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Lake or river boat ride excursion : what has been your favorite?

For example:
Interlaken to the top of the the Rothorn via Lake Brienz

Luzern to the top of Rigi via Lake Luzern

Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty

Posted by
1427 posts

An evening cruise on the Seine.

The boat ride on Konigsee in Berchtesgaden, in the fall.

Posted by
6712 posts

Hard to pick a favorite, but I can think of four that linger in my memory after many years.

A cruise through the Stockholm archipelago.

A cruise on Lake Worthersee in Austria on our way to Villach, still one of my favorite places in Austria.

A 'hole in the rock' cruise through the Bay of Islands off the North Island of New Zealand.

A cruise on the canals in Suzhou China, sometimes called the Venice of the East.

EDITED TO ADD: After reading some other posts on here, some more of my favorites have come back to me and now it's even harder to pick even a few favorites.

In Queenstown, NZ - a cruise on Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to Walter Peak sheep station on the other side of the lake. This was on the TSS Earnslaw, a vintage steam ship, quite a unique experience.

Also in Queenstown - a jet boat ride through the Shotover River Canyon.

In Alaska - an excursion on a jet boat out of Haines on the Chilkat River through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve - Eagles and Moose seen through a very chilly rain, but oh so exciting.

Also in Alaska - a Glacier Bay cruise with stops for viewing 3 different glaciers, sightings of pods of whales, sea otters, bears, and eagles and an overnight at Glacier Bay Lodge - a total highlight of our trip to Alaska.

In Sweden - A day cruise on the Baltic Beauty, with an accordian serenade by the ship's captain and all sails unfurled - absolutely exhilarating.

In the US - The architecture cruise on the Chicago River ending at sunset; A boat tour through the Wisconsin Dells; An airboat ride through the Louisiana bayous; The Circle Line ferry ride to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty; An airboat ride through the Everglades in Florida.

So many and they keep coming back to me now and I'm reliving them, what a joy!

Posted by
3957 posts
  • Daintree River & wildlife & crocodile cruise
  • Canal du Midi cruise
  • Douro River tour cruise
  • Amsterdam sightseeing tour cruise
  • Canoeing Dordogne River
  • Evening Seine River cruise
  • Prague sightseeing cruise on Vltava River
  • Canoeing Wailua River, Kauai
  • Airboat in Everglades
  • Architecture cruise Chicago
Posted by
3794 posts

Evening cruise on the Seine

Day trip by boat around the islets in Phang Nga Bay, Thailand

Rice barge tour of the Kerala backwaters, near Goa, India

Longtail boat river and canal tour, Bangkok

Posted by
708 posts

Hey Captain inflatable boat tour of Copenhagen. The smaller boat (10 people) meant that we could go up narrower canals and the trip included a free glass of wine or a beer. Lovely.

Posted by
3430 posts

More of a sea excursion but in the same flavor...

Twilight cruise from Positano to a nearby fishing village for dinner, followed by a return to Positano after dark, which provided a nice view of the town's lights from the sea.

Posted by
5434 posts

One of my favorite US lake experiences is just kayaking five minutes from our home at Hayden Lake - peaceful mountain views - gorgeous!

Other domestic favorites - taking a boat out to Mackinac Island, Michigan. Riding the ferries outdoors through the San Juan Islands in Washington or even just across the Sound on a sunny day.

For Europe, my favorite is still taking the evening river cruises several times on the Seine, watching the Eiffel Tower twinkle just as we arrived in front of it. Our last time there, my husband & I took an earlier one, and I have several gorgeous photos of the sky turning shades of pink to shades of blues as we traveled towards the Eiffel Tower and then the night sky as we returned,

Posted by
6465 posts

Douro River tour cruise
Rhone River cruise in SE France
Russian River cruise from Moscow to St. Pete

Posted by
3957 posts

Have to say my favorite excursion was an Aitutaki, Cook Islands day trip. AKA “Heaven on Earth.” We spent 10 nights on Rarotonga. We flew 40 minutes to Aitutaki and boarded an open air boat cruising the magnificent clear crystal blue lagoon with stops to snorkel. We stopped at One Foot Island for a BBQ lunch taking in the solitude of pristine white sand beach & warm water. So far nothing else in our travels has matched this experience.

Posted by
2594 posts
  • Longboat day trip, Phuket, Thailand
  • Dinner river cruise, Budapest
  • Loch Ness cruise, Scotland
  • And not technically a river or lake, but a cruise below the Cliffs of Moher
  • Koenigsee
Posted by
68 posts

I enjoy traveling on Lakes Lucerne, Thun and Brienz.
Boat ride tour of Pictured Rocks in Michigan
Almost forgot, at least an annual trip in the S.S. Badger from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin and return. It's a four hour trip one way on a coal fired steamship. Typically runs from mid-May to mid-October. Ship carried rail cars in the past. Now carries passengers and vehicles, including commercial traffic including semis.

Posted by
268 posts

Most recently in 2022:
- Any point-to-point ferry ride on the Moselle River
- Ferry from Konstanz to Stein am Rhein on the Rhine
- Combined ferries along Swiss Lakes of Biel, Neuchâtel and Murten
- Lausanne, Switzerland to Evian, France ferry on Lake Geneva

Posted by
3615 posts

We also really enjoyed the boat ride beneath the Cliffs of Moher-it's the best way to see the cliffs if you don't like heights!

