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The 10 top river cruise lines for 2024.

Sail through Europe, Asia, the U.S. and more on one of these exquisite river cruise lines.

The Top River Cruise Lines

Top River Cruises

Not one for the high seas? Explore the world along its rivers instead. (Courtesy of Viking River Cruises)

If you'd like to take a cruise but aren't interested in the hustle and bustle of a massive ocean liner, consider a river cruise. River cruises offer the chance to visit lesser-known ports around the world, thanks to the small size and maneuverability of the vessels. These sailings are known to provide exceptional, personalized service, as most welcome fewer than 200 guests at a time. On top of that, you'll spend the majority of your trip exploring a different port each day, as most destinations along the waterways are fairly close together.

Read on to discover the best river cruise lines around the world, with details about where they sail, the number of passengers you can expect onboard, a snapshot of amenities and experiences, and sentiment from recent travelers.

Viking River Cruises

Uniworld boutique river cruises, american cruise lines, amawaterways, avalon waterways, american queen voyages, emerald cruises.

  • Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours

CroisiEurope Cruises

Viking Longship Idun on the Main River in front of Johannisburg Palace, Aschaffenburg, Germany.

(Courtesy of Viking River Cruises)

Number of passengers: 75 to 250 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, U.S.

Viking's 60-plus ships – known as longships – traverse major rivers across Europe, including the Danube , the Rhine, the Douro and more. Other popular routes sail Egypt's Nile River as well as the Mississippi River , and newer options include a series of Great Lakes itineraries.

What to expect: Travelers may be familiar with Viking Ocean Cruises , which operates larger ocean voyages with an emphasis on opulent accommodations and diverse enrichment activities. Viking's river cruises follow a similar road map, with meals, daily walking tours and Wi-Fi access (where applicable) included in the base fare. Other amenities and activities span guest lectures, cooking demonstrations, musical performances, libraries, outdoor decks and more. Select Viking riverboats are also equipped with swimming pools, while cabins feature minibars, premium toiletries, purified water and TVs.

On board, you can expect to find mostly English-speaking passengers. Viking's price point generally attracts older crowds in the 55-plus age group, and travelers must be at least 18 years old to cruise on the line.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers thoroughly enjoyed their experience with Viking, praising the scenic shore excursions, top-notch service and comfortable rooms. Some, however, expressed disappointment with the service as well as the food.

Book a Viking River Cruise on GoToSea, a service of U.S. News.

Pool and pool chairs on a Uniworld Boutique River Cruises ship.

(Courtesy of Uniworld Boutique River Cruises)

Number of passengers: 32 to 159 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, South America

Uniworld offers luxurious sailings in historic cities across central Europe, France , Italy , Portugal , India, Egypt and Peru.

What to expect: Its 17 ships aim to create the feel of a boutique hotel with stylish decor, antique artwork and specialty restaurants. The ships hold an average capacity of 120 cruisers, and the company boasts one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the industry: about one crew member for every two travelers.

Stateroom amenities vary by vessel but may include marble bathrooms, Egyptian cotton linens, French balconies, iPod docking stations, Nespresso coffee machines, rainfall showers and more. The line's all-inclusive rates cover meals, alcoholic beverages, select excursions, gratuities, onboard fitness classes and Wi-Fi access, on top of entertainment and enrichment classes. Uniworld prides itself on its top-notch cuisine, which is made with local ingredients sourced from the ports on your itinerary and also includes vegetarian and vegan options.

Uniworld's typical clientele tend to be in their 50s or 60s and reside in North America, the U.K. and Australia . The river cruise line has select itineraries aimed at families, LGBTQ cruisers and solo travelers.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers offered abundant praise for Uniworld's voyages, complimenting the stylish accommodations, attentive staff and fascinating excursions. Though complaints were few and far between, a handful of past travelers felt the experience was not worth the high price point.

Compare Uniworld Boutique River Cruises on GoToSea.

 American Cruise Lines ship on river during sunset.

(Courtesy of American Cruise Lines)

Number of passengers: 90 to 180 Sails to:  U.S.

As the name suggests, American Cruise Lines sails exclusively on the rivers and coastlines of the United States. Popular cruises visit destinations along the Mississippi River, on the Hudson River, throughout New England , and lining the Columbia and Snake rivers in the Pacific Northwest. The line also tours Alaska , the Southeast coast including Florida , and the Puget Sound between Washington state and the Canadian border.

What to expect: American Cruise Lines operates 19 relatively new small ships and river vessels (the average ship is about 5 years old), ranging from modern riverboats to small coastal ships to authentic paddlewheelers. Comfortable cabins can accommodate up to three people per room, and all ships offer single staterooms designed exclusively for solo travelers . Each room boasts picture windows, a spacious bathroom and – in some cases – a private balcony. In the ships' public spaces, cruisers can enjoy daily onboard entertainment like jazz and blues performances, as well as presentations by historians and area experts.

The line promises an all-American experience. As such, you can expect to find American staff aboard the American-built ships as well as food that pays homage to the destinations you will visit, from New Orleans -style andouille sausage gumbo to New England-inspired seafood boils. Complimentary cocktails and hors d'oeuvres are served every night prior to dinner; all meals, snacks, and wine and beer are included in the base fare. Shore excursions are not typically included in the rate.

Passengers on American Cruise Lines tend to lean North American and are typically mature retired travelers.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers enjoyed their experience, particularly on the line's themed cruises.

Read:  Cruise Packing List: Essentials for Your Next Cruise

AmaWaterways cruise ship on river near town.

(Courtesy of AmaWaterways)

Number of passengers: 28 to 196 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, South America  

Consider a river cruise with AmaWaterways, whether you're looking to sail through the heart of Europe or seeking a once-in-a-lifetime adventure touring destinations like Vietnam, Egypt, South Africa or (beginning in 2024) Colombia. A family-owned business founded in 2002, AmaWaterways operates 29 river cruise boats that welcome 150 passengers on average.

The cruise line aims to provide excursion-rich experiences and offers unique themed sailings for passengers with certain interests. Wine-themed voyages are perfect for oenophiles wishing to explore some of Europe's most popular wine regions, while a concierge golf program will transport passengers from one famous golf course to the next. Or, opt for a holiday river cruise to visit magical Christmas markets around Europe. In 2024, AmaWaterways will offer three new Black history-themed itineraries.

What to expect: On board, guests can expect cabins suitable for couples or single travelers, as well as a set amount of connectible rooms designed for multigenerational families. Staterooms are spacious, with perks like bathrobes, slippers and plush bedding. Cabins can feature up to two balconies with AmaWaterways' twin balcony design, which allows for a full, step-out balcony alongside a French balcony with sliding glass doors. In-room Wi-Fi is complimentary, and guests will have access to movies and music on demand.

Outside of their cabins, passengers can enjoy amenities spanning small pools, sun decks, fitness equipment, a hair salon, massage services and more.

AmaWaterways primarily attracts North American travelers in their 50s who enjoy taking part in active shore excursions that involve walking or cycling. Passengers from the U.K. and Australia sail on this river cruise line as well. You can expect to find a mix of couples, families and solo cruisers – including a growing number of millennial travelers – on your vessel, thanks to AmaWaterways' diverse cabin offerings. Adventures by Disney charters AmaWaterways ships for select sailings each year as well.

What travelers say: Recent travelers say AmaWaterways exceeded their expectations, with many noting it was especially enjoyable for families. Still, some were disappointed, particularly with the food.

Find AmaWaterways cruises on GoToSea.

Interior of guest cabin on an Avalon Waterways river cruise ship.

(Courtesy of Avalon Waterways)

Number of passengers: 16 to 166 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa, South America

Avalon Waterways sails 19 riverboats along popular thoroughfares like the Danube, the Rhone, the Seine, the Nile, the Rhine, the Moselle, the Mekong, the Ganges and more. In 2024, it will also sail the Douro River in Portugal.

What to expect: Launched in 2004, Avalon stands out for its spacious vessels – known as Suite Ships – which feature some of the largest rooms in the river cruise industry and beds that face wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows, providing panoramic views. Additional stateroom perks include complimentary breakfast in bed, L'Occitane toiletries, sitting areas, ample storage space and mattress toppers.

Across the ship, passengers can enjoy amenities like a sun deck with lounge chairs, whirlpools and a game area, in addition to numerous restaurants and bars and a 24-hour self-serve coffee station. You will also have your pick of Classic, Active or Discovery shore excursions – ranging from standard tours with a local guide to hiking outings along a hilltop castle – depending on your interests and physical abilities.

Avalon Waterways attracts English-speaking cruisers from a variety of countries, typically in their 50s and 60s. However, children ages 8 and older are welcome on board (though there are no designated kids clubs), and some voyages draw younger or older passengers.

What travelers say: Most recent reviews are positive, with travelers highlighting the friendly, knowledgeable staff and tasty food.

Explore Avalon Waterways cruise deals on GoToSea.

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Back of American Queen Voyages river cruise ship on river.

(Courtesy of American Queen Voyages)

Number of passengers: 150 to 400 Sails to:  U.S., Canada

In fall 2021, American Queen Steamboat Company merged with Victory Cruise Lines to form American Queen Voyages. Based in North America, American Queen Voyages sails a few routes in the U.S., including Alaska; the Mississippi River; the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers; and the Columbia and Snake rivers.

This river cruise line operates four authentic paddlewheelers. All-inclusive sailings encompass unlimited onboard Wi-Fi, unlimited beverages (and an open bar), unlimited guided tours, dining throughout your cruise, gratuities and more. On board, travelers will find a main dining room, an entertainment hall, a sun deck, card rooms and lounges. Each cruise serves up tasty local cuisine that varies by itinerary. Staterooms feature plush linens, coffee makers, minifridges, TVs, private balconies (in select accommodations) and more.

