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Offering unparalleled comfort and convenience, river cruises offer a new perspective on Europe, Russia, China, and beyond. Hear a Mozart symphony floating over the water in Vienna, try some Pho soup at a market stall in Ho Chi Minh, or see the Great Sphinx near the Nile River in Giza. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing ride, a fun-filled adventure, or something else, there’s a river cruise that can take you where you want to go and do it in style.
What is River Cruising?
River cruising is an increasingly popular vacation option for travelers who enjoy the convenience and comfort of cruising, but wish to travel to locations inaccessible by a large cruise ship. These specially designed river ships and cruise barges – usually built to carry fewer than 200 passengers – take guests through the heartland of a nation for an unparalleled travel experience.
While some river ships lack the variety of onboard features and amenities found on larger oceangoing vessels, they make up for it with port-intensive itineraries. Plus, river cruise itineraries often focus on smaller towns and villages, offering a more personal and in-depth experience within a region. It's also not uncommon for river cruises to package shore excursions, such as guided tours, in the regular cruise fare.
Why a River Cruise?
- Ships usually only carry around 200 guests, making it a much more personal experience. This also means that there is no waiting to embark, disembark or grab a table to eat.
- They allow you to visit areas inaccessible to ocean-going cruise ships, including famous cities like Paris, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, Lhasa (Tibet), and more. River cruising lets guests travel through a region’s heartland to visit smaller ports. Guests can often walk right off the ship into the center of town.
- Even if you’ve visited the areas before, river cruises give an entirely new perspective and understanding of each city.
- Guided walking tours and in-depth shore excursions are available at most destinations.
- Ships offer luxurious accommodations and amenities.
- River cruises are better for people susceptible to sea sickness, since the waters are much calmer than an ocean cruise.
- Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes, from awe-inspiring palaces to picturesque villages – many of which can only be enjoyed through river cruising.
Where Can You Go?
River tours are available around the world and range from just a few days to multiple weeks. Here are just some of the options available:
- Cruise the Danube River through Hungary, Austria, and Germany
- Journey up the Rhine from Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands
- Wander down the 12th longest river in the world, the Mekong, in Southeast Asia through Vietnam and Cambodia
- Float down the Seine or Rhône Rivers in France
- Travel from Moscow to St Petersburg on Russia’s Volga River, the longest in Europe
To learn more about river cruises, or to book one today at a great price, contact one of our expert agents.
Preferred River Cruise Lines from The Cruise Web:
With their new Suite Ships, Avalon offers the largest staterooms of any river cruise line, many with open air balconies.
Sail through the world’s rivers on Uniworld’s boutique ships designed to inspire, excite and revive your spirit.
Focusing on the culture of each cruises destination, every sailing has onboard lectures, demonstrations and tastings.
Be charmed by Europe’s waterside villages and vibrant cultural centers, all while enjoying a relaxing vacation experience. River cruises explore several of Europe’s greatest rivers, including the Danube, Douro, Elbe, Main, Moselle, Rhine, Rhone, Saône and Seine. European river cruise itineraries present a rewarding combination of large cities – such as Paris, Amsterdam and Budapest – and quaint villages like Chablis, France or Cochem, Germany. Choose Europe for its rich history, astounding architecture, beautiful scenery and lively culture.
[Learn more about river cruises in Europe]
There’s no better way to experience Russia than by river. With a Russian river cruise, travelers will discover the rich cultures of Moscow and St. Petersburg while also taking time to explore a completely different side of Russia: the enormous lakes, secluded islands and quaint lifestyles scattered along the shores of the Volga River. No matter which Russian river cruise itinerary you choose, you'll be immersed in the people who personify the heart of this proud nation.
[Learn more about river cruises in Russia]
The sheer size and diversity of China lends itself to some of the most interesting river cruising, offering an opportunity to sail against some of the most varied and magnificent backdrops, from ancient temples and towering cities to mountains and deserts. River cruises on China’s Yangtze River offer exotic itineraries and frequently feature stops in Beijing and Shanghai. Gain new appreciation for the storied histories and cultures of China with a river cruise.
[Learn more about river cruises in China]
In Southeast Asia, river cruises on the Mekong River pass rural villages and ancient temples along the way to major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, unlocking an entirely new world of culture. Mekong river cruises are growing in popularity as tourist seek to learn more about the fascinating cultural and natural landscapes of Cambodia and Vietnam.
[Learn more about river cruises in Vietnam and Cambodia]
Myanmar (Burma) is a country that has recently gone through major moves towards freedom, and is embracing tourists who seek to learn from its riveting history and ancient traditions. River cruises sail along the Irrawaddy River and include stops in ports with beautiful pagodas and peaceful monasteries. You will also witness the beautiful creations of the nation's people, from tapestry to woodcarving and pottery.
[Learn more about river cruises in Myanmar (Burma)]
Explore India and all its treasures with a river cruise along the sacred Ganges River. With an India river cruise, you'll visit cities big and small, from New Delhi and Kolkata to the villages of Matiari and Baranagar. Immersive tours will reveal India's heart and soul while leaving you with memories to last a lifetime. You'll explore complex temples, perfectly landscaped gardens and buzzing bazaars while learning more about how the Ganges River shapes the landscape and lives of India's people.
[Learn more about river cruises in India]
Egypt, famously referred to as “the gift of the Nile,” owes much to the great river which serves as its lifeline. The Nile is the gateway to many of Egypt’s treasures and offers an unbelievable, one-of-a-kind vacation experience. Plus, cruising the Nile provides a relaxing way to see more of Egypt since many of the country’s cities developed along the Nile, including Alexandria, Aswan, Cairo and Luxor. Discovery awaits at every bend of the Nile as river cruiser passengers journey through the ancient history of this mysterious land.
[Learn more about river cruises in Egypt]
Enjoy a vista of a unique region known for its rich, soulful cuisine and vibrant personalities with a river cruise in the Midwestern or Southern regions of North America. The opportunity has finally returned for you to experience one of America’s most treasured prizes: the mighty Mississippi River. You will be able to see some of the greatest cities in the South, such as New Orleans and Memphis, all while becoming a part of the easy-going culture of the region. North American river cruises also provide an opportunity to explore the best of the Midwest, from St. Louis to St. Paul.
[Learn more about river cruises in North America]
Only river cruising lets guests cruise upon the shallower, less-explored regions of the mighty Amazon River. In contrast to most river cruises, Amazon River cruise itineraries often spend little time ashore as the focus of the voyage is usually directed upon the river itself. However, when the river ships do make port, popular shore excursions include rainforest expeditions and hikes through local villages.
[Learn more about river cruises in South America]