Top 10 River Cruises
It seems lately that in just about any discussion of vacation plans the subject of River Cruises comes up. Everyone’s talking about it. Here at CruiseExperts.com that’s certainly the case as more and more of our clients return from cruising the rivers of the world, anxious to share stories of their adventures with friends and family. They can’t wait to go back and take others with them. We thought you’d like to know what their favorite river voyages are so we’ve put together a brief description of ten of the most popular river cruises. These are rivers considered by many to be some of the world’s best old-world places to explore, floating through some of the most scenic landscapes, complemented by world class wineries and delicious cuisine. A luxury river cruise–what we call a “five-star floating hotel”–is the best way to explore the inland of any country.
Here is CruiseExperts.com’s Top 10 River Cruises, in no particular order:
Experience the romance of Paris and all it has to offer and beyond. This trip usually starts in Paris where you can see all the favorite sights like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, and Notre Dame. After a couple of days in Paris, you’ll board your ship for your cruise along the beautiful Seine River and float past historic and scenic medieval cities and see the sights that inspired the great impressionist artists. Besides wine tasting at charming chateaus, the highlights include the gardens at Giverny and Monet’s home, Chateau Gaillard as well as Les Andelys where Richard the Lionheart stood his ground. In Rouen, you’ll take a historic excursion to the Normandy Landing Beaches which is a must-see to really appreciate the sacrifices of the allied forces in the Great War. After your WWII excursion, you’ll return to your ship and cruise back to Paris.
This popular “Waterways of the Tsars” Viking river cruise is on our list. See Russia’s two greatest cities with all the best cultural and historic cities in between. It’s a perfect way for first-time visitors to explore Russia. In Moscow, the Kremlin is still the home of the Russian President. While inside the fortified complex explore the palaces, churches, monasteries and buildings at this historic site. Learn about the Russian culture, its history and try the cuisine. No vodka tastings are on the official agenda, but I’m sure you could find some to sample while exploring.
The Christmas Markets in Germany
The Christmas markets in Germany are always at the top of the popularity list for holiday river cruises because the Germans hold-tight to the real meaning of Christmas and maintain the joy of the Christmas spirit. The Christmas market cruises take place during the four-week advent period that usually begins at the end of November and ends a day or two before Christmas. There are many different itinerary choices along the Rhine, Main or Danube Rivers that stop at the most popular villages with the best traditional Christmas markets.
Holland Waterways in the Spring During Tulip Season
The Tulips & Windmills river cruise is a popular round-trip river cruise from Amsterdam through Holland’s Waterways and Belgium. Throughout the year you’ll learn about WWII history, discover the Dutch way of life, and you’ll see the impressive windmills and waterways system. HOWEVER, in the spring from late March through April, when the tulips are in bloom, the gardens throughout this region are breathtaking. You will want to visit as many gardens as possible to see the endless sea of colors and designs made of flowers.
“The River of Gold” winds from Porto through the Douro River Valley in Portugal’s colorful wine country. It is a picturesque wine growing region with historic monasteries, castles and cathedrals. The original Port wine was produced here and though attempts have been made to duplicate it, you’ll drinking the real-deal here and learn what real Port should taste like. With more than five UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way, there’s no shortage of interesting places to explore. Where the Douro River ends, you’ll take a day excursion out to Salamanca, Spain–a preserved old-world university city–before you start the return voyage to Porto.
Begin your vacation exploring the famous windmills and waterworks in Amsterdam along Holland’s Waterways in the Netherlands. Then head up the Rhine River and enjoy the picturesque landscape from the deck of your ship. The region is spotted with charming villages, medieval castles, rolling hills of vineyards and the Lorelei Rock which can be seen as you float through the Rhine Gorge. Explore on foot the German and French influenced city of Strasbourg in France. Spend the evening enjoying the nightlife on Rüdesheim’s Drosselgasse street. You’ll also get to visit the storybook-inspired Black Forest region and try the original Black Forest ham. Cologne is best explored on an electric bike because there is so much to see in this city filled with Gothic architecture. Most itineraries start and end in Amsterdam or Basel, Switzerland. The Rhine has earned the title of “The Romantic Rhine” because sharing the views and great wines with someone special inspires romance.
A mixture of busy cities, rural villages, temples and floating markets makes this river cruise through Cambodia and Vietnam an international adventure. The river cruise takes you to the historic sites of the Vietnam War which include excursions to the underground tunnels and hideouts used by the Viet Cong and the Killing Fields. You’ll also see the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. One of the highlights on this cruise is the mind-blowing Angkor Wat stone structure built in the 12th century–it’s a must-see. If you can, plan some extra time in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam by adding a hotel stay for two nights to fully explore this intriguing country.
There are many itineraries to choose from that begin and end in Shanghai or Beijing, China. this is becoming a very popular river cruise destination. Some river cruise itineraries focus on Shanghai and Beijing allowing more time in these fascinating cities resulting in a few less cities visited in route, but you’ll still have ample time to view the magnificent waterfalls on the three gorges along the river. Other itineraries stop in more cities and explore the culture in each one. Regardless, you’ll have many captivating shore excursions to choose from including the Great Wall of China and the Shibaozhai Temple.
This cruise is popular because it begins in Paris, the capital of romance, and then takes you right through the heartland of France. As you cruise along the Rhône and Saône Rivers, relax on your private balcony with a prized regional glass of wine as you view the scenic French countryside of the Burgundy wine making region and the colorful fields of Provence. Taste the finest chocolates, foods and wines onshore as well as onboard your ship. Explore the medieval old towns in Lyon, Arles and Avignon and go back in time to the Renaissance period as you stroll through the cobbled stone streets surrounded by Gothic architecture.
Take a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest along the Rhine, Main, the Main-Danube Canal and Danube Rivers through Holland’s Waterways, Germany, Austria and Hungary (with optional excursions to the Czech Republic and Slovakia). You’ll see nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way as well as city-after-city of medieval architecture that pulls you back in time. From the deck of your ship, observe the engineering marvel of the Main-Danube Canal and Austria’s Wachau Valley. Enjoy the regions white Rieslings, as well as Franconian wines and the peppery Grüner Veltliners, and don’t miss the dessert wines of Hungary. Imagine being able to see six beautiful countries–and only unpack once!
Want more information?
If you have any questions about taking a river cruise, please check us out at www.CruiseExperts.com or give us a call. All of our Experts are accredited by the Cruise Line International Association and would love to help you find a river cruise that is just right for you. With so many options when it comes to river cruising, using an experienced River Cruise Expert will save you time and money. Contact us anytime by calling 1-888-804-CRUIse (2784) or visiting our website, www.CruiseExperts.com.
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Julie joined the CruiseExperts.com team in 2013 as the Marketing Coordinator. She’s lived in Visalia, CA for neaqrly 30 years and is a wife and mother of two adult daughters. She holds a Communications/Marketing degree from the University of Illinois (Go ILLINI!) She has been involved in advertising, marketing, public relations, fundraising development, and event planning throughout her career. “I’m thrilled to work with the CruiseExperts.com team! And I love to travel. Put those together and I have the ideal job!”