While in New York, Hudson River Cruises are a must. The river spans 314 miles running north to south. It begins in the Adirondack Mountains and empties into Lower New York Bay. I know of no other river with such diversity. Where else can you see lush mountain ranges, small fishing villages, Victorian cobblestone streets and tall skyscrapers all in one day?




Hudson River Cruise 
Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Great for a small budget
  • Alcoholic beverages available
  • Narrated tours

CONS

  • Does not visit New York City
  • Can get overcrowded
  • This boat fills up quickly. Book far in advance.


Hudson River Cruise

It Was a Tough Decision Which Cruise Line to Choose

Some left from Manhattan and New Jersey while others departed from upstate areas like Albany and Kingston. I wanted to see it all. I discovered there were day trips and week-long overnight excursions.

I took the Blount Cruise Line first because they offered a 9-day package. I wanted to experience as much in as possible during my stay in New York. I visit the state every year. The hotels can be stuffy and expensive. I have yet to experience New York in its entirety due to its sheer land mass configured with my free time and cost of travel. I felt one of the Hudson River cruises would be the smartest choice to see the most exciting city in the world, plus visit the historical landmarks. I also love to hike. I was looking forward to getting my feet on some mountain trails.


Blount Small Ship Adventures Was a Nice Surprise

I have been on many cruise ships. Many of these boats are huge, and I have even gotten lost on the multi-level decks. But Blount Small Ship Adventures stays true to its name, and this makes the excursion more personal. By the end of the journey, you will leave with new friends. Because the ship only holds 84 people, the crew was small. This is a great recipe for cozy, friendly service.

Because New York lies in the northern region of the country, it experiences all four seasons. This makes Hudson River cruises a unique and spectacular adventure all year round.


Fall Trip

A fall trip is full of vibrant hues of red, yellow and orange. The American Sycamore and White Oak are bountiful in the region. The leaves are about to fall, and the beauty they possess has vacationers coming from all parts of the country and world.

During the spring and summer months, glorious shades of greens sprout out from every corner. Wildflowers and cattails dance along the banks. What I found to be the most exciting was witnessing a glorious bald eagle dive for its lunch and fly off with a trout dangling from its claws. Exhilarating!

The variety of architecture is also outstanding. In the upper regions, small villages are tucked between tremendous trees. But being that New York was once the only state in the nation with a bustling trade industry, many gained great wealth. Large, lavish, homes are also along the waterway.


The City

As I traveled south towards the city, the peaceful sounds of the spotted sandpiper and mallard ducks turned into bustling sounds of towboats and city ports.
As we drew closer to the city, skyscrapers and factories lined the harbor.

Being one of the original 13 colonies, New York is rich in United States history. Visiting the Statue of Liberty filled me up with pride. I got to see my great-grand father's name documented on Ellis Island, where my ancestors first set foot on the soil of freedom. During the tour, I felt such a connection to the first immigrants who risked their lives to come here. You can not help but wonder about who they were. Only the determined and strong-willed could have taken that risk. To take a peek into their sacrifices and triumphs is a marvel.

If you cruise a lot, you are most likely accustomed to large dining rooms, elegantly designed. The cuisine is fine, and so is the service. Not on the Blount line. The food is appealing and delicious but don't expect to wear fancy dinner attire. Most men wore khakis and even jeans.


Blount Ships Have a Relaxing Feel


Although the menu choices were slim, they were far from drab. You could taste the love that went into the meals. It was like being at a family gathering and your uncle, the gourmet chef, was in the kitchen.

Entertainment is often onboard some bigger ships. Although I prefer the sounds of nature and laughter, others may like a little background music with a live band. But I have to admit a cocktail with some relaxing music is never a bad idea, especially when in front of the breathtaking backdrop of the Hudson Valley.


The Blount Line

The Blount Line, although amidst the same magnificent view, provides more of an educational experience. Instead of dancing in the evening, they have local speakers and workshops.

This is great for the older generation. Most of the passengers are folks enjoying their retirement. The average age was probably about 55 and over. There were a few families with teenaged children, but I saw no young ones.

If you want the nightlife, this Hudson River cruise is not for you. But if you prefer sitting around listening to the natives while sipping on your favorite wine, then you have found your ship. I say your favorite wine because they allow you to bring your own libations. In fact, they serve complimentary wine and beer during lunch and dinner.