The line mainly caters to travelers in their 50s, though you may find the occasional grandparent and college-aged grandchild. The line is especially suitable for passengers who use wheelchairs, thanks to its abundance of accessibility options. History buffs also tend to like the itineraries and enrichment programs on board.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers were impressed with American Queen Voyages' offerings, noting the line's well-kept vessels, pleasant staff and delicious food. Others described some issues with travel disruptions (related to weather and vessel issues) made worse by poor communication.

Read: The Top All-Inclusive Cruises

Dining area on Tauck river cruise ship.

(Courtesy of Tauck)

Number of passengers: 84 to 130 Sails to:  Europe

Travel company Tauck wears multiple hats: It operates small-ship voyages around the world, land tours across seven continents, small group journeys for an average of 24 travelers at a time, family tours and – finally – European river cruises. Six new river itineraries in Europe are on the docket for 2024. Take your pick from nine river vessels to explore popular waterways like the Douro, the Moselle, the Rhine, the Danube and the Rhone.

What to expect: All-inclusive fares cover shore excursions, onboard activities and entertainment, gratuities, beverages and more. Plus, Tauck offers exclusive access to unforgettable experiences like wine tastings at private vineyards and gala dinners in historic castles.

More than 80% of the staterooms feature French balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing for excellent views. Other in-room amenities may include adjustable climate controls, satin linens, pillow-top mattresses, terry cloth robes and more. Outside of your cabin, you'll find perks such as a sun deck, a putting green, enrichment programs like cooking demonstrations, a fitness center and complimentary bikes for onshore exploring.

Tauck caters to affluent, English-speaking cruisers – primarily Americans in the 55-and-older age group – though you may also find families with adult children on board. The line appeals most to travelers who prefer all the details of their trip to be taken care of for them, versus those who like to plan activities independent of the cruise line.

What travelers say: Recent passengers generally speak highly of their Tauck river cruise experiences, pointing to the exceptional level of organization and spacious, luxurious accommodations. Others said they were underwhelmed for the price.

Aerial of Emerald Cruises river cruise ship on river in Urbar, Germany.

(Getty Images)

Number of passengers: 84 to 180 Sails to:  Europe, Asia

Previously known as Emerald Waterways, Emerald Cruises transports travelers across some of the most popular rivers in Europe and Asia, including the Danube, the Rhine, the Douro and the Mekong.

What to expect: The cruise fare covers all meals, beverages with lunch and dinner, daily shore excursions − which include more physically rigorous options called EmeraldACTIVE – Wi-Fi access and gratuities.

Emerald operates nine river vessels, all of which boast luxurious public spaces and accommodations with en suite bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Common-area amenities span heated indoor pools, sun decks, spa and wellness facilities, and a variety of eateries. Onboard fitness classes are available, as are other forms of entertainment. On shore, cruisers can borrow bicycles to explore historic city centers.

Typical clientele aboard Emerald Cruises' voyages includes American and British passengers around retirement age, though some younger travelers may make an appearance as well. Children 12 and older are permitted on board and on tours, but there are no kids clubs or designated activities for younger cruisers. Special rooms and dinner reservations are available for solo travelers.

What travelers say: Cruisers on recent sailings – especially first-time sailors – enjoyed their experiences on Emerald Cruises. High points included the attentive crew members and the stress-free booking and planning process. However, some felt that customer service and communication were subpar.

Interior of guest cabin on Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours river cruise ship.

(Gillies Zaiser/Courtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours)

Number of passengers: 68 to 163 Sails to: Europe, Asia

From the Danube to the Mekong, Australian travel company Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours offers lavish, all-inclusive river sailings with an emphasis on customization. The more upscale sister brand of Emerald Cruises, Scenic affords travelers the opportunity to do as much or as little as they want while on board and ashore.

What to expect: Enrichment activities are hand-picked by the line's "Journey Designers," and vessels provide a top-notch level of service thanks to their high crew-to-passenger ratios. In fact, each passenger receives a designated butler who can complete nightly turndowns and make laundry arrangements, among other tasks.

Spacious suites on board are larger than those on most other riverboats (ranging from 160 to 510 square feet). High-tech balcony controls allow lodgers to let in as much air as they'd like with the touch of a button. Cruisers will also enjoy special in-room touches like pillow menus, slippers and robes.

When it comes to dining, Scenic sources local ingredients and culinary inspiration from the ports visited on the itinerary to provide an authentic experience. All meals are included in the base cruise fare, along with beverages, gratuities, Wi-Fi access, shore excursions and electric bicycle usage in select destinations.

What travelers say: Recent cruisers were pleased with their experiences aboard Scenic's vessels, praising the spacious cabins, pampering butler service, and knowledgeable crew members and tour guides. However, some travelers were particularly disappointed with the food.

Side view of CroisiEurope Cruises river cruise ship.

(Helwin Goetzinger/Courtesy of CroisiEurope)

Number of passengers: 22 to 200 Sails to:  Europe, Asia, Africa

CroisiEurope is a family-run French cruise line that has been in business since 1976. This line has more than 50 ships and barges that sail to countries around the world, including Egypt, Cambodia and Spain . Unusual in river cruising, the line operates two custom-built ships that sail on Lake Kariba in southern Africa. Additionally, CroisiEurope has a division that sells barge cruises throughout France on six different canals, such as Burgundy or Provence.

What to expect: CroisiEurope is known for its wide range of destinations and is one of the only river cruise lines that operates custom-built ships on Germany 's Elbe river, the Guadalquivir and Guadiana rivers in Spain and Portugal, and Venice 's canals. Onboard accommodations are relatively basic, which keeps the cruise fare to a budget-friendly minimum. The cruise line aims to provide the best value for money in the cruise industry. Cuisine is focused on French food with some local flair in the main dining room, which is included in the cruise fare.

The passenger mix on a CroisiEurope cruise is relatively international, featuring large contingencies from France, Germany, the U.K. and North America. Announcements are typically given in both French and English. The cruise line sees a mix of older couples and groups as well as younger families, depending on the itinerary and time of year.

What travelers say: Several cruisers echoed that some of CroisiEurope's river ships are due for a refurbishment and that internet connectivity leaves a lot to be desired, while others maintain that the experience was superb.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Size: River cruise ships are smaller in size and the number of passengers they can accommodate, with one lounge and one main dining room being a typical setup.
  • Atmosphere: The overall vibe on a river cruise is more relaxed and far less busy than that of an ocean liner.
  • Onboard entertainment: River cruising is notoriously sleepy at night, with a focus instead on local enrichment like cooking demonstrations or liqueur tastings. Due to the busy schedule of port calls and excursions, most passengers are tired after a long day of sightseeing and don't mind a lack of nightlife.
  • Excursions: Most of your time on a river cruise is spent out exploring the destinations, which can sometimes be two stops in a single day. Passengers can choose from a variety of activities in port – including biking, kayaking and hiking – or explore the destination at a leisurely pace.
  • Cuisine: Cuisine tends to be focused on local specialties but is prepared to accommodate predominantly American tastes. Not every river cruise line offers unlimited drinks, but the majority include beer and wine at lunch and dinner, often showcasing regional varieties.
  • Price: River cruising typically comes at a much higher price point than ocean-based itineraries.
  • American Queen

Note that inclusions can vary by cruise line. For example, Viking rates – while not fully all-inclusive – cover beer and wine at meals and one tour per day, while gratuities and other drink packages are left to the discretion of the guest.

Avalon Waterways, on the other hand, offers a number of included tours in every port on select itineraries that range from cultural or culinary-focused to active.

In terms of inclusions and service ratios (the number of crew on board to guests), the following river cruise lines are considered the most luxurious:

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top Cruises on Small Ships
  • The Top Adults-Only Cruises
  • The Best Cruise Insurance Plans
  • The Best Annual Travel Insurance Plans
  • The Best Travel Insurance for Seniors and Retirees

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Brand new ship the  American Jazz on Lower Mississippi just in time for the holidays Nov and Dec. Special offer $1500 off a cabin. Offer good until June 30th.

Current sold-out dates are Nov. 17th and 24th on the American Harmony.

Columbia & Snake River Cruise – The American Song : a brand new, modern riverboat that is now cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers between Washington and Oregon offering iconic NW cruises.

Northwest Pioneers: 10-night Columbia River Cruise – American Pride : Our 7-night Columbia River cruises are popular every year, but so often we want just a little more time to explore! The new ‘Northwest Pioneers’ itinerary affords you that time to dig a little deeper.

These are smaller ships and they tend to sell out months ahead of time! These offers must be booked by July 31st.

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Inclusive experiences means less time planning, and more time relaxing.

Last but certainly not least: USA River Cruises takes the guesswork out of planning a trip in the first place. You’ll no longer have to fret over the cost of every little perk — because the perks are part of the all-inclusive experience aboard a USA River Cruise. No need to tally up the numbers when you order beer, a glass of wine, room service, soda, cappuccinos, or decide to take a shore excursion.

The world is waiting for you. Imagine your most wonderful journey. Then contact USA River Cruises to make it come true.

Ever thought about a VIP-style, front row seat to breathtaking waterfalls, rolling vineyards, and stunning mountain peaks? Try one of our Columbia River Cruises.

Envision paradise, adventure and relaxation with USA River Cruises

Imagine exploring the ins and outs of the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth — and then hop aboard our Great Lakes River Cruises .

