10 Best River Cruises

River cruises tend to be more intimate than those taken on the larger ocean going ships. Often these cruises are more geared to deeper exploration of a region, more history, more immersion in a culture different from your own and more scenic views of the river banks and the villages, towns, and larger cities that line the rivers. These are smaller cruise ships and often are geared toward luxury travel.

Ten of the best would have to include cruises on these fine ships:

Viking Neptune

For a luxurious trip down the Rhone River in France the 150 passenger Viking Neptune is perfect. Seven day adventures run between Arles in Southern France near the sea and Chalon-sur-Saône in the center of the country. The vineyards of Burgundy, the beautiful city of Lyon, Roman ruins, and Avignon and its history are just waiting to be explored. This cruise is perfect for history buffs and lovers of French wines.

best-river-cruise-viking princess

River Baroness

Another popular cruise in France takes you along the Seine River in the 128 passenger River Baroness. Visiting Paris, Giverny and the home of Impressionist artist Claude Monet, Rouen with more church and cathedral spires than you thought possible in one area and an excursion to the D-Day memorial are all essential parts of this adventure. This is an excellent choice for those who love are or who simply love, well, love itself.

Victoria Jenna

The Yangtze River in China is home to the larger 400 passenger Victoria Jenna. Offering four and five night cruises with incredible views of the Three Gorges and excursions that explore areas along the river are offered daily. As you travel along the river you will see dozens of pagodas, many that are centuries old, offering so many opportunities for stunning photography. This cruise is sure to appeal to those who are going to be doing land tours in China as well as those who love history.


Back to France we go. This time aboard the 12 passenger Adrienne, you can cruise the French Canals in the Alsace-Lorraine region. Visit vineyards and enjoy delicious French wines. Enjoy the slow pace of the countryside and passage through the locks, explore a medieval castle, ride a bicycle along the canal or just relax and watch the scenery. This is the perfect cruise for someone who really wants to experience France—the food, the wine, the history, and the people.

River Victoria

Travel the Volga starting in St. Petersburg, Russia and ending in Moscow on a 12 night adventure on the 206 passenger River Victoria. See beautiful scenery and urbanized areas along the river. Visit the Kremlin and Catherine the Great’s House. Take in the culture and beauty of Russia as you sail along the river on this luxurious ship. This trip is perfect for history buffs, art lovers and those who love to take photographs.



Sail from Amsterdam to Switzerland on a 7 night journey aboard the beautiful 128 passenger AMACello. Visit cities like Cologne, Heidelberg, and Strasbourg where you will take in centuries old cathedrals, Gothic architecture, fine wines and incredible meals. This is a great cruise for those who want an overview of or introduction to riverboat cruising as multiple countries are visited and one gets a feel for river travel before trying out more intense cruises along smaller rivers.


Cruise the Nile and see the antiquities and cities of Egypt aboard the 47 passenger Salacia. Extremely luxurious, with excellent service, this ship visits ports such as Luxor and Aswan. You will see Pyramids, ancient temples and so much more on any one of the 3, 4, or 7 day cruises that are offered on this lovely ship. This is a great cruise for anyone interested in antiquities and for the more experienced traveler who is looking for new adventures.


The 148 passenger AMADolce travels the Danube River from Budapest to Vilshofen, Germany. You will visit four nations: Austria, Germany, Hungary and Slovakia. You will experience food and drink, museums, historical sites, small towns and large cities. Truly a perfect first time river cruise, once you’ve experienced this voyage you will want to travel more and more rivers.


Mekong Pandaw

As the name of the ship implies you will be exploring the Mekong River and its surroundings in Vietnam and Cambodia once you board the 64 passenger Mekong Pandaw. Learn about the life of the locals in the more rural areas of these countries. Explore Wildlife preserves, floating homes or houses on bamboo stilts with thatched roofs. Enjoy watching villagers doing centuries old crafts or take in a market full of everything from fresh fish to local folk art. This is a cruise for those who want to really be immersed in the culture of the people along the river and have a good sense of adventure.

River Countess

The 134 passenger River Countess sails the Main River through Germany. One of the highlights of this cruise is a visit to the world’s largest Christmas market. All along this route one can take in historic sites and memorials for World War II. Beer fests and local brewers, wines and German foods are some of the other highlights of this river adventure. History buffs and beer lovers are among those who will really enjoy this adventure.

River cruises are gaining in popularity as more and more people want to closely explore new places and learn a little bit along the way. Choose a cruise from this list that suits your tastes and interests and go for it….many travelers feel these are the vacations that are most memorable and cherished of them all.

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