Comparing Popular River Cruise Lines

Comparing Popular River Cruise Lines

As river cruising continues to grow in popularity as a vacation option, the number of different river cruise lines expands as well. There are now dozens of river cruise lines, many of which offer very similar itineraries and amenities, and all of which have multiple ships in their fleet and a wide variety of cruise destinations and routes—making the planning of the cruise considerably less fun than the taking of the cruise.

We understand that these vacations don't come cheap, and therefore it's imperative that you make the exact right choice for this dream vacation of yours. To help you sift through the information and keep everything straight, we compared our top 5 preferred cruise lines on 10 criteria to help you find the best match for your budget and cruise style. Here are the facts:

AmaWaterways

  • River Cruise Destination Options: France, Germany, Netherlands, Vietnam & Cambodia, Africa, Wine Cruises, Christmas Markets, and more
  • Starting Price: $427 per person per day
  • Airport Transfers Included: No
  • Food & Beverages Included: All meals plus beer, wine and soft drinks at lunch and dinner, sparkling wine at breakfast
  • Excursions Included: Yes
  • Gratuities Included: No
  • Average Passenger/Crew Ratio: 1 staff member per 3 guests
  • Number of Ships in Fleet: 21
  • Riverboat Report Card Rating*: 85%
  • Biggest Differentiator: Their ships are designed to sail at normal water levels, high water levels, and low water levels meaning your trip won't be interrupted regardless of sailing conditions.

Scenic

  • River Cruise Destination Options: France, Portugal, Germany, Russia, Vietnam & Cambodia, Myanmar, and more
  • Starting Price: $340 per person per day
  • Airport Transfers Included: Yes, to and from the ship
  • Food & Beverages Included: All meals plus all alcoholic drinks
  • Excursions Included: Yes
  • Gratuities Included: Yes
  • Average Passenger/Crew Ratio: 1 staff member per 1 guest
  • Number of Ships in Fleet: 16
  • Riverboat Report Card Rating*: 90%
  • Biggest Differentiator: Butler service is included in all fares and includes delivery of complimentary refreshments to your stateroom, nightly turndown, laundry concierge services, and more.

Uniworld

  • River Cruise Destination Options: Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Russia, China, Vietnam & Cambodia, Egypt, India, and more
  • Starting Price: $309 per person per day
  • Airport Transfers Included: Yes, to and from the ship
  • Food & Beverages Included: All meals plus all alcoholic drinks
  • Excursions Included: Yes
  • Gratuities Included: Yes
  • Average Passenger/Crew Ratio: 1 staff member per 3 guests
  • Number of Ships in Fleet: 13
  • Riverboat Report Card Rating*: 85%
  • Biggest Differentiator: With a focus on the wellness of your mind, body, and spirit, this river cruise line as all the amenities you need to keep up with your usual fitness routine—both on shore and off shore.

Viking

  • River Cruise Destination Options: Europe, Russia, Ukraine, China, Egypt, and more
  • Starting Price: $264 per person per day
  • Airport Transfers Included: No
  • Food & Beverages Included: All meals plus beer, wine and soda at lunch and dinner
  • Excursions Included: Yes
  • Gratuities Included: No
  • Average Passenger/Crew Ratio: 1 staff member per 3 guests
  • Number of Ships in Fleet: 10
  • Riverboat Report Card Rating*: 72%
  • Biggest Differentiator: Their Local Life, Working World, and Privileged Access experiences open doors to people and places that are otherwise difficult to visit.

Tauck

  • River Cruise Destination Options: France, Switzerland, Germany, Netherlands, Liechtenstein, Budapest & Amsterdam, Prague, Austria, and more
  • Starting Price: $380 per person per day
  • Airport Transfers Included: Yes, to and from the ship
  • Food & Beverages Included: All meals plus all alcoholic drinks
  • Excursions Included: Yes
  • Gratuities Included: Yes
  • Average Passenger/Crew Ratio:  1 staff member per 2 guests
  • Number of Ships in Fleet: 10
  • Riverboat Report Card Rating*: 89%
  • Biggest Differentiator: While other lines cater primarily to couples, Tauck offers a variety of family themed river cruises with amenities and itineraries that are fun and enriching for all ages.

Of course price and ratings will fluctuate day by day, but this outline should give you a pretty good feel for what each line has to offer. If you'd like to learn more about river cruising, check out our other articles here:

Want more river cruising tips? We can help with that! Just schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (864) 979-0610 and we'll share our expert insight and answer all your lingering questions.

Still trying to figure out if river cruising is for you? If you're looking for some guidance, just click the banner below to download our guide to discovering your cruise style!

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*Ratings data from January 23, 2018

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