Perhaps you’ve always wondered what it would be like to explore the Deep South in comfort and style. Our Mississippi River Cruises are the place to be.

Or maybe you’ve always wanted to experience Europe from a ship’s-eye view. Well USA River Cruises has those, too, with our sweet suite of European Cruises .

There’s so much for you to see and do. From the Great Lakes and the mighty Mississippi to the Columbia River and our Alaskan Cruises ports of call — all the way to our cruises throughout Europe and the Caribbean.

USA River Cruises has been making travel dreams come true since 1999. We’re experts at matching people with the experiences they seek. There’s something for everyone. There’s something for you.

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“This Columbia River Cruise experience was a total delight, very informative, educational, entertaining, and just a fantastic experience overall. Every port offered opportunities for exploration and learning. The on-board Riverlorian brought history to life, as did the local entertainment brought onboard. The cuisine selections and quality were top-shelf all the way.”

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Mississippi River Cruises

Cruising the Mississippi River and its tributaries with American Cruise Lines is an extraordinary journey through history. From Colonial pioneers to entrepreneurs, much of America’s story has been forged – or fought – along their length. The Mississippi River is navigable from New Orleans, Louisiana to the Twin Cities of Minnesota, and forms a maritime corridor through the U.S. heartland.  American Cruise Lines’ modern fleet of brand new contemporary riverboats and traditional paddlewheelers go even further, with cruises exploring the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, each offering its own unique view of the American South and Midwest.

From Mark Twain’s hometown of Hannibal, MO to exploring Civil War history in Vicksburg; experiencing the heart of American music in Memphis and Nashville while enjoying the exciting flavors of creole cuisine, the Mississippi River region is a premier cruising destination. Explore it today aboard the most modern fleet of small ships.

Complimentary Airfare and $1,200 Savings on Select Lower Mississippi Cruises Call For Details*

For a limited time, save up to $1,200 on select Lower Mississippi River Cruises  and receive Free Airfare.*

​Historic Mississippi River

​Historic Mississippi River

New Orleans, LA to New Orleans, LA

Lower Mississippi River Cruise

Lower Mississippi River Cruise

Memphis, TN to New Orleans, LA

Upper Mississippi River Cruise

Upper Mississippi River Cruise

St. Louis, MO/Alton, IL to St. Paul, MN

Music Cities Cruise

Music Cities Cruise

Memphis, TN to Nashville, TN

Tennessee Rivers Cruise

Tennessee Rivers Cruise

Chattanooga, TN to Nashville, TN

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Knoxville, TN to Nashville, TN

Highlights of the Mississippi River Cruise

Highlights of the Mississippi River Cruise

Complete Mississippi River Cruise

Complete Mississippi River Cruise

New Orleans, LA to St. Paul, MN

Grand Heartland Cruise

Grand Heartland Cruise

St. Paul, MN to New Orleans, LA

Mississippi River Gateway Cruise

Mississippi River Gateway Cruise

New Orleans, LA to St. Louis, MO

Grand Ohio River Cruise

Grand Ohio River Cruise

Pittsburgh, PA to St. Louis, MO

*Offer valid on New Bookings only

Our Mississippi River Fleet

American Melody

Testimonials

Lower mississippi.

“This is the way to see America. A wonderful experience!”

– Donna F. - Bradenton, FL

“The overall cleanliness of the ship was very welcome and impressive. The single thing we enjoyed the most was the quality of the food and the service that came with it. The cuisine was perfectly tailored to exhibit the Southern experience.”

– Robert J. - New Port Richey, FL

“The total crew was excellent. We could not have had a more enjoyable and memorable experience. Starting and ending each day on our balcony enjoying the River was wonderful. Also didn't listen to or care about the daily news dribble. Our expectations were exceeded. Could not expect more than that. We will be back.”

– Robert C. - Ocala, FL

“Being a history buff, I enjoyed learning about the history and lore of the Mississippi river and especially enjoyed Vicksburg and the military park tour.”

– Marcel L. - Southington, CT

New Orleans Round-Trip

“We enjoyed everything! It was all new to us and exceeded our expectations. The views, the side trips, the wonderful music, the great staff and crew, the incredible food—what’s not to love? Stay the course. You’ve got this. We will be back for sure, and you’ve set the bar very, very high with this first cruise. It was truly a wonderful time for us.”

– Thomas H. - Whitehouse, OH

Highlights of the Mississippi

“This cruise was my retirement gift to myself. The crew put chocolates in my room and a nice card congratulating me. I was surprised how wonderful everything was. This was the best trip I have ever been on. Thank you.”

– Bonnie P. - Wyandotte, MI

“Everything was wonderful. I cannot remember having such a great time. The entire staff was great and so accommodating. I loved this trip. I have been on cruises on big ships and there is no comparison. It was so much nicer on a smaller boat. We had the chance to meet and probably had a meal, a drink or excursion with almost everyone on board.”

– Cindy E. - Frederick, MD

Upper Mississippi

“I really appreciated how organized everything is. The flow of the tours, motor coach pick up and return, meal time and cocktail hour. The staff worked well to make the passengers not have to worry about anything except enjoying the experience. Loved all of the food. Wonderful selections at each meal!”

– Melanie S. - Salem, OR

“The entire cruise was excellent: the accommodations, food, service and the scenery was spectacular! Loved the excursions and learned so much about small towns we had never visited before. Absolutely loved having McAvoy Layne on the cruise as Mark Twain. He was excellent and made the cruise even more special with his performance! Also loved the way he stayed in character even at dinner.”

– Thomas S. - Tarzana, CA

“I enjoyed the luxury of being on the boat, watching the world go by quietly, and being pampered at every turn. I loved being able to pick and choose whatever I wished to do. Cruising the rivers was a complete joy. Our entertainment was exceptionally superb, as well. It was educational, historical, and entertaining!”

– Audrey I. - Inverness, IL

“I loved the fact that there many things to do on the cruise, but absolutely no pressure to do any of them. We spent most of our time on our balcony, reading and watching the world go by. We had breakfast on the balcony every day and it was absolutely fantastic. The food was amazing, the service was incredible, and we are telling everyone about the wonderful time we had.”

– Richard M. - Savage, MN

“I enjoyed the simple pleasure of cruising down the Mississippi. Just a big thank you for a wonderful cruise - the dream of a lifetime for me.”

– Georgene S. - Saint Louis, MO

Complete Mississippi

“A big thank you to American Cruise Line for making my father's lifelong dream of sailing the Mississippi come true. He is 82 and had the time of his life!”

– William P. - Clara, CA

“Enjoyed cruising the Mississippi at a slow pace with beautiful views of the river; it all was so peaceful. It was so nice each day to be greeted by the staff with friendly smiles and willingness to be of help. The entertainment was some of the best ever of any cruise we've been on.”

– Ernest S. - Orting, WA

Grand Heartland

“Loved everything, but especially the friendliness of the staff, the small ship atmosphere, and the feeling of traveling with ‘family’.”

– Jeanne D. - San Clemente, CA

Mississippi Gateway

“I loved the small intimate atmosphere of the cruise. The relaxation of river cruising was amazing. Sitting on top of the boat at sunset, all by ourselves, was heaven on earth.”

– Susan C. - Davis, CA

“The boat was lovely and just the right size. The staff was excellent, pleasant and accommodating. The food was outstanding and the alcohol was plentiful and of high quality. The Riverlorians were knowledgeable charming. The entertainment was also great and the onboard activities were varied and enjoyable.”

– Heather O. - Green Valley, AZ

Featured Ports

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New Orleans, LA

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Vicksburg, MS

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Memphis, TN

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Hannibal, MO

What sets us apart.

Made For You: A Personalized Mississippi River Voyage

Made For You: A Personalized Mississippi River Cruise

As you cruise the legendary Mississippi River, our dedicated crew will treat you with gracious hospitality and the utmost care. Enjoy the intimacy and comfort of small-ship cruising, where our crew will quickly learn your name and preferences as you travel with us. Our onboard experts don’t just lecture, they spend time with guests aboard and on shore, giving real insight and depth to each destination visited. Many even dine with our guests.

Unique Excursions, Local Guides

Unique Excursions, Local Guides

From New Orleans, LA to St. Paul, MN, enjoy well-customized excursions, led by engaging local guides who live and work in these great port cities of America’s Heartland. Get a backstage pass to Elvis’ Graceland and the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis. Explore the boyhood town of Mark Twain in Hannibal and be treated to a live show at the Grand Old Opry in Nashville.

Spacious Accommodations

Spacious Accommodations

Whether on board a modern riverboat or newly refurbished paddlewheeler, American Cruise Lines is proud to offer the largest staterooms in the industry, with full-size bathrooms, and private balconies offering the perfect vantage point from which to admire the scenic rolling river views. Guests can also look forward to discovering spacious lounges and quiet nooks to gather with fellow travelers.

Onboard Experience

Onboard Experience

Travel to the birthplace of jazz, blues, and rock–n-roll as our talented onboard musicians entertain you with songs born along the river. Dine on the finest Cajun and Creole and mouth-watering Memphis BBQ prepared by our team of master chefs. Enjoy a complimentary cocktail hour every evening, a time when you can share the day’s adventures with like-minded travelers, while enjoying a refreshing mint julip.

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Begin planning your U.S. cruise adventure with American Cruise Lines today. From the coast of Maine, to the mighty Mississippi and Pacific Northwest, our Free Cruise Guide provides detailed information about all of our more than 50 U.S. itinerary options.

Deals of The Week:   Europe   Up to 50% OFF

Destinations

Europe river cruises.

