A Short Primer on River Cruising

Did you know that only 14% of people in the US have ever taken a river cruise? If you are one of them, you know that cruising is exciting, relaxing and above all, fun! For some people the thought of cruising on a huge ship with somewhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people may seem a bit overwhelming, not to mention the obvious fear of getting seasick. If you are one of those people (or not!) now there are cruises for you too!

These cruises provide you with a more private, intimate experience, a smaller number of passengers and destinations that are not accessible by large cruise ships.

River Cruises

Journeys on river ships can be a very relaxing and convenient way to see some of the world’s most fascinating places up close and personal. You will have inland access to many of the world’s most beautiful cities like Paris, Vienna, St. Petersburg and Budapest. Your ship will dock right in the heart of cities where you are just a few steps from charming squares, gorgeous cathedrals and bustling market places. You will be able to walk right off the ship and join in the city’s daily activities. In the warm summer months you may be able to experience an open air festival! Nightly entertainment on the ship is usually provided by locals in the region in which you are sailing.

Because you are so close to the shoreline as you float along the river you will have a panoramic view of quaint towns and villages, historic sites and lush countrysides.

Since your ship’s capacity will be somewhere between 150-246 guests, it will be an intimate and casual experience where you can get to know people on the boat. There will not be long lines while embarking, disembarking or at mealtime. And because the river boats have a flat bottom, they are not susceptible to the rolling that causes “seasickness”.

There are also great cruises that sail the Danube and other rivers, stopping in historic cities in Germany, Hungary, Austria, Russia etc. where you can immerse yourself in their culture, cuisine, music and history. The newest river cruises have specially designed ships that go to ports in Southeast Asia.

Paddle Wheelers

If you love Americana then these are the ships for you. Today they cruise the Mississippi River and its tributaries. When you board a paddle wheeler you board a time machine that takes you back to the 19th century…very nostalgic!

Journey to the heart and soul of America on American Cruise Lines’ brand new Mississippi Riverboat. While the churn of the paddlewheel blends with the sounds of the river, you’ll rediscover the America of the pioneers, the America of boundless optimism and unlimited possibilities. The new paddle wheeler will embody the spirit of traditional Mississippi River cruising and the grandeur of the riverboats of the past while offering all the modern comforts and amenities American Cruise Lines passengers have come to expect.

Did you know the paddle wheeler dates back to the 8th century in China? They cruised the Yangtze River, huge wheels turned by human muscle. A thousand years later, these ships became a staple of river transportation in the Western Hemisphere, thanks to the steam engine. The combination of the new steam engine and the huge paddle wheels created a new and faster system for moving passengers and freight up and down the Mississippi River. Our historic and famous cities along the Mississippi literally owe their existence to the paddle wheeler.