7 best US river cruises

Donna Heiderstadt

Whether you're fascinated by American history, culture and cuisine, or you've enjoyed river cruising in Europe but are now looking to explore closer to home, U.S. river cruises are an easy and enjoyable vacation option.

Choose from two main waterways for your U.S. river cruise: the Mississippi River — which flows through nine states from St. Paul, Minnesota, to New Orleans — or the Columbia and Snake rivers in Oregon and Washington. Some cruise lines also venture onto three smaller, lesser-known rivers: the Ohio, the Cumberland and the Tennessee. You can also explore New York's Hudson River on a fall foliage cruise.

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Your choice of cruise line is equally limited. Just two companies offer multiple itineraries on U.S. rivers. American Cruise Line sails all the waterways mentioned above, while Viking offers itineraries solely on the Mississippi. Additionally, Lindblad Expeditions has introduced a food-and-wine-centric river cruise on the Columbia and Snake rivers.

Read on for our picks of the seven best U.S. river cruises. They range from seven to 15 nights and visit destinations in 16 states; itineraries take you through the colonial-heritage-rich Northeast, America's agricultural heartland and the pioneer routes of the Pacific Northwest.

American Cruise Lines' 8-night Music Cities Cruise

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From Memphis blues and Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes" to Kentucky bluegrass and New Orleans jazz, American Cruise Lines' eight-night Music Cities Cruise sails you through a chronology of the U.S. music scene. You'll traverse three rivers (the Mississippi, Ohio and Cumberland) en route from Memphis to Nashville, or vice versa.

In Tennessee's two famous music cities, you'll have a chance to visit Elvis Presley's Graceland, stroll blues club-lined Beale Street and check out the Grand Ole Opry. You'll also visit Paducah, Kentucky, and Dover and Clarksville in Tennessee, where experiences include whiskey and bourbon tasting, tours of landmark art murals and, of course, Civil War history.

While cruising, you'll enjoy nightly entertainment that celebrates the region's musical heritage. American Cruise Lines offers this itinerary on four ships from April to October 2024, 2025 and 2026. Three of the ships — American Melody, American Symphony and American Serenade — are 180-passenger modern river ships launched in 2021, 2022 and 2023, respectively. The fourth, American Splendor, is a 180-passenger paddlewheeler that debuted in 2016.

Related: Booking your first river cruise? Here's what you need to know

Viking's 14-night America's Great River Cruise

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Want the total Mississippi experience? You can cruise the entire length of this mighty river as you visit 14 cities in seven U.S. states on Viking's two-week sailing.

Available three times a year (in July, September and October), the America's Great River cruise begins in Minnesota (either St. Paul or Red Wing) and concludes in New Orleans, allowing you to experience an intricate tapestry of American history and culture.

There's eagle spotting in Red Wing and agricultural innovation in Quad Cities, Iowa. You'll enjoy Mark Twain lore in Hannibal, Missouri, and architectural landmarks, such as the soaring Gateway Arch, in St. Louis. As you cruise the lower Mississippi, you'll delve into civil rights history in Memphis; Civil War battles and historic architecture in Mississippi's Vicksburg and Natchez; Cajun and Creole music in Baton Rouge; and the legendary culinary treats and jazz of New Orleans.

All sailings are aboard the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi. Launched in 2022, it's currently the largest river ship in the U.S. and features three restaurants and an aft infinity pool.

American Cruise Lines' 8-Night Columbia & Snake River Cruise

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If your vacation preferences favor mountain landscapes, wine tasting and pioneer lore, consider American Cruise Lines' eight-night Columbia & Snake River Cruise . You'll explore the Pacific Northwest from Portland, Oregon, to Clarkstown, Washington (or vice versa).

On the Pacific end of your voyage, you'll visit Astoria, Oregon — the oldest American settlement west of the Rocky Mountains. This coastal city at the mouth of the Columbia River is known for its Victorian homes, wineries, brew pubs, and Lewis and Clark heritage. Next, from Kalama, Washington, you can join an excursion to visit the remnants of the area around Mount St. Helens, which suffered a devastating eruption in 1980.

In The Dalles, you can enjoy a sommelier-led tasting of Columbia Valley wines, visit Multnomah Falls or get adventurous on a river kayak tour. During a call on Richland, Washington, you can admire the scenic beauty around the confluence of the Columbia and Snake rivers at Sacajawea State Park. More wine tasting or outdoor adventure awaits on the way to Clarkstown.