Find a river cruise that explores Europe. There are 1550 European cruises to choose from, that range in length from 3 days up to 31 days. The most popular month for these cruises is August, which has the most tour departures. Click here to see all river cruise tours .

250+ European river cruises with 892 reviews

Romantic Rhine (Southbound) 2024 Tour

Romantic Rhine (Southbound) 2024

"I would be more than happy to recommend Avalon Waterways as a cruise provider. As..."

Romantic Rhine (Northbound) 2024 Tour

Romantic Rhine (Northbound) 2024

"We just got back from our first of, hopefully many, Avalon vacations! We went from..."

Christmas on Danube: from Vienna to Vienna via Budapest - MS Fidelio 4* Tour

Christmas on Danube: from Vienna to Vienna via Budapest - MS Fidelio 4*

"Great cruise but unfortunately with one disappointment, the dining room is not open..."

Trans-European cruise from Strasbourg to Budapest (port-to-port cruise) Tour

Trans-European cruise from Strasbourg to Budapest (port-to-port cruise)

"Lovely, the best way to travel. It is like a tour except that your hotel is following..."

Danube Serenade: Romantic Journey from Bucharest (Turnu Magurele) to Vienna, MS Fidelio Tour

Danube Serenade: Romantic Journey from Bucharest (Turnu Magurele) to Vienna, MS Fidelio

From the Blue Danube to the Black Sea (port-to-port cruise) (11 destinations) Tour

From the Blue Danube to the Black Sea (port-to-port cruise) (11 destinations)

PREMIUM Danube Classics (21 destinations) Tour

PREMIUM Danube Classics (21 destinations)

Splendours of Europe (Start Amsterdam, End Budapest) Tour

Splendours of Europe (Start Amsterdam, End Budapest)

PREMIUM Danube Classics Vienna 2024 Tour

PREMIUM Danube Classics Vienna 2024

"vrey good~vrey good~"

Melodies of the Danube 2024 Tour

Melodies of the Danube 2024

Jewels of Europe - Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov Tour

Jewels of Europe - Salzburg or Cesky Krumlov

Danube Delights & Classic Prague Tour

Danube Delights & Classic Prague

Grand Danube Cruise 2024 Start Vilshofen, End Giurgiu (14 destinations) Tour

Grand Danube Cruise 2024 Start Vilshofen, End Giurgiu (14 destinations)

Enchanting Christmas & New Year\'s (2023) (Passau to Budapest, 2023) Tour

Enchanting Christmas & New Year's (2023) (Passau to Budapest, 2023)

Enchanting Danube (2024) (Passau to Budapest, 2024) Tour

Enchanting Danube (2024) (Passau to Budapest, 2024)

"This was our first river cruise and everything went beyond our expectation. Services:..."
  • Glide through countries filled with captivating history, impressive cities and spellbinding beauty.
  • Unpack once and wake up to a new city every day to the sights, sounds and flavours of Europe.
  • Relax without having to navigate roads, your cruise is an all-in-one travel experience.
  • Enjoy ultimate luxury from the second you step on board you’ll be spoilt for choice.
  • Danube : With a dozen languages spoken on its banks, the Danube is a haven for traditional delicacies and panoramic views.
  • Rhine : Explore fairytale castles and vineyards along the banks which highlight the value of the historical towns that line the waters.
  • Choose from the delightful Danube for cultural immersion, the relaxing Rhine for an enchanting adventure or the stunning Seine for an intimate tour of Paris, there are many possibilities to ensure that you have the best river cruise experience.
  • Get up at least once to watch the sunrise! Remember to wear warm clothes as it can be chilly as the mist rises up from the river and the sun peeks over the hills to wake up all the birds along the banks.
  • It would be a crime not to sample the delicious flavours on your cruise ship! Indulge in a sweet stroopwafel in Amsterdam, a tasty trdelník in Prague, or a mouthwatering macaron in France.
  • There is a wide range of cruises to choose from. Lueftner, Regina, or Nicko offer cheap and cheerful comfort cruises, or if you like living the life of luxury, AmaWaterways, Scenic and APT are for you!
  • Make the most out of your river cruise by bringing some binoculars. They will help you zoom in on those fairytale castles scattered throughout the landscape. If you forget, the boat might have extras.
  • Don’t hesitate! European summer is prime-time for cruising so make sure you grab our last-minute 2019 deals so you can spend your days cruising on tranquil waters. It’s pure bliss!

European River Cruises Reviews

"It was our first river cruise and we loved it! The food and service was amazing...."
"Awesome! Our first trip was well beyond our expectations. It was only supposed to..."

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Travel + Leisure Readers' 10 Favorite River Cruise Lines of 2023

Readers had high praise for the incredible service and interesting itineraries on these river cruise lines in our annual "World’s Best Awards" survey for 2023.

Paul Brady is the news director at Travel + Leisure and the brand's expert on cruise travel. He has been covering the travel industry for more than 15 years for outlets including Condé Nast Traveler , Skift , and The Huffington Post .

river boat travel

How Voting Works

What readers loved, the full list.

Courtesy of Avalon Waterways

A river cruise might just be the best way to see the world. Though many well-traveled readers have yet to hop aboard a river ship, those that have return home with high praise for this unique style of exploring. It makes sense: river cruises allow for slow and thoughtful enjoyment of a destination, while onboard amenities offer the kind of luxury found in five-star hotels. And it’s not just Europe: this year’s award winners have a global outlook, with operations on the Continent, yes, but also in Egypt, Southeast Asia, South America, and even closer to home in the U.S.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Nearly 165,000 T+L readers completed the 2023 survey, an increase of nearly 25 percent over pre-pandemic voting levels. A total of more than 685,000 votes were cast across over 8,500 unique properties (hotels, cities, cruise lines, etc.).

For the cruise category, respondents were asked to rate individual ships; the results were separated by ocean cruises and river cruises. 

Ships were specifically rated on the criteria below:

  • Cabins/facilities
  • Itineraries/destinations
  • Excursions/activities

For each characteristic, respondents could choose a rating of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. The final scores are averages of these responses. 

No. 2 Tauck held steady compared to last year, as voters praised the line for its faultless service and interesting itineraries. Its newest ship, Andorinha, launched in 2021 on the Douro River of Portugal, which is in huge demand among travelers these days. Another line that’s making waves is No. 4 Viking, which added a couple of intriguing river ships in 2022: one, Viking Osiris, sails Egypt’s Nile River; another, Viking Mississippi, travels between St. Paul, Minnesota, and New Orleans. “We loved our trip with Viking,” one voter wrote. “My husband had resisted going on a cruise for years, but now, after our sail on the Danube River, he’s hooked.”

Moving up several spots from its 2022 ranking was No. 3 Grand Circle Cruise Line, which offers value-minded itineraries across Europe. “My wife and I have been on seven of their ships on 10 different trips since 2004,” said one devotee. “Like all of those ships, River Aria is comfortable, clean, serves fantastic food, and has a great staff.”

Another surprise was this year’s top river cruise line: Aqua Expeditions rose from the fourth spot in 2022 to take the crown as the world’s best river cruise line this year. Read on for more on why it impressed.

Aqua Expeditions

Stevie Mann/Courtesy of Aqua Expeditions

The brand’s three river ships are anything but ordinary: Aqua Mekong takes travelers on epic adventures in Cambodia and Vietnam, with temple touring and more recent history both on the agenda. Meanwhile Aqua Nera and Aria Amazon navigate the Peruvian stretch of this legendary river. All three vessels, none with more than 20 suites, offer a sense of privacy and exclusivity that’s nearly impossible to find short of chartering one’s own yacht . “It was just amazing,” marveled one guest, who traveled aboard the Aqua Nera , which entered service in 2021. Food is another focus for the line, which has partnered with the Peruvian chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, an expert on Amazonian ingredients, for culinary-minded voyages this year. 

1. Aqua Expeditions

Reader Score: 99.09

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Reader Score: 95.69

3. Grand Circle Cruise Line

Reader Score: 94.97

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Reader Score: 94.75

5. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

WBA Hall of Fame honoree. Reader Score: 94.36

Reader Score: 92.37

7. Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Reader Score: 90.15

8. AmaWaterways

Reader Score: 90.14

9. Avalon Waterways

Reader Score: 89.20

10. Emerald Cruises

Reader Score: 86.21

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Thames

Travel across London by river

Take to the Thames and discover a new way to move through the capital by boat.

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers stops at 24 piers along the Thames between Barking Riverside Pier in the East and Putney Pier in the West. Services run from early in the morning until late at night 7 days a week.

Like the tube, the river is divided into zones: West, Central and East. Your ticket must be valid for all the zones you travel through. For instance, if you are travelling between Embankment and North Greenwich piers you will need a Central and East ticket.

All our boats and piers are wheelchair and pram accessible except for Cadogan, London Bridge City and Wandsworth Riverside Quarter piers. You can even bring your bike on board at no extra cost.

If on a mobile device tilt your phone for better legibility 

UBTC Routemap 4000X1791

Make time yours. Use your travel time the way you really want.

Fast and convenient

Avoid the rush-hour hassle and take to the river. Make time yours! With a guaranteed seat and personal space, what are you going to do with your time? Catch up on emails, call a friend or read a book? Perhaps just enjoy the views?

RB1, our main route, operates from early in the morning until late at night 7 days a week across the Central and East Zones. The RB1 stops at piers between Battersea Power Station or London Eye (Waterloo) and Barking Riverside (depending on time of the day) allowing you to easily travel across London and enjoy the capital’s landmarks as Westminster, The London Eye, Tower or Greenwich.

