10 River Cruises to Remember
No matter how much you enjoy cruising the oceans of the world, there are many fascinating places that can't be accessed by sea. That's where river cruises
come into the picture, and sometimes the river itself is the destination.
Increasingly popular, river cruising can be on an ocean liner---usually a smaller ship---or on an entirely different type of vessel. A riverboat is usually flatter---in order to go under bridges over the river---and is obviously much smaller than a cruise ship. However, many upscale riverboat lines are gradually reaching the comfort level to which cruisers on ocean liners are accustomed.
River cruising has been popular for years in Europe
. However, the other famous rivers of the world are getting a chance to shine now. From North America's St. Lawrence, Mississippi and Columbia rivers to Asia
's Yangtze River cruises to Egypt's Nile River cruise, there are many options to explore if you want to take a more leisurely trip and watch life being lived outside your stateroom on the riverside. Check out these 10 unforgettable river cruises around the world.
Exotic River Cruises
Two of the most unforgettable river cruises are the Nile River cruise in Egypt, and the Amazon River cruise in Brazil. There are more than 200 vessels that cruise the Nile River, usually a five-day cruise that originates in Luxor and ends in Aswan, so you have your choice of economy, premium or luxury vessels. Most packages also are combined with visits to see the pyramids and the Sphinx near Cairo.
Both large and small vessels navigate the Amazon River. However, bear in mind that this is one instance in which a big-ship experience is inferior to a small-ship experience. Smaller ships, such as Seabourn and Silversea ships, can pull to the side of the river, anchor, and send canoes and smaller vessels off into the tributaries to explore. Large ships can't linger.
European River Cruises
River cruises have been around for a long time in Europe and the market is increasingly competitive. These cruises are great for people who prefer to be in port every day, because the port cities and towns where riverboats dock are pretty close together. That's why on a European river cruise, you can see several countries in one week.
Five of the best river cruises in Europe are a cruise of the waterways of The Netherlands; a Danube cruise, which extends from Germany into Austria and Hungary (often from Prague, Czech Republic, to Budapest, Hungary); a Rhone River cruise in France; a trip on Russia's Volga River; and a colorful cruise along the Elbe River in Germany. River cruise lines are not as well-known as ocean cruise lines, so search online for European river cruises to get a hefty list of options. Among the popular lines are Viking River Cruises, Uniworld River Cruises and Tauck River Cruises.
North American River Cruises
If you want to stay near home, there are great river cruises in the United States and Canada. Cruise lines, such as Holland-America and Princess, offer Canada-New England cruises that take guests along the beautiful St. Lawrence River. In the Pacific Northwest, there are ships and river vessels sailing along the Snake and Columbia Rivers, where Oregon and Washington ports offer looks into the Lewis & Clark expeditions. And don't forget about cruises along the long, winding Mississippi River, which start in a variety of ports, including New Orleans, and show lots of American towns and cities.
Debbie Selinsky is an award-winning writer based in North Carolina. Selinsky is the former senior editor of "Success Magazine" and deputy director of the Duke University News Service. She has written about travel for many years and specializes in cruise travel, having sailed on more than 100 cruises. Selinsky attended North Greenville University, Oregon Institute of Technology and the Poynter Institute for Journalistic Excellence.
The Seabourn Pride in the Amazon Basin/photo courtesy of the Yachts of Seabourn