GVR Report cover U.S. River Cruise Market Size, Share & Trends Report

U.S. River Cruise Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Region (Mississippi, Colombia & Snake River, Alaska, Great Lakes), And Segment Forecasts, 2023 - 2030

  • Report ID: GVR-4-68040-055-3
  • Number of Pages: 80
  • Format: Electronic (PDF)

Market Size & Trends

The U.S. river cruise market size was valued at USD 95.4 million in 2022 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.8% from 2023 to 2030. Increasing river tourism in the U.S. has been driving the demand for river cruise services. When compared to ocean cruising, river cruising is significantly different since the cruises are smaller, operate closer to the ground, and are designed for a more intimate experience. River cruising from one destination to the other often takes place at night, arriving at the next destination in the morning. This gives additional time for travelers to visit other places at the new destination. But sometimes river cruises also sail during the day, allowing travelers to enjoy the scenery and changing landscape during the trip. Such factors are expected to increase the popularity of river cruises among travelers.

U.S. river cruise market size and growth rate, 2023 - 2030

There has been a rising popularity of vacations on a cruise due to the customizable amenities provided by alternative vacations. Comparing cruise holidays to other types of land-based vacations that include transportation, meals, lodging, and entertainment, cruise vacations are more inexpensive. The Cruise Lines International Association estimates that 58.0% of foreign tourists are first-time cruisers who are likely to cruise in the coming years.

In terms of region, the U.S. market is broadly segmented into Mississippi, Columbia & Snake River, Alaska, and Great Lakes. Mississippi river remains the segment spearhead and has an impressive penetration rate with high future growth prospects due to the presence of popular ports and tourist attractions such as Cajun culture in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Gateway Arch in St. Louis; Civil War history in Vicksburg; music and BBQ in Memphis; and several beautiful small towns and stunning scenery along the way. Consumers can choose to cruise the Mississippi from New Orleans to St. Paul or Minneapolis or can choose from shorter trips that cover only a segment of the river.

Alaska and Great Lakes remain unchartered territories but are gaining popularity among tourists due to the presence of snow-capped mountains, blue glaciers, wildlife, and fascinating tribal culture which plays an important role in attracting tourists. However, the region remains untapped due to seasonality factors. River cruise tours in Alaska are operated only in favorable weather conditions, that is, in summer. The river turns too cold for tourists to enjoy the cruise in the remaining months. Columbia and Snake River are anticipated to witness a significant rise in tourists. Furthermore, increasing river cruise line operators in the region are likely to positively affect demand over the years.

River cruising is rapidly becoming a popular method for exploring a wide range of international destinations. This trend is expected to continue, making cruising one of the fastest-growing segments of modern tourism. According to AAA Travel data, domestic river cruise bookings for 2022 surpassed pre-pandemic levels, increasing by 25% from 2019.

A noticeable growth in river cruises among baby boomers has been observed. With the ability to go to multiple locations in one trip, cruises have become increasingly popular among baby boomers. River cruising, which is less expensive and more environmentally friendly than sea cruises, is a developing trend in the U.S. cruise market. Several baby boomers prefer river cruise because of the slower pace of travel and cultural experiences available. Such factors offer lucrative opportunities for river cruise operators.

Regional Insights

The Mississippi region of the market has dominated the market with a share of 68.2% in 2022. Three of four American Queen Voyages ships are sailing on the Mississippi river as of 2022. Furthermore, American Cruise Lines operates five river cruises over the Mississippi river as of 2022. In March 2020, Viking Cruises, a cruise line providing river, ocean, and expedition cruises, announced the launch of its destination-specific travel experiences by launching new Mississippi River cruises, which sail voyages on the Lower and Upper Mississippi between New Orleans and St. Paul.

U.S. river cruise market market share and size, 2022

The Colombia and Snake River region of the U.S. river cruise market is expected to witness one of the highest CAGR of 20.4% over the forecast period from 2023 to 2030. According to the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association, the demand for river cruises had increased remarkably over the last 10 years and represents a growing market in the Columbia and Snake region. The association further stated that over 25,000 passengers and crew had visited in 2019 and contributed more than USD 15 million to communities along the two rivers.

Key Companies & Market Share Insights

The market is characterized by the presence of a few established players and new entrants. Many big players are increasing their focus on the growing trend of U.S. river cruise. Players in the market are diversifying their service offerings in order to maintain market share.

  • In September 2022, American Cruise Lines announced the launch of its brand new 15-Day National Parks & Legendary Rivers itinerary for 2023. The itinerary, which was tested in 2022, is the greatest land-cruise combination in the United States and the first-ever pairing of a river cruise with the national parks of the mountain states.

  • In September 2022, American Queen Voyages, in collaboration with Toledo, Ohio’s National Museum of the Great Lakes, proposed its new Lakelorian program for its Lakes & Oceans fleet, offering a constant instructor, with the title of Lakelorian, onboard each cruise.

Some of the key players operating in the U.S. river cruise market include: -

  • American Cruise Lines, Inc.

  • American Queen Voyages

  • Viking River Cruises

  • UnCruise Adventures

  • Celebrity Cruises, Inc. (Royal Caribbean Group)

  • Lindblad Expeditions LLC

  • Pearl Seas Cruises

  • Ponant

  • Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (TUI cruises GmbH)

  • Alaskan Dream Cruises

U.S. River Cruise Market Report Scope

Report Attribute


Revenue forecast in 2030

USD 431.1 million

Growth Rate

CAGR of 20.8% from 2023 to 2030

Base year for estimation


Historical data

2017 - 2021

Forecast period

2023 - 2030

Quantitative units

Revenue in USD million and CAGR from 2023 to 2030

Report coverage

Revenue forecast, company ranking, competitive landscape, growth factors, and trends

Segments covered


Regional scope

Mississippi, Colombia & Snake River, Alaska, Great Lakes

Country scope


Key companies profiled

American Cruise Lines, Inc.; American Queen Voyages; Viking River Cruises; UnCruise Adventures; Celebrity Cruises, Inc. (Royal Caribbean Group); Lindblad Expeditions LLC; Pearl Seas Cruises; Ponant; Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (TUI cruises GmbH); Alaskan Dream Cruises

Customization scope

Free report customization (equivalent up to 8 analysts working days) with purchase. Addition or alteration to country, regional & segment scope.

Pricing and purchase options

Avail customized purchase options to meet your exact research needs. Explore purchase options


U.S. River Cruise Market Report Segmentation

This report forecasts revenue growth at country levels and provides an analysis of the latest trends and opportunities in each of the sub-segments from 2017 to 2030. For this study, Grand View Research has segmented the U.S. river cruise market based on region:

  • Regional Outlook (Revenue, USD Million, 2017 - 2030)

    • Mississippi

    • Colombia & Snake River

    • Alaska

    • Great Lakes

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