What is a river cruise?

A river cruise is an overnight cruise on an inland passage like a river, lake or intracoastal waterway. Generally 7-nights or longer, river cruises stop in small ports of call, sometimes able to dock on the river’s edge where no dock exists. Popular river cruise destinations in the US include the inside passage of Alaska, the Columbia & Snake Rivers, the Mississippi River, the Great Lakes, the Hudson River and the St. Lawrence Seaway. River cruises are also found around the world, including Europe (on the Main, Danube, Seine, Rhine, etc), SE Asia (on the Mekong or Ayeyarwady Rivers), and the Chobe River in Africa. Click here to read more.

What is a small ship cruise?

A small ship is smaller than an ocean liner, generally considered to carry less than 750 passengers. USA River Cruises has yachts as small as 6 passengers, and a steam-powered paddlewheel boat that carries 432 passengers! There are many examples in between, but the majority of our ships tend to carry between 75 and 150 passengers. Small ships are perfect for river cruising, but some are built a little heartier for ocean cruising. Small ships can be found in the Arctic and Antarctic, as well as cruising the islands of the South Pacific, the Galapagos Islands, and more.

Do you have shorter cruises?

Most river cruises choose a 7-night schedule. However there are a few shorter options each year. For 2020, the Highlights of the Mississippi River itinerary has 14 departures between three ships. The Queen of the West offers eight departures of their Highlights of the Columbia River cruise. The new American Countess will be offering a 5-night cruise roundtrip from New Orleans to celebrate New Years Day. Because the short departures are so limited, it’s most important to book early!

Why do river cruises cost more than ocean cruises?

River cruise prices are all-inclusive in many cases. Onboard meals are always included on small ships (some mid-sized ships will have a surcharge for specialty dining options). Large ocean cruises will charge you for non-alcoholic drinks like water, tea, coffee and soda – but not the small ships! Those are all included. Most small ships include some alcohol beverages, usually a house wine and beer with lunch and dinner. River Cruises really shine with their inclusive onboard activities: from historian and naturalist presentations to local entertainment and even wine tastings in certain cruising regions!

What size are the cabins on a river cruise?

If you have cabin size preferences, please be sure to talk with our agents about your expectations. Some ships have bigger cabins than others, and we don’t want you to be uncomfortable. We have ships with small cabins (less than 100 sq ft) which are perfect for the adventurers who only go to their cabins for sleeping. We also have ships with cabins as large as 450 sq ft, for those who are looking for luxurious accommodations! Cabin size can make a difference in your trip, so always talk to the agents about your cabin size preferences so that they can best match you to the ship and cabin category that suits your vacation style.

Can I take kids on a river cruise?

Most small ship cruises cater to a more mature clientele. But what we’ve found is that the history and cultural exposure aboard river cruising are fantastic opportunities for kids to be exposed to the greater world! River cruises are perfect for grandparents wanting to spend quality time with their grandkids over the summer or winter break. Not every river cruise line allows children of all ages, but check with our agents about which ships would fit your group. With Un-Cruise, kids 8 and up are allowed on most cruises.

I've Booked My Cruise. Now What Do I Need to Know?

Should I Purchase Travel Insurance?

USA River Cruises strongly recommends all passengers who book with us to purchase travel insurance. Read more about travel insurance by clicking here.

Do I Make My Own Air Reservations?

Cruisers are always welcome to make their own flight reservations. However, be sure to check with your agent about best arrival and departure times – you don’t want to miss the boat! And if you’d rather not deal with scheduling your flights, we have Miss Cathy in our air department, who would be glad to book your flights for you. Just let our agent know you want our help with your flight options.

When Is Final Payment Due?

All final payments are due 120 days before the cruise departure date. Cruise payments are non-refundable when cancelling a cruise within 120 days of departure.