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RIVERS<br />

CRUISE DIARY 2019 | 2020<br />

EUROPE | ASIA | AFRICA | USA | LONG HAUL | EXOTIC<br />

StowawayMedia.com


CONTENTS<br />

What an amazing few years it has been for river cruising, with exciting new vessels launching and ever-growing<br />

demand as more and more British passengers discover this is a fine way to travel. In 2017 alone, numbers rose<br />

24% to top 210,000 for the first time, according to Clia UK & Ireland, the UK's official cruise industry association.<br />

FREE FLIGHTS ON ALL<br />

RHINE RIVER CRUISES<br />

PLUS SAVE UP TO £1,850 PER COUPLE<br />

This year is shaping up to be another fantastic 12 months, with more new river ships on the horizon and many<br />

cruises in 2020 available for booking already.<br />

What is the attraction? Quite simply being able to travel in a first-class floating hotel and discover spectacular cities<br />

and little-known towns and villages around Europe, Asia and the US that all have fascinating stories to tell.<br />

Want to know more? Take time to read our 2019/20 <strong>River</strong> Cruise <strong>Diary</strong>, which is packed with information about the<br />

rivers you could be enjoying, as well as offering hints and tips to help you enjoy your cruise.<br />

Keith Ellis, Publisher<br />

Book by 28 February 2019<br />

Basel ~ Strasbourg ~ Rüdesheim<br />

Rhine Gorge and Lorelei Rock ~ Cologne<br />

CONTENTS<br />

Why take a river cruise.........................................4<br />

Europe ....................................................................13<br />

The Lower Danube.............................................17<br />

The Rhine and its tributaries..........................18<br />

The Douro..............................................................20<br />

The Rhône.............................................................22<br />

The Seine...............................................................24<br />

Russian Waterways............................................26<br />

The Nile/Chobe...................................................27<br />

The Mekong..........................................................28<br />

The Ganges...........................................................32<br />

The Yangtze/Myanmar....................................33<br />

The Mississippi ................................................... 34<br />

The Columbia & Snake <strong>River</strong>s ..................... 38<br />

Brochure rack........................................................39<br />

Award-winning suites with<br />

open-air balconies<br />

Full-board dining with wine<br />

and beer included<br />

Private home<br />

pick-up service<br />

avaloncruises.co.uk | visit your local travel agent<br />

Published by .......................................... Keith Ellis,<br />

Stowaway Publications<br />

10 Tadorne Road, Tadworth<br />

KT20 5TD Surrey<br />

+44 (0)1737 81 2411,<br />

kmellis@btinternet.com<br />

Written and Edited by: ................. Jane Archer<br />

..............................................Janearc@aol.com<br />

Creative..... Andrew Reeves, Oddsock Design<br />

......................Andrew@oddsockdesign.com<br />

Front cover image courtesy of Avalon Waterways<br />

READER<br />

RECOMMENDED<br />

UK 2019<br />

We are a member of ABTA and our flight-inclusive holidays are protected by the ATOL scheme. Prices shown are based<br />

on two people sharing a Panorama Suite. Free flights offer valid on all new Rhine cruise bookings made between 20 Dec<br />

2018 and 28 Feb 2019, departing the UK between 1 Jan 2019 and 30 Nov 2019. Offer valid for bookings departing London<br />

Heathrow, London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham or Glasgow airports, on either British Airways, KLM or EasyJet<br />

operated fl ights, subject to availability. Alternative airlines / flight times are available at time of booking for a supplement. Prices shown includes saving. Offer subject to<br />

stateroom availability; for full terms and conditions, see avaloncruises.co.uk/offerstcs. Good Housekeeping Reader Recommended survey of Avalon panoramic views,<br />

112 Good Housekeeping readers, 2018. Prices correct at time of print (12 January 2019).<br />

StowawayMedia.com<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 3


WHY TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

WHY TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

Why<br />

TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

<strong>River</strong> cruising is the holiday hit of the decade, gaining<br />

thousands of new followers each year who are drawn to<br />

the alluring mix of easy adventure and discovery that<br />

awaits on the world’s waterways.<br />

It is a very different style of travel to ocean<br />

cruising. The ships are smaller, carrying<br />

an average of just 150 passengers, and they<br />

navigate rivers and canals rather than sailing<br />

vast oceans, enabling passengers to really<br />

get under the skin of places instead of just<br />

visiting.<br />

There is always something to see along the<br />

river banks - churches and castles in Europe,<br />

remote villages in Asia - and when vessels<br />

dock, it is often in the heart of a big city or<br />

town. As they don’t need clearance by local<br />

authorities, once the gangway is in position,<br />

passengers can just walk ashore and discover<br />

new sights, sounds and tastes.<br />

All that and the ease of just unpacking once<br />

as your floating hotel glides from once place<br />

to another.<br />

As the number of river cruise passengers has<br />

grown (the UK market alone rocketed 24%<br />

in 2017 to reach a record 210,400 in 2017,<br />

according to official figures, and numbers<br />

from the US and Australia are way higher), so<br />

the river ships and product have adapted to<br />

suit changing expectations.<br />

Most modern river ships now offer cabins with<br />

balconies, additional places to eat and larger<br />

spas. AmaMagna, a new vessel being built by<br />

AmaWaterways and launching in May 2019,<br />

is twice the width of other river cruise vessels,<br />

has four places to eat, a wellness studio and a<br />

rear watersports platform. The only other river<br />

ship of the same size is Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises’<br />

Crystal Mozart.<br />

Crucially, cruise fares now include a lot of<br />

things that once cost extra. It does mean that<br />

river cruising is not a cheap option, but it<br />

is great value and very appealing to mature<br />

passengers (the majority of river cruisers<br />

are retired) as they don’t have to think about<br />

extra costs while travelling.<br />

A seven-night Rhine cruise in June costs<br />

from £2,345 per person with Scenic and from<br />

£2,239 per person with Uniworld. Both are<br />

among a few river cruise lines that include<br />

everything from flights and transfers to<br />

drinks, excursions and gratuities in the price.<br />

Even those that are not all-inclusive usually<br />

incorporate one or two perks in the price,<br />

whether it be free drinks at meal times,<br />

excursions or gratuities. Emerald Waterways<br />

includes all three, but usually only one<br />

excursion per port (with others at extra cost);<br />

AmaWaterways includes drinks with meals<br />

and a choice of excursions.<br />

Saga includes drinks with meals and some<br />

excursions, A-Rosa charges for excursions<br />

but includes drinks. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines<br />