Ship's Small Design

What is great about Hudson River cruises on the Blount is that its small design means it can fit into tight canals and locks. The larger boats cannot sail under many of the bridges along the way. We pulled into small ports alongside private yachts. We stopped in Troy, Highland, Newburgh, and Catskill to name a few.

There is plenty of time to jump ship and travel into the quaint villages and fishing towns and experience northeast traditions.


The East Coast Is Popular for Its Great Seafood

Suck on juicy mollusks, dip your trout in butter and hover over a warm bowl of chowder. Restaurants in Manhattan and along the Hudson are world renowned offering some of the best chefs in the North East. So remember to come hungry and allow yourself to indulge in the mastery of New England cuisine.

If a full week of traveling, eating and shopping is not what you are looking for a Hudson River cruise can be enjoyed in a few hours. If you have children, this is your best bet. The day cruises have a variety of options and scheduling.

A few hours seeing the sights of the Hudson River would be perfect for school field trips, scouting excursions or even a church function. Pick a river cruise that offers a narrated tour and the kids will learn about wildlife, art and even history.


The Beauty of Hudson River Cruises Is All the Options

Some lines have fall foliage trips, others have moonlight voyages or happy hour parties.
If you like parties and dancing, but don't like the crowds, you can rent many Hudson River cruises for private events. Get yourself a band and dance down the waterways. In one beautiful evening, you can see brilliant stars amongst a deep blue background and end up viewing what some might call the best city skyline in the world.

This gorgeous river is rich in history. Henry Hudson discovered these waters while working for the Dutch East India Company. He was searching for a quick route to the Pacific. In 1609  the Hudson River didn't seem like a good place for trade but add 200 years, and it became one of the most lucrative ports. The money and greed were so overwhelming; it became an area of much war and conflict.

Any history buff would be in his glory to explore the nation's heritage while sailing on one of the Hudson river cruises. Museum trips are a must if you love artifacts from the past.


Pricing

Pricing varies for Hudson River cruises. Due to its many options, you can spend as little as 25.00 for a day cruise up to thousands for a week package.
The Fall foliage is always in high demand, so the Autumn months will be more costly.

Since most cruise lines have websites, someone can find prices online. If you are lazy like me, call a travel agent and let them take care of picking what is best for you. Telling an agent what your budget and desires are will make the selection easier.

Because there are so many boats and cruise lines to choose from, I picked a few others for comparison.


Hudson River Cruises on the Rip Van Winkle




Activities

Rating

​Port

​Additional Perks and Features


American Star Cruise



Activities

Rating

​Port

​Additional Perks and Features

PROS

  • Luxurious staterooms with balconies
  • Culinary excellence
  • Supporting farmer's markets and small businesses

CONS

  • Not family friendly
  • Geared towards an older crowd
  • A little too quiet at times


Dutch Apple Cruise and Tours



Activities

Rating

​Port

​Additional Perks and Features

River cruises in Europe offers are incredible. River cruises differ from ocean cruises in that river cruises often dock right in the town you're going to. This makes traveling and sightseeing incredibly easy. Whether you're planning a solo trip or traveling as a group or with the kids over the summer, the reviews below will make your decision much easier.

River cruises in Europe range from the simple and economical to the lavish and expensive. There are cruises for every taste and every budget. We'll be looking at river cruises run by private companies that only charter a few people at a time and are specialized and expensive, to the family-friendly larger river cruise lines that are economical and take a large group of people at the same time. Some cruises are more adult-oriented while others have children-oriented activities available.

 

River Cruises in Europe - FAQ's


​What is it?

​What Does it Do?

​​How Does it Work?

​Where can you Buy It?

​Price Range

​How we Reviewed

​​Overall Price Range Of This Product

River cruises in Europe cost from the mid $2,000's per person to the mid $18,000 per person depending on the trip, the ship and the amenities. On the lower end of the budget, you will find the main cruise ships that frequently cruise Europe's rivers. They are the larger cruise ships that take shorter trips. They take up to a couple hundred people at a time depending on the ship.

The higher priced cruise ships often travel for a longer period of time and to farther destinations. They take very small groups in general, and the experience you can expect on these very special ships is one you will never forget. from custom dining and day trips to private ships for just your family, you can find just about anything if money is no object!


