Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (2024)

USA TODAY 10Best

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (1)

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (2)

Experience excellence

Best River Cruise Line(2024)

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River cruising has been exploding in popularity in recent years, and it's easy to see why. You check in, unpack your bag, and let your floating hotel take you on a journey of discovery down some of the world's great waterways, with experiential guided excursions along the way.

These 10 river cruise lines have been selected by a panel of cruise industry experts and voted as the best by readers because they offer stellar experiences — both on the ship and off — from comfy staterooms and top-notch cuisine to outings that are expertly led and culturally immersive.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (3)Photo courtesy of Mark De Lira

No. 10: Amadeus River Cruises

Amadeus River Cruises takes passengers on river journeys in Europe aboard a relatively young fleet. Vessels offer complimentary bicycles for passengers to use while ashore, as well as free-flowing wine to wash down elegant five-course dinners. Shore excursions can be booked as a package or a la carte, making Amadeus one of Europe's more affordable river lines.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (4)Photo courtesy of American Queen Voyages

No. 9: American Queen Voyages

American Queen Voyages specializes in river cruising across the United States. These all-inclusive itineraries include pre-cruise hotel stays, open bars, regional cuisine, and shore excursions in each port of call. Cruisers can ply the waterways of the Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Cumberland, Tennessee, Columbia, or Snake rivers.

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Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (5)Photo courtesy of Riviera River Cruises

No. 8: Riviera River Cruises

U.K.-based Riviera River Cruises offers more than 20 itineraries throughout Europe that appeal to value-conscious travelers. The fleet of young ships features extras like tea- and coffee-making facilities in all cabins, free Wi-Fi, and Juliet balconies in some cabins, as well as fares inclusive of meals, excursions, and entertainment.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (6)Photo courtesy of American Cruise Lines

No. 7: American Cruise Lines

Guests plying America’s waterways with American Cruise Lines enjoy some of the most environmentally-friendly small ships and riverboats on the continent. Professional chefs cook up delectable meals from locally sourced ingredients, while musicians, naturalists, and historians come aboard to enhance the cruising experience. Spacious staterooms feature private balconies for stellar views no matter the destination, and there are more than 50 itineraries to choose from throughout the United States.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (7)Photo courtesy of CroisiEurope

No. 6: CroisiEurope Cruises

CroisiEurope operates 50 exclusive ships for its creative itineraries along the waterways of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Not only can passengers cruise major rivers and European coastlines, but they can also experience more intimate French canals aboard one of CroisiEurope’s fleet of 11-cabin barges.

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Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (8)Photo courtesy of Pandaw Cruises

No. 5: Pandaw Cruises

Adventurous travelers hop aboard any of Pandaw’s fleet of riverboats to cruise the waterways of Myanmar, India, Borneo, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Pandaw’s 17 boats, handcrafted in brass and teak, offer spacious promenade and observation decks for outdoor viewing, as well as expansive staterooms where every window can be opened. Local cuisine is prepared from locally sourced ingredients whenever possible.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (9)Photo courtesy of Grand Circle Cruise Line

No. 4: Grand Circle Cruise Line

A river cruise offers a unique opportunity to spend a week or more getting immersed in local culture, and Grand Circle assigns a knowledgeable guide to every one of its cruises to show guests the way to unique experiences across Europe. Special Christmas Market itineraries in Germany and Austria make Grand Circle a great off-season choice, too.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (10)Photo courtesy of Abercrombie & Kent

No. 3: Abercrombie & Kent

Abercrombie & Kent's canal and river cruising itineraries are almost totally all-inclusive, with things like gratuities, alcohol, and shore excursions coming at no extra cost. The company specializes in luxury European cruises and barging with small groups of no more than 24 guests and resident tour directors on board the chartered vessels. Abercrombie & Kent also cruises the Yangtze and the Nile.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (11)Photo courtesy of Avalon Waterways

No. 2: Avalon Waterways

River cruisers with Avalon Waterways enjoy spacious standard staterooms and suites aboard Avalon’s fleet of luxurious ships, cruising the waterways of Europe, South America, Egypt, and Southeast Asia. Onboard amenities include a fitness center, a Sky Deck with a whirlpool and shade system, free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and a self-serve beverage station.

