Luxurious ships, personalized service, and unforgettable itineraries make river cruising a unique and intimate way to explore the world’s most scenic waterways. Recently, TravelAwaits readers voted for their favorite river cruise lines in our 2023 Best Of Travel Awards.
Each caters to different interests and preferences. Whether you’re a history buff, a lover of fine cuisine, or simply seeking relaxation surrounded by breathtaking scenery, there’s a river cruise line on this list that will exceed your expectations. Here are the top 7 river cruise lines in the world as chosen by our discerning community of travel enthusiasts.
1. Viking Cruises (Winner)
Cruising in at number one, Viking Cruises is known for its exceptional service and immersive itineraries. With a fleet of elegant ships that sail on iconic rivers like the Rhine, Danube, and Mekong, Viking offers a blend of culture, history, and scenic beauty. Whether you’re exploring Europe’s charming towns or cruising through Southeast Asia’s exotic landscapes, Viking Cruises provides a remarkable experience that will leave you with lifelong memories.
Pro Tip: To celebrate its 25th anniversary, Viking is offering special fares now through June 30, 2023.
Offering an unparalleled level of luxury and comfort, AmaWaterways is a popular choice for river-cruising enthusiasts. With meticulously designed ships featuring spacious staterooms and panoramic views, AmaWaterways takes guests on unforgettable journeys along Europe’s great rivers, including the Rhine, Danube, and Seine. The attention to detail, outstanding cuisine, and expertly guided shore excursions make for an exceptional river cruise experience.
3. American Queen Voyages
For those seeking a uniquely American river-cruising experience, American Queen Voyages is the go-to choice. Their paddle wheelers, including the iconic American Queen, offer a touch of nostalgia combined with modern amenities. Cruise along the mighty Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee Rivers, immersing yourself in the rich history and vibrant culture of the American heartland. From charming southern towns to iconic landmarks, American Queen Voyages showcases the best of America’s inland waterways.
4. Avalon Waterways
Avalon Waterways stands out for its innovative fleet and immersive itineraries that highlight both popular and off-the-beaten-path destinations. With its signature Suite Ships, Avalon Waterways offers spacious and beautifully designed staterooms, many with panoramic windows that provide breathtaking views of the passing landscapes. Whether you’re cruising through the majestic Rhine Gorge or exploring the hidden gems of the Mekong Delta, Avalon Waterways ensures an exceptional river cruise experience.
5. Emerald Cruises
Emerald Cruises is known for its contemporary and stylish river ships that offer a perfect blend of comfort and sophistication. With a focus on cultural immersion and authentic experiences, Emerald Cruises takes guests on unforgettable journeys along Europe’s waterways, as well as the Mekong and the Nile. From exploring medieval castles to witnessing ancient wonders, Emerald Cruises delivers an enriching river cruise experience.
6. American Cruise Lines
Specializing in small-ship river cruising, American Cruise Lines provides an intimate and personalized experience. Their fleet of modern riverboats and paddle wheelers navigates some of America’s most picturesque rivers, including the Columbia and Snake Rivers, the Mississippi, and the Hudson. With expert guides and immersive shore excursions, American Cruise Lines offers a chance to explore America’s natural beauty and vibrant history up close.
7. Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
With a focus on all-inclusive luxury, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours offers a truly indulgent river cruise experience. Their fleet of luxurious ships, featuring spacious suites and world-class amenities, takes guests on unforgettable journeys along Europe’s waterways, as well as the Mekong, Volga, and Douro Rivers. From exclusive onshore experiences to exceptional dining options, Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours pampers guests with a truly unforgettable river-cruising adventure.
Whether you’re exploring the historic rivers of Europe, discovering the hidden gems of America, or embarking on an exotic journey in Southeast Asia, these river cruise lines offer unparalleled experiences that combine luxury, comfort, and cultural immersion.
We hope you consider our readers’ favorite river cruise lines in the world as you embark upon your next river cruise adventure. Bon voyage!
Read more from our 2023 Best Of Travel Awards