Our experts have researched 21 river cruise companies and recommend 10 of the best options.
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Top 10 Highest Ranked River Cruises For 2020
How We Chose Our Top List
7-14 day cruises average between $2000-$5000, but pricing will vary depending on where you are sailing and during what season you are traveling. There are upgrades available such as romance packages and cabin upgrades that can affect overall pricing. Consider getting the trip insurance in case cancellation is necessary
Seniors often choose Viking River Cruises because they offer exotic destinations in addition to other more typical tours of places that may be on the bucket list. With simple, all-inclusive packages, year-long cruises and an 18 and older policy, Viking is highly appealing to seniors looking for a quiet vacation experience.
Three and four night cruises start at around $900 and go up depending on the location. Longer excursions between seven and 14 days average between $2500 and $7000. Avalon Waterways trips are all-inclusive with five-star dining, accommodations and an array of entertainment onboard. Extras like cabin upgrades or special requests will incur additional charges on the overall package price.
Seniors looking for unique river cruises onboard luxury ships will appreciate Avalon Waterway’s options amenities. This is also an excellent line to choose for those looking for a short river cruise, first time river travelers and those on a budget. However, if you have mobility issues it’s essential to speak to an agent before booking to see which tours are available.
Pricing for Crystal River Cruises range between $2000 and $4500 on average and are all-inclusive. However, personalized onshore and onboard activities can be arranged for passengers at an additional cost. Crystal often runs great specials, making them a good deal for those on a budget who want to explore Europe by river.
With so many amenities and luxurious quarters, Crystal River Cruises are favored by seniors seeking to travel around Europe’s waterways. Perks such as the Crystal Visions Enrichment Programs, free lessons from pros and an array of classes makes these tours an exceptional deal for the money. Furthermore, passengers tend to be more seasoned travelers on Crystal Cruises.
American Cruise Lines offers journeys along American rivers and coastal waterways starting at around $1000 and going up to $4000 or so. Pricing depends on the trip chosen. For example, sailing on the Snake and Columbia Rivers and the Alaska tour is highly in demand, so prepare to pay more for these journeys. Those opting for off-board activities will also need to pay extra charges by activity.
With a solid reputation and US made boats, American Cruise line is popular with seniors looking to get away with very little hassles. Each boat is true to style and boasts large cabins replete with balconies that offer panoramic views. If an American destination is on the bucket list, American River Cruises is an ideal solution.
Tauck River Cruises generally start around $3000 per person and go up from there depending on the destination and any extra cruise options. You will pay extra for laundry services and spa treatments, as well. However, everything else is included such as transfers, gratuities, onboard lectures and entertainment, Wi-Fi and much more.
Seniors seeking first-class quarters and a luxurious experience in Europe will love Tauck River Cruise’s exceptional options. They have an attentive staff that keeps the fun going that truly creates memorable trips. With options to increase land-based stays before launching and after departure, Tauck makes it easy to have the experience of a lifetime.
Uniworld offers Classic, Deluxe, French Balcony, and Suite packages that run anywhere from $2400 for a Classic excursion to well over $12,000 for luxury suites. However, their month-long river cruises can reach into the tens of thousands of dollars, but are still a considerable value for the service and amenities one receives. Of course, destination and the time of year you travel will affect the bottom line pricing.
With opportunities to travel in style along rivers in China, India, Russia, Portugal and so many other fascinating places in the world, Uniworld River Cruises can be a senior’s source to experiencing the outside world. These trips are all-inclusive, making booking a package simple and stress-free.
AmaWaterway River Cruises average $1800—$5000 for one week cruises, and two week cruises average between $9000 and $15,000 depending on cabin choice, date of travel and the destination. Be prepared to pay extra for alcoholic beverages beyond beer and wine, and laundry services will also incur additional costs.
Seniors looking for an exciting trip with a reputable river cruise line will appreciate AmaWaterway’s solid reputation and lovely fleet line. While there are some limitations on what’s included in their packages, they make it easy to pursue your own endeavors during port of call stops. Overall, these river cruises are considerably more affordable than many competitors without sacrificing onboard and off-board services.
Vantage isn’t clear about their pricing unless you select a date and tour, but the general average ranges between $2200 and $5,000. They also offer frequent specials online and through travel agents. Those seeking solo-only tours will find Vantage’s prices to be more reasonable than comparable companies. Be sure to read the cancellation policy carefully, as Vantage River Cruises often charges more than competitors.