Please check the timetable before travelling.

On weekends, RB2 operates across all our zones (West, Central and East) stopping at main piers between Putney and North Greenwich via Battersea Power Station. Our RB2 service connects Tate Britain at Millbank Pier and Tate Modern at Bankside Pier, the easiest way to travel Tate to Tate.

The RB4 Canary Wharf to Doubletree Docklands ferry service provides regular river crossings between Canary Wharf and Rotherhithe 7 days a week.

The RB6 operates weekdays during morning and evening peak times between Putney and Canary Wharf piers located in the West and Central Zones of our route. RB6 regularly calls at Embankment, Blackfriars and London Bridge City piers but does not stop at all piers along its route.

Useful links

Ticket information, accessibility, book tickets, latest service updates.

For the most up to date information on our services please follow   @thamesclippers on X (formerly known as Twitter). You can also find live departure information at the piers or on the Thames Clippers Tickets app.

  • 888-749-5280
  • 1300-680-374
  • Special Offers
  • Request Brochures
  • Request Info
  • Find a Voyage

American Queen Voyages

Let the classic American riverboat transport you to new adventures — and back in time.

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Experience the very finest of each port — from history that comes grippingly alive to dazzling craft and artistry of every stripe from music and storytelling to theatrical performances and local cuisine.

river boat travel

It’s miles and miles of soul as you meet contemporary players while journeying deep into the musical legacy of Memphis, birthplace of the blues and rock and roll. Experience American history through the stories of Mark Twain and General Ulysses S. Grant and walk the hallowed ground of Vicksburg where 17,000 Union soldiers rest. Mingle with the inmates of the infamous Angola penitentiary as they rehearse for the oldest continuous prison rodeo and learn how to cook up the legendary biscuits of Natchez Native Regina Charboneau from the woman herself — in her own kitchen. Entertaining, illuminating — and deeply rewarding — guided excursions ashore are the pinnacle of every port adventure.

onshore highlights

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New Orleans

Meet the artists who make the Big Easy swing and po-boys fit for a king.

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Churchill Downs

Born of Triple Crowns and Derby Bonnets.

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Mount St. Helens

Where a volcanic eruption created a tranquil lake.

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Galena, Illinois

See the Civil War through the eyes of General Ulysses S. Grant.

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A Musical Journey Through Time

Where Tennessee mermaids sing with Muscle Shoals soul queens.

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Where the end of the Manhattan Project began.

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From wild salmon grilled to perfection to moonshine bread pudding evocative of Tennessee to succulent dumplings bursting with Washington's famous apples, you’ll find our cooking rooted in and inspired by North American traditions to be a journey of delectable discovery in its own right.

Our vessels’ kitchens are bursting with flavor and ingenuity. The food on American Queen Voyages cruises is second to none with everything from delicate, hand-crafted desserts and pastries, to elegant entrees full of bold flavors. Of course, we will accommodate any special dietary needs, including gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan.

What’s included

  • Fresh local ingredients
  • Intricate and artful plating
  • Extensive American wine selection
  • Regionally inspired fare
  • Tantalizing, freshly prepared desserts
  • Cajun and Creole cuisine
  • Homegrown, homemade flavors
  • In room dining options available

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Step aboard any of our paddlewheelers and there is so much to do and so many game-for-fun fellow travelers to do it with you’ll be wondering how you’ll fit it all in.

The house band plays so hot they’re a fire code violation. Mark Twain’s beguiling you with witty anecdotes and shaggy dog stories. The guest artists are the kind with Grammys and Tonys. And, as if the above weren’t sufficient diversion, there’s your own dancing: ballroom, swing, Motown, R&B, and country. Plus there are expert guest lecturers and savvy local guides to illuminate and enrich your experience and enjoyment of each and every destination.

  • World-class performances
  • Lore and legends of the waterways
  • Insightful talks by destination experts
  • Ballroom, swing and country dancing
  • Motown, R&B and soul
  • Regional musicians
  • Captivating storytelling
  • Request sessions…and more

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Our voyages are designed to give you the space and amenities you need to completely unwind. Curl up with a great read, enjoy the panoramic views from the sun deck, or treat yourself to a glass of wine.

Owner’s suites with exclusive veranda

river boat travel

  • SQ feet 348

Open French doors and step out onto your veranda to unwind on your amply furnished patio. Adorned with 11-foot vaulted ceilings, overhead lighting and a cozy interior lounging area with a sofa-bed and cocktail tables, these expansive suites can accommodate up to three guests, and epitomize luxurious river cruising. Relish the many exclusive benefits of our Commodore Services while your personal River Butler attends to your every need.

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  • 348 sq ft with 670 sq ft exclusive private balcony
  • Full bathroom with standard tub/shower combination
  • Lounging area with sofa-bed
  • Dressing area with granite vanity and mirror
  • Flat-screen TV
  • Coffee maker and mini-refrigerator
  • French doors open to the exclusive veranda
  • Furnished patio with sofa, two chairs and a coffee table
  • Interior and exterior access
  • Promenade Deck
  • Commodore Services, including a River Butler

Commodore Services

  • Pre-boarding privileges (one hour earlier than standard)
  • Complimentary bottle of wine on embarkation day
  • Fresh fruit daily in your suite
  • Preferred dining arrangements
  • Reserved balcony seating in the Grand Saloon
  • Private reception with senior officers
  • River Butler services (LS and OS cabins)
  • Specialty afternoon snack menu

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The largest steamboat ever built, the grand American Queen is a gracious and elegant triumph of American ingenuity. Our flagship paddlewheeler is a gentle soul packaged within the ornate detailing that embellishes her exterior. Any traveler who chooses to cruise on this iconic riverboat will soon find that her steady heart beats to the rhythm of music that resounds within her walls. Embark on a river cruise on the American Queen, the wondrous steamboat that introduces her guests to the waters that she calls home – the great rivers that have sustained towns, wildlife and memories throughout history.

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This bold paddlewheeler boasts a sleek, contemporary design effortlessly hosting up to 245 guests, with plenty of open space for guest gatherings, especially the portside bar, which will delight guests with an expansive panoramic view. With four decks, including a Sun Deck, and 123 inviting staterooms in four categories, this paddlewheeler is a home away from home.

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Spacious luxury awaits aboard the floating masterpiece that is the American Duchess. Combining the best of the old and the new, this beautiful lady epitomizes the grace and grandeur that have made cruising on the Mississippi River a cherished American tradition for more than two centuries. This riverboat offers exquisite dining, beautiful decks and exceptional amenities. Her suites range from 150 to 630 square feet, allowing guests to stay in some of the largest accommodations on the rivers. Unique to the American Duchess are her Loft Suites, which feature two stories enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows, two full bathrooms, a comfortable dining area, a beautiful lounge with a queen sofa-bed, a private balcony and an upstairs bedroom.

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Proudly serving as the largest overnight riverboat west of the Mississippi River, the American Empress cruises the Columbia and Snake Rivers delivering a rich sense of history in modern comfort. Boasting a vast collection of some of the most intricate artifacts and artwork of Native Alaska, Russia, the Gold Rush and the sternwheeler era in and around Portland, Oregon, the corridors of our Columbia and Snake River cruise boat hold nearly as much beauty and intrigue as the dramatic scenery unfolding on the river outside. We invite you to step aboard our authentic paddlewheeler and delight in the luxurious modern amenities, gracious service and endless authentic experiences that await you.

All-Inclusive

river boat travel

*River Cruises Only

River cruises.

When you step aboard the riverboat cruise with American Queen Voyages, you are catapulted back in time as your set sail on the classic riverboat vessels. Encapsulated in the Victorian-era luxury of your river cruise and gracious hospitality, discover the unique adventures our ports have to offer.

US River Cruise FAQs  

What are the best rivers to cruise in the USA?

The USA is home to the best rivers to cruise, each majestic in its unique way and has played crucial roles in the nation’s development. With such diversity, expect a lot of history, cultural and culinary experiences on your U.S. river cruise.  

One of the most iconic rivers inarguably is the Mississippi river . Because of its astounding size, cruises are usually split into Lower Mississippi river cruises, Upper Mississippi river cruises, and Ohio and Mississippi river cruises. Any of the great American river cruises sailing along the Mississippi let you experience one of the country’s most significant waterways in a way you never thought possible.   

Cruising the Columbia and Snake rivers allows you to experience incredibly picturesque locations along Washington state and the changing landscapes of Oregon. The journey lets you explore incredible nature and taste wines and is an off-the-beaten-path experience.   

On Cumberland and Tennessee River cruises, there is never a dull moment as you enjoy country music in Nashville and sample bourbon, the true American spirit.  

Which US rivers does American Queen Voyages cruise?

  • Lower Mississippi River
  • Upper Mississippi and Illinois Rivers
  • Ohio River and Mississippi Rivers
  • Cumberland and Tennessee River
  • Columbia and Snake Rivers

How much do U.S. river cruises cost?

American Queen Voyages offer an all-inclusive experience. This means the cost will include a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay, ground transfers, unlimited guided tours, exquisite food, unlimited beverage, unlimited Wi-Fi, and live daily onboard entertainment and enrichment.

What is included on a river cruise in America?

Cruises with American Queen Voyages include top-quality amenities, luxury, and comfort to ensure you feel at home away from home. Included in the cost of the cruise you will be welcomed with a one-night pre-cruise hotel stay, ground transfers between hotel and vessel, personally tailored and expertly crafted unlimited guided tours, unlimited beverages at open bars and lounges, acclaimed cuisine in multiple venues, in-room dining, unlimited Wi-Fi, and live entertainment and enrichment onboard.  

