You're doing yourself a disservice if you're limiting your cruises to only ones that sail the Seven Seas. There are plenty of river cruises that not only offer the same luxury atmosphere but also give you more opportunities to disembark and enjoy some time truly exploring the destinations you're visiting. Here are five great U.S. river cruises to consider taking.
Columbia and Snake Rivers Cruise
Want to follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark? This cruise is for you. As the name implies, the Columbia and Snake Rivers Cruise by American Cruise Lines takes you through the epic Columbia River Gorge, among other destinations. You'll visit Mount St. Helens, the iconic Multnomah Falls and more.
It's not all about the sightseeing, however. You'll also stop at a local winery while you're out and about and be serenaded by musicians on the riverboat. The eight-day cruise offers nightly entertainment, first-class staterooms and other niceties including scrumptious cuisine and excellent service.
You'll cruise on one of three ships: the American Song, the American Pride, or the Queen of the West. No matter which of the available ships you board, private balcony suites are available.
Lower Mississippi From New Orleans
If you're looking for a touch of Cajun flavor, consider the Lower Mississippi from New Orleans cruise by USA River Cruises. This cruise lasts six days and takes you from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, and then back again.
You'll start your trip with a pre-cruise stay at a premium hotel, followed by a tour of New Orleans the next day. You'll visit the French Quarter, the garden district and more before making your way to the ship. From here you'll visit the Houmas House, spend a day in Baton Rouge, and head back to New Orleans via Oak Alley.
The cruise features large staterooms, regionally-inspired menus using local ingredients, and more. If you're looking for a more luxurious trip, private balcony suites are available.
Southeast Alaska Cruise
If you're looking to take in the great outdoors while enjoying the comforts associated with a cruise, the Southeast Alaska Cruise by American Cruise Lines could be perfect for you. Few places in North America offer the breadth of natural beauty that Alaska does, and plenty of it is on display here.
This eight-day cruise departs from Juneau following a pre-cruise package the day before. You'll visit the Mendenhall Glacier, Glacier Bay, the Sawyer Glacier and other natural wonders. You'll also spend time spotting wildlife including seals, whales, eagles and other rare birds.
This cruise takes place aboard the American Constellation, which offers large staterooms, observation decks, private balconies and more.
Great Lakes Grand Discovery
Have you ever wanted to see one of the Great Lakes? How about all of them? That's exactly what you'll get to do on the Great Lakes Grand Discovery cruise by USA River Cruises. This is the longest cruise on this list at 10 days and it is absolutely packed full of things to do.
You'll embark in Chicago before setting on to Lake Michigan. From here you'll head to Mackinac Island, which sits between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas. Following your stop there, you'll make your way through the rest of the Great Lakes before finally disembarking in Toronto.
You'll be traveling onboard the Victory I, which offers either two twin-size beds or one queen-size bed in every room. There are also Owner's Suites and various categories of staterooms available.
Hudson River Cruises
If you want to combine your cruise with a look at the fall foliage, Hudson River Cruises from American Cruise Lines can help you do exactly that. This eight-day cruise embarks from New York City and makes its way into the heart of the Catskill mountains where the colors are at their brightest.
You'll spend the first day in the city, while day two takes you to New York's capital, Albany, where you can explore the city and visit the New York State Museum. From here you'll take a leisurely pace on the way back, exploring Hyde Park, West Point and Sleepy Hollow along the way.
Travel takes place aboard the American Star, Independence, or American Constitution, all of which offer large staterooms.