charges for both drinks (beverage packages<br />

are available) and excursions.<br />

Most include alternative dining where<br />

available as well as Wi-Fi. Exceptions include<br />

the Vintage Room on Crystal Cruises’ river<br />

ships, where a handful of passengers can<br />

enjoy wine-themed lunches and dinners<br />

for an extra fee, and the waiter-service<br />

restaurants on A-Rosa vessels.<br />

4 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019 StowawayMedia.com | 5


WHY TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

WHO INCLUDES DRINKS<br />

The following river cruise lines<br />

include all drinks in the prices:<br />

APT<br />

A-Rosa<br />

CroisiEurope<br />

Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

Pandaw (local brands only)<br />

Scenic<br />

Uniworld <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

Tauck<br />

NEW<br />

NEW<br />

NEW<br />

SHIP<br />

SHIP<br />

SHIP<br />

FOR 2019<br />

FOR 2019<br />

FOR 2019<br />

Amadeus<br />

Amadeus<br />

Amadeus<br />

STAR<br />

STAR<br />

STAR<br />

The following river cruise lines<br />

include drinks with lunch and dinner:<br />

Amadeus <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

AmaWaterways<br />

Avalon Waterways<br />

Emerald Waterways<br />

Saga (exclusive charters only)<br />

Titan Travel<br />

Travelmarvel<br />

Viking<br />

WHO INCLUDES GRATUITIES<br />

APT<br />

Avalon Waterways<br />

Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

Emerald Waterways<br />

Pandaw<br />

Scenic<br />

Tauck<br />

Travelmarvel<br />

U by Uniworld<br />

Uniworld <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

FOLLOW THE TRENDS<br />

The trend for more rigorous excursions and<br />

activities is growing fast among river cruise<br />

companies as 60 becomes the new 40 and<br />

lines look to attract a younger generation.<br />

Companies including Uniworld, Crystal,<br />

AmaWaterways, Scenic and Emerald<br />

Waterways carry bikes that passengers can<br />

borrow for guided cycle rides or to explore<br />

alone, and hiking tours increasingly figure<br />

among the choice of excursions on offer.<br />

Avalon Waterways has dedicated active<br />

cruises on the Rhine, Danube and, new<br />

for 2019, the Rhône in France, while<br />

CroisiEurope has cycling and walkingthemed<br />

departures with 30-mile bike rides<br />

and hikes of five to eight miles most days.<br />

AmaWaterways has wellness instructors<br />

on all its cruises this year. Those sailing the<br />

Seine, Rhine or Danube with U by Uniworld<br />

can go kayaking and walking across the<br />

rooftops of Paris.<br />

Family river cruises are also becoming more<br />

popular. Children can go on most cruises<br />

with most lines, but Uniworld, Tauck and<br />

A-Rosa have dedicated family departures<br />

with special activities and excursions to keep<br />

youngsters amused. On A-Rosa, children<br />

aged up to 15 travel for free when sharing a<br />

cabin with an adult.<br />

ROOMS WITH A VIEW<br />

Cabins on river ships all face the water but<br />

have a multitude of different designs.<br />

On Scenic, Emerald Waterways, Uniworld<br />

<strong>River</strong> Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Amadeus<br />

<strong>River</strong> Cruises, the rooms have panoramic<br />

windows that are split horizontally and open<br />

downwards at the touch of a button. In their<br />

top suites, Scenic, Uniworld and Emerald<br />

Waterways use a combination of panoramic<br />

windows and internal glass doors to create<br />

sun lounges.<br />

AmaWaterways’ vessels, which are also used<br />

by APT, have split balconies so passengers<br />

can sit either inside or out, depending on the<br />

weather.<br />

Avalon Waterways vessels have two decks<br />

of cabins with wall-to-wall glass windows<br />

that open two-thirds the width of the room<br />

(pictured above) and give the impression of a<br />

balcony when opened up on sunny days.<br />

Tauck’s newest river ships, Joy, Grace, Inspire<br />

and Savor, have traditional French balconies<br />

that open to a fixed rail. Suites, which occupy<br />

almost an entire deck on each of these vessels,<br />

have two such balconies and are about half<br />

the size of a squash court.<br />

Demand for suites is so high that Tauck,<br />

Scenic and Uniworld have created larger<br />

rooms on some of their vessels by knocking<br />

two cabins into three. The latest to get the<br />

refurb is Uniworld’s <strong>River</strong> Royale, which<br />

relaunches in March with four new suites.<br />

Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises’ Crystal Mozart and<br />

AmaWaterways’ new AmaMagna have suites<br />

that are more than three times bigger than an<br />

average cabin.<br />

Most river ships have a handful of lower deck<br />

cabins that are below the waterline and have<br />

a high fixed window. These are targeted at<br />

clients on a budget and often designated as<br />

single cabins with no supplement.<br />

The The art art of The art of <strong>River</strong> Cruising<br />

of<br />

in in 2019<br />

in 2019 2019<br />

Explore Europe in style and comfort aboard our award-winning Amadeus<br />

ships Explore in 2019. Europe From in style Amsterdam and comfort to the aboard Danube our Delta award-winning and the Black Amadeus Sea,<br />

to ships Explore the in north 2019. Europe and From in south style Amsterdam of and France comfort to and the aboard the Danube beautiful our Delta award-winning scenery and the of the Black Amadeus Rhine Sea,<br />

and to ships the Danube in north 2019. and rivers, From south our Amsterdam of cruises France are to and designed the the Danube beautiful to showcase Delta scenery and our the of European the Black Rhine Sea,<br />

heritage. and to the Danube north Free and rivers, from south our transfers of cruises France and are and hassles, designed the beautiful full to of showcase personal scenery choice our of European the and Rhine<br />

freedom, heritage. and Danube Free the rivers, possibilities from our transfers cruises are and endless are hassles, designed with full an to of Amadeus showcase personal <strong>River</strong> choice our Cruise. European and<br />

freedom, heritage. Free the possibilities from transfers are and endless hassles, with full an of Amadeus personal <strong>River</strong> choice Cruise. and<br />