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (12)Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises

No. 1: Viking River Cruises

Founded in 1997, Viking River Cruises plies the waterways of Europe, Asia, the U.S., and Egypt with its fleet of more than 60 vessels. While Viking has also launched an award-winning ocean cruise line, the company built its reputation in river cruising. These all-inclusive cruises feature outside staterooms, Wi-Fi, wine and beer with meals, shore excursions in every port, and cultural enrichment programs.

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Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (13)About 10Best Readers' Choice Awards

Nominees are submitted by a panel of experts. 10Best editors narrow the field to select the final set of nominees for the Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers can vote once per category, per day. For any questions or comments, please read the FAQ or email USA TODAY 10Best.

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Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (14)The Experts

Ben Souza

Ben Souza is a world traveler who has visited 40+...ReadMore

Ben Souza is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70
cruises, and flown nearly one million miles. He serves as the editor of
Cruise Fever.

Ben Souza

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (15)

Ben Souza is a world traveler who has visited 40+ countries, taken over 70
cruises, and flown nearly one million miles. He serves as the editor of
Cruise Fever.

Don and Heidi Bucolo

Don and Heidi Bucolo are the husband and wife team...ReadMore

Don and Heidi Bucolo are the husband and wife team behind EatSleepCruise.com. Their love for cruising began after taking their first cruise together back in 2007. Having spent over 180 days at sea on more than 30 cruises with various cruise brands, they have learned a thing or two about planning and executing the perfect cruise vacation. The couple was voted as one of Porthole Cruise's Top 10 Cruise Influencers and is featured in the new bookCruising Interrupted. You can find them on the web and social media sharing detailed cruise ship reviews, port guides, packing tips and planning tips to help travelers "sea the world, one port at a time."

Don and Heidi Bucolo

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (16)

Don and Heidi Bucolo are the husband and wife team behind EatSleepCruise.com. Their love for cruising began after taking their first cruise together back in 2007. Having spent over 180 days at sea on more than 30 cruises with various cruise brands, they have learned a thing or two about planning and executing the perfect cruise vacation. The couple was voted as one of Porthole Cruise's Top 10 Cruise Influencers and is featured in the new bookCruising Interrupted. You can find them on the web and social media sharing detailed cruise ship reviews, port guides, packing tips and planning tips to help travelers "sea the world, one port at a time."

Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert is a San Diego-based cruising expert...ReadMore

Jason Leppert is a San Diego-based cruising expert with more than 140 sailings under his belt and a fresh, millennial perspective on the industry. He has been cruising since before he was two years old, thanks to his parents' shared passion for traveling and their desire to experience all journeys together as a family.Now, he regularly sails and writes "he said, she said" cruise columns with his wife Heidi. He is the founding editor of Popular Cruising, producer of the successful Popular Cruising YouTube channeland Cruise Editor for TravelAge West.

Jason Leppert

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (17)

Jason Leppert is a San Diego-based cruising expert with more than 140 sailings under his belt and a fresh, millennial perspective on the industry. He has been cruising since before he was two years old, thanks to his parents' shared passion for traveling and their desire to experience all journeys together as a family.Now, he regularly sails and writes "he said, she said" cruise columns with his wife Heidi. He is the founding editor of Popular Cruising, producer of the successful Popular Cruising YouTube channeland Cruise Editor for TravelAge West.

