The New Year represents no slowdown in the sheer number of river cruise ships that are scheduled to debut around the world. Offering intimate experiences aboard decked-out vessels, river cruise lines are starting to roll out more innovative features, luxurious amenities and accommodations with each passing year.
Here is a rundown of some of the new vessels that river cruisers will see debut in 2021:
AmaWaterways' newest river cruise vessel on the Nile, AmaDahlia, debuts in September 2021. Capable of carrying 68 passengers in 18 cabins and 16 suites, it offers a degree of luxury on the Nile that pairs well with the company's European river journeys.
AmaDahlia will feature main dining in the ship's restaurant and the more intimate Chef's Table space. A lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows allows for comfortable indoor scenic cruising, while the open-air top deck adds additional seating and even a refreshing swimming pool.
When it debuts, AmaDahlia will also offer onboard Egyptologists who can impart and interpret the magnificent history of this country both on the ship and ashore.
AmaDahlia Itineraries: Nile River
The 156-passenger AmaLucia will be a sister to AmaSiena (below) and will primarily operate along Europe's Main, Rhine and Moselle rivers.
Like its near-identical sister-ships, AmaLucia continues AmaWaterways' tradition of offering contemporary design and elegance on the waterways of Europe. This is arguably the line's most popular design of river cruiser, complete with accommodations that boast both full and step-out balconies within the same cabin.
AmaLucia offers AmaWaterways' signature Chef's Table dining experience, plus a full-service main restaurant and casual snacks served in the ship's main forward-facing lounge. An outdoor Al Fresco terrace is situated at the bow, while a heated pool can be found on the ship's Sun Deck.
Like all other AmaWaterways vessels, complimentary bicycles are also provided onboard for passengers to use while ashore.
AmaLucia debuts in March in Amsterdam, just in time for the classic Tulip Time itineraries through the Netherlands and Belgium.
AmaLucia Itineraries: Main, Rhine, Moselle rivers
Sister to AmaWaterways' popular AmaLea and AmaKristina, the new AmaSiena continues the line's tradition of building contemporary ships with modern elegance and excellent service and cuisine.
Designed to carry 156 passengers, AmaSiena represents an evolution rather than revolution. To that end, don't expect any major new technological innovations or trendsetting public areas. Instead, do expect to find more of what made AmaWaterways so popular in the first place: modern, attractively designed public areas, well-thought-out dining venues, and a large number of cabins and suites that boast the line's innovative dual balcony concept that offers both step-out and French balconies in a single room.
AmaSiena is scheduled to debut March 17 in Amsterdam and will primarily operate cruises between the iconic Dutch city and Basel, Switzerland.
AmaSiena Itineraries: Rhine River
Debuting in April 2021 on Europe's Rhine and Danube waterways, Amadeus Cara is the latest in the company's fleet of efficient and stylish river cruise ships.
Amadeus Cara will offer 73 cabins and 12 Amadeus Suites. Cabins will offer panoramic windows that can be electronically lowered with the push of a button. Most rooms will feature French balconies; Amadeus Suites will have full step-out balconies.
Amadeus Cara is a traditional river cruise, offering a restaurant near the bow and a panoramic observation lounge and bar one deck above. A small hair salon, fitness room, and Viennese-style cafe round out the list of onboard amenities.
Amadeus Cara Itineraries: Danube, Rhine rivers
American Cruise Line's newest modern riverboat on the Mississippi, American Melody, debuts with a voyage August 27 from New Orleans.
Designed specifically to navigate the Mississippi River, American Melody offers American Cruise Line's unique bow-loading ramp that allows the ship to tie up and disembark passengers nearly anywhere along the river.
Unlike other vessels on the Mississippi, the 175-passenger American Melody is patterned after a modern coastal cruiser, rather than the plethora of replica sternwheelers that are in abundance on the waterway.
At the heart of the ship is a glittering four-story glass atrium that gives way to public areas and staterooms. Cabins aboard the ship will range from 250 to 650 square feet, and all will offer private balconies.
American Melody will also offer the casual Back Porch Cafe for casual dining, along with a more formal restaurant. A fitness center and yoga studio add wellness amenities onboard, while multiple lounges provide plenty of opportunities for mingling or scenic cruising.
American Melody sails the Mississippi through fall.
American Melody Itineraries: Mississippi River
Tauck's new ms Andorinha was supposed to debut in 2020 along Portugal's Douro River but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first Tauck vessel to operate river cruises on the Douro, the 84-passenger Andorinha mirrors Tauck's larger European vessels operating on the Danube and the Rhine, but in a smaller form factor.
Designed and operated by long-time cruise partner Scylla AG, Andorinha offers 12 300-square foot Tauck Suites and another 20 225-square foot cabins, outfitted with all the luxury amenities the line's past guests have come to appreciate.
