Top 7 River Cruise for Outdoor Enthusiasts

River Cruise: Travelers, especially those who are new to cruising, have always been drawn to the greatest river cruises because of their allure. They might be a great way for history buffs to see historic places or ancient sites. River cruises are a great opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to see the real scenery of their ideal locations. Since more travel is anticipated this year, it would be wise to reserve these once-in-a-lifetime trips as soon as possible on the river cruise market.

Here are 7 of the most intriguing river cruise itineraries that you can book for this year and the next. These cruises offer something for every type of traveller, from kid-friendly European routes to Amazonian explorations.

1. Tauck

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(Credit: Tauck)

Who: Tauck, a high-end land travel company, makes every effort to ensure that itineraries run well. This includes its river cruise division.

The Ritz-Carlton  is the equivalent of a luxury hotel. Tauck’s allure is found in its attentive service, the elegant yet understated design of its ships, and its amenities that simply require you to show there.

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What Your Tauck Cruise Fare Includes: Everything from alcoholic beverages and spirits to gratuities, shore excursions in every port, special events like supper in a castle, passenger bikes, in-room minibars with soda and water, and Wi-Fi.

Unique Touches: Tauck is so dedicated to providing hassle-free travel that its guides give guests local money to spend on lunch while in port.

2. Luxurious Cruises on the Riverside

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(Credit: Tauck)

Who: In 2023, Riverside Luxury Cruises began river cruising after acquiring the opulent ship fleet that the old Crystal had held. In 2024, the line will operate three ships: Riverside Debussy on the Rhine, Riverside Ravel on the French Rhone River, and Riverside Mozart on the Danube.

Kempinski is equivalent to a luxury hotel. Alternatively, the German luxury hotel chain Seaside Collection is the owner of Riverside. The amenities on the ships vary; on the bigger Riverside Mozart, there are many specialized restaurants and Japanese bathrooms; on the smaller, but equally elegant, Ravel and Debussy, there are less amenities.

What Your Riverside Cruise Fare Includes: Riverside offers two packages: Full Board, which is more a la carte for Europeans, and an all-inclusive one that is targeted toward North Americans. Airport transfers to and from the cruise, all alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages, gratuities, a selection of shore excursions in each port, butler service, a minibar in each room, room service, and Wi-Fi are all included in the all-inclusive package.

Extras: Riverside Mozart is unlike any other, featuring a larger-than-normal spa, salon, and fitness center. However, all ships have excellent local wine selections, excellent food prepared à la minute, and true open seating.

3. Scenic

Tauck for
(Credit: Tauck)

Who: Being a part of one of the biggest groups of Australian tour operators, Scenic encourages a novel “do it your way” philosophy for river cruising.

Park Hyatt is an equivalent luxury hotel. Scenic ships are contemporary and sophisticated, offering a relaxed yet opulent atmosphere, excellent service, and constantly changing shore excursions.

What Your Scenic Cruise Fare Includes: Airport transportation to and from the ship, alcoholic beverages, gratuities, a selection of shore excursions in each port, unique events like dinner in a castle, GPS instructions for solo excursions ashore, specialized dining options, passenger-use bikes, butler service, minibars in the rooms, room service, and Wi-Fi.

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Special touches: Scenic shines off the ship with more active excursions, Scenic Sundowner activities, and options for solo exploration, even though its onboard eateries and welcoming crew stand out.

4. River Cruises with Viking

River Cruises with Viking
(Credit: Expedia)

75 to 250 people are on board

Sails to: US, Europe, Asia, and Africa

More than sixty Viking longships sail Europe’s principal rivers, such as the Danube, Rhine, Douro, and others. Other well-liked routes sail the Mississippi and Nile rivers in Egypt, and more recent choices include a number of Great Lakes itineraries.

What to expect: Viking Ocean Cruises is a well-known cruise line that offers longer ocean excursions with a focus on luxurious cabins and a variety of enrichment activities. Viking’s river cruises follow a similar itinerary, with basic pricing including meals, daily walking tours and Wi-Fi access when available. Additional features and events include musical concerts, outdoor decks, guest talks, cooking classes, and more. A few Viking riverboats also have swimming pools, and the cabins come with minibars, high-end toiletries, TVs, and filtered water.

The majority of the passengers on board will speak English. Due to its price point, Viking typically draws older passengers in the 55+ age range, and its cruise requirements require that passengers be at least 18 years old.

Travelers’ opinions: Recent Viking cruisers raved about the beautiful shore excursions, excellent service, and cozy accommodations. They also truly liked their time on the ship. However, a few people complained about both the meal and the service.