American Cruise Line offers this itinerary on five ships from April to October 2024, 2025 and 2026. Three of the ships (American Song, American Jazz and American Harmony) are 180-passenger modern river ships launched from 2018 to 2020. American Pride is a 150-passenger paddlewheeler launched in 2012, and American West is a 110-passenger veteran paddlewheeler launched in 1995.

Related: Best river cruise lines around the world

Viking's 7-night New Orleans & Southern Charms

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If you've never visited New Orleans, or it's been a while, take a Mississippi River cruise that sails round-trip from the Big Easy. They offer time before or after the cruise to enjoy the city's food, music and iconic architecture — plus the ease of a round-trip flight booking. Viking's seven-night New Orleans & Southern Charms itinerary focuses solely on ports in Louisiana and Mississippi, with an emphasis on historic architecture, Cajun culture and Civil War landmarks.

From Darrow, Louisiana, you'll stroll beneath canopies of towering live oak trees to visit historic mansions or glide through the bayou. More historic architecture, along with bird-watching, awaits in St. Francisville, Louisiana, and Natchez, Mississippi. Vicksburg, Mississippi, is home to one of the Civil War's most famous battlefields. Baton Rouge, Louisiana's capital, has something to satisfy every interest, from Cajun cuisine to tours of the restored World War II-era USS Kidd.

The cruise, which is available in November and December 2024 and January, November and December 2025, ends with a full day of exploration back in New Orleans before one last night aboard the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi.

American Cruise Lines' 7-night Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise

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Not only is the autumnal landscape in New York's Hudson Valley visually captivating, but the small cities and towns that line the river's shores are filled with fascinating early American history dating back more than 400 years.

Cruise the Hudson round-trip from New York City on American Cruise Lines' seven-night Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise . You'll visit Catskill, home to the Hudson River School Art Trail and the Olana Historic Site, or explore more actively at the Hudson River Skywalk and Kaaterskill Falls. In Albany, founded in 1609, you can tour the newly renovated New York State Capitol building, built in the late 1800s; you can also visit the New York State Museum, which dates to 1836. Feel like apple-picking? That's an option here, too.

Next, during a call at Kingston/Hyde Park, you can tour the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, home to the 32nd U.S. president's library and museum. You can also head to the Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site, featuring an American Beaux-Arts mansion completed in 1899. The United States Military Academy at West Point, founded in 1802, is also on the itinerary, as is Sleepy Hollow. The Sleepy Hollow legend comes to life during a tour of the local cemetery where author Washington Irving is buried. Back in the Big Apple on day seven, you'll have time to explore before saying farewell to your ship.

Sailings are available from late September to early November 2024, 2025 and 2026. Sailings are onboard either the 100-passenger American Eagle, American Liberty, American Glory or American Legend (all built in 2023 or 2024), or the older 90-passenger American Star and American Independence, launched in 2007 and 2010, respectively.

Related: River cruise packing list: What to pack when traveling by riverboat

Lindblad Expeditions' 7-night Columbia & Snake Rivers: Food, Wine and History Cruise

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Nature-focused cruise line Lindblad Expeditions has partnered with Food & Wine magazine to offer a new seven-night Columbia & Snake Rivers: Food, Wine and History cruise on multiple dates in April, September and October 2024; there are also sailings in March, April, September and October 2025. The voyages will sail between Portland, Oregon, and Clarkston, Washington.

Complementing the itinerary will be gourmet Pacific Northwest cuisine and more than 40 regional wines curated by an onboard culinary team. All ingredients will be sourced from within 250 miles of the ship's route. A naturalist, historian and geologist will be on hand to guide you on excursions by foot, kayak, Zodiac and jet boat.

Off-ship experiences include sampling local beer and oysters in Astoria, Oregon; visiting Multnomah Falls or hiking Beacon Rock; and having a private vineyard visit and downtown wine walk in Walla Walla, Washington.

These sailings occur on two identical Lindblad ships: the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Lion and National Geographic Sea Bird.

American Cruise Line's 15-night Grand Ohio River Cruise

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Did you know that you can cruise from Pittsburgh to St. Louis? If exploring the central U.S. — Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri — without driving is appealing, consider the 15-night Grand Ohio River Cruise offered by American Cruise Lines. You'll enjoy regionally inspired dining and eclectic landmarks along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers as you sail.

Over two weeks, you'll visit Native American burial grounds and archeological sites in West Virginia and learn about the underground railroad in Ohio. You can taste bourbon and explore the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory or the Kentucky Derby Museum & Horse Park in Louisville. Take time to appreciate American artistry at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky. Rest up from your portside adventures during five days of scenic river cruising.

