A river cruise is a relaxing and luxurious way to explore the world.
Environmentalist Chris Kilham has said, “It is one thing to hear about the forest and the river, but an entirely other experience to go there, to see the environment, and to appreciate the natural riches there first-hand.” We could not agree more. And, in this fast-paced world which never sleeps, one of the best ways to appreciate slow travel is to book a river cruise.
The stately cousin of the raucous ocean cruises, these river ships are smaller, more intimate, and much, much more interesting. Stopping sometimes three times a day in different villages and offering a variety of off and onboard activities, river cruises have seen their popularity skyrocket as many find them to be a remarkably civil and luxurious way to see parts of the world that can’t be reached by the ubiquitous automobile. Even more exciting – newer markets are beginning to emerge in Asia and Africa, which previously only saw local traffic.
Wherever you want to travel – think about a river cruise. To to help you out, we present 11 of the world’s best, most well-done cruises.
Avalon Waterways—Mekong Delta, Thailand, and Cambodia
To see all the mighty Mekong river has to offer, Avalon Waterways offers intimate cruises for up to thirty-six passengers that combine beautiful views with exciting excursions to cultural and architectural landmarks. The cruise includes local guides to lead daily excursions, to Phnom Penh, Ho Chi Minh City, and the temples of Angkor. Itineraries range from eight to twenty-nine days, and longer excursions include visits to Hanoi and Siam Reap, balancing cities with the beautiful Thai and Cambodian countryside. Explore UNESCO World Heritage sites, and learn about the sobering history of the Khmer Rouge, or learn how to make rice wine and rice paper.
Delfin Amazon Cruises—the Amazon River, Peru
Three or four night itineraries take passengers through the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, and offer views of the startling pink river dolphins. iStock/Getty Images
Spot dolphins in the Amazon on Relais & Châteaux’s first cruise, Delfin Amazon Cruises which travels along the Amazon River, through the unrivaled Amazon rainforest. Onboard the Delfin I, up to twelve passengers stay in suites each with panoramic views, and some even feature cool water whirlpools. When exploring offboard in Peru, guides take you on trail and canopy walks, fishing and birdwatching excursions. Three or four-night itineraries take passengers through the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve and offer views of the startling pink river dolphins. Passengers can also go on night safaris for close encounters with nocturnal wildlife.
Oberoi Vrinda—Kerala, India
Kerala, in south western India, is known as the “Venice of the East”, for its complex networks of backwaters (or canals). iStock/Getty Images
Kerala, in southwestern India, is known as the “Venice of the East”, for its complex networks of canals. The area boasts beautiful beaches and rice paddies nestled among small villages, offering the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the world.
Choose between two or three-day itineraries with Oberoi Vrinda to explore the beautiful scenery at a relaxed pace. See local people at work, enjoy traditional performances and fresh local cuisine while taking in the surroundings of tropical Kerala. The eight cabins allow for an uncrowded experience, and the entire ship can be booked for a private party.
Sanctuary Retreats—Yangtze River, China
Traveling between Yichang and Chongqing, China, itineraries range from three nights to six nights (five and six night itineraries include cruise and rail). iStock/Getty Images
Explore the third longest river in the world with Sanctuary Retreats. Traveling between Yichang and Chongqing, China, itineraries range from three nights to six nights (five and six-night itineraries include cruise and rail). The Sanctuary Yangzi Explorer has a one to one ratio of staff to a maximum of 124 guests where personalized customer service is a priority. The ship has a spa, theater, library, and observation deck to take in the sights.
The shorter itineraries feature visits to the Three Gorge Dam project, a local market, and an underwater museum. Longer itineraries include a visit to the Shennongjia Nature Reserve which is home to golden monkeys and beautiful forests set against a mountain backdrop. Activities such as calligraphy and tai chi round out the relaxing experience.
Viking River Cruises—Delta River, Russia
Architecture is at the heart of this cruise, ranging from the opulent St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, countryside monasteries, and the ancient Russian architecture in Kizhi. iStock/Getty Images
This thirteen-day cruise with Viking River Cruises begins in Moscow and ends in St. Petersburg, traveling along the Volta, Svir and Neva rivers. Guided excursions in both Moscow and St. Petersburg over multiple days allow travelers to see all these cities have to offer, as well as visiting small villages in between. All cabins have a view of the river and dining onboard allows passengers to experience the local cuisine. Architecture is at the heart of this cruise, ranging from the opulent St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, countryside monasteries, and the ancient Russian architecture in Kizhi.
Avalon Waterways—The Rhine, Western and Eastern Europe
Depending on the theme, excursions can include wine tasting, beer tasting and even exploring castles. iStock/Getty Images
With itineraries from eight to twenty-six days, and themes such as tulips, beer, romance, and Christmastime, there is something for everyone with Avalon Waterways. The cruises connect with the Danube River, allowing travelers to select the itinerary that hits their city of interest in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands. The ship offers amazing views of these cities, with floor to ceiling windows that open wide enough to make your suite feel like a balcony. Depending on the theme, excursions can include wine tasting, beer tasting and even exploring castles.
Zambezi Queen River Cruise—Chobe River, Botswana, and Namibia
A river cruise is a great option to explore the exotic, and the Zambezi Queen River Cruise is just that. iStock/Getty Images
A river cruise is a great option to explore Africa, and the Zambezi Queen River Cruise does just that. The Chobe River creates the northern border for Chobe National Park and travels through Botswana and Namibia. The ship allows you to get close to wildlife, and the cruise offers the option to take a smaller boat to get even more intimate. Itineraries for two or three nights, on a ship with fourteen cabins, create an intimate experience to enjoy the beautiful African scenery including elephants, lions, and hippos.
Sanctuary Retreats—Nile River, Egypt
This cruise is the perfect way to learn about the ancient Egyptians while relaxing on a luxurious ship. iStock/Getty Images
No list of river cruises is complete without a trip down the Nile. Sanctuary Retreats has a fleet of ships for Egyptian cruises, including the Sanctuary Sun Boat IV, featuring a heated swimming pool of the deck. Itineraries range from three to eight nights, traveling between Aswan and Luxor. The excursions are led by Egyptologists that introduce you to marvels such as the Philae Temple, the Temple of Kom Ombo, and the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. This cruise is the perfect way to learn about the ancient Egyptians while relaxing on a luxurious ship.
Quasar Expedition Cruise—the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The cruise follows the trail and footsteps of naturalist Charles Darwin, and includes snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and scuba diving with sea turtles. iStock/Getty Images
The Galapagos Islands are only accessible by boat, and for conservation reasons, there are no accommodations on the island, so a cruise is your best option to see the amazing and unique wildlife of the Galapagos. The Grace, which accommodates eighteen guests, was once the royal honeymoon of American actress turned princess, Grace Kelly of Monaco. The cruise follows the trail and footsteps of naturalist Charles Darwin, and includes snorkeling, hiking, kayaking, and scuba diving with sea turtles. Two different itineraries of seven nights explore different islands, depending on your interest. The cruise is also single-use plastic free, to protect the flora and fauna unique to the islands.
The larger cruise ships of Azamara feel more like a boutique hotel on the water, with suites and cabins overlooking the water. iStock/Getty Images
The Mediterranean Sea has connected disparate areas of the world for centuries. With Azamara cruises, you can visit southern Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East all from the comfort of a ship on the Mediterranean Sea. Connections to the Black sea allow travelers to select itineraries that visit France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Morocco, Turkey, Cyprus, Croatia, Israel, Malta, Monaco, Egypt, Jordan, and even Russia….
Source: www.newsweek.com (By)