River boat cruises are one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry. Plying the scenic waterways of the world’s major rivers offers an intimate experience quite different to ocean cruising. Bonus, no seasickness! Having transport, dining and accommodation entwined with shore excursion options makes for an easygoing, relaxing trip between the river banks. Check out these 12 amazing river boat cruises to get inspired for a memorable vacation.
1. Make Like Huck Finn on the Queen of the Mississippi
The Queen of the Mississippi is a classic paddlewheel river boat that exudes old-world charm. There’s an elegant feel to the vessel that provides all the creature comforts you could imagine. Once on deck, you’ll feel like you stepped back in time to the world of Mark Twain. A journey down the Mississippi is a captivating experience, especially if you can spend time checking out Twain’s boyhood home and the vibrant city of New Orleans.
2. Soak in the Seine on the River Baroness
The extraordinary River Baroness cruises the River Seine through the romantic city of Paris and other small towns in France. This boutique river boat is designed with sumptuous staterooms and marble bathrooms. You can cruise by Notre Dame in impeccable style. Have your camera ready, however, as there are so many sites along the route to capture. These river boat cruises have bikes you can borrow to explore the French countryside while you’re onshore.
3. Rhine and Dine on the River Empress
Cruising along the Rhine River with its fairytale landscapes is a lovely way to spend a relaxing holiday. The beautiful River Empress will dazzle you with its lavish suites and on-board fitness center. In fact, you can even relax in the boat’s spa after a long day of sightseeing. This route through Germany’s forest lands is filled with delightful stops at medieval villages, castles, World Heritage sites and distinctive towns along the Rhine and Danube.
4. Explore India on the Ganges Voyager II
If you want to travel to an exotic land in all-inclusive comfort, consider some of the river boat cruises on the Ganges Voyager II. The Ganges River has featured prominently in Indian history and continues to be major transportation route and culturally significant body of water for the nation. The Ganges Voyager II is a luxurious vessel that serves elegant cuisine in a sumptuous setting. Explore some of India’s most impressive monuments, palaces and temples around Jaipur, Agra, Varanasi and more in swish British colonial style.
5. Discover Southeast Asia on the Aqua Mekong
The Aqua Mekong courses along the Mekong River of Southeast Asia. Once aboard the boat, you can ready yourself for the journey through Vietnam and Cambodia along one of the most important rivers on the planet. The Aqua Mekong is an elegant vessel loaded with floor to ceiling windows and a most attentive staff. If you’ve never visited this part of the world, a relaxing river cruise is the perfect way to see its ancient exotic landscapes.
6. Traverse Northern Italy in Style on the MS Michelangelo
Ply the Po River and glittering Venetian Lagoon aboard the casually decadent MS Michelangelo. The Renaissance artist would almost certainly approve of this river boat that bears his name. All the rooms on this 2-deck vessel are above the water line allowing for excellent views. Along with the lounge and dance floor, amenities include a library, swimming pool and fine dining room.
7. Smile Down the Nile on the Royal Viking
If you want to experience a glimpse of the ancient world, a journey down the Nile on a river boat like the Royal Viking is in order. Cruise past pyramids and statues that date back thousands of years. Witness the ruins of Luxor as well as modern marvels like Aswan Dam. The two-week journey is one of the best river boat cruises around, offering travelers an intimate opportunity to explore the incredible Egyptian sites.
8. Venture Down the Columbia River on the National Geographic Sea Bird
The mighty Columbia River flows through picturesque western landscapes in the US. You can explore this waterway aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird that offers travelers a thrilling scenic experience. Follow in the footsteps of explorers Lewis and Clark and witness the breathtaking terrain like the canyons of the Columbia River Gorge.
9. Experience the Yangtze Wonders on the Victoria Katarina
The Victoria Katarina cruises travelers along the famed Yangtze River in China. The award-winning river boat employs multilingual cruise directors and features private balconies for each cabin. Sights like the Three Gorges are spectacular. River boat cruises are the easiest way to explore this mighty river and soak up some Chinese culture with comfort, convenience and style.
10. Embrace the Heart of the Amazon on La Estrella Amazonica
If you are interested in experiencing an eco-tour, consider signing up for a journey into the heart of the Amazon River aboard La Estrella Amazonica. These river boat cruises allow you to experience the rainforest flora and fauna from the comfort of the deck. This immersive rainforest journey is definitely a trip of a lifetime.
11. Waltz Down the Danube on the MS Riva
The MS Riva will whisk you along Europe’s Danube River through glamorous capitals like Vienna and Budapest. You’ll view marvelous architecture and enjoy world-class cuisine along the way. There’s even a spa onboard so you can pamper yourself on your river boat vacation. If you’re looking for a classic European vacation where the destinations effortlessly come to you, this one will not disappoint.
12. Soak in Russia’s Neva Via the River Victoria
The charming River Victoria boat takes you through the lands of Catherine the Great. Witness the splendid architecture of St. Petersburg as you cruise along Russia’s Neva River. Dine in the river boat’s Pushkin Restaurant and enjoy the lounge as you leisurely float along magnificent Russian sights.