What Is a River Cruise?

river cruise boat in Prague

While seafaring voyages traverse expansive oceans and transport vacationers to the far-off, distant shores of exotic destinations spanning the globe, river cruises sail inland, offering travelers unique vantages along the banks of rivers and other waterways throughout the world. 

What Sets River Cruises Apart?

There are a number of important distinctions between river cruises and traditional ocean excursions.

For starters, as their name suggests, instead of the open seas, passengers voyage through the meandering currents of rivers, witnessing all the beauty and majesty of their shores as they sail by. This includes an ever-flowing canvas of fauna and wildlife, along with the cities and towns and villages established throughout the ages. 

Riverboats and ships are also generally smaller than ocean-going vessels, which enhances their intimacy and enables them to visit smaller ports of call—with some even docking on riverbanks for more opportunities to explore and sightsee.

River cruises therefore offer limited passenger capacity—usually ranging between 100 and 250 guests, depending on the ship—creating a less-crowded, more intimate experience. River expeditions also run shorter itineraries than those of ocean liners, lasting around a week, with the added benefit of visiting numerous popular ports and attractions each day, and plenty of onboard entertainment and activities during the night.  

Another important benefit is that with river cruises, the journey is part of the experience. On a river cruise you’re not stuck looking at endless expanse of ocean, rather you're sailing close to land, with the opportunity to see the beautiful, ever-changing landscapes and communities as you pass.


Best River Cruise Lines & Destinations for Different Travel Types 

Because of their unique offerings and routes, river cruises can oftentimes be more expensive than ocean cruises, but provide incredible value for your vacation, depending on the travel experience you’re looking for. 


Romantic Voyages 

Viking Cruises boasts an extensive fleet of top-quality ships, with a wide selection of American and European river cruises through some of the most gorgeous and iconic waterways in the world. Its staterooms are designed with comfort and elegance in mind, and feature spacious accommodations, amazing services, attentive staff, hotel-level amenities, and delectable onboard dining. 

Viking’s Romantic Danube cruise itinerary takes guests on an unforgettable, eight-day voyage down the Danube River, the second-longest river in Europe—with five guided tours through Hungary, Austria, and Germany! It’s packed with incredible sights and endless intimate experiences for you and your loved one—from magical architecture and mouth-watering cuisines to charming shops and enchanting cultural events. 

Enjoy the colorful, otherworldly reflections of lights glittering across the Danube’s mystical waters. Walk hand in hand along the ancient streets of Budapest and some of Europe’s most storied cities. Immerse yourself with your lover in the beauty and passion of Vienna’s legendary arts and theater scenes. Radiate your affection for one another amid the beautifully preserved medieval architecture of Regensburg, Germany. 

No matter how you plan to spend your special voyage, Viking will ensure it’s truly epic! 


Family Vacations

AmaWaterways offers family-friendly itineraries along several of the most iconic waterways in the world—complete with plenty of fun activities on and off its ships! There are plenty of entertainment options to choose from, and always comfortable, convenient accommodations, no matter how many family members are in your party. 

Families can enjoy the Captivating Rhine itinerary through France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Switzerland for a fun and relaxing, seven-night vacation from Amsterdam to Basel through lovely rolling vineyards, vibrant streets, ancient castles, and so much more! Enjoy a gondola ride down meandering canals, and a wide variety of exquisite local cuisine. Activities include biking, walking, and special interest tours—everything you need to fully explore such famous destinations with the whole family!  

The AmaStella will be your guide on this incredible journey—the 156-passenger ship loaded with premium features and amenities including a heated pool with swim-up bar, large staterooms with twin balconies, adjoining cabins and convertible sofas for larger groups, and regular musical performances and entertainment.


Adult Group Getaways

Uniworld River Cruises transports guests to a wide selection of iconic destinations, providing luxurious accommodations, amazing amenities, and premium, all-inclusive itineraries along the way.

Its fleet boasts more than a dozen ships, each with exceptional services and benefits for guests ranging from regional cuisines to show-stopping entertainment, and a suite of carefully curated shore excursions for every type of traveler. 

Staterooms offer comfort and relaxation, with spacious accommodations and elegant decor. Each cabin is unique, yet all feature fantastic views and wonderful blends of historical and modern furnishings for a truly unforgettable experience! 

Check out its 14-day Cruise & Rail: Milan, Venice & the Swiss Alps—a breathtaking journey through Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland with some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring scenery in the world! This incredible journey drifts along the waterways between Milan and Venice before guests disembark for a four-day train ride to Zurich, Switzerland aboard the amazing Golden Eagle Danube Express.

Egypt, Eastern Europe, or perhaps somewhere else is more your style?!? Whether you’re looking to explore the historic castles of Transylvania, sail the majestic Nile River and gazing upon the towering relics of the Great Pyramids of Giza, or enjoy the colorful scenery and culture of the Netherlands, adult groups can find everything they need for a truly unforgettable trip with Uniworld. It even offers Mystery Cruise packages for travelers craving surprise and excitement! 


Solo Sailings 

Tauck is known as one of the best river cruise lines for independent travelers looking to explore on their own. It runs itineraries to more than 100 destinations across every continent and through some of the most vibrant and scenic locations in the world.  

Tauck also offers travel perks and bonuses for solo travelers to further enhance their trip, including special Solo Traveler Savings on all European river cruises, as well as waiving single supplements to help travelers save up to $1,000 per cabin. 

Guests can tour some of the most famous locations across Italy, Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, and many more—boasting a selection of fully guided land excursions, onboard and shore experiences, exclusive access to prime destinations, premium hotel stays, and phenomenal local cuisine.

Each ship features a unique blend of contemporary design and premium comfort and amenities. Cabins are spacious and incorporate roomy sitting rooms, large bathrooms with rainfall showers, and a pair of French balconies with floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the incredible views. 


Enlist InteleTravel to Plan Your Perfect River Cruise!

Planning a river cruise vacation is a lot of work. From finding the right cruise line and itinerary, choosing the right time to book and travel, selecting the perfect cruise cabin and more, there are plenty of moving parts and considerations to factor in to ensure your trip is the best it can be. 

That’s why working with an InteleTravel Advisor is the best way to arrange and organize your trip.

No matter what sort of cruise or vacation experience you seek, an InteleTravel Advisor will work with you to arrange the ideal itinerary for your party, book the myriad aspects of your trip, and even secure valuable upgrades and bonuses to make your river cruise experience even better!


Contact an InteleTravel Advisor today to start planning your river cruise adventure!

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