Let’s visit how several of the river cruise lines position themselves in the market, in alphabetical order.
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.
Years River Cruising: 19
Slogan: Leading the way in river cruising.
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™
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.
Years River Cruising: 10 (27 years in travel for parent company Hornblower)
Slogan: Uniquely American River Cruises™
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!
30 YEARS OF EXTRAORDINARY. ONE GUEST AT A TIME.
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.
Years River Cruising: 5 (31 years on the oceans)
Slogan: True luxury in the heart of Europe. Just like you imagined.
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.
Years River Cruising: 36
Slogan: Vacation Happiness. Guaranteed.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Years in Travel: 24
Slogan: Exploring the world in comfort.
We will have more innovations, firsts, and USP for these lines and others in an upcoming article.
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