This itinerary is available from June to August 2024, 2025 and 2026 on the 180-passenger modern river ship American Melody and the 150-passenger paddlewheeler American Heritage.

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Explore America’s Most Iconic Waterways With the 5 Best U.S. River Cruises

Discover natural and cultural treasures close to home.

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You don't need to fly to Europe for a river cruise, with new ships and routes creating even more options right here in the United States. Some of the most scenic itineraries traverse the Mississippi, Hudson, Columbia, and Snake rivers, showcasing natural, cultural, and historical attractions along the way. Passengers can visit wineries in Washington, taste Creole cuisine in New Orleans, or learn about the Siege of Vicksburg right where it happened.

On these voyages, you'll sail with anywhere from 100 to 400 other guests aboard either modern riverboats or classic paddle wheelers that hearken back to a different time. Like their European counterparts, river cruises in the U.S. typically package everything at a single price, including staterooms, meals, guest lectures and enrichment programs, entertainment, and most shore excursions. Some even include pre-cruise hotel stays.

Here are five river cruises that will show you the U.S. in a whole new light.

American Cruise Lines’ Music Cities Cruise from Memphis to Nashville

It's hard to choose from American Cruise Lines' 35 itineraries. For arts and culture lovers, the eight-day Music Cities Cruise along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Cumberland rivers presents an opportunity to visit several charming cities and towns in the South. The itinerary is offered on four different 180-passenger ships, including the American Serenade and the classic American Splendor paddle wheeler.

Taylor McIntyre/Travel + Leisure

The voyage begins in Memphis, where passengers can visit the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, take in a show at one of the nightclubs along legendary Beale Street, or tour Elvis Presley's mansion, Graceland. After a day of cruising, the ship stops at Paducah, Kentucky, where you can admire the more than 50 murals on the floodwall along Water Street before exploring the National Quilt Museum. The next day, the ship travels through the Barkley Lock and past the stunning coves and limestone bluffs of the Cumberland River's Lake Barkley– a view best enjoyed from the balcony of your stateroom. In Dover, Tennessee, guests visit historic Fort Donelson National Park and learn about the garrison's role during the Civil War. The next day, passengers can tour the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center and Fort Defiance in Clarksville, Tennessee, and cap off the experience with a whiskey tasting at Old Glory Distilling Co. The voyage ends in Nashville, where you can stroll along historic Lower Broadway, visit museums dedicated to Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, and take in a Grand Ole Opry show. 

American Queen Voyages' Upper Mississippi Cruise from St. Louis to Minneapolis

History buffs will love this nine-day cruise along the Upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers aboard American Queen Voyages' 245-passenger American Countess paddle wheeler. The itinerary offers guests a chance to explore the idyllic river towns that inspired the Father of American Literature.

After departing St. Louis, the cruise arrives in Alton, Illinois, where guests can play golf on championship courses, explore the National Great Rivers Museum , or just stroll around the town's historic districts. Day three brings passengers further upriver to Mark Twain's hometown of Hannibal, Missouri, from which the author drew inspiration for several of his novels. On day four, the ship stops at Bettendorf, Iowa, for a hop-on hop-off tour of museums, artist studios, the German American Heritage Center , and the Quad City Botanical Center . In Dubuque, Iowa, guests can take a ride on the Fenelon Place Elevator, billed as "the world's steepest, shortest scenic railway". Day nine, finds the the ship at La Crosse, Wisconsin, famous for its rugged terrain and breathtaking vistas. The final port is Red Wing, Minnesota, home to beautifully preserved artisan workshops, factories, and pioneer-era architecture. After disembarking, passengers can explore nearby Minneapolis before going home.

American Cruise Lines’ Hudson River Fall Foliage Cruise

This eight-day fall foliage-themed cruise takes leaf peeping to a new level. The round-trip voyage out of New York City takes nature lovers through the heart of the Hudson Valley  –  swathed every fall in a blanket of bright orange, red, and yellow. Whether you sail on the classic 48-stateroom American Star or the 100-passenger American Eagle , you'll enjoy a stunning display of colors from the comfort of your balcony. On shore, you’ll have the opportunity to hike to the highest waterfall in the Empire State , walk across the longest pedestrian bridge in the world , and visit the homes of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park and author Washington Irving in Sleepy Hollow.