Highlights freedom, the for possibilities 2019 include are a endless new ship with - the an Amadeus <strong>River</strong> Star, Cruise. offering<br />

a Highlights total of 70 for spacious 2019 include deluxe a cabins, new ship 12 Amadeus - the Amadeus Suites Star, and will offering travel<br />

on a Highlights total the of Rhine, 70 for spacious Main 2019 and include deluxe Danube a cabins, new rivers ship 12 as Amadeus - well the Amadeus as Dutch Suites and Star, and Belgian will offering travel<br />

waterways. on a total the of Rhine, 70 We spacious Main will and also deluxe Danube refurbishing cabins, rivers 12 as Amadeus well as Dutch Suites Diamond and and Belgian for will 2019 travel<br />

sailing waterways. on the Paris, Rhine, We Normandy Main will also Danube & the refurbishing <strong>River</strong> rivers Seine. as Amadeus well as Dutch Diamond and Belgian for 2019<br />

sailing waterways. Paris, We Normandy will also & be the refurbishing <strong>River</strong> Seine. Amadeus Diamond for 2019<br />

Included<br />

sailing Paris,<br />

in your<br />

Normandy<br />

fare:<br />

& the <strong>River</strong> Seine.<br />

Return Included flights in your • Non-UK fare: transfers • Accommodation on board your river cruise<br />

ship Return Included • Gourmet flights in your • Non-UK dining fare: with transfers wine, beer • Accommodation and soft drinks on at board lunch and your dinner river cruise<br />

ship Return 24-hour • Gourmet flights tea and • Non-UK coffee dining station with transfers wine, • Complimentary beer • Accommodation and soft drinks Wi-Fi on at • Complimentary board lunch and your dinner river bicycles cruise<br />

ship 24-hour • Gourmet tea and coffee dining station with wine, • Complimentary beer and soft drinks Wi-Fi at • Complimentary lunch and dinner bicycles<br />

24-hour tea and coffee station • Complimentary Wi-Fi • Complimentary bicycles<br />

FOR RESERVATIONS CALL 0800 035 6411<br />

sales@amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk FOR RESERVATIONS | CALL www.amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk<br />

0800 035 6411<br />

or<br />

sales@amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk FOR<br />

See<br />

RESERVATIONS<br />

Your Abta Travel<br />

| CALL www.amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk<br />

Agent<br />

0800 035 6411<br />

or<br />

sales@amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk<br />

See Your Abta Travel<br />

| www.amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk<br />

Agent<br />

DANUBE | RHINE · MAIN · MOSELLE or See Your | Abta RHÔNE Travel · Agent SAÔNE<br />

SEINE DANUBE | THE | RHINE DUTCH · MAIN AND · BELGIAN MOSELLE WATERWAYS<br />

| RHÔNE · SAÔNE<br />

SEINE DANUBE | THE | RHINE DUTCH · MAIN AND · BELGIAN MOSELLE WATERWAYS<br />

| RHÔNE · SAÔNE<br />

SEINE | THE DUTCH AND BELGIAN WATERWAYS<br />

6 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019


WHY TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

WHY TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

The Elbe<br />

Elbe river cruises operate<br />

between Berlin and Prague<br />

and call at Wittenberg, the<br />

birthplace of the Protestant<br />

Reformation; Meissen, the<br />

town that gave its name to the<br />

world-famous porcelain; and<br />

Dresden, the city destroyed by<br />

heavy Allied bombing in the<br />

Second World War, but now<br />

restored to its former glory. It<br />

is a brilliant itinerary, but the<br />

river suffers from low water so<br />

passengers often end up being<br />

coached to the sights.<br />

Tauck’s Inspiration-class vessels each have<br />

four lower deck Loft Suites (pictured above)<br />

with a raised seating platform and deep<br />

window that can be partially opened.<br />

Exceptionally, Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises has<br />

got rid of lower-deck cabins altogether on<br />

Crystal Bach, Debussy, Mahler and Ravel.<br />

All their cabins are above the water line<br />

and have panorama windows that open<br />

horizontally.<br />

You can expect cabins and suites on all river<br />

ships to have hairdryers, safes and en-suite<br />

facilities Most have showers rather than<br />

baths. Scenic and Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

provide butlers for all passengers. Cabins<br />

and suites on Amadeus <strong>River</strong> Cruises and<br />

Crystal’s vessels have walk-in wardrobes.<br />

EUROPE’S RIVERS<br />

The Rhine and Danube are the top-selling<br />

rivers in the UK, between them attracting<br />

more than half of all British river cruise<br />

passengers in 2017 on account of the many<br />

things to see and do along the way.<br />

The Rhine is popular for the many<br />

castles along a deep gorge that runs 58<br />

miles between Koblenz in the north and<br />

Rudesheim in the south but returning<br />

passengers will find plenty to enjoy on<br />

itineraries that also explore its tributaries, the<br />

Moselle and Main.<br />

The Moselle is a narrow waterway that flows<br />

through one of Germany’s top wine-growing<br />

regions and is lined with vineyards and<br />

picture-postcard villages; the Main is also<br />

narrow and takes passengers to towns and<br />

cities with centuries-old history and culture.<br />

The Danube is best known for itineraries<br />

that tick off the cities of Budapest, Vienna<br />

and Bratislava, but you can also venture to<br />

the lower reaches, visiting lesser-known<br />

towns and cities in Romania, Bulgaria,<br />

Serbia, Croatia and Hungary, where<br />

Romans, Ottomans and the Soviet Union all<br />

left their mark.<br />

And in case you can’t choose which to do,<br />

two-week itineraries between Amsterdam<br />

and Budapest tick off the Rhine, Main, Main-<br />

Danube Canal and Danube.<br />

Once you have done those, there are plenty of<br />

other rivers to explore. In France, the Rhône<br />

and Seine are the big two, but there are also<br />

one-week sailings on the Garonne, Gironde and<br />

Dordogne <strong>River</strong>s in Aquitaine that visit some<br />

of France’s leading wine-growing regions, and<br />

barge holidays along the Loire Valley.<br />

The Douro in Northern Portugal was<br />

2017’s sales star, recording an incredible<br />

85% growth in the UK to a total 20,700<br />

passengers. You can choose itineraries that<br />

sail round-trip from Porto or combine a<br />

one-way cruise from Porto to the Spanish<br />

border at Vega de Terron with a few nights<br />

in Madrid. Either way you’ll have tours and<br />

tastings in port wine lodges and take in a<br />

flamenco show.<br />

There are also spring-time cruises through<br />

the Dutch and Belgian waterways timed for<br />

when the tulip fields are in bloom, voyages<br />

along the Elbe between Berlin and Prague<br />

that combine stories of Martin Luther,<br />

porcelain and the World War Two bombing of<br />

Dresden, and sailings on the Guadalquivir in<br />

Spain and the Po in Italy.<br />

In Russia, you can combine a cruise on the<br />

rivers, lakes and canals that link Moscow and<br />

St Petersburg with a few nights in both cities.<br />

DISCOVERING THE REST OF<br />

THE WORLD<br />

Those who are prepared to travel further<br />

afield have even more choice. Voyages along<br />

the Mekong <strong>River</strong> between Siem Reap and<br />

Ho Chi Minh City are the top-sellers when it<br />

comes to long-haul river cruises thanks to an<br />

exhilarating combination of ancient temples,<br />

exciting cities and exotic markets.<br />

Staying in Asia, three or four-night cruises<br />

through the towering three gorges on the<br />

Yangtze in China offer a moment to relax<br />

on tours that take in the cities of Beijing and<br />

Shanghai. In Myanmar, golden pagodas, trips<br />

to workshops and balloon rides over Bagan<br />

await on voyages on the Irrawaddy.<br />

What’s new for 2019<br />

Amadeus <strong>River</strong> Cruises, Avalon Waterways, Riviera Travel and Viking <strong>River</strong><br />

