us river cruises

Our Top 6 U.S. River Cruises for All Kinds of Travelers

Voyaging Through America

Ready to see the United States from a new perspective? A U.S. river cruise is the perfect way to explore multiple destinations, take in the scenery and relax while enjoying the benefits of an intimate, all-inclusive cruise.

Luckily, you don’t have to go all the way to Europe to experience this kind of travel! From coast to coast, we’ve found the best U.S. river cruises America has to offer.

Our Top 6 U.S. River Cruises

1. Royal Caribbean New England Cruise

Royal Caribbean often offers captivating New England cruises that combine the historical charm of the region with the luxury and entertainment for which the cruise line is known. These cruises typically embark from cities like Boston and may include stops in picturesque ports such as Portland, Bar Harbor and Halifax.

Passengers can expect a blend of cultural excursions, outdoor activities and the opportunity to savor regional cuisine. The cruise may also provide a chance to witness the stunning fall foliage if scheduled during the autumn months, adding a natural spectacle to the already captivating journey. Royal Caribbean's amenities and entertainment options onboard further enhance the overall experience, making for a well-rounded and memorable New England cruise adventure.

2. American Queen Voyages’ Lower Mississippi River Cruise

If you’re looking for a luxury river cruise, hop aboard American Queen Voyages’ upscale steamboat and enjoy a charming nine-day trip through the South. During this journey, cruisers board the vessel in New Orleans, Louisiana, and visit eight port cities along the iconic Mississippi River before disembarking in Memphis, Tennessee.

Voyagers can explore a mix of bustling cities and small towns filled with Southern hospitality through the cruise’s unlimited guided tours. One of the most interesting tours features a trip to the Nottoway Resort, a historical antebellum mansion. There are also options for premium shore excursions, including a trip to Vicksburg Country Club for a round of golf.

While riverboat cruising, travelers can indulge in unlimited beverages and regionally inspired Cajun and Creole food, attend enriching lectures and entertaining shows and unwind in the ship’s spa.

Although this itinerary is available year-round, enjoying the Mississippi River during spring or fall is best to avoid the South’s extreme summer humidity or winter chilliness.

Starting from $4,200.

3. USA River Cruises’ Fall Foliage Hudson River Cruise

Looking for a romantic getaway? An eight-day trip along the Hudson River is the perfect relaxing escape for couples. This roundtrip journey from New York City features stops at some of the most historical towns throughout the state, including Albany, Sleepy Hollow and West Point.

Only available in September and October, this itinerary is full of remarkable views of the East Coast’s beautiful fall foliage. Enjoy serene scenery and the peaceful autumn breeze with your loved one while cruising through the Catskill Mountains. While docked, cruisers can explore historical places like the United States Military Academy and the New York State Capitol Building.

USA River Cruises takes pride in its environmentally friendly small ships and hospitable staff. With just 100 voyagers on the Hudson River trip, you can expect an intimate experience. These new ships also offer plenty of private spaces for relaxing, several lounges and daily entertainment from musicians, historians and naturalists.

Starting from $4,930.

4. UnCruise’s Columbia and Snake Rivers Cruise

Do you love adventure and wine? UnCruise’s Columbia and Snake Rivers Cruise are full of both! This eight-day, round-trip journey from Portland, Oregon, will give you an authentic taste of the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty.

On board the Wilderness Legacy, you’ll have many opportunities to watch for eagles, bears, orcas and sea lions from the deck. You can also attend insightful presentations from the onboard sommelier, nature guides and historians.

While docked, you likely won’t be onshore for long as many of this river cruise’s excursions involve water activities, such as river rafting, kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming. There are also several hikes and wine tastings offered along the way.

This trip is only available in September and October, which are ideal months for mild weather and outdoor activities in this region.

Starting from $5,300.

5. American Cruise Lines’ Ohio River Cruise

An 11-day Ohio River Cruise is ideal for retired travelers with more time to vacation. While cruising from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to St. Louis, Missouri, you’ll visit 11 unique ports throughout the Midwest and the Southeast. Plus- you’ll also get to experience part of the Mississippi River!

While aboard the recently remodeled American Heritage, you’ll have exquisite views of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from your room’s private balcony. The riverboat also has lovely communal spaces, such as the putting green, sun deck, fitness room and lounges.

Each stop on this itinerary offers several complimentary excursions and options to book private tours as well. Some highlights include a trip to Churchill Downs, the site of the Kentucky Derby and several museum stops, including a visit to the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Fall is the best time for a cruise along the Ohio River due to the milder temperatures and beautiful fall foliage. However, if you don’t mind a bit of heat and humidity, summer is also a nice time for this U.S. river cruise.

Starting from $5,085.

6. USA River Cruises’ Historic South & Golden Isles

Looking for a warm winter getaway? This eight-day cruise from Charleston, South Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida, is the cruise for you! Plus- this multigenerational cruise line offers fun for the whole family!

This itinerary is perfect for nature-loving families. Both you and your kids will enjoy visiting alligators in Hilton Head’s Sea Pines Forest Preserve, horseback riding on Amelia Island’s beaches and exploring the Sea Turtle Center on Jekyll Island.

Back on the riverboat, you can enjoy family-friendly entertainment that everyone will love, such as magic shows and live music. This exciting river cruise is an excellent winter vacation adventure for the whole family!

Starting from $6,510.

Looking for other trip ideas from the U.S.? Check out this article about Great Places to Visit Without a Passport.

What Are The Best River Cruises in the United States?

With more than 250,000 rivers spanning over 3 million miles, there are plenty of U.S. rivers with river cruises to choose from. Some of the best places for river cruises in America are the Mississippi River, Hudson River, Columbia and Snake Rivers, Ohio River and Intracoastal Waterway.

Are you looking for some other exciting options? Check out our list of expedition cruises!