What We Reviewed

  • ​Tauck River Cruises
  • ​AMA Waterways Cruises
  • ​Viking River Cruises
  • Crystal River Cruises
  • Uniworld Cruises
  • Scenic River Cruises
  • Belmond Cruises
  • Amadeus River Cruises
  • Riviera River Cruises
  • A-Rosa Cruises

Tauck River Cruises



Tauck River Cruise

Features

For over 90 years, the Tauck family have specialized in operating worldwide tour programs. The Tauck family has had multiple generations that have been involved in making the company the huge success it is today. The company has had over 90 years of experience, and they say this has allowed them to make "old world friends" all over the globe.


Example of River Cruise from Tauck

two-week cruise along the Danube covers five countries (the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary) and you will also get to see cathedrals, monasteries, castles and vineyards on shore excursions. With just 98 passengers aboard the 361-foot ship, cabins are around 225 square feet, and most have floor-to-ceiling windows and French balconies for admiring the views of the Rhine Valley, Budapest, Main-Danube canal and more. Meals in certain restaurants are included in the rate as are all guided tours and crew gratuities. The flexible itinerary lets passengers personalize their excursions; in Vienna, there's the option to explore the Sisi Museum and the Imperial Apartments in the Hofburg or spend a day at the magical Schonbrunn Palace.


Pros

  • Family owned business with 90 years experience
  • Small groups
  • Great rooms and amenities

Cons

  • May be out of some people's budget

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

AMA Waterways



AmaViola Riverboat

Features

The AMA Waterways river cruise in Europe offers a series of wine-themed cruises that celebrate the varieties of the region. Off-ship, travelers can visit local wineries and cellars, and they normally include tastings in these trips; also, on the ship, U.S. winemakers and locals alike provide tastings of their own wines and locally produced vintages.

This company is bringing family travel to river cruises with adventures on the Danube and the Rhine from the summer months through the early fall season. AmaWaterways reinvented the design of the AmaViola and AmaKristina ships to create family-friendly cabins. Adventures by Disney has come up with the tour menus. Some activities include toboggan rides, hiking, zip lining in the Black Forest, and canoeing along the Ill River.


Pros

  • ​Family friendly
  • ​Many options for travel destinations
  • ​Cruises available year round

Cons

  • ​Not all cruises are family friendly

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Viking River Cruises



viking river cruises

Features

The suites in Viking River Cruise's boats are hands down amazing. Nine of the suites on each ship have both traditional balconies and wall-to-ceiling "French verandas" that open the bedrooms completely to the passing views. The ships also have two Explorer Suites on each vessel which measure 445 square feet and have 270-degree views and wraparound balconies.

Viking River cruises in Europe is one of the more expensive options. However, you definitely get what you pay for. On their Scenic voyages, you don't have to eat with others; there's room service! Once on shore, you can ditch the group tour and instead use Scenic's virtual tour guide. Viking also offers a fleet of electric bikes makes it easy to set off solo.

​Example of Viking River Cruises Itinerary

Pros

  • ​Amazing destinations
  • ​Very small intimate groups
  • ​Amazing Amenities

Cons

  • ​Mid to top of the price range

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Crystal River Cruises



Crystal River Cruise

Features

Crystal River Cruises has created a new style of river cruise based on their award-winning ocean ships. The biggest difference from other cruise lines is the open seating dining in the main restaurant! They also have an extraordinary crew to guest ratio, and ships that have lots of space including the Bistro for casual dining, the exclusive private Vintage Room, lounges, a spa, and fitness center including an indoor swimming pool.

​Here is a sample itinerary for the Crystal River Cruises Line

Pros

  • ​Amazing amenities on the ship
  • ​Longer trips
  • ​Open seating dining

Cons

  • ​Price not listed online

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Uniworld Cruises



Uniworld Cruises

Features

Uniworld is a cruise line that has included a wellness approach into their cruise experience. They do this by offering lectures by health experts, menu options, Nordic walking sticks, bicycles in port, and even spa facilities on all ships in Europe. Uniworld cruises also offer swimming pools on its newer ships.

They decorate all the Uniworld cruise line ships in an English country house feel. All of the 13 ships in the European river cruise fleet are amazing! The newer ships, such as the S.S. Antoinette, the S.S. Catherine, and the S.S. Joie de vivre, are also palatial.

