August 07, 2022

The 10 Best River Cruise Ships, According to USA Today Readers

From the Seine to the Danube, the Mekong to the Chobe, the world’s great rivers have become a hot spot for cruising over the last decade. Riverboats serve as floating hotels, allowing passengers to unpack once and explore an entire region, making them a popular choice for vacations. To find the best river cruise ships, 10Best invited a panel of experts to help choose the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

No. 10: Viking Hlin - Viking River Cruises
The Viking Hlin out of Amsterdam cruises the Rhine in style. Built in 2014 with accommodations for 190 passengers, the ship features an open-air cafe on the bow, as well as a top deck that runs the ship's entire length with plenty of lounging options and the chef's herb garden. The dining room boasts floor-to-ceiling windows to soak up the views during breakfast, lunch and dinner. Besides plenty of excursions, you'll enjoy lectures by professors at European universities and hands-on cooking and craft demonstrations.

No. 9: S.S. Joie de Vivre - Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
Sailing the rivers of France, the S.S. Joie de Vivre is adorned with original artwork, antiques and handcrafted furnishings. Cuisine is where the ship truly shines, with an onboard sommelier and Parisian-style sidewalk cafe.

No. 8: S.S. Maria Theresa - Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
S.S. Maria Theresa, an ultra-luxe Uniworld Super Ship, sails along the Rhine, Main and Danube Rivers. With only 150 passengers, the small vessel boasts big ship amenities, including a fitness center, enclosed heated swimming pool, spa, salon and a cinema for onboard movie screenings. All-inclusive fares cover meals, beverages and Wi-Fi.

No. 7: S.S. Beatrice - Uniworld Boutique River Cruises
The S.S. Beatrice combines Old World elegance with modern amenities. The vessel is adorned with yacht-style light wood, marble and parquet floors, a grand nickel-and-black-iron staircase and pieces of art from Picasso, Signoretto and Calder. Guests enjoy four dining options, solar shades and plentiful USB ports to keep devices charged and ready to go ashore.

No. 6: American Heritage - American Cruise Lines
Harking back to the Mississippi River's legendary paddle steamer, American Heritage is a five-deck vessel designed to accommodate 150 passengers. American Heritage makes seven-night excursions between New Orleans and Memphis, 10-night excursions between New Orleans and St. Louis, or 10-night excursions between St. Louis and Pittsburgh. Most cabins have balconies with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, but the best seats are on the Sky Lounge on the top deck, where you can just sit and watch the river flow.

No. 5: ms Joy - Tauck
The 130-passenger ms Joy cruises the Danube River with the best space-to-guest ratio in Europe. Launched in 2016, the ship features spacious cabins with French balconies, a glass-and-marble reception area and a top deck outfitted with a whirlpool and small putting green. Everything is included, including Wi-Fi, shore excursions and excellent cuisine.

No. 4: Viking Einar - Viking River Cruises
This river ship gets its name from the Norse Earl of Orkney and sails on the Rhine and through Dutch Low Countries. Guests stay in one of 95 staterooms; suites offer two full-size rooms with both a veranda and a balcony.

No. 3: American Song - American Cruise Lines
One of America’s first modern riverboats, American Song carries 184 guests. Amenities include a four-story glass-enclosed atrium, lounges 40 feet above the water, spacious suites and more windows than just about any other riverboat, so stellar views are all but guaranteed.

No. 2: AmaMagna - AmaWaterways
The pet project of AmaWaterways’ co-founder, co-owner and President Rudi Schreiner, AmaMagna ranks among the biggest river ships – twice as wide as its competitors. Guests enjoy suites with balconies, and the choice of four onboard restaurants, all included. The Zen Wellness Studio features a spacious fitness center with daily wellness programming.

No. 1: Avalon Envision - Avalon Waterways
The newest addition to the Avalon Waterways fleet debuted in 2019. Two decks of Panorama Suites offer wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows and window-facing “Beds with a View.” Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi access, a fitness center and adventure center for bikes and other gear, multiple dining venues and an observation lounge.

Copyright 2022 USA TODAY. All rights reserved. From By Camille Fine.

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