If you have been following J5Travel for a while then you know river cruising is one of our favorite types of vacation. Both to sail personally and to sell to our clients who absolutely love them. If you’re new to J5Travel then welcome and hopefully by the end of this blog we can convert you to becoming a future river cruise guest for life. As our geography teachers let us know, not every country borders an ocean so an ocean cruise isn’t an option for many destinations. One of the best ways to experience multiple interior countries up close and personal is to go on a river cruise. This week we focus on 5 recommendations for the best of the best in river cruising.
And as always enjoy a little extra from us through our Virtuoso affiliation.
Top 5 - Not Your Regular River Cruises
First up is Amawaterways’ "Christmas on the Rhine" cruises. Christmas in Europe is a very magical time. You sail from Amsterdam to Basel or the reverse and stop in iconic cities along the way where they really know how to celebrate the season. In addition to the regular excursions offered you will have a chance to visit the world famous European Christmas markets. The Christmas Markets in Strasbourg, Cologne and Heidelberg (above) have sights, sounds and tastes that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Cruising in a new and modern AmaWaterways ship like the AmaLucia or AmaSienna is the cherry on the top. All ships come with heated pools, complimentary wifi, award winning dining (below) and daily entertainment.
If you’re looking for a new and enriching way to tour Italy then a Uniworld river cruise just might be perfect for you. They have 8 and 10 day cruises that explore the Gems of Northern Italy. You can choose from a round trip Venice cruise or a one way cruise from Milan to Venice. You will explore the waterfront shops of smaller towns like Burano (above), Mazzorbo and Torcello and get the chance to make pasta in Polesella. In the majestic city of Venice you can take a tour that includes a private evening opening and lighting ceremony at St. Mark’s Basilica. While you’re in northern Italy you should try to visit Lake Como. Uniworld makes it easy by offering a fabulous 3 day extension that includes sailing the lake, walking the picturesque towns of Lugano and Bellagio and includes a two night stay in the 5-star Hotel Splendide Royal (below). For added value, many of these sailings are waiving the single supplement fee (for a limited time) so gather your group of single friends and visit the beautiful country of Italy.
Next we have Belmond. Not usually considered when you think of river cruising, but Belmond should definitely come to mind when you think of unique, ultra-luxury experiences. They have incredible itineraries that take you to the majestic country of Myanmar where you will sail the Ayeyarwady River. The Road to Mandalay river ship will be your floating accommodations for a number of nights. While modern, the ship was designed to incorporate traditional, authentic Burmese style with delicate silks and elegant teak wood furniture. The cuisine (above) follows suit with tantalizing plates that feature a fusion of south Asian and Western flavors. The highlight of the journey lies in the excursions however (below). Tour bustling markets, visit ancient temples by torchlight, ride in a traditional horse and cart through local villages, learn from Buddhists and participate in an almsgiving ceremony are just some of the amazing experiences you will enjoy. Continue the activities on board with lectures on the Burmese culture, sarong tying lessons and a fortune telling session from an astrologer. I’m ready to book as I type, though this is one for the future as we still await Myanmar's reopening.
4. Avalon Waterways
Next Stop, Egypt. Surely on everyone’s bucket list is traveling to Egypt. Seeing the magnificence of the pyramids, the sphinx, valley of the kings and so much more is an experience that is unforgettable. Why not let your first visit there (or 2nd or 3rd) be on a luxury Nile River cruise. With Avalon Waterways, embark on an exceptional 10 day adventure that starts and stops in Cairo. You enjoy 3 nights pre cruise in Cairo where you get the chance to visit all the ancient, magical sights. You start the cruise by flying to Luxor (included), visiting the Luxor temple (above) and then embarking the ship. You sail from Luxor to Aswan in a cozy ship that holds just 120 guests. Panoramic windows, comfortable beds and satellite tv and wifi are all included in the ship experience as well as gourmet cuisine and impeccable service. Instead of sailing back down the Nile, you fly from Aswan back to Cairo (included) where you enjoy 2 overnights with included tours to even more amazing sights like the Khan al Khali Souk (below) and mosques. They also offer an optional extension to Jordan for an additional 4 spectacular nights.
5. American Cruise Lines
You don’t have to leave the country in order to enjoy an amazing river cruise. With American Cruise Lines (yes that’s the name) you can cruise along US rivers like the Mississippi and Columbia. They boast sophisticated travel to the most amazing destinations across the United States. If you’re looking to cruise in an elegant and modern ship then the American Melody (above) is the way to go. The Melody sails the Mississippi River (below) on voyages ranging from 8 to 22 nights. Imagine visiting the lively cities of New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Memphis in just one cruise and not having to worry about booking a new hotel each time. You can enjoy fun excursions such as visiting Elvis Presley’s Graceland home, listening to a private classical piano concert in Natchez and touring the colorful French Quarter. We would be remiss to not mention the culinary voyage your taste buds will also go on. You will taste everything from delicious Cajun cuisine to smokey BBQ and top it off with a refreshing mint julep. American Cruise lines is a great option to experience the USA in a new way.
I love travel and I love travel planning just as much and I am proud to be building a team as passionate about exploring the world as myself. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts. We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.
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