A Guide to North America River Cruising

Posted March 23rd, 2016

Incredible gorges, Mississippi sights, fascinating museums and friendly locals – if you’re going on a North America river cruise, you can expect unforgettable experiences and exciting shore excursions. Before you start sailing or even decide to book, though, there are a few important things to keep in mind so you can make the most of your adventure.

American Queen, American Queen Steamboat Company


  • The 2,000-kilometre long Columbia River is home to incredible history and rich culture. The Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area in particular provides some of the best shore excursions for passengers. Waterfalls, scenic trails, fantastic museums and indigenous sites have passengers agreeing that this is a highlight on any North America river cruise.
  • The Snake River, originating in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, stretches for around 1,735 kilometres. It is the gateway to Hells Canyon, which is commonly reached by jet boat – during your trip, you’ll learn about the local history, the struggles and victories of early pioneers, and the Nez Perce tribe.
  • The grand Mississippi River is home to a fantastic variety of stops at great port cities like New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Natchez, Memphis, St. Louis and many more. A look into history, past battles, traditions and daily life prove to make this a great adventure.

The Cuisine

Want to enjoy a meal inspired by your stunning surroundings? Cruise lines exploring North America work hard to ensure passengers are completely immersed in the area by using local ingredients and produce in their dishes.

    • If you’re on an Un-Cruise Adventures ship, keep an eye out for the grilled Alaskan sockeye salmon, with egg, roast squash, apples, blue cheese and Washington blackberries – absolutely delicious!
    • Those travelling on the American Queen Steamboat Company can try a number of local-inspired dishes, including the Louisiana crawfish tails with roasted Creole tomatoes and cognac, Tennessee ham wrapped around seasonal melon, and wild-harvested Gulf snapper and grilled Ruby-Red shrimp with Crowley rice.
    • When exploring the Columbia and Snake River with American Cruise Lines, you can look forward to feasting on meals featuring freshly caught Northwest salmon and sturgeon, produce gathered at local farmers’ markets, and local wines sourced from the vineyards along the Columbia River. Ice-cream made of local mint, huckleberries and cherries is just another highlight on the menu!

Top tips for river cruising: Expert Advice: Getting The Most Out Of Your River Cruise

Ever been to Hawaii? Experience Hawaii The Easy Way: By Cruise Ship

Which Cruise Lines?

Of course, a large part of your cruising experience comes down to the vessel you’re exploring in.

  • Queen of the West, American Eagle and Queen of the Mississippi are some of American Cruise Lines’ ships that frequent North American rivers. With passenger capacities ranging from 120 to 150, these ships provide an intimate cruising experience. Beautiful staterooms and lounges, personalised service, and custom-built furniture create a unique atmosphere as you travel to port cities.
  • The American Queen Steamboat Company is another popular cruise line that explores North American waters. American Queen ventures through cities like New Orleans, Memphis, Natchez, Memphis, Vicksburg and other fantastic cities. This vessel is known as the largest steamboat ever built, reflecting elegance and opulence with its mixture of modern amenities and American Victorian era décor.
  • Un-Cruise Adventures’ S.S. Legacy ventures through the Columbia and Snake Rivers. This stunning steamer boasts intricate décor and a saloon for guests, as well as a bar, 2 hot tubs, a sauna, yoga classes and a massage suite.

Mississippi River, New Orleans


  • Make the most out of your North America river cruise by getting to know the on-board experts. American Cruise Lines in particular hosts historians, naturalists, authors, biologists and many other experts to shed light on local history through informal lectures, discussions and activities. Learn about American heritage through valuable anecdotes as you travel through the Mississippi, Columbia and Snake Rivers.
  • Try to get to the debarkation port city the day or night before the boat is due to leave. This means you can explore the city at your own pace before taking off and that you shouldn’t have any trouble making your boat on time.
  • It’s also important to take care of medical and travel insurance before heading out on a cruise, and to ensure that this cover is adequate in the United States.

Are you ready to cruise through North America? Do you have a few extra questions you’d like answered? Call one of our friendly consultants on 1300 954 661 today!

Set sail on a dream holiday with Cruiseabout



Cruise Specialist

  Absolutely nobody in Australia knows more about cruising than Cruiseabout. With close to 30,000 nights on ships all across the globe, our consultants’ extensive experience and passion for cruising is unequaled. We're here to share the joys of cruising holidays with more Australians and invite them into our world - because we love cruising!

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