John Shallo

John Shallois the founder and editor ofCruise...ReadMore

John Shallois the founder and editor ofCruise Addicts, a premier online community for cruise travelers.His love for cruising began after his first cruise in 1989. He later established Cruise Addicts in 1999 to share his passion for cruise travel with others, and it has become an award-winning destination for self-professedCruise Addictslooking for the latest cruise industry news, forums, ship reviews, and travel tips. You can find him on the web and social media, sharing his latest cruise ship review,video, travel tips, and port guides. He hopes to continue sharing his experiences and inspiring others to enjoy cruise travel to its fullest.

John Shallo

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (18)

John Shallois the founder and editor ofCruise Addicts, a premier online community for cruise travelers.His love for cruising began after his first cruise in 1989. He later established Cruise Addicts in 1999 to share his passion for cruise travel with others, and it has become an award-winning destination for self-professedCruise Addictslooking for the latest cruise industry news, forums, ship reviews, and travel tips. You can find him on the web and social media, sharing his latest cruise ship review,video, travel tips, and port guides. He hopes to continue sharing his experiences and inspiring others to enjoy cruise travel to its fullest.

Ming Tappin

Residing in New Brunswick, Canada, Ming has been...ReadMore

Residing in New Brunswick, Canada, Ming has been in the cruise industrysince 1994. Ming spent over 20 years in the retail travel sector, working with travel agencies in marketing initiatives, cruise training, and promoting cruise vacations to their clients. In 2015, Ming createdYour Cruise Coachand transitioned into travel writing, preaching the merits of cruising via her partnerships with Canadianand Americantravel trade publications as well as consumer media outlets. An avid cruiser since 1991, Ming has sailed onover 70cruises and has experienced over25 ocean, river, and expedition cruise lines combined.

Ming Tappin

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (19)

Residing in New Brunswick, Canada, Ming has been in the cruise industrysince 1994. Ming spent over 20 years in the retail travel sector, working with travel agencies in marketing initiatives, cruise training, and promoting cruise vacations to their clients. In 2015, Ming createdYour Cruise Coachand transitioned into travel writing, preaching the merits of cruising via her partnerships with Canadianand Americantravel trade publications as well as consumer media outlets. An avid cruiser since 1991, Ming has sailed onover 70cruises and has experienced over25 ocean, river, and expedition cruise lines combined.

Paul Thornton

Paul’s just completed book,The Joy of Cruising...ReadMore

Paul’s just completed book,The Joy of Cruising Again,is his fourthand follow-up to the fun, upbeat, award-winningAmazon bestsellerThe Joy of Cruising,andCruising Interrupted.The books are anthologies of passionate cruisers with fascinating stories and have included a TV star, Grammy winners/nominees, a Poker Hall of Famer, entrepreneurs, and global cruise personalities, but mostly “ordinary” cruisers with extraordinary stories.Readers can learn more aboutThe Joy of Cruisingtrilogy here.Besides continuing to cruise as much as possible, Paul hostsThe Joy of Cruising Podcast, a weekly conversation with one of the dozens of passionate cruisers featured in the books as well as other global cruise personalities.Paul is originally from Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. After serving in the US Army and simultaneously earning a bachelor's degree in business, he attained his MBA and then spent concurrently, 17 years in corporate management, and 23 years in small business ownership. After leaving corporate, he started a career in higher ed. He earned a doctorate, attained tenure as a business professor, and subsequently moved into administration in Dean or Executive Director positions before retiring in 2021.Paul lives in Mooresville, North Carolina with his wife Cheryl and considers cruising with their children and grandchildren life’s ultimate escape. Paul longs to cruise as much as the people he writes about inThe Joy of CruisingTrilogy.

