World's Best Rivers For Cruises

Cruise trips are definitely an adventure. You are stranded on a ship for days with no way of going home if you suddenly think that being surrounded by nothing but water is a bit unsettling.

The good news is that you won't ever get to that point because river cruises are quite different than those at sea or the ocean, which some people may never want to take

You probably won't get sea-sick because there are no waves; you always see land on the horizons, which is comforting; and you get to be on land in a different city almost every day. Also, the ships are usually smaller, which means there are fewer tourists on them.

Whether you are in the U.S., Europe, Asia or Africa, there is a river worth exploring. Companies have realized the potential of such trips and offer cruise itineraries that fit anyone's budget (here are dollar-friendly destinations to consider) and vacation time.

1. Elbe River

This major river in Central Europe often gets overshadowed by its more famous counterparts such as the Danube or the Seine. But you won't make a mistake going on a cruise to explore its beauty. Along the way you will sail (here are some safety tips) between Berlin and Prague and see the historic landmarks of Wittenberg. You won't miss the popular and picturesque sandstone cliffs of Germany's "Saxon Switzerland." Viking River Cruises and Grand Circle Cruise Line offer several deals.

2. Mekong River

The river passes through Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, Myanmar and Vietnam. It's one of the most famous ones in Southeast Asia for boat trips. Avalon Waterways offers 8- or 13-day cruises so you'll have plenty of time to immerse yourself in the fascinating cultures and ancient traditions of the region. All routes eventually lead to Siem Reap, which is a must-see adventure destination. Mekong River Cruises offer many other alternative destinations.

3. Danube River

Danube, Europe's second-longest river, is among the most famous in the world for cruising. Depending on how long your trip is, you can get a chance to spend time in Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Croatia, Germany, Serbia and Moldova – each with its unique history, architecture and cuisine. AmaWaterways and Viking River Cruises offer variety of packages to suit your time and budget. Book your summer vacation now to save money. 

4. Irrawaddy River

Irrawaddy River in Myanmar (Burma) is becoming more and more popular. Cruising it is an unconventional way to explore the Buddhist land's leisurely pace. The chance to see centuries-old pagodas and some of the world's most amazing temples embellishing the scenes is another reason to go on such a trip. AmaWaterways will take you on cruises for 10 or 14 days to explore the country's golden treasures and hidden wonders. Pandaw also offers many deals.

5. Amazon River

Who wouldn't want to explore one of the most famous and exotic rivers in the world? It's also the largest river by discharge of water – 7.381 million cubic feet per second. The cruise options are endless. You can embark on a quest to see remote regions, rich rainforests, jungle treks and wildlife. You can find trips lasting from three nights to two weeks. Anakonda Amazon Cruises sail year-round. Other options include Abercrombie & Kent Amazon Adventure, International Expeditions, or Rainforest Cruises.

6. Nile River

The Nile River is the longest river in the world at 6,853 kilometers (4,258 miles). Most cruises' routes are around Cairo, Egypt's capital, and include lots of time on land. That's because of the famous history and antiquities many visitors want to see. Many itineraries include a trip to the pyramids and ancient temples in Luxor and Aswan. (See if you can book a last-minute trip.) There are so many things to explore; a cruise along the Nile should definitely be on your bucket list. Sonesta, Sanctuary Retreats and Nile Cruising are just a few of the many companies offering voyages along the mighty river.  

7. Snake River

If you want to explore the Pacific Northwest, consider going on a cruise along Snake River. And while you're at it, why not include the route pioneered by Lewis and Clark more than 200 years ago as well as wine tours in your itinerary? You will see spectacular natural beauty of majestic fields, inspiring mountains and deep canyons along the way. Un-Cruise Adventures, American Cruise Lines, and Expeditions are some of the companies that will take you there.

8. Chobe River

Why go on a traditional safari when you can add a cruise element to it? As one person recently wrote on Trip Advisor about cruising the Chobe River: "If you want incredible, go to Chobe in Botswana. You want superlatives, you can find them in abundance. Do I need to give mere words? Think of everyone and then double and redouble them. And then you haven't even scratched the surface." You can see lions, giraffes, elephants and many more from your balcony. Zambezi Queen offer luxurious cruises; the Chobe River Houseboat Adventure Package is more affordable.  

9. Seine River

The Seine River in France is one of the most famous rivers in all of Europe, largely because the Eiffel Tower is right by it. Still, it's worth exploring from a boat, especially if you're a romantic. You will be cruising in and around Paris. That's why many trips usually include two days in the capital. Then, you may continue towards the English Channel. You will stop at Giverny, the home town of the legendary artist Claude Monet. Some cruises offer D-Day memorial sites trips. Bateaux Parisiens, Avalon Waterways, Tauck offer various deals.

10. Rhine River

Just recently Disney announced that it will start offering cruises along the Rhine River in 2017. Rhine River sailings have been popular for years. That is not surprising considering that it begins in the southeastern Swiss Alps. You can travel from Basel and Amsterdam on a ship and explore World War II history, ancient town and medieval masterpieces along the way. Tauck and Viking River Cruises offer several options.

11. Yangtze River

The Yangtze River in China is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest in the world. Cruises include enjoying time in famous cities such as Shanghai, Yangzhou and Nanjing. Tourists like the Three Gorges area and the Dam the most. You will enjoy about 80 miles of stunning scenery. The ancient pagodas along the banks are worth the trip as well. Victoria Cruises and Avalon Waterways are two of the companies offering cruises along the river.

12. Main River

This is the longest river lying entirely in Germany. So, if you want to go on a beer adventure that includes wine tastings, while visiting World War II historic places, such as Heidelberg and Nuremburg, this is the cruise for you. Many tours offer itineraries including Rhine River because of its proximity. UniWorld is starting a new route, which will include Munich, in 2017. The River Cruise Line and Viking River Cruises offer some now.

13. Volga River

Volga River is the longest river in Europe. If you like art, you will appreciate cruises along the Volga. Ships sail from Moscow and St. Petersburg, two incredibly exquisite and gorgeous cities with a lot of history. Add rustic scenery with forests and lakes to the urban centers' contrast, and you get a trip worthy of a spot on your bucket list, which should include these adventure destinationsVolga Dream, a luxury liner and Russian River Cruises, a more affordable company, offer several deals.

14. Rhône River

The river flows through France and Switzerland. Thus, you can assume that many of these cruises are designed with wine lovers and adventerous newlyweds in mind. After all, who would not want to spend a week exploring South France? You'll also get a chance to wander around the 2,000-year-old city of Lyon and visit the legendary vineyards of Burgundy. Euro River Cruises, Tauck and French Waterways have many offers.

15. Mississippi River

Explore the most famous river in the U.S. and see why it's one of the world's major river systems in size, habitat diversity and biological productivity, according to NPS. American Cruise Lines will take you on a luxurious history and culture trip through Mississippi and Ohio aboard two paddlewheeler river boats. USA River Cruises also offer different trips. There are plenty of variations, including going from Memphis to Nashville on a ship.