What the River Cruise Lines Say About Themselves

Let’s visit how several of the river cruise lines position themselves in the market, in alphabetical order.

Michael & Kelly Graham sailing the Seine river on the AmaLyra (AmaWaterways, France)


From the beginning, our goal was to create a river cruise company that we ourselves would enjoy. To us, that meant the highest-quality, locally sourced food and wine; elegantly appointed ships with staterooms offering maximum views to enjoy the ever-changing countryside; and a crew who goes above and beyond, treating every guest like they are part of OUR family.

With that in mind, for 18 years, we have been building one-of-a-kind ships with added comforts and conveniences ranging from our signature view-enhancing twin balconies to the one-and-only Chef’s Table specialty restaurant to our award-winning AmaMagna – redefining the river cruise experience.

Amawaterways Inclusions

  • Elegant accommodations in riverview staterooms & suites
  • All fine dining in multiple venues including The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant
  • Sip & Sail Cocktail Hour
  • Services of a Cruise Manager through river cruise and land-stay
  • Complimentary Wellness Program
  • Up to 5 excursions in every port, including bike tours, hikes, and wine tastings
  • Complimentary bikes on board
  • Live local entertainment
  • Complimentary high-quality Wifi

Years River Cruising: 19

Slogan:  Leading the way in river cruising.

Source: https://www.amawaterways.com/whyamawaterways

American Cruise Lines

With American Cruise Lines, it’s about Simple Sophistication. As we travel to the most amazing destinations across the United States, we offer our guests an elevated cruise experience – not expressed through black tie affairs and formal gatherings, but rather through personalized exploration, well-designed enrichment programs on board and ashore, and all the comforts that come with cruising on the newest fleet in the country.

American Cruise Lines delivers culture, history, and enlightenment, without the distractions of buffets, casinos, and wave pools. Every itinerary is a unique experience and a delight for the senses. Viewing our country’s beautiful landscapes and historic landmarks up-close, tasting the best regional cuisine, listening to the area’s finest entertainment, and feeling the warm camaraderie of the crew and fellow guests, are the intangibles not offered by other cruise lines.

Our small ship design creates an intimate environment in which our guests are treated with the utmost care and attention. Our crew members take pride in knowing our guests by name and understanding their preferences. Every stateroom is a spacious sanctuary in which to relax after a day of discovery and contemplate the adventures that lie ahead. Guests come back from an American Cruise Lines cruise relaxed, enriched, and with new lifelong friends.

Years River Cruising: 21

Slogan:  Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly™

Source: https://www.americancruiselines.com/about-us/river-cruises-usa

American Queen Steamboat Company

The mighty rivers of the United States of America once served as the great highways of early exploration and inspired dreams of discovery. Today, American Queen Steamboat Company® re-creates the same sense of wonder, excitement and inspirations with all the convenience and comfort of modern luxury aboard the most elegant riverboats in the world, the American Queen,®  American Empress,® American Duchess™ and American Countess™. Traveling in the wake of legends, guests are transported to an era of leisurely and romantic travel.  

At American Queen Steamboat Company, we are both proud and honored to share the dream of American river cruising and as such we maintain a commitment to excellence that far exceeds expectations. The welcome appearance of each of our vessels is richly complemented by a culture of gracious service, elegant decor, rousing entertainment and rewarding enrichment experiences. All of this is accentuated with pre-cruise deluxe hotel stays, remarkable shore excursions included in every port of call and a wealth of complimentary onboard amenities.

Special Edition Voyages including the Kentucky Derby, with an option to upgrade to a VIP package.  These cruises feature unique and special voyage programming, such as  onboard events paired with exclusive shore excursions to create meaningful, in-depth and unforgettable memories.

Always Included:

  • Pre-Cruise Hotel Stay
  • Improved Dining, always an option of prime steak or cold water lobster
  • Open bars and lounges (house brands)
  • One shore excursion per port
  • Wifi
  • 24 hour room service
  • Suite guests have special amenities and in some cases a butler

Years River Cruising: 10 (27 years in travel for parent company Hornblower)

Slogan:  Uniquely American River Cruises™

Source: https://www.americanqueensteamboatcompany.com/aqsc/


If you want to see the world, cruise down its legendary rivers. If you want to see more of the world, look no further than Avalon Waterways. Our Suite Ships® feature one-of-a-kind Panorama SuitesSM, with the widest-opening windows in river cruising, the industry’s only Open-Air BalconySM, and beds facing the incredible views.