Viking Cruises’ New Orleans & Southern Charms Lower Mississippi Cruise

This eight-day round-trip cruise takes in historic estates, military sites, and comunities bursting with Cajun and Creole culture. After departing New Orleans, the Viking Mississippi stops in the Louisiana towns of Darrow and St. Francisville, which boast Greek Revival mansions, Spanish moss-draped avenues, and even a haunted house . Day four brings travelers to the oldest city on the river, Natchez, Mississippi, home to a rich African American heritage . The next day, guests can learn about one of the most consequential battles of the Civil War at Vicksburg National Military Park before setting sail for the vibrant capital city of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The ship then returns to New Orleans, where guests can stay longer or catch a flight home.

Courtesy of Viking

UnCruise Adventures’ Rivers of Adventure & Wine Columbia and Snake River Cruise

Spotting wildlife and sipping wine go hand-in-hand on this UnCruise Adventures expedition around the Pacific Northwest. The seven-night round-trip journey from Portland isn't your typical leisure cruise. Instead, passengers get to go on rainforest hikes, rafting adventures, winery visits, and scenic kayaking excursions through dramatic canyons.

After the champagne departure from Portland and a stop at Astoria, Oregon, the ship passes through the Columbia River Gorge. Passengers can disembark for a guided hike, then return for a wine tasting with the ship's sommelier. The gourmand adventures continue with an excursion to Walla Walla, Washington, which includes visits to olive oil makers, chocolatiers, and family-owned wine cellars. Day five begins at the mouth of the Palouse River, where guests can kayak or paddleboard. The next day, passengers can visit Columbia Hills State Park and Rowena Plateau on foot or by skiff boat while enjoying river dips, farm-to-fork delights, and a wine tour and tasting. Guests then disembark at The Dalles, Oregon, for whitewater rafting or a relaxing winery tour. The adventure ends with a farewell dinner back at Portland.

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River cruising has become popular with travelers who enjoy a more intimate cruising experience, typically catering to adults and baby boomers. Be prepared to be taken into ancient towns and marketplaces that were historically built around rivers, that you wouldn’t be able to experience by foot or with larger cruise lines. Visit the Danube and Rhine in Europe, the Volga in Russia, the Mekong and Yangtze in Asia, the Nile in Egypt, or the Chobe in Africa. Choose from several major river cruise lines all featuring their own unique itineraries, including AmaWaterways, Avalon Waterways, Crystal River Cruises, Emerald Waterways, Scenic, Uniworld, and Viking River Cruises.

What draws people to river sailings is that they are typically all-inclusive, with many added amenities available for use such as bicycles and Nordic walking sticks. River cruising is the easiest way to visit a new place every day, without having to think about the logistics involved with packing, unpacking, and checking into hotels. You can relax in your comfortable surroundings, dine al fresco, or enjoy a glass of regional wine or beer as you take in the divine scenery. Shore excursions are not only included with your cruise but are also hosted by expert English-speaking local guides who enthusiastically share their passion and insight.

River ships are also typically smaller in size, averaging at about 150 guests. The biggest river vessel you’ll find is the 296-passenger Victoria Jenna, which sails along the Yangtze River in China. However, beyond their capacity, what makes them so intimate is the fact that they voyage through the heart of quaint towns where you can experience insightful encounters with local cultures and heritage. Most of the fine cuisine onboard is prepared with local ingredients, as well as regional specialties that are often featured. Dine with likeminded passengers while enjoying local talent every night, as well as shore excursions that take you to the region's finest vineyards, patisseries, markets, or iconic venues.

Navigate historic byways and waters, as you experience truly authentic cultures; and make lasting friendships, both onboard and on shore.

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21 Day Morocco, Egypt and Jordan Tour

"Exploring the vibrant markets of Marrakech, marveling at Egypt's iconic pyramids, and discovering the ancient wonders of Petra in Jordan made for an enriching experience." Marize, traveled in March 2024

Legendary Rhine Cruise (Amsterdam-Mainz) MS Crucevita Tour

Legendary Rhine Cruise (Amsterdam-Mainz) MS Crucevita

"The food was great, the tours and tour guides were knowledgeable, and the service staff on the boat were amazing!" Elaine, traveled in October 2019

Coaster Charm & Mekong Adventure: Vietnam & Cambodia - 17 Days Tour

Coaster Charm & Mekong Adventure: Vietnam & Cambodia - 17 Days

"The private part of the tour was as per normal private tours, the group tour was in my opinion exceptionly bad." Robert, traveled in April 2024

