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10 of our best-selling river cruise itineraries, listed below in no particular order.
On these vacations, you'll glide along scenic and historic waterways on an intimate and comfortable vessel, enjoying river-view staterooms, superb dining and personalized service. Daily excursions ashore and onboard entertainment and enrichment activities also are generally included in the upfront rate.
Rhine Getaway, 8 days with Viking River Cruises -- On a route between Amsterdam and Basel, you'll visit 700-year-old Marksburg Castle, the Alsatian city of Strasbourg and Rudesheim's Drosselgasse, a cobblestone lane lined by taverns, shops and restaurants.
Charms of the South, 9 days with American Queen Voyages -- Travelers cruise the lower Mississippi River on a modern-day paddle wheeler, learning about Vicksburg's role in the Civil War and visiting 19th-century mansions in Natchez.
Burgundy & Provence, 8 days with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises -- A cruise of France's Saone and Rhone rivers reveals Roman ruins, a 14th-century papal palace and the culinary treasures of Lyon.
Melodies of the Danube, 8 days with AmaWaterways -- This trip starts in Budapest, where you'll take in the views from the Fisherman's Bastion. See St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna and enjoy a hike up to Bratislava Castle in Slovakia.
Paris to Normandy, 8 days with Avalon Waterways -- Tailor this French cruise to your interests: In Vernon, tour Monet's Giverny or 18th-century Chateau de Bizy, and while in Caudebec, choose a trip to D-Day landing beaches or a "Taste of Normandy" culinary excursion.
Secrets of the Douro, 8 days with Emerald Cruises -- Sail Portugal's Douro River in a region known for its port wine production. Enjoy dinner at a local wine estate and also cross into Spain to visit Salamanca, a lively university city.
Columbia & Snake Rivers, 8 days with American Cruise Lines -- Discover the Pacific Northwest's rugged beauty, particularly along the Columbia River Gorge, and visit Mount St. Helens and sites associated with explorers Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery.
Gems of the Danube, 8 days with Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours -- Guests can choose from a variety of included excursions on this itinerary. In Vienna, tour opulent Schonbrunn Palace or journey to the city's acclaimed wine region. In Nuremberg, visit World War II sites or sample beer in the city's underground cellars.
Grand European Tour, 15 days with Viking River Cruises -- See the sights along the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers on a panoramic sailing between Amsterdam and Budapest. Guided tours reveal the history and culture of Vienna, Regensburg, Cologne and more.
Romantic Rhine, 8 days with Avalon Waterways -- Classic highlights of this itinerary include the picturesque Rhine Gorge, Heidelberg Castle and Strasbourg's pedestrian-friendly old quarter. You'll also visit whimsical spots like a museum devoted to mechanical musical instruments.
Some of the top attractions of river cruises around the world
Mississippi River cruises glide through America's heartland, stopping in dynamic cities and picturesque river towns. Guided sightseeing can include landmarks such as Oak Alley, a beautifully restored mansion known for its canopy of 300-year-old oak trees, and the French Quarter, New Orleans' oldest and most famous neighborhood.
Columbia River cruises reveal the rugged beauty of America's Pacific Northwest. Excursions might include a hike among the towering cascades of Multnomah Falls, a trip to volcanic Mount St. Helens or a look at the workings of the Bonneville Dam, a National Historic Site.
Danube River cruises sail into Old World cities like Budapest, which is divided by the river, and Vienna, where sightseeing excursions take in St. Stephen's Cathedral, the opera house and the avenue known as the Ringstrasse. The Danube converges with the Ilz and the Inn rivers in the German city of Passau. Perched on a river bluff, 900-year-old Melk Abbey in Austria is another highlight.
Rhine River cruises navigate the Rhine Gorge, a scenic stretch of the river dotted with castles and vineyards. Among them are Castle Marksburg, above the town of Braubach near Koblenz, and Castle Katz in St. Goarshausen. Many itineraries stop in Strasbourg in France's Alsace region, where the attractive Petite France district is a favorite spot for a stroll.
You can visit festive outdoor Christmas markets in towns along the Danube and Rhine on departures in late November and December. Sausages sizzle on grills, carolers sing and vendors' booths are decorated with evergreen garlands and white lights.
Seine River voyages start with sightseeing in Paris and travel west to visit Giverny (former home of artist Claude Monet), D-Day landing sites in Normandy and the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer.
Saone River cruises meander through France's Burgundy region, where passengers can learn about the region's wine industry in Chalon-sur-Saone and see the Hospices of Beaune, a 15th-century hospital complex famous for its intricately detailed, colorful roofs. In Tournus, passengers spend time at St. Philibert Abbey, a Romanesque church.
The Rhone River runs through France's Provence region to the Mediterranean coast; Rhone cruises usually are combined with Saone sailings. Ships call at the walled city of Avignon for visits to a 14th-century papal palace and at Lyon to see its Roman remains and Old Town.
Douro River trips sail through the grape-growing regions of Portugal. Itineraries typically spend time in the city of Porto, a longtime center for the port wine trade, and at the Baroque-style Mateus Palace and gardens in Vila Real.
In spring, the tulip fields of Holland brim with colorful blooms. View them on a "tulip time" river cruise, which includes a visit to Keukenhof Gardens, where 7 million bulbs are planted annually. These sailings take place in March and April and also sail to ports in Belgium.
Nile River cruises are incorporated into longer land tours that nearly always include excursions to the Sphinx and the Pyramids at Giza. On your cruise, you'll encounter some of Egypt's most famous antiquities, such as the massive Luxor Temple, built more than 3,000 years ago.
Mekong River cruises travel through Cambodia and Vietnam. Attractions include Tonle Sap Lake, known for its rich birdlife and fishing villages, and the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. Many departures also incorporate Angkor Wat, a 12th-century complex of ornate stone structures.