Here is a simple checklist to decide which option is the best one for you. If you are a first timer with a boat then bareboat is not an option for you. For first timers a sailing instructor on board may work well. Now choose the boat. Too small may feel cramped. See the number of people on board and then select one. Check if the boat is well equipped and clean. New is always not the best. See the amenities available on board.
There's also one that has caught my attention - they just opened up their cruises to the No. American market - Arosa. We checked out one of their boats when were were on our river cruise and were impressed with it. While we've not sailed on them, clients we have who spent time on them were impressed.
Tauck & Scenic Tours are the best, but they're also luxury class, so alot more expensive than the others.
We're hooked on river cruises and can't wait to go again - truly a wonderful way to visit cities on the rivers that you can't get to on an ocean cruise.
__________________ Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!