River Cruise Tour Reviews

I don't normally leave reviews but this tour has been so so fantastic I feel compelled to! Every little detail was in hand such as umbrellas for the heat, free water during tours, ensuring the horses pulling our occasional caridges were well fed, and getting us to the best attractions early in fast transport so we often had the temples to ourselves for fantastic photos! Our guide Anas is a fountain of knowledge, friendly and funny and I really appreciated his 'pre tours' en route in the minibuses aircon so we spent less time baking under the heat and could then see all the special features of each temple that couldn't be found anywhere else with full explanations on site, I would have missed all these details on my own. Other tour groups were congregated at the entrance but we zipped past and these touches of local knowledge to increase our comfort were spot on. I feel the tour company really went above and beyond to make this trip smooth, action packed and incredible! Abu simbel, valley of the workers and habu temple were amazing to see (and I wouldn't have known to visit the last 2 without the companies advice and they turned out to be my favourite). The cruise was fantastic with wonderful facilities (very cold aircon which was a superb respite). My every need has been catered for by the lovely staff and I had real princess treatment (along with everyone else on board) which made the trip all the more special. I've been able to totally relax and have immensely enjoyed my 'once in a lifetime' trip to Egypt which is now my first trip, as I will definitely be back with this company! * Tips and attraction prices aren't included as these are subjective and prices change, but if you get some small notes beforehand you will have a great time immersing yourself in the culture and will have your every need catered for! Also I found Egyptian humour to be quite sarcastic so once I realised I was laughing and having the best time!!
I was very impressed with Gateway Egypt and their tour of Egypt. They were attentive to the needs of us tourists, offering to help exchange money and tailoring to our needs. I broke my sunglasses during one of he many security checks and the driver bought me a tube of superglue so I could repair them. Abdul, Ahmet, and Mahmood were very knowledgeable and friendly and Mahmood gave one of our members a bracelet she had been looking for that he was wearing. We were all touched by this generosity.
Holiday in Egypt is quite a good agency, taking care of all the tourist requests and it felt the whole time completely comfortable and honest with the agency and our tour guide Hasan, who also did an awesome job. We had the situation that our taxi driver didn't come to the pick up time in cairo for the airport transfers, informing the agency via a whatsapp call at 5am in the morning was enough and they quickly organized a new driver - later it turned out the first driver had an emergency. Compared to other tours this might be a little bit more expensive, but in general you choose quality and don't have to think about anything. I completely recommend the tour and the experience and also recommend Hasan our guide who was funny, took time to explain everything in an understandable and memorizable way and contributed the this enjoyable stay.

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The cruise industry's greatest success story in the past two decades has been the surge in growth and popularity of river cruises. With an ever increasing number of new river cruise lines and river boats introduced, and river cruise companies adding new itineraries to more destinations, coupled with the ever expanding interest in river cruises by the traditional ocean cruising population looking for something new, many more lucky travelers are able to enjoy the more intimate, immersive and attentive experience that river cruises bring to the world!

River cruising is a type of travel that involves navigating a river on a small, often luxurious, ship. Unlike ocean cruises, river cruises take passengers on journeys through inland waterways, such as the Danube, Rhine, Nile, Yangtze, Mekong, and many other rivers around the world. River cruises typically offer a more intimate and relaxed experience than ocean cruises, with smaller ships and fewer passengers. The itineraries often focus on exploring smaller towns and cities along the river, allowing passengers to get a closer look at the local culture and history. This can include visits to historical landmarks, museums, and cultural sites, as well as opportunities to sample local food and wine. River cruises often include a variety of amenities and services, such as fine dining, entertainment, educational lectures, and excursions. Some river cruises are all-inclusive, while others offer optional add-ons for certain activities or services. River cruising has become a popular way to explore Europe, Asia, and other regions of the world, with many cruise lines offering a wide variety of itineraries and ship sizes to suit different preferences and budgets.

With so many River Cruise Companies vying for this ever increasing number of passengers, each claiming to be the best option in the Budget, First Class or Deluxe categories, it has becomes quite difficult for travelers to know which is the best River Cruise Company, River Boat, Destination or Itinerary for them! Without years of experience and the knowledge and access to information that those years bring, consumers run the risk of paying more than they need to, or getting less than they expected to!

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In fact, we guarantee that, at the time of your river cruise reservation, you will never pay more than if you booked it yourself directly! In addition to absolutely NOT paying more using our services, for over 80% of our reservations, our customers pay less, sometimes much less, than if they booked it themselves!