Posted by
6998 posts

Neither river nor lake, but my all-time favorite were ferries along the Bosphorus Strait and Golden Horn in Istanbul. I went several times during different trips, and it never gets old. Simply stunning and awesome. It's fun just getting off at different "stops" and exploring new neighborhoods.

Posted by
7380 posts

1.) Sail boating under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. Just 2 of us.

2.) Ferry to Ellis Island to visit the Statute of Liberty

3.) Seeing Lake Geneva as I had NO CLUE ( 1st Europe trip at age 21) Geneva was situated near a lake.

4.) On the same world wind Europe tour boarding an overnight cargo ship from Holland to England.

5.) Sailing from Santa Cruz into rough waters of Monterey Bay to fish and learning I didn’t get sea sick. Unfortunately the couple I was with did.

6.) Sailing out to and around the ghost fleet ships near Benicia, California.

7.) Getting a tour of the USS Midway ( location scouting for a film ) before it opened as a museum.

Posted by
461 posts

1) Water taxi across upper Echo Lake to hike in Desolation Wilderness in the Tahoe Sierra, California

2) Ferry on Lake Como

3) Chicago architecture river cruise

4) Cruise around Manhattan and ferry to Staten Island or Ellis Island

Posted by
14135 posts

+1 for the Echo Lake water taxi to reach Desolation Valley hiking trails.

Here are my other favorites:

In the USA:

Water taxi/glacier cruise to Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge from Seward, Alaska

Waterskiing on the Wailua River, Kauai (I am sure you can’t do this any more, but you can cruise the river)

International, not Europe:

Milford Sound Cruise in New Zealand ( we did this at the end of a multi-day inn-to-inn trek on the Milford Track)

Within Europe:

Boat cruise on the lake (Vierwaldstättersee) from Weggis to Luzern, after spending the night at Rigi Kaltbad)

Posted by
3852 posts

As an alternative to the Seine excursions, consider traversing the St-Martin canal from Bastille toa the boat basin at Villette.
The small boat travels through a tunnel and several locks, often at eye-level with adjoining building windows. The park at Villette includes a music museum and the new Philarmonic concert hall.

Posted by
13681 posts

I've done the river cruise activity only a few times.

a. Going up the Rhine from Düsseldorf to Koblenz

b. The cruise on the Seine in Paris daytime....did that twice on two different trips.

c. The boat ride on the Thames from London to Greenwich.

d. The harbour boat tour in Kiel....did that twice on 2 different trips.

The loveliest was the boat ride on the Seine, ie seeing Paris from the Seine. The most interesting was the Kiel harbor cruise.

Two other boat cruises are on the immediate bucket list, both in Germany: Most doable, the river cruise in Potsdam along the Havel and the other is the boat cruise going through the Kiel Canal.

In the US: the Mississippi River cruise in Memphis, the river walk cruise in San Antonio. the harbour cruise in Boston.

Posted by
410 posts
  • Interlaken to Thun, with some castles on the way [Switzerland]
  • Naples > Palermo passing Sorrento and Capri [Italy] overnight
  • Naples > Prochida > Ischia [Italy]
  • Bosphorus River (Istanbul) [Turkey]
  • Beihai Lake near Forbidden City Beijing [China] - we drove our own boat
  • Athens > Mykonos [Greece]
  • Bohol > Cagayan de Oro [Phiipines]
  • Hamburg harbor at night
  • Chios > Athens [Greece] : overnight
  • Como > Bellagio > Varenna > Menagio [Italy]
  • Descanzo del Garda > Sirmione [Italy]
  • Thames in London, Seine in Paris [honorable mention]
  • Long Beach CA to Catalina Island [USA]
  • Lake Champlain, New York -> Vermont [USA]
Posted by
275 posts

My favourites
The Yellow Water cruise at Kakadu National Park in Australia
The Daintree River cruise also in Australia
The Elbe River cruise from Dresden to Pillnitz in Germany
Lake Maggiore cruise in Switzerland to Isole di Brissago
Lake Tarawera in New Zealand
The ferry trip from Hiroshima to Matsuyama in Japan, though it is not really a lake, it is the Inland Sea.

Posted by
356 posts
  • Konigsee in Germany
  • Lost Lake in Oregon (near Mt. Hood)
  • Lake Luzern
  • Germany's Elbe through the Saxon Switzerland National Park
Posted by
2393 posts

Seine during the late evening but only if the boat is not jam-packed. There must be drinking, too.

cala, there are lesser cliffs in Ireland that RS referred to as the Cliffs of Less. I know it's a lame joke but it cracks me up somehow.

Phuket. That's funny!

Chiemsee, Bayern. Alpine lakes south of there, too. I'll find out about Loch Ness this summer

Neckar River near Heidelberg, Germany at night when it's illuminated.

Posted by
13681 posts

A harbour cruise I forgot to list above: Toulon in July 1999 amidst that stifling and bristling heat.

Posted by
103 posts

Haven't been on a river cruise, which I generally think of as multi-day, where you stay onboard for a week or two.

They seem very expensive and seems like lodging and dining options are better on land.

Not for ocean cruises either.

Day cruises are all I've done. As someone mentioned, cruises on both Lake Brienz and Lake Luzern in Switzerland.

They're enjoyable on a clear day but trains are faster, for instance train from Brienz to Interlaken takes half the time of the lake cruise.

Had a chance to cruise on Lake Geneva but didn't get around to it.