Do river cruises include airfare?

Airfare for in river cruises with American Queen Voyages is included on select cruises, read more about it here .   

Can you go on USA river cruises without a passport?

American citizens are not required to present a passport when cruising the USA rivers.   

How long are river cruises in the US?

US river cruises can last from 7 days visiting 6 different ports to 16 days and 15 ports, and everything in between. Pick the ideal voyage for you, and if you wish to extend your journey, you can always hop on a back-to-back cruise and keep exploring the American heartland.  

What are the best sights and landmarks to see on a USA river cruise? 

Still interested?

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The Best River Boats In 6 Separate Categories

best shallow water river boat

Whether it’s for sports or for recreation, navigating shallow rivers requires a specific type of boat. Riverboats are specifically designed to navigate both the deep and shallow areas of rivers, creeks, lakes and artificial waterways like canals. If you are a lover of river boating but unsure which particular boat you need then this guide will help you decide on the best river boat for you. We help you find the best river boats to buy that are actually a good fit for you.

How To Find The Best River Boat For Your Specific Needs

A word about how we picked the best boat for river fishing, 1. best small river boat for fishing, 2. best large river boat for fishing – we have 2 great picks for you, 3. best shallow water river boat for hunting, 4. best river boat for utility work, 5. best river boat for leisure, 6. best shallow water river boat for rocky bottoms, closing thoughts: the best river boats from fishing & hunting to leisure.

The best shallow river boat for you will depend on the activities you plan to engage in on the water.

Although all river boats will have a shallow draft there are different boat designs that suit different activities. For example, the best shallow river boat for fishing may not be the best boat for leisure or hunting.

The best shallow water river boats are Jon boats and skiffs.

In my opinion (and the opinion of many others) the best shallow water river boat is a Jon boat, hands down. A Jon boat is also the best boat for a creek.

Below I have picked the best shallow river boats for 6 specific activities.

These river boats fit into the following 6 categories:

  • Best small river boat for fishing.
  • Best large river boat for fishing.
  • Best river boat for hunting.
  • Best river boat for utility work.
  • Best river boat for leisure.
  • Best river boat for rocky bottoms.

The 6 Best River Boats Based On Use. From Fishing & Hunting To Leisure

Something you should consider before you ever look at a river boat purchase is, the best boats for rivers always have a shallow draft.

As rivers almost always have areas with very shallow water you need a boat with a flat bottom that is capable of being used in skinny water.

Flat bottom river boats also offer superior stability on calm inland waters. They thus make excellent fishing and hunting vessels because you can freely walk on the deck without any lose of stability.

Below I cover the best river boats in the 6 categories listed above.

We have divided the best boat for river fishing into 2 categories – large and small

When it comes to fishing in the shallows, some boats are better than others by design.

Some take the capability of shallow water navigation to extremes and professional anglers can tell you that there are boats that can float on water surfaces which are only a few inches deep, like a Jon boat .

The best river fishing boat that can be used for a multitude of other water based activities is of course the Jon boat.

Jon boats are by far the best shallow water personal watercraft that you can buy because they are versatile, easily customized and they are cheap. For a full rundown of what a Jon boat can be used for read this article .

Jon boats are very easy to set-up for fishing and work well for shallow water bass fishing. In fact you can even convert a Jon boat into a bass boat for a fraction of the cost of buying a bass boat.

Although a Jon boat is a great choice for fishing many anglers who prefer a bigger boat, or navigate larger deeper waters that are more turbulent, will opt for a flat-bottomed skiff.

As I have covered Jon boats extensively on this website (see the articles linked to above for it’s uses as a fishing boat) I thought it best to delve into different boat types that are just as good, or almost as good, as the Jon.

One of the best river boats for deep and shallow water fishing is a flat bottomed skiff.

A technical poling skiff is a shallow water boat that is used in large water bodies when you are fishing for super sensitive fish, like bonefish or bass fish or when you are crab hunting in the shallows.

Every angler knows that there are some great fish to be found in very shallow waters but to get to them without scaring them away requires a boat with stealth.

A technical poling skiff or a Jon boat (which can be paddled, poled or even rowed ) will be a great boat for solo fishing or even for two anglers working in tandem. One angler will be poling through the shallows while the other is casting the rod towards the fish from a distance.

Using a pole to move the boat keeps noise to a minimum and also allows the boat access to much shallower waters – as the propeller from an outboard motor increases the draft of the boat.

Poling skiffs and Jon boats have good wind resistance and a low profile that also makes them less visible to the fish.

Technical poling skiffs are all about human power when fishing and your poling skills should be developed enough that you can quickly move the boat about without scaring the fish in the process.

Poling does take a little getting used to but most technical skiffs owners acquire the skill pretty quickly.

Both skiffs and Jon boats can be fitted with a fish finder .

Below are our choices for the top 3 poling skiffs for shallow water rivers based on size.

Hell’s Bay makes some of the very best small stealth skiffs for fishing in the shallows.

The Whipray

Their Whipray is a 16 foot 4″ long stealth poling skiff with a 70″ beam that performs excellently in shallow waters.

The Whipray is very easy to pole against both the wind and the tide. It handles exceptionally well even in the shallowest of waters.

It has an exceptionally shallow draft of just 3.5″ when fully fitted.

Sandy Moret described the Hell’s Bay Whipray as “the finest bonefish skiff ever made.”

This boat also offers an exceptionally smooth and fast ride at speed via its 70 HP outboard engine.

It’s pretty much a toss-up between the Beavertail Strike and the East Cape Fury.

Both of these boats are awesome and we couldn’t decide which one was better, so we included both with a quick comparison bullet list at the end to show you their strengths and weaknesses.

Beavertail Strike

For our choice of big water poling skiff we first looked to Beavertail skiffs and were not disappointed. Their 17 foot 6″ long Strike is a fantastic medium sized poling skiff with a beam of 73″.

It has a respectably shallow draft of 6″.

We love the fact that this skiff has large storage compartments. All hatches have deep gutters, are lipped and fitted with gaskets.

Its aluminum fuel tank can hold up to 20 gallons of fuel.

It has rod racks with fly rod tubes up to 10’ allowing for 4 rods per side. The anodized poling platform is sturdy.

It has flush-mounted stainless steel hardware, an 8-gallon crab well and hydraulic steering comes as standard.

The trim tabs and 4″ set back jack plate are also standard and the 15” gunnels create a very stable platform.

This skiff handles just as well in choppy waters as it does in shallow waters.

Pros of the Beavertail Strike

  • Much smoother ride.
  • Beavertail have much better customer service.
  • Recorded data available on the motor.
  • Much cheaper than the Fury even when fitted out the same.

Cons of the Beavertail Strike

  • Not as much storage as the Fury.

East Cape Fury Scooter

When it comes to big water fishing poling skiffs they don’t come much better than the 18 foot East Cape Fury .

The Fury has a 72″ beam and offers a real quality build.

Although the suggested outboard motor is 30 – 90 HP most Fury’s will come equipped with a 60.

It has a draft of 4”to 8” when fully rigged.

Pros of the  East Cape Fury

  • Great deck layout.
  • Superior quality.
  • Better trailer than the Strike.
  • Quieter when poling.

Cons of the East Cape Fury

  • More expensive than the Strike.
  • Although East Cape state the Fury can hang a 90 it isn’t really practical to go above 70 especially if you want to keep your draft at a respectable level.

Hopefully this quick comparison between the two bigger skiffs will give you an idea of which one is the best fit for you or at least help you identify the attributes you need to look for in an alternative boat.

As a water boat hunter, exploring more and bigger hunting areas gives you an advantage and thus obviously improves your chances of success. So, for hunting you will probably need a boat that is a good water traveler. However the boat must be equally as good in shallows and in marsh areas as well as being able to offer stealth.

A good duck hunting shallow water riverboat is one that can go over any obstacle, including logs and marsh grass, while also having both speed and is easy maneuverability as well. For this type of performance you need either a standard flat-bottomed Jon boat or one with a modified v-hull .

The Excel F4 Pro Hull shallow water aluminum boat is specifically built for duck hunting though is a great shallow water all-rounder.

The F4 comes in 2 different sizes either 17 foot or 18 foot. There are currently only 2 models available but Excel Marine are in the process of rolling out 3 additional models to add to the range.

The F4 Pro Hull 17 foot has a max HP of 50 while the 18 foot is capable of hanging a 60. This is all you need to power this lightweight flat-bottomed boat.

The 18 foot has a weight capacity of 700lbs while the 17 foot has a capacity of 560 lbs.

When it comes to basic hull design both the 17 foot and 18 foot models have similar specs as follows:

  • Bottom: 54″.
  • Persons: 4.
  • Transom height: 20″.
  • Gunwale Height: 25″.
  • Material: Aluminum.

This boat has a variety of floor plans to choose from with the option of having a single or dual gun storage unit.

For stealth and camouflage (you can camouflage any Jon boat yourself though), you can pick different colors to match your environment.

And, when duck hunting gets monotonous, you can rely on the F4 shallow for backwater fishing as well.

A utility river boat should be able to do just about everything. It should be one that can be used in every shallow water environment be it rivers, creeks, lakes, canals or water reservoirs. As such the design should be one that highly focuses on storage, weight capacity , stability and easy maneuverability.

Utility boats have a variety of uses that go beyond water-based maintenance and which include; fishing, hunting, camping, cargo and passenger transport, as well as first responder rescue.

Although a Jon boat works exceptionally well as a utility boat, see our Jon boat buyer’s guide , a great example of a superior shallow water river utility boat is the Inlander Workboat & Barge by Elastec.