So, please, look around, get some ideas, and whenever you feel ready for some assistance, simply fill out the River Cruise Quote Request Form. You will enjoy exceptional value when you book your discount river cruises and discount luxury cruises with RiverCruiseLines.com. Act now for the best deals on Yangtze River Cruises, Nile River Cruises, Europe River Cruises or Mississippi River Cruises and sail away with bonus offers such as free onboard spending and free upgrades. Plus, discount river cruises include all meals, accommodations, and countless onboard activities. Discount river cruises are the way to save — plan your cruise vacation of a lifetime before these phenomenal river cruise deals are gone.

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RIVERS UPDATE - River cruises continue to be discontinued until further notice on all rivers of the Ukraine and Russia.


RIVER CRUISE specialist!!!

A river cruise specialist can be a valuable resource for anyone who is considering a river cruise anywhere in the world! Often selling at group discounted prices, which can save you hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, they can help maximize the value of any budget to add days to your river cruise vacation, upgrade your experience, or both!

Here are some ways in which they can help

Knowledge of destinations.

River Cruise Specialists have extensive knowledge about the different river cruise destinations available worldwide. They can provide information on the various ports of call, cultural attractions, and local experiences that each destination has to offer. This information can help you make an informed decision about which river cruise itinerary will best suit your interests and preferences.

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River Cruise Specialists can provide information about the different river cruise lines and ships that service various destinations worldwide. They can help you choose the best cruise line for your specific needs, taking into account your budget, travel style, and desired level of comfort.

Experience and Advice

River Cruise Specialists the experience and expertise to provide valuable advice on how to get the best value for your river cruise dollar. They can offer insider deals, promotions, and discounts, as well as provide guidance on how to choose the right cabin category and when to book.


River Cruise Specialists can help you customize your river cruise experience, tailoring it to your specific interests and preferences. They can help you choose the right shore excursions, onboard activities, and dining experiences to ensure that your river cruise is a truly personalized and memorable experience.

River Cruise Specialists can help you navigate the wide range of options available for worldwide river cruises, providing you with the knowledge, expertise, and advice you need to make an informed decision and get the best value for your river cruise dollar.

Don’t make a costly mistake by booking online or direct. Only a live, experienced River Cruise Specialist can provide the personalized service, experience, access to proprietary pricing, and knowledge of all amenities on the different lines, and ships – and can help compare multiple options! They can also provide additional travel arrangements, such as airfare, travel insurance, pre or post cruise stays and local excursions.

Plus, getting your river cruise booked is only the core part of the process for a successful, less stressful vacation experience. Advice and assistance with your river cruise travel document requirements, travel safety, health requirements, luggage delivery and all other concierge services can best be provided by a River Cruise Specialist!

Completing our River Cruise Quote Request form is the first step to getting true expert advice.. We have been selling, and sailing, river cruises since 1984. We can help you find what is right for you! For avid river cruisers, please join our mailing list, as we will soon be announcing special, Concierge escorted river cruises for those traveling single, with special needs, 55+, and niche cruises for wildlife viewing experiences, Food & Wine, and more!

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Great Lakes Cruises

On our unique Great Lakes tour boats, you will traverse great depths, watch the sun rise and set over distant horizons and learn compelling details about the region — both on- and offshore. Along the way, enjoy stops at local wineries, historic lighthouses, museums, aquariums, renowned restaurants and so much more! Niagara Great Lakes Cruise As you’ll discover when you click on the individual Great Lakes cruises listed below, each and every one of our trips has something to write home about.

With our Niagara and the Great Lakes trip , for example, you can write about the sheer volume of water cascading over the world-famous Niagara Falls. (For the record, more than 3,000 tons of water cascade over the falls every second!) The roar can be heard for miles, and you’ll have a front-row seat to this magnificent natural wonder.

Or a bird’s eye view if you opt for the helicopter .

And that’s just the beginning! What follows is a trip that comprises eight days and seven nights of splendor aboard the sleek, modern Viking Octantis . Your cross-two-countries trip will include visits to Point Pelee, Ontario, Detroit, Michigan, the Thunder Bay National Maritime Sanctuary, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where you’ll disembark.

Intrigued? There’s more where that trip came from. USA River Cruises offers a multitude of Great Lakes cruises — something for every taste. Chicago to New York City Great Lakes Cruise Our Great American Waterways: Chicago to NYC trip is a case in point. Onboard the Grand Caribe , which was refurbished in 2009 and carries 84 passengers, you’ll have a grand time cruising across several great lakes. Starting in the Windy City, you’ll traverse Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. You’ll even get a taste of life on the famous Erie Canal and the Hudson River as you wind your way toward the Atlantic Ocean.

