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River cruises offer opportunities to step ashore in fairy-tale towns and major capitals that can’t be reached on a traditional cruise ship. The onboard ambience spans such a range that there are ships to suit most travel preferences and lifestyles.

Larger

Designed specifically to transit the locks of river canals, modern river cruisers tend to be long and narrow, just like the locks. They rarely carry more than 200 passengers. The typical river cruiser has four decks, including an upper sundeck, with two to three decks below it containing a series of staterooms on each side of the ship. Staterooms typically have a queen-size bed that can be reconfigured to two single beds, a TV, storage space, and small bathroom with shower and usually no tub.

Public rooms typically include a single dining room, a lounge, and perhaps a sundeck, but common areas are limited, as are fancy amenities. Spas and gyms are rare (massage rooms more common), and the “pool” may be little more than a plunge pool or hot tub.

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

  • Sails To Europe

Why It’s Wonderful

Awards have showered down for the opulent SS Antoinette, where 18th-century French design meets 21st-century technology including electronic balcony windows, Wi-Fi, underwater music, a movie theater, and a heated swimming pool.

MS Treasures

Tauck World Discovery
  • Sails To Europe

Why It’s Wonderful

Accommodating only 118 guests, the newest vessel in Tauck's fleet wins accolades for its club-like atmosphere, luxurious cabins, exceptional attention to detail, culinary menus, and overall quality to ensure comfort and exclusivity.

MS Amadeus Silver

Lüftner Cruises
  • Sails To Europe

Why It’s Wonderful

Built in 2013, the upscale contemporary 78-cabin vessel resembles a five-star luxury hotel and has technologically-advanced drop-down panoramic windows, creating a balcony in the room itself.

AmaCerto

AmaWaterways
  • Sails To Europe

Why It’s Wonderful

The newest ship of the outstanding river cruise operator has a pool with swim-up bar and sofa-laden sundeck worthy of a hip beachfront lounge.