Wherever there is a river, there is likely to be a river cruise. While traditional cruise ships reach farther destinations like Bali, river boats have the special ability to visit inland cities and towns that bigger ships cannot access. Riverboat excursions also tend to be more cultural and intimate. American river cruises sail through the Pacific Northwest, Southeast, Great Lakes, and Alaska. These are the top three river cruises and the natural, cultural, and historical attractions they tour along the waterways.

American Cruise

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

The cruise line has also added three and seven-night National Parks Post-Cruise Packages that extend select trips with visits to Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton.

American Queen Voyages

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

Travel + Leisure, highlights 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 by way of The Great Lakes.


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

Unlike traditional small river boat 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 itineraries starting in June 2022.

Related: Adventures By Disney Adding Cruises To Antarctica, The Galápagos, & The Arctic In 2023