This cruise takes its time: 16 days and 15 nights, to be exact. With scenery that rivals any in North America, you’ll see vast cityscapes and picturesque villages in abundance.

Stops include Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Mackinac Island, Michigan, where horse-drawn carriages are likely the only traffic you’ll see, and Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The itinerary also includes Buffalo, New York, Rochester, New York, and finally New York City. We promise you’ll be a changed person once you disembark in the Big Apple. Seeing the country from a USA River Cruise is a special kind of experience, after all. USA River Cruises: Great Lakes Cruises That’s just two of our exciting cruises. There’s so much to explore, and we try to design cruise itineraries that make time for both natural and manmade wonders.

Give us a call today to get started on your own Great Lakes Cruise adventure!

Niagara & the Great Lakes-Viking Polaris

Toronto to Milwaukee

  • September 17, 2024, September 24, 2024, May 5, 2025 -- 7 more dates available.
  • From $6,295
  • Viking Polaris

St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes

Quebec City, QC to Milwaukee, WI

  • September 20, 2024, September 19, 2025
  • From $13,060

Great Lakes Explorer

Toronto, ON to Duluth, MN

  • June 28, 2024, June 29, 2024
  • From $11,580

Longitudinal World Cruise IV

Milwaukee, WI to Ushuaia, Argentina

  • September 15, 2025
  • From $44,995
  • Viking Octantis

Great Lakes Collection

Duluth, MN to Toronto, ON

  • July 6, 2024, July 20, 2024, August 1, 2024 -- 9 more dates available.
  • From $14,495

Viking Great Lakes Explorer

Milwaukee to Thunder Bay

  • June 27, 2024, July 11, 2024, September 3, 2024 -- 3 more dates available.
  • From $6,995

Undiscovered Great Lakes

Thunder Bay to Milwaukee

  • July 4, 2024, July 18, 2024, September 10, 2024 -- 3 more dates available.

Niagara & the Great Lakes-Viking Octantis

  • June 29, 2024, July 25, 2024, August 27, 2024 -- 12 more dates available.

Canadian Discovery

New York to Toronto

  • August 3, 2024, August 15, 2024, April 11, 2025 -- 1 more date available.
  • From $10,995

7-Night Great Lakes & Georgian Bay Cruise

Milwaukee to Toronto

  • August 15, 2024, August 22, 2024
  • From $6,480

Great Lakes and Georgian Bay Cruise

  • July 13, 2024, July 24, 2024, August 4, 2024 -- 2 more dates available.
  • From $9,160
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Last Minute River Cruise Deals

Are you looking to book a river cruise that departs in the next couple of months? Then, taking advantage of our last minute river cruise deals is one way to save on the price of your voyage. It's important to remember that, as most people book river cruises months, if not years, in advance, the choice of last-minute sailings may be very limited.

If you're able to be flexible about the dates you travel, the river cruise line, and which river you journey down, then you can find amazing late river cruise deals by booking at the last minute. Whether you’re looking for a cruise down the Rhone on a Europe river cruise or spending nights on the Nile while enjoying a beautiful Africa river cruise , you can find amazing last minute river cruise deals at RiverVoyages.com. 

Late River Cruise Deals

Many river cruise lines offer last minute deals for early bookers in the form of discounts. These amazing deals can come in the form of free spending money or free extras such as chauffeur transfers. Booking your river cruise as early as possible while these promotions are available is one way to grab a fantastic deal.

When you book early with us, you'll get the best pick of ships and cabins. However, if you've left it late to book, you may not qualify for free added extras, but by taking advantage of our last minute river cruise deals, you might find that some of the remaining cabins are available at a heavily discounted price.

Take Advantage of Cancellations

There will be times when passengers will be forced to cancel their booking if they can no longer travel. Booking a river cruise cancellation allows you to enjoy amazing river cruises at heavily discounted prices. When cabins become available on short notice, they tend to be snapped up quickly, so make sure that you move fast and book your dream river cruise for a fraction of the price. Enjoy some amazing destinations when you take advantage of our European river cruise deals .

Destinations for Last Minute River Cruises

The time of year can affect which river cruise destinations are available at the last minute. For example, in Europe, river cruises generally don't sail in winter as the weather can be very cold. There are still some winter river cruises , but you will find that most lines use this time to refurbish the ships. Similarly, in Asia, you may find that there are no river cruises available at certain times of the year due to water levels. But our Asia river cruises are incredibly popular when available. Our European river cruise deals can see you sailing some of the continent's most iconic rivers for a fraction of the price. Journey down the Danube or soak up the history that flows through the Rhine on our Germany river cruise . 