Cruises are all launching new river ships on the Rhine and Danube in 2019.<br />

AmaWaterways’ AmaMagna will be twice the width of other river ships and have<br />

four complimentary places to eat including Chef’s Table, which serves a taster<br />

menu, Al Fresco, an outside/inside venue at the front of the ship, and Jimmy’s<br />

Wine Bar.<br />

Saga has a new 23-night river cruise through the heart of Europe, from<br />

Amsterdam to the Black Sea. The cruise, exclusively for Saga customers, is on<br />

the river ship Amadeus Royal on five dates next summer and includes a postcruise<br />

hotel night in Bucharest in Romania.<br />

Uniworld <strong>River</strong> Cruises’ <strong>River</strong> Royale re-enters service on the Garonne, Gironde<br />

and Dordogne <strong>River</strong>s in spring after a massive refit that will add a pool, four<br />

suites and two dining venues. It will also have a new name, Bon Voyage.<br />

CroisiEurope, AmaWaterways and Viking are building new vessels to sail the<br />

Douro in Northern Portugal in 2019, while A-Rosa is making its debut on the river<br />

with the new A-Rosa Alva. Starting 2020, Tauck will be cruising the river on the new<br />

Andorinha.<br />

Emerald Waterways is launching its first river ship in Asia. Emerald Harmony will<br />

accommodate 84 passengers, have an outdoor pool and bar, two inside lounges<br />

and sail the Mekong between Siem Reap and Ho Chi Minh City.<br />

Passengers sailing the Seine with U by Uniworld can sleep under the stars on the<br />

top deck of The B starting 2019. The €60 per person price tag for the ‘rooftop<br />

camping’ includes an evening cocktail and breakfast hamper.<br />

APT has seven new Signature Experiences in Europe for 2019 including a journey on the<br />

Grand Empress steam train in Budapest on Magnificent Europe itineraries and a Lido<br />

de Paris dance show on Seine cruises. There’s a private cocktail reception at the Pont du<br />

Gard on the Rhône and cocktails and Fado music at Palácio da Bolsa on the Douro.<br />

CroisiEurope has new one-week culinary cruises on the Rhone with included<br />

tours to the Valrhona chocolate factory in Tain L’Hermitage and Les Halles<br />

in Lyon, and dinner (extra charge) at Paul Bocuse’s Abbaye de Collonges.<br />

Departures are weekly between April and October 2019.<br />

Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises’ 2021 itineraries include a new 11-night Eastern Danube<br />

Discoveries voyage round-trip from Vienna that visits Hungary, Serbia and<br />

Croatia, and includes a cruise through the Iron Gates Gorge.<br />

A-Rosa is putting 11 e-bikes on its Seine river ship A-Rosa Viva. It offers 3.5-hour<br />