Beyond our wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling windows is a world just waiting to be discovered with Avalon’s unmatched choice of included excursions and activities. Whether you want to enjoy a guided walking tour of one of Europe’s great cities, join a cooking class or paddle a canoe, our Avalon Choice® selections of Classic, Discovery, and Active excursions offer a wide range of possibilities. When you prefer to explore on your own, we can help you with all the recommendations, information, and gear you need with our new Adventure Center and AvalonGO Mobile App. When it’s time to refuel, your onboard dining options are as wide open as your views, with our new FlexDining® choices. Rise and shine when you please, dine where and when you wish, or take a picnic lunch to enjoy on shore.

Years River Cruising: 18 (93 years in travel for parent company Globus)

Slogan:  Everyone deserves a Suite View!

Source:  https://www.avalonwaterways.com/experience-avalon/



We are honored and humbled to be named the best in Condé Nast Traveler’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards during our 30th Anniversary year. Both Crystal Cruises and Crystal Yacht Cruises were named #1 in their respective categories of “Best Medium-Ship” and “Best Small-Ship,” while Crystal River Cruises, which won Travel & Leisure’s World’s Best River Cruise Line this year, is one of the best river cruise lines. The 2020 awards mark our 27th year of earning Condé Nast Traveler’s top acclaim.

They have the youngest fleet, meaning that overall they have the newest ships.  Crystal highlights:

Flexible open-seating dining in multiple restaurants

  • Any time dining
  • A la minute preparations with Locally sourced ingredients
  • Up to 5 dining venues
  • True 24-hour in-suite dining

All Suites

  • Largest suites on Europe’s river
  • King size beds with the Bed facing windows
  • Overhead rain shower
  • Majority w/ double vanity sinks
  • Majority w/ walk-in closets


  • Pre-reservations for tours
  • Gratuity included for guides and drivers
  • Complimentary Bikes

All Inclusive

  • Open bars & lounges
  • Michelin-inspired cuisine
  • Beverages: Alcoholic, non-alcoholic, specialty coffee and teas
  • Embark & debark airport transfers
  • Butler serviced
  • Unlimited wi-fi
  • Pre-paid gratuities

Years River Cruising: 5 (31 years in travel for parent company Genting Cruise Lines)

Slogan:  True luxury in the heart of Europe. Just like you imagined.Source:https://www.crystalcruises.com/why-crystal


More people recommend Riviera River Cruises than any other operator.

For 36 years our experts have been bringing to life the world’s most fascinating destinations. Like you, we love to travel and we are passionate about what we do. We personally select every aspect of your holiday and we are dedicated to ensuring that the content and detail of each itinerary is thoughtfully balanced, so there’s time for you to explore at a relaxing pace.

We chose to differentiate ourselves through our programs for the solo traveler namely entire departures where there is no single supplement across all grades– no other company offers this.    We also do not market to the consumer which is an expensive exercise and obviously that expense has to be passed back to the guest in the form of higher passage fares.   By not marketing directly to the consumer and marketing only to and through our travel partners we are able to offer a superior product (upper premium) at significantly less than premium prices.   This really is our USP – value for money.

We offer you a superb choice of cruises but we also ensure each of these has been honed to perfection. Our focus is on quality not quantity.  Riviera has:

  • The youngest fleet of ships on the European waterways (Scylla)
  • More immersive itineraries 20 on 10 rivers – we ‘tweak’ the itineraries in order to give our guests a more immersive experience.
  • Every ship has a water element; either a plunge pool or a jacuzzi style pool
  • Alternative dining venue at no extra charge
  • Bikes, Salon, and Gym on each ship
  • You don’t pay for what you don’t want:  less inclusions = lower upfront price

Years River Cruising: 14 (37 years for parent company Riviera Travel)

Slogan:  Vacation Happiness. Guaranteed.

Source:  https://www.rivierarivercruises.com/why-riviera


See the world your way on-board a 5-star Scenic Space-Ship, boasting some of the largest suites on Europe’s waters. Luxury-focussed innovation combined with our all-inclusive promise and attention to detail ensures we’re setting the trend for river cruising, with everything you’d expect to pay for in a world-class hotel, included in the price. When you travel with Scenic, the experience is in a class of its own:

  • Free choice excursions – options from moderate to active
  • A truly all-inclusive luxury 5-star river cruise tailored to meet your needs 
  • Scenic Space-Ships with abundant spaces to relax and no more than 163 guests on board 
  • Luxurious Balcony Suites with fresh air from your Scenic Sun Lounge 
  • An immersive European experience with exclusive Scenic Enrich and Scenic Freechoice to tailor your cruise – all included
  • Personalized wellbeing options to stay healthy while on board 
  • Scenic trained, expert on board and onshore teams who maintain outstanding standards of health and hygiene

Scenic also owns Emerald Waterways, which was started in 2013.