​Example of Uniworld Cruise

Pros

  • ​Amazing ships
  • ​Incredible Destinations
  • ​Many amenities related to your health and wellness

Cons

  • ​For the price and amenities there really isn't a con for this cruise line!

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Scenic River Cruises



Scenic River Cruises

Features

Scenic's cruise line is affectionately nicknamed the  'Space-Ships'! The cruise ships boast some of the largest suites of any other river cruise line. The Scenic river cruises ships offers a wealth of luxury facilities and wellness area. They also offer complimentary WiFi connectivity, electric bikes, five exclusive dining venues and a spacious sun deck.

The decor on the ships is fresh and contemporary. The Scenic river cruises offer all-inclusive pricing which includes complimentary drinks all day every day, tipping, flights, transfers and many interesting excursions.

​Sample Itinerary from Scenic

Pros

  • ​Amazing amenities on board
  • ​Just about everything is all inclusive
  • ​Modern Design

Cons

  • ​High priced

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Belmond Cruises



Features

Belmond Cruises travels around Burgundy, Cote d'Or, France Comte, Saone, Provence, Valle du Rhone and Canal du Midi aboard seven incredibly styled barges. Belmond cruise ships have room for between four and 12 passengers. Belmond holds six-day voyages that are more like a private charter. The Belmond staff customize everything from the regionally inspired French meals (ingredients are freshly chosen from local markets as you cruise down the river!) to amazing shore experiences often with insider access.

​Sample Itinerary of Belmond Cruise

Pros

  • ​Once in a lifetime vacation
  • ​Very intimate setting
  • ​Amazing shore excursions

Cons

  • ​Prices not listed online
  • ​Not for larger groups

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Amadeus River Cruises



Amadeus River Cruises

Features

Amadeus river cruise lines have some incredible perks for their passengers. Amadeus gives passengers plenty of options to do as much or as little as they choose and pay accordingly. Amadeus does this by offering an "a la carte" program of three to four excursion packages. These packages range from around four shore tours during a weeklong cruise to a full-on schedule with up to two per day. The ships have incredible facilities, including a walk-in closet in the majority of staterooms, an onboard massage therapist and a hair stylist.

​Sample Itinerary For Amadeus

Pros

  • ​Lots of options both on the ship and off
  • ​Amazing excursion packages
  • ​Incredible destinations

Cons

  • ​Assigned seating for mealtimes

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Riviera River Cruises



rivera cruise

Features

Riviera River Cruises an award-winning reputation in its homeland for value-for-money fares. The "price promise" means they do not discount cruises or put on sale, so everyone pays the same, no matter when they book. Do you love all things British? Then we have a feeling you will feel right at home! Menus are British tastes so along with international fare you will enjoy the "full English" experience.

​Sample of Riviera Itinerary

Pros

  • ​Amazing value
  • ​British culture on a European cruise
  • ​Solo travelers get even more deals

Cons

  • ​Drinks are not included with meals
  • ​not many excursions are offered
  • ​Only one daily shore tour is offered

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

Crystal River Cruises



Crystal River Cruise

Features

A-Rosa Cruises is a line that is ideally suited to anyone that falls outside the usual river cruise demographic. This cruise line is very much laid back and appeals to younger couples, families, and singles. The A-Rosa dining arrangements are some of the best as they differ from most other river cruises.

A-Rosa has buffet-style breakfast, lunch, and dinner that provide unrestricted mealtimes during the restaurant opening hours. A standout feature is Spa-Rosa. Some of the ships have a spa with a reception desk, gym, treatment rooms, sauna, and relaxation area. This line is also family friendly and one of very few river cruise line to have family cabins and a kids' club.

​Sample of A-Rosa Itinerary

Pros

  • ​Family Friendly
  • ​Open dining
  • ​Kids Programs

Cons

  • ​Not a lot of onboard entertainment (singers, musicians, etc.)
  • ​Not for people wanting a "handheld" cruise

​Price

​Where to Buy?

​Warranty

The Verdict

The winner we have chosen for this review is the Uniworld river cruises. For the price and the amenities you really cannot beat it! There were really no cons for Uniworld, and they offer some incredible destinations.



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