Looking for something different for this year’s holibops? Look no further than a river cruise on some of the world’s greatest fresh waterways. Here we’ve rounded up our top 5 for 2018!
1. Mississippi River Cruise
The Mississippi Delta is the stuff of legend and if you can make your way Stateside for a week or two, this is the place to go.
The fourth longest river in the world, the mighty Mississippi winds through some of the best America has to offer and you can soak in the sights from the decks of a paddle-wheel steamboat.
Start out in the Lower Mississippi with its stately homes and civil war battlegrounds, dance your way through New Orleans and marvel at the history of Baton Rouge. Glide up to the home of The King in Memphis Tennessee. Continue through to St. Louis and explore the homes and landscapes behind the literary gems of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Check out americancruiselines.com for more options. Prices start at around US$200 per night, per person and can range up to US$500 per night.
2. Mekong Delta
A Mekong River cruise will set your senses on fire as you begin in Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh and work your way through its incredible history to My Tho, the capital of Vietnam’s Tien Giang province which was settled in the late 1600’s by Chinese refugees fleeing Taiwan. Days 4 and 5 take you through the French-colonial river town of Sa Dec, once one of the largest settlements along the Mekong Delta. Days 6 & 7 take you to Cambodia’s Phnom Penh where you can dig deep into the history of Angkor Wat, marvelling at the incredible architecture and engineering feats. End your trip after just over a week of cruising as he river opens is gates to the Vietnamese Delta where you can buy authentic souvenirs on floating markets.
Try Viking River Cruises for your South East Asia river experience. Prices start at US$4,499 per person.
3. Danube River Cruise
Starting in Germany’s Black Forest, the Danube River is the second longest in Europe and ambles through 10 countries before emptying into the Black Sea.
Board your riverboat in Linz, Austria and wind your way through the Vienna’s castles making sure to sample a pastry or two along the way! Day 3 will see you dip into Budapest to enjoy the epicentre of Hungarian history and culture before making your way into Slovakia for a taste of Bratislava, the charming Slovakian capital city. Days 6 & 7 have you making your way gently back to Austria where you can take in the history of the town of Durnstein, famous for King Richard the Lionheart and the gorgeous gothic ruins of Melk’s Wachau Valley before disembarking your cruise back in Linz.
Check out Adventure-life.com for 7-day cruises starting at US$2550 per person.
4. Yangtze River
More than 60 vessels operate cruises along the Yangtze from Shanghai to the heartland of China.
A Three-Gorges tour is a great place to start for those who have never been to China and takes around 3-4 days, leaving you plenty of time to visit other sites on your own.
Embark at the ‘Mountain City’ of Chongqing and sail through to Shibaozhai to see ‘The Pearl of the Yangtze’ – a Buddhist temple dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Shore excursions will take you to Fengdu’s ‘Ghost City’ before you make your way into the Three Gorges proper. Pass through the Qutang and Wu gorges with their dramatic heights and lush, green mountains and on day 4 head towards the Three Gorges Dam where you’ll traverse through the ship lock and disembark to view the dam itself: the world’s largest power station.
There are a multitude of options for cruises along the Yangtze with different stops and sights to see. Check out victoriacruises.com and Yangtze-river-cruises.com to start your journey from only US$780 per person.
5. Amazon River Cruise
The length of the Amazon river is daunting, and there are a multitude of options for river cruises. Test the waters with an Iquitos round-trip with G Adventures starting at US$2,124 per person:
Jump aboard your Amazon riverboat in Iquitos and begin to explore the Amazonian jungle by waterway! Expect to see an array of wildlife including monkeys, sloths and macaw parrots and try your hand at some traditional piranha fishing! Your cruise includes a stop-off in an Amazon village where you’ll be guided through the local living traditions of the indigenous peoples. Days 5-7 take your through the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve for more animal-spotting as well as a special stop at a manatee rescue centre. Your cruise finishes in the city of Lima where you can disembark to get back to a bit of city-living!