River Cruising Guide

Serene sailing with up close and personal experiences.

What's New?

With river cruising being one of the fastest growing segments of the industry, changes are coming and coming quickly.  Here are some of the most recent changes:

New Ships

AmaWaterways AmaKristina

  • Launch date:  May 2017
  • Capacity:  158 passengers
  • Highlights:  Modern and advanced features; twin balconies for additional room, gourmet dining, heated sun deck, and complimentary Wi-Fi and in room internet service.
  • Sail AmaKristina along the Rhine and Danube

American Queen Steamboat Company - American Duchess

  • Launch date:  August 2017
  • Capacity:  166 passengers
  • Highlights:  All suite accommodations, included boutique hotel stays before most voyages, regionally inspired entertainment and cuisine, and included shore tours in each port
  • Sail American Duchess along the Mississippi

Tauck ms Sapphire and ms Emerald

  • Launch dates:  both April 2017
  • Capacity:  both hold 98 passengers
  • Highlights:  the first of the newly re-designed ships in Tauck's fleet,  a selection of dining options including al fresco, complimentary snacks daily, complimentary internet, and luxurious accommodations and amenities
  • Sail ms Sapphire along the Seine and the ms Emerald along the Rhone.

Uniworld Joie de Vivre

  • Launch date:  March 2017
  • Capacity:  128 passengers
  • Highlights:  Handcrafted furniture and beautiful antiques, old world charm with modern amenities, French touches on board to complement the French ports you visit, and unique dining and lounge venues.
  • Sail Joie de Vivre along the Seine.

Viking Herja and Hild

  • Launch dates:  both March 2017
  • Capacity:  both hold 190 passengers
  • Highlights:  Award winning sister ships with all outside accommodations, sun decks with unique features like the herb garden, terraces with revolutionary indoor/outdoor viewing areas, and panoramic views in the dining venues.
  • Sail both along the Rhine.

U by Uniworld:  River Cruising for the Next Generation

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is proud to announce a special new program geared for younger travelers between the ages of 18 and 40.  While it will officially kick off in early 2018, departures will be open for booking starting in 2017.

These special departures are purposely designed to allow guests to get up and personal by meeting locals, enjoying ports after-dark, with late-night shore excursions offering nightlife opportunities and later breakfast hours for those sleeping late.  Two of Uniworld’s current ships—River Baroness and River Ambassador—will get facelifts, featuring extensive renovations to appeal better to the younger demographic. Contemporary looks and feelings will be evident in all public areas and at the new communal tables in dining rooms. Onboard activities will include a new culinary program as well as creative mixologists and international DJs.  Itineraries include:

  •  Rolling on the Rhine - Amsterdam is just the beginning. On this cruise along the Rhine river, you’ll have three days to spend in this laid-back and forward-thinking Dutch hotspot, along with stops in Haarlem, Cologne, Bonn, Koblenz and Frankfurt. All in all, you’ll dine on local specialties during a U Time Dutch cheese tasting. You’ll spend several nights out on the town—Cologne’s Gothic Evening adventure is a prime example. And you’ll get your fix of famous artwork, incredible scenery and a look into Europe’s history and culture. Whatever your travel personality, this cruise is sure to please.
  • Germany's Finest - We’re just being frank here, but Frankfurt is effortlessly cool and the perfect lead in for this 8-day adventure. This booming metropolis is a concrete paradise with a unique German charm. You’ll get well acquainted during a night walk with your U hosts. Miltenberg, Würzburg, Bamberg and Nuremberg will certainly live up to the hype as well. We suggest a U Time excursion to a fairytale castle, bike trip along the Main river, getaway to the Franconian Brewery Museum and a Nuremberg culinary tour. Discover the best of Deutschland on one amazing vacation.
  • The Danube Flow - Relax. You’re cruising on the Danube, and worries don’t exist on this fine-looking waterway. Germany, Austria or Hungary? You don’t have to choose. You’ll get to explore all three on this 8-day cruise that is part small town, part big city and all parts good times. Regensburg’s Old Town has an open- air café feel and the highest density of pubs and bars in Germany (and that’s no small feat). Austria’s Wachau Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage site if we’ve ever seen one—its Benedictine Abbey houses the most famous library in Northern Europe. Hungary’s lively capital city offers double the fun, with Buda on one side and Pest on the other. And that’s just the beginning.
  • The Seine Experience - Pack your bags. You’re going to Paris. And Conflans Sainte-Honorine, Rouen, Honfleur and Vernon. It will be a week of historic sites, including Notre Dame and the Champs Elysées, late nights offering plenty of time to see a show at the Moulin Rouge, and food so delicious (read: the freshest fish, butter and cream you've ever tasted) you may be tempted to stay forever.

