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Riverboat cruising, not just for Europe anymore.

When most people think of river cruises, rivers like the Danube, Rhine, and Douro come to mind. Of course, those are in Europe. But here in the United States, there are wonderful river cruises on the Mighty Mississippi, The Ohio River, The Columbia and Snake Rivers, and several others, including the Great Lakes that are only a short drive or flight away. Let's explore the many options and destinations on a few of them.

Let's talk about what a river cruise in North America is.

First, it is a boat, not a ship. Ships, by definition, are ocean-going vessels, while vessels built for rivers and lakes are called boats.

Seasickness is not a problem due to the gently flowing rivers. There is no movement from side to side and no undue rocking.

The boats are small enough that the elaborate long piers needed for the mega-ships are not required for a river cruise boat to cozy right up to a dock very close to the heart of the town.

When getting off the boat, one can experience the wonders of the town with the included excursion, hearing about the history and accomplishments of the area or if one desires, explore the location on their own, making sure to be back on board by the time the boat is scheduled to leave.

Since riverboats are smaller, the average number of passengers is about 225, with some as small as 100 and none with more than 400 passengers per sailing.

The accommodations on some cruise lines include some inside cabins, while many have standard rooms and suites with balconies to be able to see the beautiful scenery as the boat glides down the river. Some cruise lines have accommodations that have a historic Victorian-era motive, while others are more modern with their decorations. There are even some cruises that have solo passenger accommodations without having to pay for double occupancy.

Also, like European river cruises, North American cruises include all meals with wine, beer, and soft drinks at dinner. Some cruise lines even include wine and beer with lunch and a free cocktail hour before dinner with a full bar!

The meals are often regional dishes with ingredients sourced locally. Menu items can be jambalaya and creole if in Louisiana; Dungeness Crab Cake and Salmon in the Pacific Northwest; Maine lobster, shrimp, and clams in New England; Pork Scaloppini, Swordfish steak, Red Peppercorn Polenta, and Shrimp-Corn Macque Choux in the Southeast. These aren't the only items on the menus; there are many choices for every palate and diet available; all served in a luxurious setting.

A North American river cruise is much like a floating hotel with amenities such as 24hr room service, complimentary Wi-Fi, private bathrooms, private balconies, onboard historians and naturalists (often known as Riverlorians) and evening entertainment such as music and dancing.

Looking for a unique way to explore the United States in style? A North American river cruise is exactly what you are looking for! Passports are not required. (unless you are traveling on a cruise that has stops in Canada) The slower pace and intimate settings allow the traveler to experience the many jewels in each and every town along the route. It is one of the best ways to see America in luxury!

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