These are the three best river cruises in North America

Wherever there is a river, there will likely be a river cruise. While traditional cruise ships reach more distant destinations such as baliriver boats have the special ability to visit the interior cities and towns that large ships cannot access. River boat tours also tend to be more cultural and intimate. American river cruises sail the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Big lakesand Alaska. These are the top three river cruises and the natural, cultural and historical attractions they travel along the waterways.

American Cruise

The most popular river excursions on US cruises are on the Mississippi, Columbia and Snake (Pacific River) and Hudson. Coastal river cruises include Puget Sound (Seattle), Chesapeake Bay, Alaska, New England and the South East.

The cruise line has also added three- and seven-night post-cruise national park packages that extend select voyages with visits to Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Voyages of the American Queen

American Queen Voyages offers cruises in three categories: Rivers, Lakes & Oceans and Expedition. Their river cruises sail along the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee rivers, as well as the Pacific Northwest. Meanwhile, their lake and ocean tours include trips to Canada, the Great Lakes, New England, the East Coast, Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula. Similar to American Cruise, American Queen Voyages has added a new summer voyage between Mississippi and New Orleans.

Travel + Leisurepoints out that the cruise line will also feature culinary ambassador Regina Charboneau on an 11-day “American Culinary Experience” sailing from Detroit to Montreal in October 2022 via the Great Lakes.


In April 2022, Viking launched “Viking Expeditions” – four itineraries on ocean cruiser-style ships with stops in US and Canadian ports. Their US cruises offer itineraries on the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. In 2023, they are expected to add a new expedition vessel that will cruise the Great Lakes for 15 days as part of their “Great Lakes Collection” itinerary.

Unlike traditional small river cruises, Viking Expedition Ships offer a plethora of indoor and outdoor viewing areas to take in all the scenic views. Viking will sail the Mississippi River for the first time, with five routes starting in June 2022.

Related: Adventures By Disney adds Antarctica, Galápagos and Arctic cruises in 2023

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