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Credit: Shutterstock

Best river cruise lines in the world for 2021 from Viking to Crystal

Author: Harriet Mallinson

Published on:

Updated on:

The best cruise lines in the world for 2021 have been unveiled - perfect for holidaymakers working out who to sail with. These are the top river cruise lines.

River cruises are hugely popular but, with so many cruise lines to choose from, it can be tricky to work out which company is best for you.

Luckily, new awards have made the job easy and highlighted the crème de la crème of the river cruising industry.

Top 10 River Cruise Lines have been unveiled by Travel & Lesiure.

The number one cruise line proved a stand-out success among the magazine's readers who voted this year.

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Uniworld Boutique River Cruises was named the best river cruise line for 2021.

The company has 19 ships and sails European rivers as well as those in Cambodia, Egypt, India, Peru and Vietnam.

Uniworld was praised for its impeccable service, creative itineraries, impressive design and excellent food.

"My experience exceeded all expectations... Staff consistently went above and beyond to ensure a pampered vacation," said one traveller.

"The best experience I have ever had on any ship," another added.

Cambodia min
Uniworld Boutique River Cruises sails to Cambodia as well as Egypt, India, Peru and Vietnam. Credit: Shutterstock

Tauck came in second place - up two places from the last awards.

The line is a super-premium brand offering small, intimate, all-inclusive sailings on the waterways of Europe on the likes of the Danube, Rhine and Rhone.

- READ MORE: Six of the best Rhine cruises for spring and summer 2022 -

Viking Cruises was awarded third-best river cruise line.

Viking is the largest river cruise line operator in the world, with a fleet of 76 ships running sailings across four continents.

The line offers facilities such as sundeck swimming pools, relaxing Aquavit terraces and well-stocked libraries.

Viking min
Viking Cruises was awarded third-best river cruise line. Credit: Viking Cruises

Aqua Expeditions was in fourth position in the top 10 awards.

The luxury small-ship brand sails the Peruvian Amazon, Mekong, and the seas of East Indonesia.

- READ MORE: Why should you choose a river cruise over an ocean cruise? -

In fifth place was American Queen Steamboat Company. The US line sails on the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois Columbia and Snake rivers.

The remaining top 10 river cruise lines were Belmond, Avalon Waterways, Scenic Cruises, AmaWaterways and Crystal Cruises.

Mississippi min
American Queen Steamboat Company sails on the Mississippi. Credit: Shutterstock

Top 10 River Cruise Lines

1. Uniworld Boutique River Cruises

2. Tauck

3. Viking Cruises

4. Aqua Expeditions

5. American Queen Steamboat Company

6. Belmond

7. Avalon Waterways

8. Scenic Cruises

9. AmaWaterways

10. Crystal Cruises

- READ MORE: Best Christmas-themed river cruises for 2021 -

Viking River Cruises Cruise Ships
A photo of the Viking Odin cruise ship

Viking Odin

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Mani cruise ship

Viking Mani

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Lif cruise ship

Viking Lif

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Kvasir cruise ship

Viking Kvasir

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Ve cruise ship

Viking Ve

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Tir cruise ship

Viking Tir

80ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Kara cruise ship

Viking Kara

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Emerald cruise ship

Viking Emerald

110ft / 246 guests
A photo of the Viking Hervor cruise ship

Viking Hervor

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the MS Antares cruise ship

MS Antares

125ft / 62 guests
A photo of the Viking Idun cruise ship

Viking Idun

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Magni cruise ship

Viking Magni

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Legend cruise ship

Viking Legend

135ft / 188 guests
A photo of the Viking Aegir cruise ship

Viking Aegir

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Vidar cruise ship

Viking Vidar

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Baldur cruise ship

Viking Baldur

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Osfrid cruise ship

Viking Osfrid

80ft / 104 guests
A photo of the Viking Rurik cruise ship

Viking Rurik

129ft / 202 guests
A photo of the Viking Kari cruise ship

Viking Kari

135ft / 168 guests
A photo of the Viking Tialfi cruise ship

Viking Tialfi

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Tor cruise ship

Viking Tor

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Herja cruise ship

Viking Herja

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Ullur cruise ship

Viking Ullur

125ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Torgil cruise ship

Viking Torgil

80ft / 104 guests
A photo of the Viking Akun cruise ship

Viking Akun

129ft / 210 guests
A photo of the Viking Forseti cruise ship

Viking Forseti

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Rolf cruise ship

Viking Rolf

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Skadi cruise ship

Viking Skadi

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Alsvin cruise ship

Viking Alsvin

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Sineus cruise ship

Viking Sineus

129ft / 196 guests
A photo of the Viking Ra cruise ship

Viking Ra

ft / 52 guests
A photo of the Viking Mekong cruise ship

Viking Mekong

54ft / 60 guests
A photo of the Viking Bragi cruise ship

Viking Bragi

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Njord cruise ship

Viking Njord

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Fjorgyn cruise ship

Viking Fjorgyn

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Embla cruise ship

Viking Embla

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Egil cruise ship

Viking Egil

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Sigyn cruise ship

Viking Sigyn

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Hermod cruise ship

Viking Hermod

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Radgrid cruise ship

Viking Radgrid

135ft / 168 guests
A photo of the Viking Skirnir cruise ship

Viking Skirnir

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Kadlin cruise ship

Viking Kadlin

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Eir cruise ship

Viking Eir

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Helgrim cruise ship

Viking Helgrim

80ft / 104 guests
A photo of the Viking Sigrun cruise ship

Viking Sigrun

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Prestige cruise ship

Viking Prestige

135ft / 188 guests
A photo of the Viking Skaga cruise ship

Viking Skaga

135ft / 168 guests
A photo of the Viking Heimdal cruise ship

Viking Heimdal

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Beyla cruise ship

Viking Beyla

95ft / 112 guests
A photo of the Viking Delling cruise ship

Viking Delling

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Rinda cruise ship

Viking Rinda

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Mississippi cruise ship

Viking Mississippi

ft / guests
A photo of the Viking Vilhjalm cruise ship

Viking Vilhjalm

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Ingvi cruise ship

Viking Ingvi

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Mimir cruise ship

Viking Mimir

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Var cruise ship

Viking Var

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Alruna cruise ship

Viking Alruna

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Vili cruise ship

Viking Vili

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Gullveig cruise ship

Viking Gullveig

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Lofn cruise ship

Viking Lofn

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Jarl cruise ship

Viking Jarl

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Hemming cruise ship

Viking Hemming

80ft / 104 guests
A photo of the Viking Saigon cruise ship

Viking Saigon

ft / guests
A photo of the Viking Osiris cruise ship

Viking Osiris

ft / 81 guests
A photo of the Viking Truvor cruise ship

Viking Truvor

129ft / 210 guests
A photo of the Viking Modi cruise ship

Viking Modi

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Gefjon cruise ship

Viking Gefjon

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Ingvar cruise ship

Viking Ingvar

129ft / 210 guests
A photo of the Viking Hlin cruise ship

Viking Hlin

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Buri cruise ship

Viking Buri

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Idi cruise ship

Viking Idi

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Eistla cruise ship

Viking Eistla

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Hild cruise ship

Viking Hild

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Einar cruise ship

Viking Einar

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Astrild cruise ship

Viking Astrild

95ft / 112 guests
A photo of the Viking Gersemi cruise ship

Viking Gersemi

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Atla cruise ship

Viking Atla

135ft / 190 guests
A photo of the Viking Helgi cruise ship

Viking Helgi

129ft / 204 guests
A photo of the Viking Vali cruise ship

Viking Vali

135ft / 190 guests