Thanksgiving Holiday River Cruises

Thanksgiving river cruises are available during the month of November. Itineraries with this holiday theme are found mainly in the United States and in a few European river cruise packages. However, Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Europe, except in the Netherlands.

Traditional Thanksgiving Meal in the United States

Traditional Thanksgiving Meal in the United States

By Ben Franske (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving Around the World

Thanksgiving is celebrated only in some parts of the world. It is not universal in terms of what it represents or how and when it’s celebrated, though. The holiday takes place in November for Japan, Liberia, Norfolk Island, and on the same November day in the United States and the Netherlands.

Thanksgiving is in October in Canada and Grenada. And in Germany, there is a festival called the Erntdankfest or the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival, which takes place in early October each year.

River Cruises in the United States on Thanksgiving Day

There are lunch and dinner cruises available in the United States on Thanksgiving Day as well as overnight cruises that serve  a holiday meal on Thanksgiving Day.

You’ll find Thanksgiving river cruises in cities, such as Washington D.C., New York City and Chicago. If you’re in New York City, Thanksgiving lunch and dinner cruises are available on Hudson River. As you cruise along the river, you’ll  be served a specially-prepared Thanksgiving meal that will include your choice of vegetables, an international cheese display, roast turkey, baked ham, traditional American bread stuffing, and candied yams to name a few. After dinner you’ll have your choice of traditional dessert favorites, such as pumpkin pie, apple pie and bread pudding.

Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving Day Dessert

Pumpkin Pie for Dessert on Thanksgiving Day

By Evan-Amos (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Thanksgiving is also celebrated on a few overnight cruises in the United States. American Queen Steamboat Company serves Thanksgiving dinner on its 8-day Mississippi River cruise from Memphis to New Orleans. And American Cruise Lines celebrates Thanksgiving Day on three of its cruises. The holiday meal  is served on the Mississippi River cruise from New Orleans to Memphis and the Historic South & Golden Isles cruise from Jacksonville, Florida to Charleston, South Carolina and the reverse - from Charleston to Jacksonville.

Thanksgiving Celebration on European River Cruises

Since Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Europe, with the exception of the Netherlands, most river cruise companies do not offer Thanksgiving-themed cruises. If you take a river cruise during the month of November, though, you’ll probably experience some of the holiday spirit as the cruise lines and Europe itself begin to move into the Christmas Market season.

While you won't find many themed-cruises in Europe for this U.S. holiday,  Viking River Cruises does serve a Thanksgiving meal on almost all of its European itineraries in November. You’ll be served a traditional Thanksgiving meal similar to what is served in the United States. If you're looking for a specific destination in Europe to enjoy your holiday meal, Viking River Cruises celebrates Thanksgiving on all the rivers it cruises in Europe.

Whether you choose a lunch or dinner cruise or an overnight river cruise, you'll be able to enjoy a special Thanksgiving meal while dining with fellow travelers on a river boat. 

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Lauri Wakefield is a travel writer who specializes in  river cruises in Europe and the U.S. Connect with her  on Twitter and Google+.

[This page may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here.]

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