The world may have a finite number of rivers, but cruise companies seem to have an infinite number of ways to sail them. And 2018’s cruise calendar has some exciting new itineraries—from adventurous journeys in Africa and Asia to new or extended cruises on tried-and-true waterways such as the Rhine and Danube. Here’s a look at six of this year’s best new offerings.
Pharaohs & Pyramids
Cruisers eager to discover the ancient treasures of Egypt’s Nile River can now do so aboard Viking River Cruises’ new 48-passenger Viking Ra as it sails this 12-day (11-night) itinerary—they’ll just have to wait until 2020, since the 2018 and 2019 sailings are already sold out. Why is it so popular? This itinerary begins with a three-night hotel stay in Cairo before guests fly to Luxor, board the Viking Ra and over two days visit the temples of Luxor and Karnak and the Valley of the Kings. The ship cruises on to Qena (to visit Dendera), Esna (for the Temple of Khnum), Aswan (home to the Great Temple of Ramses II and the Aswan High Dam), and Edfu (for the Temple of Horus) before guests disembark in Luxor and fly back to Cairo. Fares start at $5,799 per person.
The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam
Along with its latest ship, the 36-passenger Avalon Saigon, which debuted on the Mekong River in January, Avalon Waterways introduced this new 18-day (17-night) journey that takes in memorable sights beyond the river. It begins with three nights in Ho Chi Minh City, followed by a seven-night river cruise through Vietnam and into Cambodia, where it disembarks in Siem Reap for a two-night stay. Guests then fly to Hanoi, where they’ll spend two nights in a hotel and two more nights cruising scenic Ha Long Bay. They’ll end the trip with a final night in Hanoi. Fares start from $5,949 per person.
The newest addition to Tauck’s European cruise offerings begins in Milan and ends in Amsterdam (or vice versa) and visits five countries over 11 days (10 nights). Offered on the 130-passenger ms Grace or ms Inspire, the itinerary begins with three fashionable nights in Milan, including a visit (by boat, of course) to beautiful Lake Como. From there, guests will take a scenic train ride through the Alps to Basel and set out on a cruise to the Black Forest around Breisach, the castles and vineyards of Heidelberg, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rudesheim, the Old Town and modern east bank of Dusseldorf, and finally the canals of Amsterdam. Fares start from $5,290 per person.
Wildlife and the Falls
AmaWaterways has added this 12-night land-and-river tour that visits South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. The adventure begins with one night in Johannesburg, before boarding a flight to Kasane, Botswana, where guests will pick up the 36-passenger Zambezi Queen. For four nights, they’ll embark on a waterborne safari of the Chobe River in search of elephants and hippos and take a 4x4 game drive in Chobe National Park. On day six, guests will disembark at Victoria Falls for a two-night stay. The journey finishes with a return to Johannesburg for two nights, and three final nights at a game lodge in Kruger National Park. Fares start at $12,775 per person.
The Danube Flow
With the April launch of its new U by Uniworld division—notable for its twin, 120-passenger ships, which share a striking black facade and a more youthful focus on nightlife—the cruise line added this eight-day (seven-night) itinerary that visits 10 ports in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, and Hungary. The trip kicks off with a night out in Regensberg’s Old Town, and continues with bike riding in Bavaria, a night tour of Linz, visits to monasteries and castles in the Wachau Valley, cooking classes and classical concerts in Vienna, a stroll through Bratislava, and sightseeing in Budapest. Fares start from $1,759 per person.
Southern Africa: Travel to the Ends of the Earth
Africa is a new destination for CroisiEurope, which recently launched this nine-day (eight-night) South Africa-Zimbabwe-Botswana-Namibia itinerary on its 16-passenger African Dream and African Dream II. The journey begins in Johannesburg with a flight to Kariba to board the ship, which will cruise Lake Kariba and the Gache Gache and Sanyati rivers. Afterward, guests will disembark for a land safari in Matusadona National Park and continue on to Chobe National Park, Impalila Island, and Victoria Falls. Fares begin at $6,033 per person.