USA River Cruises
Finding cheap USA river cruises is becoming easier as more and more cruise lines are turning their attention away from the high seas. Travelers who are feeling the economic pinch are starting to look at “staycations,” holidays closer to home so that they can save money on international flights. The US has some of the longest rivers that have moorings in the center of big cities, which makes them ideal for cruising.
Potomac River Cruises
The Potomac becomes navigable around 10 miles outside of Washington, which makes it one of the cheapest USA river cruises, as you can only take a day trip. However, it is also one of the most inspiring, as many of the national monuments are on the riverfront, such as the Jefferson Memorial, and you can see the Capitol building from your boat.
Mississippi River Cruise
Many Americans dream of following in Huckleberry Finn's footsteps down the mighty Mississippi, making it one of the most popular USA river cruises. The sheer length of the river means that it is accessible by millions of Americans from their home town. You can choose to take a week-long paddle steamer to see the whole length of the river, or do a day trip from time to time. To get the cheapest prices, try to travel out of season and choose the cheapest accommodation possible.
St. Lawrence River Cruises
Traveling along the St. Lawrence River gives you a unique view of Eastern Canada. Unlike other USA river cruises, St. Lawrence cruises go through miles upon miles of unspoiled wilderness, including the 1,000 Island region, which gave its name to the salad dressing. The cruises tend to start in Ottawa and go as far as Quebec City. You can go farther east of Quebec, but you start to run into the St. Lawrence Seaway, which is the major shipping lane for Eastern Canada.
Columbia River Cruises
The Pacific Northwest has received an increase in tourist numbers due to the recent Twilight series, and the breathtaking scenery is best seen from a boat on the Columbia River. The most popular trip is an 8-day paddle steamer that runs from Portland, Oregon to Clarkston, Washington. Your best bet for the cheapest tickets is to share a room with someone else, and aim to eat when you get off the boat, as meals on board can be expensive.
Chicago River Cruises
A day trip on the Chicago River reveals the richness of Chicago's architectural heritage. The boats tend to pick up travelers downtown, allowing you to cruise under the bridges and arches that are scattered throughout the skyscrapers. You can get a real understanding of how the city grew and developed as a port several thousand miles from the nearest sea. As with most day attractions, you can get discounts for family and group tickets, so it is worth trying to get a few people together to explore the city by water.
Hudson River Cruises
While the Hudson River does end up flowing into the sea next to Manhattan, the real sights are to be enjoyed upstate where the water flows past millionaire mansions and picturesque lighthouses. Most cruises focus on the area around Kingston, NY where the river widens out on its southward journey, and even day cruises will stop off in towns such as Esopus and West Park to give you a feel of the old Dutch and English colonial times.
The shortness of most USA river cruises is what makes them so appealing, and it's hard to find a day cruise that will charge you more than $40 for a basic package. To save money even further, bring a picnic that you can eat on board, and avoid evening sailings as the prices tend to increase once the sun sets.