French Quarter, New Orleans
Credit: © Ian G Dagnall 2 / Alamy

Stateside river cruising has always been dominated by paddle wheelers, the interiors of which can often feel dated. Now, two companies are changing the game. American Cruise Lines is building a fleet of modern ships and recently launched a brand-new paddle wheeler, the American Eagle. And Viking River Cruises will make its North American debut in 2017, reportedly investing $600 million in six luxury vessels. New Orleans (above) will be the home port for Mississippi River itineraries.