Adventures by Disney® - Family River Cruising

Find a magical adventure for the whole family when you go river cruising with Adventures by Disney®.  They have teamed up with AmaWaterways to offer your crew an amazing vacation loaded with special and exciting experiences for everyone.  Travel the rivers of Europe, sailing along the Rhine and Danube, stopping in fascinating destinations in the heart of Europe.

Adventure Guides sail along side you, helping you to make the most of every stop and experience.  With one guide dedicated to the younger cruisers and one dedicated to the adults, they'll bring the stories and the cultures of the area to life in a unique way you won't find anywhere else.

Cruise through the Heart of Wine Country

River cruising a great way to delve into the history and culture of some of Europe's finest wine countries.  These specially themed sailings are a delight for more than just your taste buds...your eyes will delight in the beautiful countryside dotted with vineyards and more.  Our partner, AmaWaterways, offers a nice selection of wine-themed departures.


Ready to plan your adventure?  For information and reservations:

Cruise Deals

The only way to make an amazing river cruise better is to take advantage of a value packed offer!  Check out the latest deals from our premier partners.


Offers from AmaWaterways include:

  • Save up to $1,500 per stateroom on 2017 and 2018 Wine cruises
  • Save up to $2,000 per stateroom on 2017 Holiday sailings
  • Save up to $2,000 per stateroom on 2018 Mekong or Africa sailings
  • Single supplement will be waived on select sailings

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Offers from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises include:

  • Free air from select gateways when you book a 2018 Europe Masterpiece Collection sailing
  • Save 10% with the 2018 Early Booking discount when sailing to Europe, Asia, Russia, Egypt or India
  • Reduced or waived single supplements on a variety of sailings

Viking River Cruises

Offers from Viking River Cruises®, includes:

  • 2-for-1 savings and air deals on select departures for the following itineraries - Rhine Getaway, Grand European Tour, and Danube Waltz

American Queen Steamboat Company

Offers from American Queen Steamboat Company include:

  • Save up to $1,400 per stateroom on 2017 holiday sailings
  • Save up to $2,400 per stateroom on select 2018 departures, plus enjoy $50 per stateroom onboard credit

Featured Trips

Not sure where you'd like to cruise?  May we suggest:

Christmas Markets

Re-discover the magic of the holidays when you visit the Christmas Markets throughout Europe.  These markets honor the long held tradition of folks gathering in the heart of their town to make and sell special holiday treats.  Keep cozy with warm winter drinks while you chat with locals and shop their handmade wares.  Taste the holidays with roasted nuts and other delicious goodies.  It's a great way to experience the quintessential magic of the holidays while shopping for one-of-a-kind treasures and discovering the legends behind some of our most popular holiday traditions.

Uniworld Family Cruises

Join Uniworld Boutique River Cruises on one of their specially designed family departures and treat the whole family to the river cruising experience.  These sailings feature kid friendly menus, opportunities for culinary adventures with the chef, fabulously designed activities for every age level, and so much more.  To make the experience even better, Uniworld offers discounted pricing for the younger cruisers accompanying the adults so this a very affordable vacation option.

Civil War Themed Sailings aboard American Queen Steamboat Company

Come aboard for an amazing journey through "the havoc of war and the battle's confusion" where historic skirmishes pitted brother against brother in a nation once divided. You will have the opportunity to delve into the tactics, both military and political, that shaped the events of the American Civil War and into the Mississippi River’s strategic value. Each Civil War voyage pays tribute to our American history in reminding us all of the fallen soldiers who gave their lives in a war that changed our nation. Your heart will be touched and your knowledge enriched as you capture the poignancy of it all.

Wine Cruises

AmaWaterway's themed cruises are not only a treat for the taste buds but also for the eyes as they take you through some of the most beautiful scenery wine country.  These departures include onboard lectures by experts, exclusive tours and tastings, gourmet dining with special pairings and much more.  