Find River Cruise Deals at RiverVoyages.com

River cruising is becoming increasingly popular, and as such, river cruise ships are becoming booked up further and further in advance. Many people are struggling to find last minute river cruises and are opting to book instead for a 2025 river cruise . If you too decide to go down this route but still want to experience a 2024 river cruise , then make sure to keep an eye out for any last minute river cruise deals.     If you are seeking travel advice or simply need to ask any questions about our last minute river cruise deals, then be sure to contact us , call our freephone service at 0800 1970854, or email us at [email protected] .  

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Showing 25 out of 881 cruises.


featured cruise

Rhine-Main Discovery

Sailing Date : 03 Aug 2024

World-class fleet of contemporary floating boutique hotels

Save up to 35% on 2024 Europe River Cruises

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Was £3470pp

Fly Cruise From £1775pp


Active & Discovery on the Danube (Westbound)

Sailing Date : 27 Aug 2024

Call now for the best flight inclusive prices!

Gratuities and a choice of daily excursions are included

Avalon Panorama Suites are thirty percent larger than the industry standard

cheapest river cruises usa

Was £3977pp

Fly Cruise From £1583pp


Burgundy, the River Rhône and Provence River Cruise - MS William Shakespeare

Sailing Date : 22 Aug 2024

Rhone, Saone

FREE Superior drinks package worth £400pp per week - Available on all 2024 and 2025 European river cruises!

Award-winning European river cruises include everything you need for an exceptional experience.

Delicious full board dining, plus Captain's Dinner

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Was £1999pp

Fly Cruise From £1919pp


The Seine, Paris and Normandy River Cruise - MS Jane Austen

Sailing Date : 02 Aug 2024

Was £3249pp

Fly Cruise From £3119pp


Melodies of the Danube

Sailing Date : 26 Jun 2024

Award-Winning Included Dining Experiences

Up to £1,500 cruise savings per person PLUS Complimentary Stateroom Upgrade PLUS up to €50 Onboard Credit per person

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Was £3750pp

Fly Cruise From £3600pp


Vida Portugal: Vineyards & Villages Along the Douro

Was £4437pp

Cruise Only From £4260pp


Best of Holland & Belgium

Dutch Waterway

Was £3525pp

Fly Cruise From £3384pp


Vineyards Of The Rhine & Moselle

Rhine, Moselle

Was £3375pp

Fly Cruise From £3240pp


From Romania to the North Sea

Danube, Rhine

Was £9553pp

Cruise Only From £9171pp


Jewels of Europe

Save up to 35%* plus return flights included^ + free private door-to-door chauffeur transfers^ on select itineraries. NOT COMBINABLE WITH BEST AVAILABLE SUITE PROMOTION -T&C's apply

Truly all-inclusive luxury

cheapest river cruises usa

Was £3499pp

Fly Cruise From £3359pp


Jewels of Europe with Prague

Was £6176pp

Fly Cruise From £5929pp


Authentic Danube

Save up to £2,500pp on Selected Sailings

Includes flights & overseas transfers

FREE door-to-door airport transfers in the UK on 2024 sailings* *Maximum 60 miles from home to the chosen airport additional miles will be payable

cheapest river cruises usa

Was £3999pp

Fly Cruise From £3839pp


Lyon, Provençal Rhône & the Camargue River Cruise - MS Lord Byron

Sailing Date : 27 Jun 2024

Was £3449pp

Fly Cruise From £3311pp


Was £2749pp

Fly Cruise From £2639pp


The Blue Danube River Cruise - MS Thomas Hardy

Was £2549pp

Fly Cruise From £2447pp


Flavors of Burgundy

Was £4278pp

Fly Cruise From £4107pp


Taste of Bordeaux

Was £4728pp

Fly Cruise From £4539pp


Paris & Normandy

Was £5103pp

Fly Cruise From £4899pp


Colors of Provence

Was £4126pp

Fly Cruise From £3961pp


Danube Delights

Was £2049pp

Fly Cruise From £1967pp


Gems of the Danube


The Moselle, Luxembourg & the Majestic Rhine River Cruise - MS Geoffrey Chaucer

Sailing Date : 28 Jun 2024

Was £3199pp

Fly Cruise From £3071pp


Gems of the Seine & Jewels of Europe

Was £11890pp

Fly Cruise From £11414pp


Unforgettable Douro with Madrid

Was £5241pp

Fly Cruise From £5031pp


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