Sailing on an iconic river aboard a river cruise is the perfect way to leisurely explore several countries and discover multiple cultures in a matter of days.
According to Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) 2016 State of the Cruise Industry Outlook, the demand for the river cruise is at an all-time high. As of 2015, there were 169 river CLIA member cruise ships on the water with 18 additional ships ordered for 2016.
“These intimate voyages allow passengers to experience multiple, memorable destinations in a short amount of time all while traveling the world’s most famous, historic rivers,” said Cindy D’Aoust, president and CEO, CLIA. “As the demand for river cruising grows, there are now more experiences and destinations than ever before. In addition to cruising through Europe on the Rhine or Danube rivers, passengers can take river cruises through South America, Asia, Africa, and even the U.S., offering access to some of the most authentic and treasured travel destinations in the world.”
From Egypt to Asia, here are six iconic rivers around the world made easily accessible by river cruising:
- The Magic & Mystery of the Nile: One of the world’s most famous waterways, spanning more than 4,000 miles, the Nile River offers unbelievable sights of ancient temples, lush rainforests and impressive mountains. Avalon Waterways offers a nine-day river cruise from Cairo that takes cruisers on a voyage through 5,000 years of history, visiting temples built in the time of Cleopatra, the famed Sphinx, and the Great Temples of Giza.
- The Battles & Beauty of the Mekong: Stretching through thousands of miles of authentic Asian rice paddies and fish farms, the Mekong River’s beautiful deltas have been site to famous battles, specifically during the Vietnam War. Now, the peaceful waterways provide the perfect atmosphere for cruising. New options in Vietnam and Cambodia include AmaWaterways’ 15-night Mekong upstream and downstream itineraries. The voyage takes cruisers along the fabled Mekong River for an unforgettable authentic experience exploring rural villages, floating markets, and a Buddhist monastery. The itinerary includes Ho Chi Minh City with additional stops in Siem Reap, Hanoi. and Ha Long Bay.
- The “River Sea” of the Amazon: The longest river in South America and world’s largest resource of fresh water, the Amazon offers thousands of years of tropical history and beauty. Seabourn offers the chance to blend the beauty of both river and ocean, including sailing along the iconic Amazon River with a 15-day Amazon & Caribbean Isles Cruise. This cruise takes passengers on a luxurious journey along the Amazon with excursions into the jungle and beyond.
- A Trek through American History on the Mississippi: The Mississippi River is drenched in rich American history weaving through 1.2 million square miles and multiple states. Adventurers on American Cruise Lines sail on a Mississippi River Cruise paddlewheeler journey taking them along the famed domestic waters and through 10 states. Guests experience the jazz of New Orleans, French-inspired beauty of Natchez, the Gateway Arch of St. Louis, and more.
- A Rise Along the Rhine: Known for enchanting castles and dramatic landscapes, the Rhine River has been crossed by the likes of Julius Caesar and George Patton. CroisiEurope’s Christmas Market Cruise celebrates the holidays along the Rhine, visiting multiple Christmas markets in the European capital of Strasbourg, the “Christmas Cities” of Nuremberg and Rudesheim which feature the Christmas Market of Nations. Tauck’s Rhine and Moselle cruise blends the beauty of two historic rivers and allows passengers to experience the Netherlands to Switzerland, through Germany, France, and Luxembourg. Cruisers can pay tribute to the fallen in the Battle of the Bulge at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial; view medieval masterpieces like Bernkastel, Trier, and Cochem; and experience an exclusive dinner at a medieval moated castle in Germany.
- The Gorgeous Ganges: Boasting the highest population of any river basin in the world and winding through India and Bangladesh, the sacred Ganges River is not only gorgeous but constantly changing. The river is slowly changing its path, naturally shifting 2.5 kilometers since 1990 so the river offers a truly once-in-a-lifetime course. Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection exclusively offers a chance to sail this fertile and unique waterway with India’s Golden Triangle & Sacred Ganges river cruise and tour. Highlights include Delhi’s Humayun’s Tomb, the Taj Mahal, the Agra Fort, Jaipur’s City Palace, Mother Theresa’s home and tomb in Kolkata, Verdic temple in Mayapur, and Kalna’s Rajbari Temples.
“River cruising is the ultimate experience offering an immersive, cultural and pampered vacation, complete with exceptional land excursions and vessel amenities,” D’Aoust continued. “Travelers can sail on storied waterways and discover new pockets of the world.”