Imperial Jewels of China

Experience China in a unique way with Viking River Cruises.  Walk along the Great Wall and through Beijing’s old hutong neighborhoods. Contrast the stylized sculpted beasts guarding the Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs with the life-like statues of Xian’s Terra Cotta Army. Cruise between the bamboo groves and limestone pinnacles of the Yangtze’s Goddess Stream. This is the perfect introduction to China, showcasing its most important cultural centers and the mighty Yangtze.

Tips & More

River cruising is one of the fastest growing segments of the cruising industry.  If you have ever wondered about taking a river cruise but want to know more, you've come to the right place!  Peaceful and scenic, river cruising offers a gentle ride along the world’s most beautiful and fascinating rivers. Unparalleled comfort and unique conveniences make river cruising an amazing way to experience magnificent cities, historic villages and little-seen locales. 

A More Intimate Environment
Unlike most ocean cruise vessels, river cruise ships are quite small.  You'll find an intimate environment on a river cruise ship, and you will never wait in a long line to board or disembark. With only a couple of hundred passengers, you'll have more opportunity to connect with other passengers.  You'll find warm, personal touches that make your adventure even more incredible.  

Unpack Once
Visit different places while your luxury hotel travels with you! A river cruise offers the amenities of a first-class hotel without the challenge of packing and re-packing as your vacation proceeds. Discover local delights on shore then return to your floating home away from home. Relaxation comes easy, especially when you're enjoying the scenery slipping by from your balcony as you leisurely sail to your next destination.

See More. Do More.
On a river cruise, you'll visit a new port each day...sometimes more than one.  Enjoy cultural immersion and wonderful opportunities for sightseeing.  With the close proximity of ports, you can even borrow one of the onboard bicycles and pedal your way to the next stop.  What a wonderful way to explore!  But in case you're worried about there being too much, there is cruising time that allows you to sit back, relax and enjoy the amenities of your beautiful ship.

Be Right in the Heart of Things
How would you like to wake up in a new town, docked just steps from markets, museums and landmarks?  That's what you'll experience on a river cruise. Ships are able to stop close to the town center so you can easily experience each destination. Simply walk off the ship and into the heart of the city. Take a guided excursion or experience local life all on your own...or do both!

It's All about Getting More
Many of the extras that are optional on an ocean cruise are more than likely included on a river cruise.  Guided shore excursions are part of the cruise fare as are onboard dining and unlimited wine and beer.  Bicycles are available for local exploration as well as the option to bike from one port to the next.  Recommended hikes are available to encourage active exploration.  With fewer passengers, more staff is available to assist you with all your needs and there is more space in staterooms, in common areas and on deck.  

Be Comfortable
You'll find the river cruise experience to be much more laid back and relaxed than a lot of ocean cruise voyages.  There is no formal dress code, with the biggest rule of thumb is to pack layers to be prepared for possible weather changes.  There are a vew onboard events where you may like to dress up a bit, but it's not required.  Dining is open seating so you can pick your spot and your dining companions.  Because of galley size, meal times may be a bit more regimented but there are usually other options to fit your needs.

Calm Waters
Worried about seasickness?  Not likely to happen on a river cruise!  Inland waterways are notoriously calm and flat, making for very serene sailing.

Ready to go?  For more information and reservations:





Information adapted from AmaWaterways website and Cruise Critic website.

Where To Go

The world's most scenic rivers are waiting for you to come and explore!

Europe & Russia

From tulips to castles, vineyards to historic icons and everything in between, you'll find something spectacular along the rivers of Europe and Russia.  The primary rivers in Europe include the Rhine, Daunbe, Main, and Moselle; Italy's Po River and Venice Lagoon; France's Seine, Rhone, Saone, Gironde and Dordogne; and the Duoro River in Spain & Portugal.  In Russia, cruise the Volga, Suir and Neva rivers.

China, Vietnam and Cambodia

The mystery of the Far East is yours to explore...up close and personal in only the way that a river cruise can.  In China, sail the legendary Yangtze.  Fall in love with the timeless wonders of Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong River.