5. River Cruises with Uniworld Boutique

River Cruises with Uniworld Boutique
(Credit: iCruise)

From 32 to 159 passengers

Sails to: South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe

Uniworld offers opulent sailings in historic towns in central Europe, France, Italy, Portugal, India, Egypt, and Peru.

What to anticipate: Its 17 ships are designed to resemble boutique hotels, complete with chic furnishings, vintage artwork, and unique dining options. The company touts one of the greatest staff-to-guest ratios in the market, with around one crew member for every two passengers, and its ships can accommodate up to 120 passengers on average.

Depending on the ship, stateroom amenities can include marble baths, French balconies, Egyptian cotton bedding, iPod docking stations, Nespresso coffee makers, rainfall showers, and more. Along with entertainment and enrichment sessions, the line’s all-inclusive fares include meals, alcoholic beverages, some excursions, gratuities, onboard fitness classes, and Wi-Fi access. Uniworld takes great pride in its excellent food, which is prepared using regional ingredients from the ports on your route and offers vegetarian and vegan choices.

Clients of Uniworld mostly live in North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia and are in their 50s or 60s. The river cruise line offers specific itineraries that cater to single passengers, families, and LGBTQ passengers.

What passengers are saying: Recent passengers had nothing but positive things to say about Uniworld’s cruises, praising the chic rooms, kind service, and engaging activities. Despite the rarity of complaints, a small number of previous visitors thought the expensive experience was not worth it.

6. American Cruise Lines

American Cruise Lines
(Credit: Travel + Leisure)

90–180 people

Sails to: United States

American Cruise Lines only operates on American rivers and coasts, as the name would imply. Frequent cruises travel to locations on the Hudson, Columbia, and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest, as well as all around New England and the Mississippi River. In addition, the line travels through Alaska, the Puget Sound between Washington State and the Canadian border, and the Southeast coast, which includes Florida.

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What to expect: American Cruise Lines operates 19 quite recent river vessels and small ships, ranging from contemporary riverboats to historic paddlewheelers (the average ship is approximately 5 years old). Cozy cabins can sleep up to three persons apiece, and every ship has single bedrooms reserved just for lone passengers. Every room has large picture windows, a roomy bathroom, and, in certain situations, a private balcony. Cruisers can enjoy daily onboard entertainment in the ship’s public areas, including jazz and blues concerts and lectures by historians and local specialists.

An all-American experience is promised in the line. Because of this, you should anticipate seeing American crew members on American-built ships along with cuisine that honors the places you will be visiting, such as seafood boils with New England influences or andouille sausage gumbo prepared in the style of New Orleans. Every evening before dinner, complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are offered; the base fare covers all meals, snacks, wine, and beer. Usually, shore excursions are not included in the price.

Travelers on American Cruise Lines are mostly aged, retired individuals with a tendency to lean North American.

Travellers’ opinions: Recent passengers said they had a great time, especially on the line’s themed cruises.

7. AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways

From 28 to 196 passengers

Sails to: South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe

Whether you want to cruise through the heart of Europe or are searching for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure, AmaWaterways offers river cruises that take you to places like Vietnam, Egypt, South Africa, or (starting in 2024) Colombia. AmaWaterways is a family-run company that was established in 2002 and runs 29 river cruise boats that can accommodate 150 people each on average.

The cruise line offers special-themed sailings for passengers with particular interests and strives to offer experiences rich in excursions. Wine-themed cruises are ideal for wine enthusiasts who want to see some of the most well-known wine areas in Europe, and a concierge golf program can take guests from one renowned golf course to another. Alternatively, take a holiday river cruise to see the enchanted Christmas markets around Europe. AmaWaterways will launch three brand-new itineraries with a Black history theme in 2024.

What to expect: There are a limited number of connectable rooms on board that are intended for families with many generations, as well as cabins that are appropriate for couples or solitary travelers. Spacious staterooms with luxurious bedding, bathrobes, and slippers are available. AmaWaterways’ twin balcony design allows cabins to have up to two balconies: a French balcony with sliding glass doors and a full step-out balcony. Guests can enjoy free in-room Wi-Fi as well as on-demand movies and music.

Passengers have access to a variety of facilities outside their cabins, including massage treatments, mini pools, sun decks, exercise equipment, and a hair salon.

Travellers in their 50s who prefer active beach excursions that entail walking or cycling are the main target audience for AmaWaterways. This river cruise company also transports passengers from Australia and the United Kingdom. AmaWaterways offers a wide variety of cabin options, so you can anticipate a mix of couples, families, and single cruisers on your vessel, including an increasing number of millennial visitors. Every year, Adventures by Disney charters AmaWaterways ships for a few specific sailings.

Travelers’ opinions: According to recent visitors, AmaWaterways surpassed their expectations; many have noted that families will particularly like it. Nevertheless, some people felt let down, especially by the meal.

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