bike tours to Monet’s Garden from Vernon and around Normandy. They cost<br />

extra and can be booked on board.<br />

WHO INCLUDES EXCURSIONS<br />

AmaWaterways<br />

American Cruise Lines<br />

APT<br />

Avalon Waterways<br />

Belmond<br />

Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

Emerald Waterways<br />

Pandaw<br />

Riviera Travel<br />

Saga (selected tours only)<br />

Scenic<br />

Tauck<br />

Travelmarvel<br />

U by Uniworld<br />

Uniworld <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

Viking<br />

The Po<br />

The Po is the longest river<br />

in Italy, flowing 652 miles<br />

from the Cottian Alps and<br />

emptying into the Adriatic<br />

south of Venice. However,<br />

river cruises sail only about<br />

60 miles upriver to Polesella.<br />

As well as spending time in<br />

Venice, there are excursions to<br />

Padua, one of the oldest cities<br />

in Italy, Bologna and Ravenna,<br />

notable for the 5th and 6thcentury<br />

mosaics that adorn<br />

its churches and Basilicas.<br />

Ferrara, also visited, is a<br />

medieval town with ancient<br />

cobbled streets.<br />

8 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 9


WHY TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

WHO INCLUDES FLIGHTS<br />

APT<br />

Avalon Waterways<br />

Emerald Waterways<br />

Fred Olsen <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

Riviera Travel<br />

Scenic<br />

Saga<br />

Shearings<br />

Tauck<br />

Titan Travel<br />

Travelmarvel<br />

Uniworld <strong>River</strong> Cruises<br />

Viking<br />

How to<br />

increase your<br />

river cruise<br />

enjoyment<br />

Many ocean cruisers look<br />

for smaller vessels or a<br />

change of scenery. <strong>River</strong><br />

cruising may be a totally<br />

new experience but like<br />

ocean cruising you only<br />

have to unpack once.<br />

Both regular river<br />

cruisers and those<br />

considering their first<br />

one, try packaging a river<br />

cruise perhaps into a tour<br />

of Southeast Asia, with<br />

a week on the Mekong or<br />

the Ganges with a tour of<br />

India's Golden Triangle.<br />

Those keen to get right off the beaten track can<br />

cruise the Upper Mekong in Laos, where days<br />

are spent exploring small villages, temples and<br />

markets, or the Red <strong>River</strong> in Vietnam, where<br />

they’ll visit Halong Bay and Hanoi.<br />

In India, cruises along the Ganges take<br />

intrepid travellers to mosques and temples<br />

and the headquarters of the Hari Krishna<br />

movement. Further north, in Assam, voyages<br />

along the Brahmaputra include elephantback<br />

rides at dawn in search of tigers and<br />

rhinos in Kaziranga National Park.<br />

After years in the doldrums, the Nile in Egypt<br />

is back on the river cruise radar and demand<br />

is growing fast as river cruise lines add<br />

capacity and travellers again flock to see the<br />

ancient temples and tombs of the pharaohs<br />

on cruises between Luxor and Aswan.<br />

For a very different Africa holiday, three and<br />

four-night safari cruises on the Chobe <strong>River</strong><br />

in Botswana or Lake Kariba on the Zambezi<br />

<strong>River</strong> include daily excursions in small boats<br />

in search of elephants, giraffe, leopards and a<br />

myriad of other wildlife.<br />

In the US, paddlewheel boat cruises along the<br />

Mississippi and Columbia and Snake <strong>River</strong>s<br />

bring to life stories about the history of rock<br />

and pop music, the American Civil War and<br />

Mark Twain. For the ultimate adventure,<br />

three-week voyages explore the American<br />

heartland all the way between St Paul in<br />

Minneapolis to New Orleans.<br />

A TYPICAL DAY ON THE RIVER<br />

Although river cruising is a leisurely way to<br />

travel, the days are busy with sightseeing,<br />

cookery demonstrations, talks and quizzes.<br />

Breakfast is usually from 7am to 9am, but<br />

lying-in is not an option as morning tours<br />

start early. Passengers are split into groups,<br />

often with the option of joining one for slow<br />

walkers.<br />

Tours usually comprise a guided walk and<br />

time to wander alone. Tours that depart in the<br />

morning will be timed to be back for lunch. If<br />

they are in the afternoon, lunch will likely be<br />

earlier than usual.<br />

In cities such as Vienna and Strasbourg, river<br />

ships stay docked for a day or overnight. In<br />

other places, once everyone on board, you’ll set<br />

off for the next destination. This is the time to<br />

relax, enjoy the views, listen to a talk about the<br />

river, watch a cooking demonstration or join<br />

a beer or wine-tasting session. There will be<br />

commentary sailing through the Rhine Gorge<br />

and Wachau Valley in Austria.<br />

Afternoon tea is served in the lounge, then<br />

there is time to shower and get changed<br />

before returning to the lounge for pre-dinner<br />

drinks and the tour director’s presentation<br />

about the next day’s tours and activities.<br />

Dinner is served at 7pm, usually with open<br />

seating so you can sit with whoever you like.<br />

Around 9pm, the evening entertainment<br />

starts – maybe a quiz, a classical concert or<br />

local folk dancers. Other times the resident<br />

pianist will keep the music going until the last<br />

person is standing.<br />

And next day it starts all over again.<br />

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INSPIRED BY THE DESTINATION<br />

Do some basic research –<br />

read brochures and talk<br />

to your agent to ensure<br />

that you get a cruise that<br />

is completely satisfying.<br />

Consider an Asia river<br />

cruise if you’re planning<br />

your first long-haul<br />

holiday or are nervous of<br />

travelling alone<br />

Ask your agent if he<br />

or she has taken river<br />

cruises and seek their<br />

advice on both vessel and<br />

destination choice.<br />

What to pack<br />

There are no dress codes on the rivers<br />

so passengers just need to pack for the<br />

climate. As a guide, pack light clothes for<br />

summers in Europe, warmer attire for the<br />

shoulder seasons and warm coats, boots,<br />

gloves, hats and scarves for Christmas<br />

markets cruises. Asia is warm year round<br />

but you will need wet-weather gear if you<br />

are visiting during rainy seasons. These<br />

differ from country to country. Smart<br />

casual is fine for evenings. Most cruise lines<br />

ask that no shorts are worn to dinner.<br />

On Tauck river cruises, deep destination knowledge and longstanding local relationships create<br />

exclusive cultural experiences ashore. Delivering truly inspirational travel experiences has defined<br />

Tauck for 90+ years... and Tauck river cruises connect you with people, places and daily life along<br />

Europe’s great rivers – with you at the very heart of it.<br />

2019 itinerary details are available at tauck.co.uk or call your preferred travel<br />

agent or Tauck on 0800 810 8020<br />

www.tauck.co.uk<br />

10 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

CLASSIC LAND JOURNEYS • RIVER CRUISING • SMALL SHIP CRUISING • FAMILY ADVENTURES


WHY TAKE A RIVER CRUISE<br />

EUROPE<br />

WHO GOES WHERE - EUROPE (Clia members only)<br />

Europe<br />

JOURNEY: THROUGH THE HEART OF<br />

Cruise line<br />

Dutch waterways/Rhine<br />

Danube<br />

Rhone<br />

Seine<br />

Bordeaux<br />

Douro<br />

Elbe<br />

Po<br />

Russia<br />

Guadalquivir<br />

Website<br />

Amadeus <strong>River</strong> Cruises ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ amadeus-rivercruises.co.uk<br />

AmaWaterways ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ amawaterways.co.uk<br />

APT ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ aptouring.co.uk<br />

A-Rosa ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ arosa-cruises.com<br />

Avalon Waterways ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ avaloncruises.co.uk<br />

CroisiEurope ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ croisieurope.co.uk<br />

Crystal <strong>River</strong> Cruises ✔ ✔ crystalcruises.co.uk<br />

Emerald Waterways ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ emeraldwaterways.co.uk<br />

Fred <strong>River</strong> Cruises (GSA) ✔ fredrivercruises.co.uk/volga-dream<br />

Fred Olsen <strong>River</strong> Cruises ✔ ✔ fredolsencruises.com<br />

Riviera Travel ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ rivieratravel.co.uk<br />

Saga (exclusive whole season<br />

charters only)<br />

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Shearings (exclusive whole<br />

season charters only)<br />

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Tauck ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ tauck.co.uk<br />

Titan Travel ✔ ✔ titantravel.co.uk<br />

U by Uniworld ✔ ✔ ubyuniworld.com<br />

Uniworld <strong>River</strong> Cruises ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ uniworld.com<br />

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WHO GOES WHERE - REST OF THE WORLD (Clia members only)<br />

Cruise line<br />

Mekong<br />

Yangtze<br />

Irrawaddy<br />

Ganges/<br />

Brahmaputra<br />

Nile<br />

Chobe/Lake<br />

Kariba<br />

Mississippi/<br />

Columbia <strong>River</strong><br />

Website<br />

AmaWaterways ✔ ✔ amawaterways.co.uk<br />

APT ✔ ✔ ✔ aptouring.co.uk<br />

Avalon Waterways ✔ ✔ avaloncruises.co.uk<br />

Belmond ✔ belmond.com<br />

CroisiEurope ✔ ✔ croisieurope.co.uk<br />

Emerald Waterways ✔ ✔ emeraldwaterways.co.uk<br />

Fred <strong>River</strong> Cruises (GSA) ✔ ✔ fredolsencruises.co.uk<br />

Pandaw ✔ ✔ ✔ pandaw.com<br />

Riviera Travel ✔ ✔ ✔ rivieratravel.co.uk<br />

Scenic ✔ ✔ scenic.co.uk<br />

Uniworld <strong>River</strong> Cruises ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ uniworld.com<br />

