Viking River Cruises named Best River Cruise Line for third time

AmaWaterways, American Queen Steamboat Company, American Cruise Lines and Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours in top five

River cruising has been exploding in popularity in recent years, and it's easy to see why. You check in, unpack your bag and let your floating hotel take you on a journey of discovery down some of the world's great waterways, with experiential guided excursions along the way. What's your favorite river cruise line? 

Viking River Cruises
Founded in 1997, Viking River Cruises plies the waterways of Europe, Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt with its fleet of more than 60 vessels. While Viking has also launched an award-winning ocean cruise line, the company built its reputation in river cruising. These all-inclusive cruises feature outside staterooms, WiFi, wine and beer with meals, shore excursions in every port and Viking’s signature Culture Curriculum program. Photo courtesy of Viking River Cruises
Many of the staterooms in AmaWaterways’ fleet of river ships feature a French balcony and a full outside balcony, providing guests stellar views of the passing scenery. Joined by no more than 163 fellow passengers, guests find plenty of room on board to spread out and relax. Shore excursions are included in the fare, and in many ports of call, guests can choose from several options. A fleet of complimentary bicycles on board allows guests to explore destinations in a more active, leisurely way. Photo courtesy of AmaWaterways
American Queen Steamboat Company
American Queen Steamboat Company specializes in Mississippi River cruises ranging from five to 23 days. These all-American, all-inclusive itineraries include pre-cruise hotel stays, wine and beer with dinner, regional cuisine and shore excursions in each port of call. Themed voyages dive deeper into topics of interest, like wine, bourbon, Mark Twain, Civil War, Elvis or Big Band. Photo courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company /
American Cruise Lines
Guests plying America’s waterways with American Cruise Line enjoy some of the newest and most environmentally friendly small ships and riverboats on the continent. Professional chefs cook up delectable meals from locally sourced ingredients, while musicians, naturalists and historians come aboard to enhance the cruising experience. Spacious staterooms feature private balconies for stellar views no matter the itinerary – there are 35 of them throughout the U.S. Photo courtesy of Gene Sloan, USA TODAY
Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
Australian-based tour company Scenic began offering all-inclusive European  and Asian river cruises aboard its fleet of Space-Ships in 2008. Each vessel has two decks of private balcony cabins – and at the touch of a button the balconies close up for all-weather use. All European passengers enjoy butler service, and guests choose from a range of sightseeing experiences and excursions instead of being tied down to a single group tour. Photo courtesy of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
CroisiEurope operates 50 exclusive ships, including five chartered vessels, for its creative itineraries along the waterways of Europe, Asia and now launching in Africa. Not only can passengers cruise major rivers and European coastlines, they can experience more intimate French canals aboard one of CroisiEurope’s fleet of 12-cabin hotel barges. Photo courtesy of CroisiEurope
Emerald Waterways
Emerald’s custom-built Star-Ships give guests more space than almost any other vessels in Europe. Onboard amenities for Emerald’s eight to 17-day itineraries include a heated pool, nightly cinema, sun deck, fine dining, beer and wine, soft drinks and EmeraldPLUS experiences – activities designed to immerse guests in the culture and history of each fascinating destination they visit. Photo courtesy of Emerald Waterways
G Adventures
Appealing to a more active demographic of river cruisers, G Adventures is one of the newest players on the river cruising field. Passenger numbers are limited to 30, and itineraries take travelers down the Ganges, Mekong Amazon Rivers or along the canals of Burgundy. Photo courtesy of G Adventures, Inc.
Avalon Waterways
River cruisers in Europe will find the largest standard staterooms and suites aboard Avalon’s fleet of luxurious ships. Onboard amenities include fitness centers, a Sky Deck with a whirlpool and shade system, free WiFi, flat screen TVs and a self-serve beverage station. The Avalon Choice program allows cruisers to customize the details of their experience, ensuring each vacation is a perfect fit. Photo courtesy of Avalon Waterways
Crystal River Cruises
Crystal Cruises, a big name in luxurious ocean cruising, has thrown its hat into the river market in a big way. Crystal River Cruises takes passengers on journeys along Europe’s most beautiful waterways, stopping at small ports and legendary capitals along the way. The fleet comprises five all-suite river yachts with all-inclusive amenities like butler service for every suite, pre-paid gratuities, unlimited beverages, 24-hour room service and transfer to and from the airport. Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises

We asked our readers to vote for their favorites, and the results are in. 

The top 10 winners in the category Best River Cruise Line are as follows:

  1. Viking River Cruises
  2. AmaWaterways
  3. American Queen Steamboat Company
  4. American Cruise Lines
  5. Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours
  6. CroisiEurope
  7. Emerald Waterways
  8. G Adventures
  9. Avalon Waterways
  10. Crystal River Cruises

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Don and Heidi Bucolo ( Dunham-Potter (, Danielle Fear (Cruise Miss)Carrie Finley Bajak (, Linda Garrison (TripSavvy), Sherry Laskin Kennedy (, Jason Leppert (Popular Cruising), Chris Owen (, Doug Parker (, Aaron Saunders (From the Deck Chair) and Ming Tappin (Your Cruise Coach Consulting) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of the cruise industry.

Congratulations to all these wining cruise companies!