Is it just us or is everyone talking about river cruising? The sector is booming, the itineraries are becoming more varied and capacity is increasing. We’ve outlined some examples below for those who want to know what all the fuss is about….
Traditionally, the river market has been controlled by Europe’s big ‘hero’ rivers. Think the Danube, Rhine and Rhone and you’re dealing with bodies of water which have an overwhelming amount of capacity when compared to the rest of the world.
While there’s good reason for those rivers being so popular; as the sector has grown, so too has the diversity of rivers available to the British market.
From taking a tour of the Amazon to Africa’s Chobe River or Burma’s Irrawaddy – the widening of the choice has meant that river cruising now appeals to a lot more people.
And that’s why the sector recorded growth rates of 12% in 2012 – with 2013’s figure’s expected out soon.
We’ve compiled some of the most interesting bucket list river cruises below. Let us know what you think – and if we’ve missed any!
Chobe River, Africa
9 May 2014, AmaWaterways
European aficionado AmaWaterways is introducing some of the most interesting itineraries on to the market. This is arguably the most unique.
The tour starts with a stay in Cape Town from where guests will board the beautiful Zambezi Queen and sail down the Chobe River – one of the few itineraries available on an African waterway that isn’t the Nile.
The four-nights onboard will end at the spectacular Victoria Falls from where passengers will board a luxurious train and travel on to Johannesburg.
A very interesting itinerary and one that certainly incorporates that bucket list spirit of adventure.
Prices from £7,182
26 May 2014, Cruise Maritime Voyages
This itinerary offers the opportunity to visit stunning Budapest as well as some of Europe’s other beautiful cities which together make the Danube one of the most popular rivers in Europe.
The sailing we’ve chosen, a new offering from Cruise & Maritime Voyages, will also call at Vienna, Bratislava, Cologne and Amsterdam – demonstrating the full breadth that this body of water has to offer.
Sail through wine country, see some of the most romantic castles in the world and grab a drink in one of Budapest’s famous ruin pubs.
And find out why it’s popularity has remained constant throughout the years.
Prices from £1,999
Champagne Region, France
12 June 2014, CroisiEurope
French river cruise line CroisiEurope is offering seven-day itineraries which will take passengers through France’s beautiful Champagne region via the Canal Lateral.
Famous the world over for its fine fizz, this sailing offers opportunities to taste the local produce in a celebrated Champagne house as well as take the ship’s bikes out for a little exploration in the lush valleys.
If that wasn’t enough, the sailing finishes in Paris too – what better itinerary to tick a few boxes from your bucket list?
Prices from £1,690 per person
Columbia and Snake Rivers
9 August 2014, American Queen Steamboat Company
New for 2014: the American Queen Steamboat Company is introducing a whole new river to its programme this year…the Columbia and Snake Rivers, which slither through the United States north west.
The voyage takes place on a delightful paddle steamer – the biggest in that part of the country – with guests choosing to embark either at Portland, Oregon or Clarkston in Washington.
Expect to go through areas that will look like they’ve not been disturbed for centuries – long before the explorers Lewis and Clarke first came through the region in the 1800s. A definite edition to our river bucket list.
Prices from £3,938 per person
10 August 2014, Titan/ Uniworld
Travel in the lap of luxury onboard Uniworld’s Century Paragon from Beijing to Shanghai and take in the best of what the country has to offer.
This tour visits bucket list sites like China’s Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square – ending in the ultra-modern metropolis of Shanghai.
This is an opportunity to see a huge swathe of Chinese history – from UNESCO sites and terra cotta warriors to the skyscrapers of China’s financial capital.
Prices from around £4,000 per person
1 October 2014, Pandaw
Burma is the destination that everybody is talking about right now and no bucket list would be complete without an itinerary to highlight that trend.
We’ve picked a 15-day voyage by Pandaw Expeditions which sails 600 miles up the Irrawaddy River from Rangoon all the way through to Mandalay.
The voyage will take passengers through some of the most remote and uncharted areas of Asia, while also allowing time in its growing cities.
The ‘unspoilt’ nature of Burma is going to change the more its tourism industry grows, which is definitely a reason to book a Burma cruise sooner rather than later.
Prices from £3,254