The Inlander is a hybrid boat that takes its designs from a blend of different hull types mainly from the skiff, sled , and Jon. This hybrid design makes it a great multi-purpose boat with a wide variety of unique capabilities.

This excellent river boat has a modified v-hull, and a wide stance for increased payload, along with a blunt bow and high sides.

Working off the side of the boat is easy because of the 36″ tall sides and the boat’s exceptional stability.

You get both superior comfort and high speed with this utility vessel even when compared to a flat bottom skiff or Jon boat.

The Elastec Inlander has speeds of up to 46 mph and can be paired with a mini-barge if you want more capacity. The barge is an essential cargo area that can be used to haul even the heaviest of materials.

The boat is capable of carrying an impressive 4,000 lbs.

The idea of how to have fun on the water varies from person to person. There are wave riders, anglers, and cruisers, whitewater lovers and those we prefer calm water. There are canoers , Jon boat lovers and kayak enthusiasts. So which type of boat is best for shallow river leisure use?

Well, apart from your budget, it is your passion which will determine the kind of watercraft that would suit you best.

Water sports lovers are thrilled by the speed and high-performance motorboats offer while cruising down a river for occasional fishing may require a Jon boat or flat-bottomed skiff. For leisurely cruises down a calm river, lake or even in the ocean a canoe or kayak could also be a good choice.

Although we have included a great skiff below I urge you to read the articles that look at the differences between a jon boat vs canoe and a  kayak vs jon boat so you can see which one of these style of vessels is a better fit for you.

If you prefer a skiff then you’ll love our choice for best leisure shallow water river boat.

We choose the Carolina Skiff 18 JVX CC because it is built with luxury in mind, and because its 70 HP motor offers speed and just because it is a very fun boat.

Although it was designed for the angler with an economy budget it has become very popular with recreational boaters because its economy price doesn’t come at the expense of comfort.

It is 17 foot 9″ in length with a 78″ beam. It has a 4″ shallow draft so it’s perfect for shallow waters. It also has lots of storage space and a very respectable weight capacity of 1652 lbs.

The boat is very light, weighing in at only 1073 lbs, and is super easy to handle with cushioned seats that can be removed to create more space for gear.

Although Carolina Skiff claim the 18 JVX can accommodate up to 7 persons with that amount of people onboard it would be a tight squeeze even with the seats removed.

Rivers can often be quite treacherous to navigate especially if they are rocky. Not just recreational and utility boats encounter this problem but rescue boats also need to go over rocks and very shallow surfaces.

The best shallow water boat designs, therefore, are built to avoid obstacles as much as possible (by having a shallow draft ) while also being able to withstand heavy knocks on rocky surfaces. This is one reason for fitting canoes with keels .

If you like to run rivers in style then a drift boat is an excellent shallow water river boat choice.

Military grade water tech

There are very many boats that can handle sliding over rocky riverbeds and some of the best are built by ReconCraft . ReconCraft build boats for the military so you know their craft are among the best in the world.

Ok, so we’ve added this for a bit of fun as these boats are military grade and unlikely to be see any civilian use but they are just too cool not to mention. I’ve included a much more affordable option below.

However, if you have the budget and can get one of these shallow water river boats then it’d be like buying a Humvee for the water!

These extreme shallow water boats are built to be tough but lightweight enough to be able to maneuver shallow river waters and lakes with speed and ease. They can go over any shoal or rocks easily and without taking damage. Nothing can stand in the way of the reinforced aluminum on these watercraft vessels.

Cheaper alternative

If military style craft are not your bat (seriously?) or your budget is a little more realistic (more likely) then a good aluminum modified v-hull boat is what you need for shallow rocky river beds.

The River Rocket by RockProof Boats does exactly what the name of the manufacturer implies. This boat is rock proof!

This boat is a serious bit of kit as you can see from its specs below.

The River Rocket specs:

  • 18 ft mod v-hull.
  • Available with 60″, 66″, or 72″ bottom.
  • .190 one-piece tempered aluminum hull.
  • .190 custom one-piece transom with a diamond plated 2 ft rear deck extension.
  • All welds inside and outside.
  • Custom center console design for weight distribution and better visibility.
  • ¼ inch interior continuous channels running bow to stern.
  • 5.0 ft front casting deck and 5.5 ft rear deck.
  • Custom designed hinged engine shroud and rear deck, bow and stern.
  • Stern navigational lights.
  • Bilge pumps.
  • Bow mounted trolling motor brackets.
  • .125” complete floor.
  • Six built-in pedestal seat mounts.
  • Helm and steering wheel.
  • Mercury cables and control box.
  • Complete with wiring and breakers.
  • 25 gallon rear fuel tank.
  • RPM, Fuel and Volt gauges.
  • Console controlled panel switch.
  • Fully rigged with a 200 hp Mercury Optimax inboard sport jet.
  • River Rocket decals.
  • Built-in trolling motor and starter battery trays.
  • All stainless steel hardware.

Hopefully the above information will better equip you to make the best choice from the many different shallow water river boats available,

Remember that getting a good shallow water river boat will ultimately depend on how you plan to use it.

There are many different models that you can pick from with the separating factor often being your budget.

Mick McGrath

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Travelers ranked the best small cruises you've never heard of — from expedition ships to river cruises

  • The world's largest cruise ships can fit over 7,000 passengers — and they're only getting bigger. 
  • Smaller vessels like river and expedition cruises are a more intimate alternative to mega-ships . 
  • These are the best small cruises in 2023, according to a survey of Condé Nast Traveler readers.  

Insider Today

When images of the world's largest cruise ship went viral this summer, social media users described Icon of the Seas with less than flattering terms. Among them are "human lasagne," a "monstrosity," and "hell on water."

The $2 billion, 7,000-plus passenger ship has proven hugely popular and is booking up fast. But even as travelers around the world showcase increased interest in vacationing at sea, the internet's vocal aversion to the massive vessel proves mega-ships aren't for everyone.

That doesn't mean you need to rule off cruising altogether — small cruises, river cruises, and expedition ships offer a more intimate alternative.

Plus, as port towns across the US and Europe move to ban large cruise ships due to concerns of overcrowding and pollution , smaller vessels can access destinations off-limits to their super-sized counterparts.

But not all small ships are made equal. There are luxurious yacht-like cruises from brands like the Ritz Carlton and Four Seasons , more rugged expedition ships designed for Alaskan exploration , and a variety of inland river cruises .

Condé Nast Traveler readers voted on all of the above as part of the publication's 2023 Readers' Choice Awards . The survey results published in October take different factors into consideration, such as service, accommodations, food, and sustainability.

These are the best small cruises with 500 or fewer passengers, river cruises, and expedition cruises, according to Condé Nast Traveler readers:

The best small cruises

Emerald Cruises

Paul Gaugin Cruises

American Cruise Line

Sea Cloud Cruises

Windstar Cruises

The best river cruises

American Cruise Lines

Tauck River Cruising

Oberoi Hotels & Resorts

Les Bateaux Belmond

The best expedition cruises

UnCruise Adventures

Aqua Expeditions

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours

Do you work on a cruise ship or live in a cruise port town? Do you have a tip or story to share? Email this reporter at [email protected]

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Useful information

Moscow boat trip.

PRICE REQUEST>>>

Moscow is a large city and in order to see many landmarks, it necessitates travelling by car. But it is not that easy to negotiate the traffic jams, road blocks, one-way systems that defy logic. The atmosphere is possibly the strongest deterrent of all, with smells of diesel and gasoline and general automotive fumes. An alternative is to take a boat trip on the Moskva River , the kind of transport that has been used since ancient times and still popular with the tourists today.

These Moscow River boat trips offer a great opportunity to see many of the city's most interesting sights, while enjoying a quiet and relaxing ride. The water is not commonly used as a method of discovering many of the city’s sights and secluded places.

As a result, we strongly recommend this kind of method to you! Join us on a boat trip on the Moskva River to see the city from another view-point. Our guide will accompany you and give you explanations of the various sights and places during the trip. From the river-front you will see the imposing towers and walls of Kremlin , the Cathedral of Christ the Savior with your own eyes, a huge and, perhaps, somewhat formidable statue on a ship dedicated to Peter the Great, House of Artists, the famous Gorky Park amusement park of the Soviet era, St. Andrew’s Monastery, the massive Stalin-style building of Moscow State University, which is one of the seven-sisters. These are the "wedding-cake" styled buildings that "ring" the center of Moscow.

You may choose to sit inside or out on-deck depending on your preference. You may also, if you wish, visit the luxurious onboard restaurant with Russian and Mediterranean cuisine prepared qualified chiefs.

Inside the restaurant you will see Italian glass windows, wonderful marble floors and crystal chandeliers that all help create a luxurious atmosphere. To make your stay onboard even more pleasant jazz music will float through the air-waves as you are moving through the water-waves of the Moscow River .

WHAT WE OFFER:

1. Entrance tickets for the Boat trip on the Moscow river.

We can provide you entrance tickets for the Boat trip or reserve them for your convenience in advance!

2. Boat trip on the Moscow river with a guide.

Our guide will accompany you and give you explanations of the various sights and places during the trip. You will see Moscow from unusual side and our professional tour guides will tell you the most interesting and exciting stories about Moscow city !

3. Boat and ship rent.

Our company offers you to rent boats of different types for different purposes.

We offer boats:

- For any number of people. - For any hours (from hour). - Any route on Moscow river.

Note: These tours are only available during the warmer weather between the months of May & October, as the river is either partially or sometimes completely frozen over in winter.

