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2020 Editors' Picks Awards: Best River Cruise Line Cruises

See the lines and ships that best represent excellence in ocean, river and luxury cruising, chosen by Cruise Critic's international team of editors.

River Cruise Lines

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Best River Cruise Line

"Uniworld’s unwavering attention to detail on every aspect of the fleet -- whether that’s service, food, accommodations or itineraries -- ensures the line is always one step ahead of the competition. Its continuous investment in the fleet ensures those standards are not only maintained, but surpassed, which will see its entire existing European fleet upgraded to “SuperShip” status by 2021."

Find an Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Cruise
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection Reviews (597)


Best New River Ship

"The most-anticipated river ship of 2019 is also the best of the year. Unique because it's double the width of most river cruise ships, AmaMagna is a game changer. The modern ship offers large cabins, a full-sized pool and an array of restaurants. AmaMagna is a dream for fitness and wellness enthusiasts, with a large gym and dedicated spa space -- unheard of on river ships."

S.S. Bon Voyage

Best Ship Refurbishment

"The latest in Uniworld's ongoing update programme, S.S. Bon Voyage has received Super Ship treatment, with an extensive overhaul. S.S. Bon Voyage now has more suites and a fancier flavour, complete with marble, fabric-covered walls and Murano glass chandeliers. Dining, too, received an upgrade with brasserie-inspired decor and offerings, making it a perfect reflection of the Bordeaux region where it sails."


Best for Active Cruisers

"The leader in active river cruising continues to innovate with wellness coaches on every ship, leading yoga, core and stretching classes. While AmaMagna, the line's newest ship, has a full-sized fitness room, staying healthy is a focus fleetwide, with new programmes added regularly. (Champagne yoga, anyone?) Add in biking and hiking in each port, and you'll find it easy to work off calories."

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Best Cabins

"This boutique river cruise line's sister company is Red Carnation Hotels, which is why the beautiful cabins are individually decorated with antiques and artwork that rival anything you would find in the best hotels. From Italian marble bathrooms to custom Savoir of England beds and silk walls, there are four-posters in some of the suites and liveried butlers on call."

Crystal River Cruises

Best Dining

"Sophisticated dishes, made-to-order meals and an excellent included wine list make Crystal River Cruises the perfect choice for foodies. No dining room queues here; on Crystal, there's open seating and plenty of tables for two, allowing passengers to eat on their own schedule. While oenophiles will love splurging for the decadent Vintage Room, casual dining also shines, with delicious burgers and global tapas."


Best Enrichment

"Scenic's partnership with National Geographic has significantly broadened and deepened enrichment offered onboard specified cruises. Expert lecturers and photographers give in-depth talks about the culture, the people and the historical significance of the places you are visiting, as well as accompanying selected tours. Photographers offer tips and advice to help you better capture the sights you are visiting."

Adventures by Disney

Best for Families

"Every aspect of an Adventures by Disney cruise is focused on the family, carefully balancing kids' needs with parents' time off. The eight Adventure guides and cruise director keep attention on fun onboard activities, such as kite flying on the back of the ship and dedicated kids' meals, as well as family-focused shore excursions such as jousting and canopy climbs."

Viking River Cruises

Best for First-Timers

"New to river cruising? Then Viking River Cruises should be your first stop. Perhaps the best-known river cruise line, Viking is also one of the most expansive; the company's vast fleet of Longships means it's easy to find the perfect sailing. Smart inclusions, such as beer and wine at lunch and dinner, Wi-Fi and a shore excursion in every port, mean few extra fees once onboard."

Viking River Cruises

Best Itineraries

"From the Mekong to the Yangtze, the Danube to the Douro, the Nile to the Volga, you'll find a Viking riverboat. The line has pioneered cruises on many of the world's rivers, offering insightful and in-depth itineraries exploring the culture, heritage and sights of the destinations. The sheer amount of ships means that it's easy to find a river cruise to suit any taste."

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection

Best for Luxury

"Uniworld’s investment programme is laser-focused: Give passengers more space by adding more suites, more choice by adding new restaurants and increasing the public space onboard. Add those touches to the existing luxury -- high cotton threads, outstanding cuisine, exceptionally comfortable beds and butler service -- and Uniworld stands out as a leader in the luxury space."

Crystal River Cruises

Best Service

"With 24-hour butler service for every cabin and favourable crew-to-passenger ratios, Crystal River Cruises delivers impeccable levels of service. Striking just the right balance between seamless and unobtrusive service that caters to every whim, whilst making passengers feel completely at ease in a relaxing and friendly environment, the line delivers on every level. Intuitive staff members quickly learn names and favourite cocktails to make everyone feel extra special."


Best Shore Excursions

"Scenic has long recognised passengers don't want to be part of a crowd and have individual needs and preferences. Each day the all-inclusive Scenic Freechoice programme offers shore excursions at a relaxed, moderate or active pace, and Scenic Enrich excursions explore local culture while evening sundowner trips take cocktail hours to picturesque spots. Independent cruisers can discover ports by themselves with the updated Scenic Tailormade app."

Riviera River Cruises

Best for Solo Travellers

"Riviera Travel stands out with the widest choice of sailings and cabins for solo passengers without punishing single supplements. On every cruise, cabins are set aside for single occupancy at no additional cost, whether passengers are travelling alone or simply want a room to themselves. Riviera Travel is also offering an increasing number of dedicated solo river cruises with no supplements across the entire ship, including suites."

Emerald Cruises

Best Value for Money

"Tours, beer and wine at meals and Wi-Fi are all included as standard on an Emerald Waterways cruise, but at a lower price point than other lines. Add the indoor/outdoor pool, comfortable cabins and outstanding food -- reflecting the region in which you're cruising --and you'll find that you get more for your money with Emerald Waterways."

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