Viking ✔ ✔ ✔ vikingcruises.co.uk<br />

FIND IT<br />

This journey starts in Holland and ticks off<br />

four other countries (Germany, Austria,<br />

Slovakia and Hungary), three rivers (the<br />

Rhine, Main and Danube) and one manmade<br />

waterway (the Main-Danube Canal).<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

This is the big one when it comes to river<br />

cruising in Europe – a full-on two-week<br />

voyage from Amsterdam to Budapest (or<br />

vice-versa) that takes passengers through<br />

scenic valleys and countless locks, visits<br />

medieval towns, world-class cities and<br />

glittering palaces, and lays on walking tours,<br />

wine-tastings and classical concerts. If<br />

time allows, an extra week can be added to<br />

selected departures for a journey all the way<br />

from Amsterdam to Romania and the Black<br />

Sea (see page 17).<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Flying in or out of Amsterdam and Budapest<br />

is the only sensible option.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Assuming a north-south cruise from<br />

Amsterdam, the trip will probably start with<br />

an overnight on board so you can settle in<br />

and explore the city the next day. For firsttimers,<br />

a canal cruise is a good introduction;<br />

for those on a return visit, the Van Gogh or<br />

Rijksmuseum, and the house, now a museum,<br />

where Anne Frank wrote her diary while in<br />

hiding from the Nazis, are excellent. Scenic<br />

offers guided walking or bike tours around the<br />

canals. Avalon has an optional culinary tour.<br />

APT has tours to Zaanse Schans, a Dutch<br />

village with windmills and cheese.<br />

THE RHINE<br />

From Amsterdam river ships sail south along<br />

the Rhine, first stop Cologne, a German<br />

city best-known for a magnificent Gothic<br />

cathedral that survived the World War<br />

Two bombing while all around the city was<br />

destroyed.<br />

A miracle? Who knows but as it took 630<br />

years to build and it was only finished in 1880,<br />

it would have been a shame if it had been hit.<br />

Most visitors marvel at the interior; those<br />

feeling active can climb the 533 steps to the<br />

top for great views over the city and river.<br />

Walking tours are a good way to get to know<br />

the city. For those interested in World War<br />

Two history, the NS-Documentation Centre<br />

in the former Gestapo headquarters is highly<br />

recommended. The Chocolate Museum,<br />

close to where the river ships dock, is a treat<br />

for those with a sweet tooth.<br />

12 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 13


EUROPE<br />

THE MAIN RIVER<br />

A little way south of Rüdesheim, river ships<br />

turn left into the Main <strong>River</strong>. This is narrower<br />

and more picturesque than the Rhine but as<br />

there are 34 locks to navigate the sundeck<br />

will be closed most of the time while sailing.<br />

On most vessels that means there will be<br />

limited outside space.<br />

Key attractions along the Main include<br />

Miltenberg, a pretty town with half-timbered<br />

houses and a beautiful Renaissance fountain,<br />

and Würzburg, where city tours usually visit<br />

the baroque Bishop’s Residence to see its<br />

ornate staircases, acres of stucco and one of<br />

the largest frescos ever painted.<br />

A NEW<br />

DIMENSION<br />

IN RIVER CRUISING<br />

NAME<br />

Koblenz, at the confluence<br />

of the Rhine and Moselle, is<br />

recognisable for the enormous<br />

equestrian statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I<br />

at the Deutsches Eck, or German Corner.<br />

Walking tours visit the statue and the narrow<br />

streets, squares and churches in the old city,<br />

but it’s a small place and easy to explore<br />

alone. A cable car goes across the river to the<br />

Ehrenbreitstein fortress, 118 metres above<br />

the river.<br />

Koblenz marks the start of the Rhine Gorge,<br />

the most scenic stretch of the river with more<br />

than 40 castles and fortresses that date back<br />

to the Middle Ages. Cruise directors point<br />

out the sights during the sailing, and also tell<br />

the legend of the Lorelei, a beautiful maiden<br />

said to have thrown herself to her death over a<br />

faithless lover who then lured sailors to their<br />

deaths with her hypnotic singing.<br />

In Rüdesheim, a small town at the<br />

southern end of the gorge, tours visit<br />

Siegfried’s Mechanical Musical Cabinet, an<br />

extraordinary collection of music machines<br />

from years gone by. If that doesn’t appeal,<br />

a cable car goes over the vineyards to the<br />

monumental Germania statue that celebrates<br />

the foundation of the German Empire.<br />

Guides will point out the Drosselgasse - a<br />

narrow street lined with bars, cafés and<br />

souvenir shops.<br />

A few river cruise lines alternatively<br />

offer tours from Würzburg to<br />

Rothenburg. It’s about 45<br />

minutes’ drive away along<br />

what’s known as the<br />

Top tip:<br />

Cabin balconies really come<br />

into their own on cruises on the<br />

Main and Main-Danube Canal<br />

as passengers have their own<br />

outdoor viewing space even<br />

though the sundeck is<br />

closed.<br />

‘Romantic Road’, and<br />

a fairytale-like town<br />

enclosed by thick<br />

walls that’s full of<br />

medieval houses and<br />

has a Christmas shop<br />

that’s open all year.<br />

Cruises also visit<br />

Bamberg, a town famous<br />

for a strange smoked beer and<br />

architectural gems including a town hall<br />

covered with tromp d’oeil frescoes.<br />

THE MAIN-DANUBE CANAL<br />

Bamberg marks the start of the Main-Danube<br />

Canal, a man-made waterway that opened in<br />

1994 to enable ships to sail all the way from<br />

the North Sea to the Black Sea. There are<br />

another 16 locks along the canal so again the<br />

sundeck will be closed most of the time.<br />

The main attraction on the canal is<br />

Nuremberg. Tours go to the Nazi rally<br />

grounds and Documentation Centre in<br />

Hitler’s unfinished Kongresshalle, which<br />

charts the rise of the Nazi party. In the<br />

city, many visit the courtroom where the<br />

war crime trials were held at the end of the<br />

Second World War.<br />

Most river cruise lines stay a day in the city<br />

so there is also time to explore the medieval<br />

centre. A castle, the vast market square, the<br />

Church of our Lady and the local Nuremburg<br />

rostbratwurst are among attractions.<br />

THE DANUBE<br />

At Kelheim, the canal flows into the Danube<br />

<strong>River</strong>. Cruises visit Regensburg, a town with<br />

narrow medieval streets, towers built by<br />

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14 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019 StowawayMedia.com | 15<br />

