From tracing the Nile to flowing down the Mekong Delta, river cruises are a great way to explore where the roads don’t go. River cruises have become increasingly popular, and they have evolved over the years to cater to different guests. Think cycling on a river cruise, cruises to nowhere, and even one that caters to millennials!
From China to the Amazon, South Africa and Germany, let’s discover some of the world’s best river cruises.
1. Rhine: From Amsterdam and Cologne to Basel
Raise a glass for Europe’s beloved, the Rhine River. Cruising through Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands, this journey reveals a rich landscape of nature and culture. See how the Rhine, Main and Moselle river systems come together to create an enchanting mix of storybook villages, Dutch windmills, German vineyards and Gothic cities.
This 8-day river cruise is a great way to take in all that the Rhine has to offer. There are lots of side trips to tickle your fancy. This includes seeing the Dom, Germany’s largest cathedral, touring the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle, and strolling through historic towns.
2. Mekong: Cambodia and Vietnam
Trace the culture of the colourful Khmer empire on the longest river in Southeast Asia. In Cambodia, cruise along Tonle Sap, see the Angkor Wat, and learn about the somber Khmer Rouge regime. In Vietnam, tour the massive Mekong Delta, explore local villages, and take part in different excursions.
See the most authentic facets of Mekong culture and ways of life on this Mekong River cruise. Every day on the Mekong is an opportunity to learn something new and amazing, from its unspoilt nature to age-old traditions.
3. Amazon: Earth’s largest rainforest
Take the trip of a lifetime on the majestic Amazon River. Originating from the foothills of the Andes mountains in Peru, the river flows on a 6,400km course towards the Atlantic Ocean. A nature expedition like no other, this Amazon river cruise takes you right into the heart of the jungle.
Housing the world’s largest and most diverse collection of plant and animal life, you can expect to see some amazing wildlife. Small-group excursions of no more than eight ensure the utmost chances of up close encounters!
4. Kerala Backwaters: Southeast India on a small boat
Immerse yourself in a labyrinthine network of rivers, inlets, lagoons and lakes parallel with the Arabian Sea coast. Delightfully scenic, tranquil, with abundant wildlife on display, this Kerala backwaters cruise takes place in a unique landscape.
Smaller vessels enable you to venture into remote areas that most tourist boats cannot. Beginning in Alleppey, ‘Venice of the East’, you’ll travel on converted kettuvallams, traditional barges once used Indian royalty. You’ll see village markets, coconut plantations, bird sanctuaries, beaches, churches, shrines, and as many shore excursions as you want.
5. Nile: Journey through the heart of Egypt
As the lifeline of the ancient Egyptian civilization, many cultural and historical sites lie on the Nile river banks. Cruise from the pyramids of Cairo and the temples of Luxor, to the desert outpost of Aswan and beyond.
This Nile river cruise combines gourmet cuisine and sightseeing experiences with the country’s most experienced Egyptologists. If you’re looking for a taste of five-star luxury while learning about the deep Egpytian history, this journey on the timeless river should be high on your agenda.
6. Danube: Best of Germany and Austria
Explore Regensburg and its meandering, yet delightful streets. See the cyber center of Linz and its edgy public art displays. Snap photos of the famous, pastel-hued Melk Abbey and soak in the scenery of the Wachau Valley. Bike around Bavaria, and up your culinary skills with Viennese schnitzel and apfelstrudel.
If you think this river cruise is made for older folks, this cruise line is the first to cater to millenials! Onboard, you can expect everything you’d find in your favourite boutique hotel. Even a bar, nightclub and yoga studio!
7. Yangtze: Magnificent gorges of China
Yangtze River is huge. In fact, more people live on its banks than in the entire US! Even the cruises are larger than usual, thanks to local demand and the absence of low bridges. However, the Three Gorges Dam is taking its toll, and rising water levels are becoming a concern. The epic scenery, however, is still as breathtaking as ever.
The larger-than-life cruise means that you can expect extra amenities, from stateroom balconies to shops, spas, gyms and even karaoke rooms. This river cruise will be a truly unforgettable journey, taking you through the heart of China from Chongqing to Shanghai.
8. Mississippi: Romance of the steamboat era
The Mississippi River stretches north towards country that’s almost as wild and beautiful as it was during Mark Twain’s lifetime. Bordering or passing through ten different American states, a Mississippi river cruise offers a look into what life was like in the land of the free.
From Minneapolis to New Orleans, watch landscapes, cultures and even language transform on this river cruise. Each new experience is as rare and beautiful as the last. Traversing the entire Mississippi River is a true bucket-list experience and you’re sure to find adventure and an escape from the ordinary.