One River at a Time

In the wake of flooding, lower water levels, and extreme weather events, conscious travelers are in pursuit of eco-friendly options for travel.

While low-impact tourism can be helped by offsetting carbon emissions and shopping locally, the responsibility should not just shouldered on the travelers. River cruise lines have been doing their part to create a more eco-friendly travel experience.

Floating vessels can disrupt water ecosystems through their noise, waste pollution and carbon emissions. Little data is available on the environmental impact of river cruise lines, but many have been making measurable strides toward sustainable sailing without impacting guest enjoyment. 

Ama Waterways 

In 2020, Ama Waterways became the first river cruise line to win a Green Award certification for its environmental performance.

Today, the luxury cruise company has 20 ships that are Green Award certified. These custom designed ships are eco-consciously designed with insulated windows and LED lights to reduce energy use. Solar heating systems, and an onboard treatment plant allows all used water to be recycled. 

The AmaMagna was built with meticulous attention to detail and awarded accolades for its unique design and state-of-the-art features. It has redefined energy efficiency and performance. The AmaMagna stands as an epitome of how advances in technology can be used to restore and preserve the beauty of nature without limiting the possibility of adventure.


Another Green Award recipient, Avalon, has rolled out a number of eco-friendly and philanthropic efforts to do its part.

Avalon says it has invested in “top-of-the-line technology to limit energy, consumption, and emissions.” The cruise line has completely eliminated single-use plastics and reduced paper waste by 80% onboard.

It is also working with farmers along cruise routes to source locally produced foods for immersive and sustainable dining. Avalon’s sustainability plans are ambitious, by 2027 it plans on chartering a fully electric river vessel which would lessen its carbon footprint. 

For now, Avalon has been making up its environmental footprint by supporting planet-focused organizations partnering with The Ocean Cleanup  project to stop plastics from reaching the ocean. Annually, Avalon plants one tree on behalf of every guest to offset the carbon emissions from their ships.


This boutique river cruiser has been partnering with eco-friendly travel companies the Treadright Foundation and the Travel Foundation to reduce water, energy, and food waste by 34% on its ships.

Inside the cabins of this conscious cruise line, not one single-use plastic is in sight. Committing to eliminating 60 types of single-use plastics.

Uniworld provides travelers with reusable water bottles that can be refilled onboard and compostable bamboo key cards. 

Through its participation in the Make Travel Matter campaign, your tourism will help address issues like climate change. Offering a “Make Travel Matter” excursion and  enjoy generations-old, hand-cultivated, wine vinegar at a castle along the Rhine River. 

Offering sustainable river tourism and by supporting conscious travel, river cruise providers not only help the state of our planet but the future of those who live and work in those regions. Clean rivers are fundamental providers of life, supplying food, drinking water, and healing properties to those along  their shorelines.

Keeping the rivers stunning and fruitful by traveling sustainably will allow everyone to use the waterways as they were meant to be used for mamny years to come.

Do your part and plan your river travel with BucketList Travel Advisors to be guided toward the right eco-friendly river cruise experience.