Below are some of the top attractions of river cruises around the world. Click the links below to see photos and money-saving offers.
Mississippi River cruises glide through America's heartland, stopping in dynamic cities and picturesque river towns. Guided sightseeing can include landmarks such as Oak Alley, a beautifully restored mansion known for its canopy of 300-year-old oak trees, and the French Quarter, New Orleans' oldest and most famous neighborhood. View Mississippi River deals.
Columbia River cruises reveal the rugged beauty of America's Pacific Northwest. Excursions might include a hike among the towering cascades of Multnomah Falls, a trip to volcanic Mount St. Helens or a look at the workings of the Bonneville Dam, a National Historic Site. View Columbia River deals.
Rhine River cruises navigate the Rhine Gorge, a scenic stretch of the river dotted with castles and vineyards. Among them are Castle Marksburg, above the town of Braubach near Koblenz, and Castle Katz in St. Goarshausen. Many itineraries stop in Strasbourg in France's Alsace region, where the attractive Petite France district is a favorite spot for a stroll. View Rhine River deals.
Danube River cruises sail into Old World cities like Budapest, which is divided by the river, and Vienna, where sightseeing excursions take in St. Stephen's Cathedral, the opera house and the avenue known as the Ringstrasse. The Danube converges with the Ilz and the Inn rivers in the German city of Passau. Perched on a river bluff, 900-year-old Melk Abbey in Austria is another highlight. View Danube River deals.
You can visit festive outdoor Christmas markets in towns along the Danube and Rhine on departures in late November and December. Sausages sizzle on grills, carolers sing and vendors' booths are decorated with evergreen garlands and white lights. View holiday deals.
Seine River voyages start with sightseeing in Paris and travel west to visit Giverny (former home of artist Claude Monet), D-Day landing sites in Normandy and the Normandy American Cemetery at Colleville-sur-Mer. View Seine River deals.
Saone River cruises meander through France's Burgundy region, where passengers can learn about the region's wine industry in Chalon-sur-Saone and see the Hospices of Beaune, a 15th-century hospital complex famous for its intricately detailed, colorful roofs. In Tournus, passengers spend time at St. Philibert Abbey, a Romanesque church. View Saone River deals.
The Rhone River runs through France's Provence region to the Mediterranean coast; Rhone cruises usually are combined with Saone sailings. Ships call at the walled city of Avignon for visits to a 14th-century papal palace and at Lyon to see its Roman remains and Old Town. View Rhone River deals.
Douro River trips sail through the grape-growing regions of Portugal. Itineraries typically spend time in the city of Porto, a longtime center for the port wine trade, and at the Baroque-style Mateus Palace and gardens in Vila Real. View Douro River deals.
In spring, the tulip fields of Holland brim with colorful blooms. View them on a "tulip time" river cruise, which includes a visit to Keukenhof Gardens, where 7 million bulbs are planted annually. These sailings take place in March and April and also visit ports in Belgium. View tulip time deals.
Mekong River cruises travel through Cambodia and Vietnam. Attractions include Tonle Sap Lake, known for its rich birdlife and fishing villages, and the Silver Pagoda in Phnom Penh. Many departures also incorporate Angkor Wat, a 12th-century complex of ornate stone structures. View Mekong River deals.
There are many other rivers around the world that offer unforgettable sights, like the Po, Main and Moselle in Europe; the Ganges in Asia; the Chobe in Africa and the Amazon in South America. To learn more about trips on these and other waterways, visit www.RiverCruise.com.