Though smaller than a traditional European river cruise ship (size on the Douro is restricted due to locks and bridges), Tauck still manages to offer two separate dining venues; a forward-facing panoramic lounge; an outdoor top-deck bar and an outdoor swimming pool.
Andorinha Itineraries: Douro River
Part of TravelMarvel's new trio of contemporary river ships, TravelMarvel Vega and TravelMarvel Capella are sisters to TravelMarvel Polaris.
Both vessels will sail the waterways of Europe, including the Rhine and the Danube, when they enter service in April.
Up top, they each offer a sun deck with ample seating, a jogging track, a putting green and a small whirlpool tub. Another innovative feature is the internal staircase connecting the passenger areas with the Sun Deck, allowing passengers to avoid being caught up in the elements. (Most river cruise vessels make passengers use outdoor staircases on either side of the ship to ascend to the upper Sun Deck.)
Inside, the True North Lounge provides panoramic vistas by day and night, while just forward, the Alfresco Lounge offers casual culinary options. The Constellations restaurant offers more a more formal, multicourse dining experience, while the aft-facing McGeary's Bar brings a touch of Irish pub culture to European river cruising, complete with dark wooden accents and emerald-green leather banquettes.
Complimentary bicycles are available onboard for passengers to use throughout their journeys.
TravelMarvel Vega / TravelMarvel Capella Itineraries: Danube, Rhine rivers
While it isn't a new ship per-se, Uniworld's S.S. La Venezia was so extensively renovated in 2020 that there is little to offer even the keenest observer any indication that the ship is really the former River Countess.
Due to launch in April 2020, just as the global health pandemic really took hold, Uniworld's shining star on Italy's Po River gets ready to sail from Venice in 2021.
The ship offers new lavish interiors inspired by the best of Italian design and heritage, while cabins have received stem-to-stern makeovers, with touches of Murano glass, Fortuny fabrics and gilded accents reminiscent of Venice at the turn of the 20th century.
The revitalized ship will carry 126 passengers in luxury along Italy's Po River on Uniworld's "Venice and The Gems of Northern Italy" itinerary that can also be combined with the company's rail-cruise tours.
S.S. La Venezia Itineraries: Po River (Italy)
Currently scheduled to set sail on March 23, 2021 from Porto, Uniworld's S.S. Sao Gabriel is the company's newest river vessel sailing Portugal's famed Douro River.
Offering more lavish suites and amenities than Uniworld's previous Douro vessel, Queen Isabel, S.S. Sao Gabriel carries only 100 passengers and a crew of 37.
The ship will offer a forward-facing panoramic lounge and a lavish restaurant, along with an open deck area on the Sun Deck, complete with a refreshing swimming pool that's practically required for hot summer days along the Douro Valley.
The real take-home with this ship are its suites, which are more on-par with the kind of luxury associated with Uniworld's inclusive river cruises on the Danube and the Rhine.
S.S. Sao Gabriel Itineraries: Douro River
Uniworld will take delivery of its newest vessel on the Nile in early 2021, as the S.S. Sphinx is tentatively scheduled to sail on February 6 as part of the line's popular 12-day "Splendors of Egypt and the Nile" journey that runs roundtrip from Cairo.
The ship will offer two gourmet dining venues, a swimming pool, massage room and 42 individual cabins, all of which offer French balconies. Interior decor will be inspired by Egyptian history and motifs while still retaining the elegant and lavish touches for which Uniworld has become known.
While the line notes that S.S. Sphinx is not a company-owned ship in the way its river cruisers are on the Danube and the Rhine, S.S. Sphinx should still offer a suitably luxurious experience in one of the world's most mysterious places.
S.S. Sphinx Itineraries: Nile River
Originally scheduled to debut in 2020, Viking Osiris sets out on its first scheduled revenue cruise along Egypt's famed Nile River on September 1, 2021.
The 82-passenger ship was purpose-built to be the first Viking owned-and-operated vessel on the Nile. Vessels operating on the Nile are typically chartered ships that are not owned by the river cruise line.
To that end, passengers can expect to find all the usual company touches onboard Viking Osiris, just as if it were one of its classic European Longships.
Viking Osiris will offer an aft-facing Aquavit Terrace for casual get-togethers and drinks, while a forward-facing main lounge and bar will be situated on the same deck.
A full-service restaurant will be located on Upper Deck, just aft of a cozy reception area with an adjacent gift shop. The full-scale Reception Desks will be on a lobby located just one deck lower.
A total of 12 cabins will offer fixed window river views, while the remainder of accommodations aboard Viking Osiris will include full step-out balconies.
Two large Explorer Suites will be placed at the front of the vessel, offering wraparound panoramic views along with separate living and sleeping areas.
Viking Osiris will set sail on select "Pharaoh's and Pyramids" voyages in 2021.
Viking Osiris Itineraries: Nile River
Updated December 15, 2020