Paul Thornton

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (20)

Paul’s just completed book,The Joy of Cruising Again,is his fourthand follow-up to the fun, upbeat, award-winningAmazon bestsellerThe Joy of Cruising,andCruising Interrupted.The books are anthologies of passionate cruisers with fascinating stories and have included a TV star, Grammy winners/nominees, a Poker Hall of Famer, entrepreneurs, and global cruise personalities, but mostly “ordinary” cruisers with extraordinary stories.Readers can learn more aboutThe Joy of Cruisingtrilogy here.Besides continuing to cruise as much as possible, Paul hostsThe Joy of Cruising Podcast, a weekly conversation with one of the dozens of passionate cruisers featured in the books as well as other global cruise personalities.Paul is originally from Brooklyn and Long Island, New York. After serving in the US Army and simultaneously earning a bachelor's degree in business, he attained his MBA and then spent concurrently, 17 years in corporate management, and 23 years in small business ownership. After leaving corporate, he started a career in higher ed. He earned a doctorate, attained tenure as a business professor, and subsequently moved into administration in Dean or Executive Director positions before retiring in 2021.Paul lives in Mooresville, North Carolina with his wife Cheryl and considers cruising with their children and grandchildren life’s ultimate escape. Paul longs to cruise as much as the people he writes about inThe Joy of CruisingTrilogy.

Sarah Christie and Donna Christie of Cruising Kids UK

Sarah Christie and Donna Vallance are experienced...ReadMore

Sarah Christie and Donna Vallance are experienced cruise and travel writers and cruise enthusiasts specializing in cruising. They have a passion for exploring new destinations and have dedicated themselves to sharing their knowledge and insights with fellow travelers.They provide valuable information, tips, and recommendations for all cruisers. They strive to make cruising accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their interests, budgets, or accessibility needs.Their articles and reviews are well-researched, comprehensive, and written to help readers make informed decisions and have unforgettable cruise adventures. Find them over atCruising For All.

Sarah Christie and Donna Christie of Cruising Kids UK

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (21)

Sarah Christie and Donna Vallance are experienced cruise and travel writers and cruise enthusiasts specializing in cruising. They have a passion for exploring new destinations and have dedicated themselves to sharing their knowledge and insights with fellow travelers.They provide valuable information, tips, and recommendations for all cruisers. They strive to make cruising accessible and enjoyable for everyone, regardless of their interests, budgets, or accessibility needs.Their articles and reviews are well-researched, comprehensive, and written to help readers make informed decisions and have unforgettable cruise adventures. Find them over atCruising For All.

Sherry Laskin

Sherryhasn’t set foot on an airplane in more than...ReadMore

Sherryhasn’t set foot on an airplane in more than 25 years. Instead, she relies on cruise ships, river ships, trains and road trips to travel the world. In that time, she’s been on more cruises than she can count and includes her solo cruise and travel adventures on her website,CruiseMaven.com. Her articles have been published in major newspapers and magazines - in print and online. During a year and a half of living in Alaska,Sherryhas cruised and spent time at every port in the Last Frontier except for Nome. She’s become an avid transatlantic cruiser since 2005, as that is the only way for her to get to Europe without flying.Sherryhopes to inspire and encourage her readers to travel slow and travel solo, experience new cuisines and cultures.

Sherry Laskin

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (22)

Sherryhasn’t set foot on an airplane in more than 25 years. Instead, she relies on cruise ships, river ships, trains and road trips to travel the world. In that time, she’s been on more cruises than she can count and includes her solo cruise and travel adventures on her website,CruiseMaven.com. Her articles have been published in major newspapers and magazines - in print and online. During a year and a half of living in Alaska,Sherryhas cruised and spent time at every port in the Last Frontier except for Nome. She’s become an avid transatlantic cruiser since 2005, as that is the only way for her to get to Europe without flying.Sherryhopes to inspire and encourage her readers to travel slow and travel solo, experience new cuisines and cultures.

10Best Editors

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original,...ReadMore

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original, unbiased and experiential travel coverage of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

10Best Editors

Best River Cruise Line (2024) - USA TODAY 10Best Readers' Choice Awards (23)

USA TODAY 10Best provides users with original, unbiased and experiential travel coverage of top attractions, things to see and do, and restaurants for top destinations in the U.S. and around the world.

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