Years River Cruising: 18 (35 years in travel)

Slogan:  Curated luxury all-inclusive river cruises.

Source:  https://www.scenicusa.com/why-scenic/scenic-story


The Tauck Difference

Delivering outstanding personal service, uncompromising standards for quality, and a steadfast commitment to making the most of your vacation time… a brand promise we made back in 1925, and haven’t deviated from since.

Years River Cruising: 29 (96 years in travel)

Slogan:  How You See The World Matters.

Source:  https://www.tauck.com/tauck-difference


Uniworld—the world’s best and most awarded luxury river cruise line—offers itineraries in spectacular destinations throughout Europe, Russia, Egypt, Asia and Peru. The company’s European fleet features luxurious ships with an average capacity of 120 guests, the highest staff-to-guest ratio in the river cruise industry, enticing shore excursions, world-class gourmet cuisine, impeccable hospitality and numerous other all-inclusive benefits.

Uniworld offers fresh, flavorful dining experiences with world-class “farm to ship” cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients from the destinations visited.

Uniworld is committed to elevating what they already offer vs. rapidly expanding, including updating all vessels to Super Ships debuting new restaurants, new suites and more luxurious finishes.

Uniworld also owns U River Cruises, which was started in 2016.

Years River Cruising: 28 (110 years in travel for parent company The Travel Collection)

Slogan:  You deserve the best.

Source:  https://www.uniworld.com/us/about-uniworld/about-us


With an operational office in Basel, Switzerland, Viking provides destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history. Each journey includes a shore excursion in every port, and an exclusive Viking Culture Curriculum program that provides deep immersion in the destination through performances of music and art, cooking demonstrations, informative port talks and carefully selected guest lecturers.

Cocktail Hour Trivia:  I like that Viking also makes the point to say “What Viking is Not” – No Casinos. No Children. No Umbrella Drinks. And No nickel and diming. 

  • Combination sailings with Viking Oceans that tie into many river cruise itineraries


  • Viking Longships are owned and operated by Viking for a consistent experience across the fleet of award-winning sister ships – the largest in the industry 
  • Viking Longships are small to get guests closer to their destination, with premier docking space throughout Europe, more time in port and more overnights 
  • On board, guests find serene Scandinavian spaces, where every room is beautiful and functional, quiet and filled with light
  • Accommodating 190 guests in 95 staterooms, Viking Longships offer an intimate, destination-focused experience 
  • Viking Inclusive Value provides a small ship experience and no nickel-and-diming – with every cruise fare including an exterior stateroom, a complimentary shore excursion in each port of call, all onboard meals, and all port charges and government taxes
  • Guests also enjoy many complimentary amenities as part of their fare, including beer and wine with lunch and dinner service; Wi-Fi; and coffee, tea and bottled water available 24 hours a day



  • Floor-to-ceiling windows in the Restaurant and Lounge offer panoramic views to enjoy the scenery along the waterways
  • Organic herb gardens on the Sun Deck allow Viking chefs to use fresh seasonings with meals served onboard
  • With the most al fresco dining options, featuring regional cuisines and always-available American classics, Viking’s guests can truly dine in their destination
  • Elevator, Middle to Upper deck only


  • Viking Longships feature a patented design, which allows for more stateroom variety including seven Veranda Suites, the first-ever true two-room suites on river ships and two Explorer Suites, the largest suites sailing Europe’s waterways.
  • Hotel-style bed with optional twin-bed configuration
  • 40” flat-screen TV with infotainment system featuring complimentary Movies On Demand, premium channels and more
  • Both U.S. and EU outlets (110/220 volt) and USB ports 
  • Spacious bathroom with a glass-enclosed shower, heated bathroom floor with temperature control and an anti-fog mirror
  • All staterooms also feature a refrigerator, security safe, telephone, hair dryer and individual climate control

Years River Cruising: 24

Slogan:  Exploring the world in comfort.

Source:  https://www.vikingcruises.com/about-us/history.html

Read about more innovations, firsts, and inventions from these lines and others.

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