See more tours: Old Arbat Street & Moscow Metro Moscow Walking Tours and see more tours

Contact with us

For more details about the adventure travel please contact our office:

+7 (925) 500-77-82 WhatsApp

Impressions of our clients

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Best way to get from river cruise dock to center city - Moscow Forum

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' class=

Two river station in Moscow. Obviously, this will be the North River Station, the address - the Leningrad Highway 51.

http://www.locman.net/page_3899.htm

The nearest metro station, which has the same name "River Station" - 600m. By taxi to the center - 15 km, officially - 450 rubles.

http://maps.yandex.ru/?rt=%D0%A0%D0%BE%D1%81%D1%81%D0%B8%D1%8F%2C%20%D0%9C%D0%BE%D1%81%D0%BA%D0%B2%D0%B0%2C%20%D0%A1%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BD%D1%8B%D0%B9%20%D1%80%D0%B5%D1%87%D0%BD%D0%BE%D0%B9%20%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%BA%D0%B7%D0%B0%D0%BB%20~37.611193%2C55.759360&via=&sll=37.558809%2C55.763382&sspn=0.352249%2C0.099688&rtm=atm&ll=37.558809%2C55.763382&spn=0.352249%2C0.099688&z=12&l=map

' class=

Veresch is the man! AIM.

People will tell you how to call a taxi from Rechnoy.

http://www.svobodnoe-taxi.ru/stat/rech.html

There are small bonuses for ground transportation - you can see something on the way, a kind of a little excursion.

http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%CF%E5%F2%F0%EE%E2%F1%EA%E8%E9_%EF%F3%F2%E5%E2%EE%E9_%E4%E2%EE%F0%E5%F6

http://www.photosight.ru/photo/alone/110679/

Main problem on the way: traffic jams which you can not calculate; once in late November on weekend night I had such a problem to get to the city from the Sheremetevo airport along the same road - never could imagine; drivers taking clients from the downtown area to Sheremetevo now are to bear in mind 2-3 hours. Choose the underground!

river boat travel

> Main problem on the way: traffic jams which you can not calculate

Leningradskoye Shosse within Moscow and Leningradsky Prospekt are traffic light free and virtually jam free now. Yes you can get stuck on Leningradka outside Moscow and in Tverskaya, but from Rechnoy to Belorussky is practically a sure thing these days.

> Leningradskoye Shosse within Moscow and Leningradsky Prospekt are traffic light free and virtually jam free now

Having driven there from the ring road all the way to the center today I'm afraid I have to revoke that statement. It was quite dense there, not standing still, but slow in places. Took about 20-30 minutes from Rechnoy to Belorussky (should have taken five at most).

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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Cruising the Moskva River: A short guide to boat trips in Russia’s capital

river boat travel

There’s hardly a better way to absorb Moscow’s atmosphere than on a ship sailing up and down the Moskva River. While complicated ticketing, loud music and chilling winds might dampen the anticipated fun, this checklist will help you to enjoy the scenic views and not fall into common tourist traps.

How to find the right boat?

There are plenty of boats and selecting the right one might be challenging. The size of the boat should be your main criteria.

Plenty of small boats cruise the Moskva River, and the most vivid one is this yellow Lay’s-branded boat. Everyone who has ever visited Moscow probably has seen it.

river boat travel

This option might leave a passenger disembarking partially deaf as the merciless Russian pop music blasts onboard. A free spirit, however, will find partying on such a vessel to be an unforgettable and authentic experience that’s almost a metaphor for life in modern Russia: too loud, and sometimes too welcoming. Tickets start at $13 (800 rubles) per person.

Bigger boats offer smoother sailing and tend to attract foreign visitors because of their distinct Soviet aura. Indeed, many of the older vessels must have seen better days. They are still afloat, however, and getting aboard is a unique ‘cultural’ experience. Sometimes the crew might offer lunch or dinner to passengers, but this option must be purchased with the ticket. Here is one such  option  offering dinner for $24 (1,490 rubles).

river boat travel

If you want to travel in style, consider Flotilla Radisson. These large, modern vessels are quite posh, with a cozy restaurant and an attentive crew at your service. Even though the selection of wines and food is modest, these vessels are still much better than other boats.

river boat travel

Surprisingly, the luxurious boats are priced rather modestly, and a single ticket goes for $17-$32 (1,100-2,000 rubles); also expect a reasonable restaurant bill on top.

How to buy tickets?

Women holding photos of ships promise huge discounts to “the young and beautiful,” and give personal invitations for river tours. They sound and look nice, but there’s a small catch: their ticket prices are usually more than those purchased online.

“We bought tickets from street hawkers for 900 rubles each, only to later discover that the other passengers bought their tickets twice as cheap!”  wrote  (in Russian) a disappointed Rostislav on a travel company website.

Nevertheless, buying from street hawkers has one considerable advantage: they personally escort you to the vessel so that you don’t waste time looking for the boat on your own.

river boat travel

Prices start at $13 (800 rubles) for one ride, and for an additional $6.5 (400 rubles) you can purchase an unlimited number of tours on the same boat on any given day.

Flotilla Radisson has official ticket offices at Gorky Park and Hotel Ukraine, but they’re often sold out.

Buying online is an option that might save some cash. Websites such as  this   offer considerable discounts for tickets sold online. On a busy Friday night an online purchase might be the only chance to get a ticket on a Flotilla Radisson boat.

This  website  (in Russian) offers multiple options for short river cruises in and around the city center, including offbeat options such as ‘disco cruises’ and ‘children cruises.’ This other  website  sells tickets online, but doesn’t have an English version. The interface is intuitive, however.

Buying tickets online has its bad points, however. The most common is confusing which pier you should go to and missing your river tour.

river boat travel

“I once bought tickets online to save with the discount that the website offered,” said Igor Shvarkin from Moscow. “The pier was initially marked as ‘Park Kultury,’ but when I arrived it wasn’t easy to find my boat because there were too many there. My guests had to walk a considerable distance before I finally found the vessel that accepted my tickets purchased online,” said the man.

There are two main boarding piers in the city center:  Hotel Ukraine  and  Park Kultury . Always take note of your particular berth when buying tickets online.

Where to sit onboard?

Even on a warm day, the headwind might be chilly for passengers on deck. Make sure you have warm clothes, or that the crew has blankets ready upon request.

The glass-encased hold makes the tour much more comfortable, but not at the expense of having an enjoyable experience.

river boat travel

Getting off the boat requires preparation as well. Ideally, you should be able to disembark on any pier along the way. In reality, passengers never know where the boat’s captain will make the next stop. Street hawkers often tell passengers in advance where they’ll be able to disembark. If you buy tickets online then you’ll have to research it yourself.

There’s a chance that the captain won’t make any stops at all and will take you back to where the tour began, which is the case with Flotilla Radisson. The safest option is to automatically expect that you’ll return to the pier where you started.

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  • Travel Updates

Queensland emergency services find body during search for missing fisherman in the Narrows at Fitzroy River

Authorities have made a tragic discovery in the search for a fisherman who went missing when his boat sank.

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A body has been found in the Fitzroy River in Queensland after authorities carried out a wide spread search for a man reported missing when his boat sank.

Queensland Police confirmed a body was found in the Fitzroy River, believed to be that of a man in his 70s who went missing on Tuesday.

Formal identification is now underway and a report will be prepared for the coroner.

RACQ Rescue 300 is continuing a search for a missing man in the Port Alma region. Picture: Supplied

The man and another two fishermen were fishing in a 5.3m tinnie when their boat sank in The Narrows in the Fitzroy River at Keppel Bay, Queensland on Tuesday.

Concerned family members called emergency services about 9.20pm when their the boat failed to dock at Yeppoon by the expected 6pm arrival time.

It’s believed the trio had been fishing when they ended up in the water after their boat sank.

They reportedly clung to each other to stay afloat but one of the men became separated from his friends.

During the extensive search, Bundaberg-based RACQ LifeFlight rescue helicopter crew found two of the men on a beach at 3.10am on Wednesday.

A RACQ LifeFlight Rescue spokeswoman confirmed the helicopter crew could not detect a EPIRB or distress signal, making the search mission challenging for authorities in dark condition.

#RACQ #CapRescue has joined the search for a man in his seventies missing near Port Alma. The boat carrying him and two others overturned last night. Two occupants have already been found. pic.twitter.com/wGda2zEsyY — RACQ CapRescue (@caprescue) October 31, 2023

When authorities spotted a fire on a Keppel Bay island, the pilot landed the helicopter on the beach and found two of the missing men, who had managed to swim to shore.

The two men were treated for only minor injuries but were thirsty and distressed.

The rescue chopper flew the two men to Rockhampton Hospital for treatment.

A Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said the two men were in a stable conditions.

The RACQ rescue helicopter rescued two fisherman early Wednesday morning. Picture: Supplied

Queensland Police Service was assisting in the continued search for the third man, aged in his 70s.

More Coverage

river boat travel

During the early-morning rescue, the helicopter crew assisted in the search, making numerous low-flying sweeps along the coastline without a successful sighting.

The Narrows is a popular fishing spot in the northern outlet of Gladstone Harbour, separating Curtis Island from the mainland.

It also connects to Keppel Bay near the mouth of the Fitzroy River.

A pilot has died and another man has been airlifted to hospital after a gyrocopter crashed in regional Victoria.

A video of a heated argument between passengers has gone viral, reigniting a fierce plane etiquette debate.

A woman has been arrested and charged after she allegedly ran onto the tarmac at an Australian airport in a move that stunned onlookers.

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