ABTA No.Y6393


EUROPE<br />

THE LOWER DANUBE<br />

Lower Danube<br />

JOURNEY:ALONG THE<br />

Did you know?<br />

Almost 16,000 British river<br />

cruisers sailed the Rhine/Danube<br />

itinerary in 2017, up almost 50%<br />

on the previous year, according<br />

to industry association Clia UK &<br />

Ireland.<br />

rich merchants to show off their wealth and<br />

a beautiful 12th-century stone bridge, and<br />

Passau, where walking tours visit St Stephen’s<br />

Cathedral and potter through the cobbled<br />

streets and alleys.<br />

Some river cruise lines offer all-day tours<br />

from Passau to Salzburg, the Austrian town<br />

where Mozart was born and scenes from the<br />

movie The Sound of Music were filmed, or<br />

Cesky Krumlov, a picture-postcard medieval<br />

city in the Czech Republic with a large castle<br />

and narrow streets made for exploring.<br />

Once past Passau, river ships enter Austria.<br />

From Melk, tours visit a baroque Benedictine<br />

monastery dripping with gold decoration,<br />

acres of marble, grand frescoes and a library<br />

that stores 100,000 books.<br />

This is the start of the Wachau Valley, a<br />

scenic 24-mile stretch of river with vineyards,<br />

ruined castles and picturesque villages.<br />

Several river cruise lines offer guided bike<br />

rides through the valley to Dürnstein, a tiny<br />

town where attractions include wine, apricots<br />

and a ruined hill-top castle in which Richard<br />

the Lionheart was once held captive.<br />

But the jewel in the Danube’s crown has to<br />

be Vienna, the glorious capital of Austria, a<br />

city of music, art and palaces, from where the<br />

Habsburg emperors and empresses ruled the<br />

Austro-Hungarian empire for some 700 years.<br />

First-time visitors will want to ride around<br />

the spectacular Ringstrasse, a three-mile<br />

circular boulevard lined with grand palaces,<br />

museums and government buildings, and<br />

peek into the royal family’s Hofburg Palace.<br />

There are also tours to the Schönbrunn<br />

Palace, the Habsburg’s summer residence, and<br />

Top tip:<br />

Don’t miss a drive around<br />

Vienna’s Ringstrasse after<br />

extravagant<br />

dark. It is fabulous by day, but<br />

Mozart<br />

spectacular at night when the<br />

and Strauss<br />

palaces, opera house and<br />

concerts.<br />

parliament are lit up.<br />

Those happy to<br />

explore alone can see<br />

Klimpt’s famous painting<br />

The Kiss at the Belvedere Palace,<br />

splash out on coffee and Sacher Tort at the<br />

Sacher Hotel and ride the big Prater Wheel<br />

made famous in the film The Third Man.<br />

Next up it’s Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia,<br />

the fourth country of the cruise. The Old<br />

Town is easy to explore alone – it’s very small<br />

and just a five-minute walk from where the<br />

boats dock – but there are walking or hiking<br />

tours around the centre and up to the castle<br />

that sits above the city.<br />

Last stop is Budapest, the capital of Hungary,<br />

where itineraries usually include an overnight<br />

stay so there’s time to see the sights before<br />

going home.<br />

The city has many claims to fame - the oldest<br />

underground rail network in Europe after<br />

London, the largest Jewish synagogue in<br />

Europe and the third-largest parliament<br />

building in the world (it’s trumped by the<br />

Palace of the Parliament in Bucharest and the<br />

Palace of Westminster in London).<br />

There are walking, cycling and Segway tours,<br />

an amphibious bus, which drives around Pest<br />

before plunging into the Danube and thermal<br />

spas for those who want to relax. Tour<br />

highlights include Heroes Square, an area<br />

laid out in 1896 to mark Hungary’s 1,000th<br />

anniversary, and Fisherman’s Bastion, a<br />

lookout spot in Buda with great views of the<br />

river below.<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Danube flows from the Black Forest<br />

in Germany to the Black Sea in Romania,<br />

passing through Austria, Slovakia, Hungary,<br />

Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania<br />

along the way. The Lower Danube runs<br />

from Budapest to the Black Sea.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

The top-selling voyage is seven nights,<br />

sailing from Giurgiu, the port for Bucharest<br />

in Romania, to the Hungarian capital of<br />

Budapest (or vice-versa), visiting Croatia,<br />

Serbia and Bulgaria, and usually including<br />

an extra pre-cruise hotel night in Bucharest.<br />

A few cruises also visit the Danube Delta,<br />

where the river flows into the Black Sea.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Those sailing between Bucharest and<br />

Budapest will fly in or out of each city.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

