen, the largest riverboat in the world. The American Queen Steamboat Company offers cruises that tour both the upper Mississippi – St. Louis to Minneapolis – and the lower, from Memphis to New Orleans. Choose a themed cruise, such as southern culture, bourbon and bluegrass, or even Elvis.

Hudson River Cruise

One day, you’re enjoying the electric energy of New York City; the next, you’re taking in the tranquil landscapes of the Catskills. That’s the experience you get on a Hudson River voyage, one of the most beautiful American river cruises. American Cruise Lines’ eight-day itinerary takes you from New York to Albany, Poughkeepsie and West Point, with shore excursions to historic sites like Hyde Park, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s birthplace. The best time for this river cruise is late September through early November, when the fall colors are at their peak.

Leave a Reply