5 Best River Cruises In The World For An Unforgettable Vacation

Luxury cruise ship sailing on a river in Europe

In the past few years, river cruising has exploded in terms of popularity. Today, we know the reason behind the same. You can simply check-in, unpack, relax, and let your mini sailing hotel take you out on a journey of a lifetime on some of the greatest waterways in the world. 


The best river cruises in the world take you to places you never thought of visiting ever, from the countryside of Europe to vineyards in France, to Amazonian villages, Cambodian farms, and Hungarian castles with scrumptious wine-soaked meals. All you have to do is get on board a dream cruise, a river cruise, and step into an unforgettable journey with luxury and grandeur. 


Though not as grand as regular vacation cruises, river cruises have their delicate charm. Explore the gracious pace of the following top 5 best river cruises in the world and indulge in fine dining, thought-provoking travel lectures, stately accommodations, and much more.


1. Travel through the heart of America with the Mississippi River Cruise 


Mississippi River Cruise ship


The fourth-longest river in the world, Mississippi, goes right through the heart of America, giving you a chance to indulge in the panoramic landscape views of the breathtaking locales on your way. In fact, it was this view that inspired the works of Mark Twain. 


You can cruise on the upper Mississippi, middle, and lower stretch of the river. Therefore, your itinerary could take you from St. Paul, Minnesota to Memphis, Tennessee, to St. Louis, Missouri, and finally to New Orleans, Louisiana. 


You could also simply cruise the entire stretch aboard a three-week cruise on the American Queen Steamboat Cruise company, which starts in New Orleans. Passengers on this river cruise line get a chance to explore the gorgeous plantations, the French Quarter, the charming and dainty river town of Natchez in Mississippi, along with Graceland. You can also see the birthplace of Mark Twain. 


In the final stages of the cruise, you can stop and indulge in the beauty of Iowa, Wisconsin, and then come back to St. Paul.


Learn About: Top 10 Tips Every First-Time Cruiser Must Know


2. Get closer to nature and wildlife with the Amazon River Cruise. 


Amazon River Cruise ship


The mightiest river on this planet, The Amazon, accounts for over 4,300 miles through upper South America. The Amazon rainforest is spread across 1.4 billion acres, housing at least one in ten species on Earth. It is, however, extremely easy to explore all the natural wonders on a comfortable Amazon River Cruise. 


Most of these river cruises often depart from either Peru and sail through the Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve, home to egrets, squirrels, monkeys, macaws, caimans, and pink dolphins. 


If you are looking to go down this path, look for a cruise that offers you various opportunities to explore the natural wonders either on foot or kayaking! The chance to visit the indigenous villages there is something you should never turn down. 


For a memorable experience with Seabourn, you get to travel from Buenos Aires to the Amazon, reaching Manaus, Brazil, in 21 days. 


The Amazon River Cruises are fantastic for people seeking adventure and love wildlife and are looking to get lost in nature. 


3. Explore Castles, Fireworks, and more on the Rhine River Cruise 


Rhine River Cruise ship


The classic and pristine European river cruises, a trip down the leisure lane, Rhine River Cruise is notably one of the best river cruises in the world. The cruise flows from the Swiss Alps to the Netherlands. Their popular itineraries take you from Amsterdam to Germany, France to Basel, Switzerland. 


On your way to these breathtaking locations, you will be welcomed by a 700-year-old Marksburg Castle, the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, and the gothic Colognes cathedral. 


Rhine River Cruise is extremely popular, especially during celebratory times of Rhine In Flames between May and September. The history behind the celebrations being five German towns throwing huge celebrations with music, wine, fireworks, and dancing. 


The Rhine River Cruise also visits the Christmas markets of Heidelberg, Strasbourg, Rdesheim Koblenz, and Cologne in December, where you can get your hands on the best ornaments, craft items, toys, and some hot mulled wine. 


Rhine River Cruise is perfect for people who are born shoppers and are romantic at heart. 


4. Indulge in cultural richness with the Mekong River Cruise


Mekong River Cruise ship


Mekong River Cruises takes you through the heart of Vietnam, from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap in Cambodia, getting you closer to buzzing cities, contrasting cultural richness, quiet rice paddies, war memorials, and ancient temples. 


Mekong River Cruises by Avalon Waterways emphasizes more on taking you in the interiors of the citys culture, helping you explore local farmers, workers, and artisans, along with ox-cart rides.


Most of the Mekong River Cruises take you through the history of suffering inflicted on Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge Regime, the baffling horrors Vietnam saw during the war, and much more. Their itineraries are completely dependent on shifting water levels, wherein the low-water sails end up in Phnom Penh, and the high-water river cruises end in Siem Reap.  


This river cruise is best for travelers interested in spending time knowing the local cultures and history. 


5. Sail in luxury with the Rhone River Cruise 


Rhone River Cruise


Rhone River Cruise departs from Switzerland, flowing southwest into Lyon, finally ending its journey in the Mediterranean Sea. Most of these cruises have a 7-night long-planned itinerary, taking you through vineyards, lavender fields, and the charms of cities Arles, Viviers, and Avignon. 


The cruise allows you to stop, get off-board to shop, and have a sip and taste of the delicious food and delectable wines around the towns. A few cruise itineraries also help you indulge in special experiences, like Tauck, which takes you to private ranches in La Camargue to spend some time in the fields with iconic white horses, cowboys, and black bulls. On the other hand, the Vikings cruise helps you hunt down the best truffles, takes you through the lavender farms, and educates you on how the chvre cheese is made. 


Therefore, the Rhone River Cruise is one of the best river cruises in the world for people who love food, wine, and luxury.


And with this, we complete our overview of the best river cruises in the world. For travelers, a cruise often conjures up an image of huge ships, often Titanic-like, lumbering from one wave to the next, of course not the same fate! However, there is so much more to cruises than grand and luxurious cruise ships. River cruises offer the intimacy and closeness that people today are looking for, indulge and spend time with their loved ones, or just with nature on a solo river cruise vacation. Leisure Travel Guide recommends this once-in-a-lifetime experience aboard a river cruise as your next vacation plan. 

Happy Sailing to you! 


Tour Price

Our private tours typically range from $500 - $1000 per person/per night depending on chosen hotels and room categories, vehicles used, types of tours, flight cost, time of year and other factors. Make an inquiry for a customized trip quote.

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