Senior couples and singles appreciate Vantage River Cruise’s quiet cruises free of children. They offer an array of European cruises that last from one week up to one month grand tours of the region. Sightseeing excursions and cultural connection activities are always included in the price, and Vantage maintains a 4 to 1 guest-staff ration on all its riverboat cruises. If are looking to truly immerse yourself in local cultures at ports of call, these cruises are a great choice.
In general, tours run between $22-$35 depending on the trip chosen and the age of the passengers. Leashed dogs are welcome at no additional fee. There are no food or drinks onboard, so guests can bring their own at no extra charge. Seniors receive a discounted rate of about $5 on all tours, so it’s a great deal all around.
Seniors looking for a gentle, short river cruise will appreciate Amelia River Cruises’ narrated journeys down the inter coastal waterway of Florida. While enjoying the views of Cumberland Island, one can expect to see dolphins, wild horses, sea turtles, spoonbills, osprey and much more. Pack a lunch, make a reservation (don’t forget the senior discount), and enjoy a fascinating daytime or sunset cruise with Amelia in Fernandina Beach, Florida.
Emerald Waterway cruises range in price from $2400 to $5500 on average for tours ranging from seven to fourteen days. Cruises with stops in Paris tend to be on the higher end of the scale. Most drinks and all meals are included along with tips and shore excursions. However, port charges, airfare and some land activities may incur additional charges.
With so many touring options around the world, seniors will appreciate this company that primarily caters to their age bracket. While standard cabins tend to run small, upgrades are possible to make couples more comfortable. Onboard amenities and offshore activities are engaging for seniors seeking to learn something new or embrace other cultures.
River cruises are gaining in popularity with travelers of all ages—especially seniors—for a number of reasons. Many want to avoid the large ship cruise experience that takes them far out to sea where there’s nothing to see for days. On a river cruise, incredible views of landscapes are never far away, and these ships are much easier on the sea legs while offering a greater sense of intimacy than ocean liners. Many cruises are designed only for couples or families, and some are geared solely towards seniors. Furthermore, river cruises often feature a theme, so if you’re interested in history, a painting workshop on water or even making cheese—there’s likely a trip for that. Want to Christmas shop around the world? Holiday river cruises are very popular solutions for both a holiday getaway and unique shopping opportunities.
River cruises are most popular in Europe, Italy, Asia, India and Russia because of their vast network of rivers with attractive scenery and an endless selection of interesting port cities. The Rhine River is a top pick for seniors who want to explore villages and communities in Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands. Cruises along the Danube are also very popular, as they allow passengers to explore the historic and bustling cities of Budapest and Vienna. Whatever river cruise you take, there are likely to be many port stops that allow you to explore a number of onshore destinations. Often, excursions such as guided tours off the ship are included in the cruise price.
River cruises can be short, mid-length or much longer. Very few cruise lines offer short three and four day cruises for those not ready for an extended trip. Most river cruises are one or two weeks long and include multiple stops in various cities along the route. However, there are multiple week cruises and month-long cruises for the more adventurous traveler. These experiences are best advised for well-seasoned travelers that already know that like river cruising.
Many river cruises tout being all-inclusive, which typically includes daily meals, beverages, onboard entertainment, accommodations, WiFi and sometimes more. Most travelers opt to seek out an all-inclusive trip that also includes alcoholic beverages, so be sure your fees include unlimited, premium drinks if you choose to imbibe. Sometimes gratuities are also included, but additional tips are always appreciated by hard-working crew members and service providers. Be sure to look for any hidden fees such as laundry services, taxes, port fees and airfare, which may be separate.
Travelers will also want to protect their trip with travel insurance in case cancellation or delays or necessary. This coverage will also cover illness, injury or lost luggage during travels. Expect to pay between $150 and $250 per ticket to insure the trip. However, it’s wise to check with your credit card companies to see if they include perks like travel insurance, and then use a card that does to book your trip.
Booking river cruises early is advisable if you want to get the travel dates you want during busy seasons. You can also often land the best deals on cruises by buying early. Of course, there may be last minute specials available for those who can pick up and travel anytime. Travel agents can help you find deals, or you can contact cruise lines directly for guidance.