Best cruise lines for River Cruises
The best cruise lines for river cruises as ranked by verified reviews submitted over the past 12 months. This list is continuously updated as we receive new reviews from our members, so be sure to check back often! Note, a minimum of 40 reviews are required to be part of this list.
AmaWaterways is one of the most well-known river cruise lines, consistently ranking highly among other river lines and in Europe overall. All of their modern vessels include either a swimming pool or whirlpool, which is a treat not always found on river ships. Most balcony cabins include two types of balconies: a French balcony as well as a traditional outdoor one.
Avalon Waterways offers a river cruise fleet of over 20 vessels sailing in Europe, South America, Egypt, and Asia. Avalon’s Suite Ships offer unique Panorama Suites that feature widest opening windows in river cruising and the industry's only Open-Air Balcony — perfect for exploring the lands you are journeying through from the comfort of your stateroom.
Uniworld’s boutique river cruises are the ultimate luxury experience. The line’s exquisitely appointed vessels have a maximum capacity of only 130 guests allowing for top-tier service to each passenger. Itineraries include destinations all across Europe, as well as in Russia, India, Peru, and Egypt.
Viking is consistently ranked as one of the top river cruise lines in the world, and just one day onboard makes everyone understand why. Public spaces are Scandinavian-inspired — cozy but unpretentious, and cabins are spacious with heated-floor bathrooms. With over 50 river vessels including their famed longships, there are itineraries for everyone.
American Cruise Lines sails on a variety of rivers and waterways across the country, including the Mississippi River, Columbia River, Puget Sound, Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, and more, plus passages through Alaska and New England. Ships have a traditional style with nautical flare, and many of the lines’ vessels are actually paddlewheelers.
American Queen Steamboat Company offers authentic paddlewheeler journeys down America’s historic waterways with unique excursions and luxurious amenities. Its four vessels offer river cruises on the Mississippi River, Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, and the Columbia and Snake Rivers.
APT's award-winning, five-star river ships offer unforgettable journeys along iconic waterways. The line sails itineraries throughout the rivers of Europe, Myanmar (Burma), China, Vietnam, and Cambodia. APT is known for its ‘Freedom of Choice’ program that lets guests tailor their excursions to suit their personal preferences.
Crystal is consistently ranked as one of the top river lines in the world, and once you step onboard it’s easy to see why. The all-suite staterooms with butler service are spacious and contemporary, and the line’s more inclusive pricing structure is attractive. Ships have an indoor swimming pool, spa, and a top deck pop-up bar which are more unique to river cruising.
Emerald Waterways is one of the newest lines to ply the world’s rivers, having debuted with two ships in 2014. The line now has over 10 ships that sail rivers including the Danube, Main, Rhine, Moselle, Mekong, Nile, and more. Ships feature a modern, luxurious style that’s still comfortable. Heated pools and (almost) all balcony cabins are popular with Emerald passengers.