Sail serenely along the Chobe River in Africa.  Africa river cruises are combined with land packages to provide an amazing African experience.  With these combinations, you can also explore amazing places like Victoria Falls, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Greater Kruger National Park and more.

Myanmar & India

The treasures of Myanmar are yours to experience as you sail along the Ayeyarwady River.  This fascinating country has just recently re-opened its borders after a century old self-imposed isolation.  In nearby India, the Ganges River waits for you to come and explore.  The sites along the way are incredible...Mother Teresa’s home and tomb in Kolkata, an enormous Vedic temple, splendid garden-tombs and mosques and more.


The might Nile River is your host as you float serenely through the ancient lands of Egypt.  Explore the lands of queens and pharaohs, visiting amazing ruins, iconic locations, incredible museums and more.


You don't have to go globe trotting to experience a fun-filled river cruise.  Sail serenely along beautiful rivers right here in the USA.   Stroll through charming towns and vibrant Mississippi river cities. Explore true Americana along the Ohio, Tennessee and Cumberland river region.  Be charmed by the Northwest cruising the Columbia and Snake River region.

Cruise Partners

AAA Travel has teamed up with some of the very best river cruise travel partners to ensure you enjoy the ultimate adventure.  Each offers a unique, luxury experience as well as exclusive AAA benefits.  You'll get the best vacation at the best value.


Award-winning AmaWaterways continues to lead the river cruise industry with a fleet of custom-designed vessels in Europe, Russia, Asia and Africa. With innovative ship designs, spacious and stylish staterooms, premium amenities, exceptional cuisine and impeccable service, AmaWaterways sets new standards in river cruising year after year.  

  • Member Benefit:  Up to $300 off virtually every sailing
  • AAA Vacations® exclusive amenities:  additional savings and onboard credit on select sailings

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises invites you to experience their Hallmarks of Distinction:  luxurious ships that are works of art, inspiring destinations and itineraries, and award-winning service.  Not only do they encourage your sense of adventure, but they also care for you body and soul with their unique Wellness on the Water program.

  • Member Benefit:  up to $250 per person discount on most sailings
  • AAA Vacations exclusive amenity:  complimentary pre-cruise hotel night with private transfers on select sailings

Viking River Cruises

Viking River Cruises®, a Travel + Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler award winner, offers the best itineraries on the rivers of Europe, Russia, China and Southeast Asia. Enjoy exciting cities, rich cultural experiences, fine dining and deluxe accommodations aboard the most modern ships.

  • Member benefit:  Up to $250 per person onboard credit on most sailings


How you see the world matters... and on Tauck’s river cruises, you can expect to see the sights a bit differently than you would with anyone else. Tauck explores Europe’s great waterways from the Rhine and the Danube to the French Rivers, Rhône and Seine. The custom-designed riverboats of Tauck's Destination Fleet are spacious and comfortable, welcoming you to an onboard experience characterized by the Tauck Difference.

  • Member Benefit:  $50 off Tauck air when purchased with any Tauck departure

American Queen Steamboat Company

American Queen Steamboat Company river cruises provide the ideal vacation experience for those seeking an inclusive river cruising experience with all of the fluff and none of the hassles. When you choose a river cruise aboard the American Queen or the American Empress, you will experience an abundance of luxurious amenities along with the signature benefits. Whether you seek to explore inviting destinations of the Heartland or wish to embrace breathtaking views of the great Pacific Northwest, prepare for an unforgettable journey from the indescribable perspective of the river. Authentic America is out there just waiting to be discovered and it is unlike anything you have ever experienced before.

  • Member Benefit:  $25 per booking discount

French America LineTM, exclusively from JourneseSM

Journese is delighted to introduce the French-inspired Louisiane as the newest addition to their curated United States and Cruise portfolio. This premium boutique river cruise offers an intimate and immersive experience exploring America’s most cherished landscapes, including Tennessee’s wilderness regions, the Mississippi River and the heart of the Deep South. Geared toward the most discerning travelers who want to create treasured memories, French America Line’s Louisiane features gracefully furnished staterooms, complimentary custom-crafted shore excursions and impeccable service. Discover America’s hidden treasures and Southern hospitality in sophisticated and charming ports of call with this small–vessel cruising experience, brought to you exclusively by Journese.

  • AAA Vacations exclusive amenities  $50 discount