Five Great River Cruises
Published: January 2012
By Lisa Cheng
These river cruise itineraries offer something for every kind of traveler.
Itinerary: Tauck’s 10-day A Taste of France itinerary, departing from Paris with stops in Lyons, Arles, and Avignon on the Swiss Emerald.
Highlights: A gourmand’s tour of the Rhône Valley, including a cooking class at Alain Ducasse’s École de Cuisine, in Paris, and a visit to Avignon’s Les Halles, a traditional Provençal food market, accompanied by local chefs.
Details: 800/468-2825; from $5,390 per person, double.
Itinerary: A 13-day Waterways of the Czars tour by Viking River Cruises, from St. Petersburg to Moscow, on four of Viking’s Russia-based ships.
Highlights: A tour of the Hermitage’s 357,000-square-foot storage facility (including the Romanovs’ imperial carriage collection), usually off-limits to the public; onboard arias performed by Mariinsky Theater musicians.
Details: 877/523-0571; from $3,746 per person, double.
Itinerary: Uniworld’s eight-day Gems of Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands on the River Ambassador.
Highlights: Calls at Cologne, Antwerp, and Maastricht; a visit to see 160 acres of bursting blooms at the decennial Floriade horticultural expo, running between April and October in Venlo, in the Netherlands.
Details: 800/733-7820; from $2,399 per person, double.
Itinerary: The 14-day Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Mekong River from Avalon Waterways, on the new Avalon Angkor.
Highlights: Access to Vietnam and Cambodia’s remotest villages, as well as one-of-a-kind experiences including a water blessing by Buddhist monks at Cambodia’s Wat Hanchey, on a hilltop overlooking the stupa-studded countryside.
Details: 877/380-1535; from $3,819 per person, double.
Itinerary: AmaWaterways’ 14-day Stars of Africa expedition, with a cruise on Botswana’s Chobe River on the Zambezi Queen and land tours in South Africa.
Highlights: Excursions through Chobe and Kruger national parks and Victoria Falls; a picnic in a rustic tent on the banks of the Chobe River, which is full of bathing hippos.
Details: 800/626-0126; from $8,995 per person, double.