This is a fascinating journey through five<br />

Eastern European countries that visits<br />

forts, castles, Roman archaeological sites<br />

and spectacular rock formations. It also<br />

includes a transit through the scenic Iron<br />

Gates Gorge.<br />

A few river cruise lines offer three-week<br />

voyages all the way from the North Sea to<br />

the Black Sea. For details of the journey<br />

as far as Budapest see pages 13 to 16. The<br />

following continues the journey from<br />

Budapest to Romania, but itineraries also<br />

operate in the other direction.<br />

<strong>River</strong> cruise lines itineraries generally<br />

include an illuminations cruise through<br />

Budapest after dark so passengers can see<br />

the city by night. They then set sail, heading<br />

east through Hungary.<br />

First top is either Pecs, a city<br />

founded by the Romans<br />

some 2,000 years ago,<br />

or Kalosca, from where<br />

excursions visit the<br />

Hungarian puszta,<br />

of prairie, to watch a<br />

traditional horse show.<br />

In Hungary that means<br />

whip-cracking cowboys<br />

who gallop their steeds<br />

without spilling glasses filled<br />

with wine.<br />

Novi Sad in Serbia or Osijek in Croatia are<br />

next, then there’s a full day to explore the<br />

Serbian capital of Belgrade. Tours visit<br />

Tito’s mausoleum and the impressive St<br />

Sava Orthodox church but it is just as easy<br />

to explore alone as river ships dock right by<br />

the city centre.<br />

Soon after Belgrade, river ships enter the<br />

Iron Gate Gorge – a series of four canyons<br />

that run for 90 miles. A 40-foot-high rock<br />

statue of King Decebalus, the erstwhile<br />

ruler of Dacia, in what is now Romania,<br />

marks the eastern end of the gorge.<br />

Most itineraries call into Rousse in Bulgaria, a<br />

town known in its heyday as Little Vienna on<br />

Top tip:<br />

The most interesting<br />

sights on the Lower Danube<br />

are not along the river bank<br />

so passengers should be<br />

prepared for long<br />

transfers most<br />

days.<br />

account of its grand Belle Epoche buildings.<br />

From Rousse, tours visit Veliko Turnavo,<br />

the capital of Bulgaria before the Turkish<br />

invasion in the late 1300s, and Arbanassi,<br />

a village with six tiny churches<br />

plastered with ornate<br />

frescoes. An Orthodox<br />

choir performance in the<br />

Church of Archangel<br />

Michael and Gabriel is a<br />

highlight of the tour.<br />

Veliko Turnavo is about<br />

two hours’ drive from<br />

Rousse. For those who don’t<br />

wish to stray so far, most river<br />

cruise lines offer alternative tours<br />

to Ivanovo, 30 minutes from Rousse,<br />

to visit two churches hewn into rocks some<br />

900 years ago and decorated with frescoes<br />

and icons.<br />

Giurgiu, the port for Bucharest, is on the<br />

other side of the river from Rousse. Cruises<br />

mostly end here but include a tour of the<br />

capital - a vast palace built by former<br />

dictator Nicholas Ceausescu that now<br />

houses the Romanian Parliament is the<br />

main attraction – and a hotel night in the<br />

city before passengers fly home.<br />

CroisiEurope, A-Rosa, Fred Olsen and<br />

others cruise further east and include birdspotting<br />

trips in the Unesco-listed Danube<br />

Delta Biosphere Reserve where the river<br />

meets the Black Sea.<br />

16 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 17


THE RHINE AND MOSELLE<br />

Rhine<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG<br />

and<br />

THE<br />

Moselle<br />

Top tip:<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Rhine flows<br />

from Switzerland<br />

to Holland, passing<br />

through France and<br />

Germany along the way.<br />

The Moselle rises in north-east<br />

France and flows through Luxembourg and<br />

Germany, joining the Rhine at Koblenz.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

One-week sailings between Amsterdam and<br />

Basel in Switzerland navigate the Rhine<br />

Gorge and call into Cologne, Koblenz,<br />

Rüdesheim, Speyer, Strasbourg and Breisach.<br />

Some itineraries start or end in Cologne or<br />

Dusseldorf; a few operate round-trip from<br />

Cologne. Longer cruises combine the Rhine<br />

with the Moselle. There are also one-week<br />

spring-time cruises around Holland and<br />

Belgium round-trip from Amsterdam.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

There are scheduled and low-cost flights<br />

direct from the UK to Amsterdam,<br />

Dusseldorf, Basel and Cologne. Those<br />

joining a spring-time cruise from<br />

Amsterdam might like to consider travelling<br />

by train. Eurostar has two direct services a<br />

It’s worth adding a couple of<br />

hotel nights in Amsterdam to the<br />

start or end of the cruise as there<br />

is so much to see. There are long<br />

queues for the city’s museums<br />

and Anne Frank House so<br />

advise clients to book<br />

tickets online.<br />

day from London to<br />

Amsterdam (three from<br />

June 2019). The return<br />

journey requires a change<br />

in Brussels.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

If it’s spring again, it has to be tulips from<br />

Amsterdam. All the Dutch and Belgium<br />

waterways’ cruises in spring include tours to<br />

the Keukenhof Gardens in Lisse, Holland,<br />

where seven million tulip, daffodil and<br />

orchid bulbs are planted each year, creating<br />

themed displays (it’s Flower Power in 2019)<br />

that attract millions of visitors. The gardens<br />

are open from mid-March to mid-May.<br />

These cruises call at Arnhem, to visit the<br />

Airborne Museum that remembers the 1944<br />

Battle of Arnhem, and Veere or Middelburg,<br />

for tours to an enormous storm barrier built<br />

after devastating floods in 1953.<br />

Dutch waterways itineraries also visit Antwerp<br />

and Ghent in Belgium, offer excursions to<br />

Bruges and call at Rotterdam in Holland,<br />

from where there are outings to Gouda, Delft<br />

and Kinderdijk, where visitors can go inside a<br />

windmill and learn how they operate.<br />

Amsterdam to Basel cruises follow the same<br />

route as Amsterdam to Budapest itineraries<br />

but carry straight on when the latter turn left<br />

onto the Main <strong>River</strong> (see pages 13-16). That’s<br />

at Mainz, where the chief attraction is the<br />

Gutenberg Museum dedicated to the man<br />

who invented printing.<br />

Next stop is Mannheim, an industrial city<br />

where Karl Benz built the world’s first<br />

motor car. Fred Olsen <strong>River</strong> Cruises has<br />

walking tours of the city that visit a model<br />

of his first automobile but most river cruise<br />

lines whisk passengers away on excursions<br />

to Heidelberg, a far more attractive town<br />

about 20 minutes away.<br />

It sits on the Neckar <strong>River</strong> and is overlooked<br />

by a huge partly ruined red sandstone<br />

castle with a long history of conflict and<br />

destruction. Tours visit the castle, then<br />

allow free time in the town. For those<br />

feeling active, AmaWaterways, APT and<br />

Avalon Waterways offer hikes up Holy<br />

Mountain on the other side of the river.<br />

Their reward (apart from feeling righteous)<br />

is great views of the castle.<br />

From Mannheim, river cruise lines call into<br />

Speyer, to visit what was once one of the<br />

biggest cathedrals in the western world and<br />

an 800-year-old Jewish mikveh, or purifying<br />

bath, and then it’s on to Strasbourg, the<br />

highlight of the whole cruise for many.<br />

The city is a mix of old and new architecture<br />

(the half-timbered houses in Petite France<br />

vs the modern European Parliament and<br />

European Court of Justice) and French<br />

and German cultures due to the fact it has<br />

changed hands between the two countries<br />

five times since 1800.<br />

Attractions include an astronomical clock<br />

in the Gothic Cathedral that dates back<br />

to 1574 and still keeps perfect time, the<br />

cathedral itself (peek inside or climb the<br />

332 steps to the top) and canal boat rides.<br />

Breisach, the last stop before Basel, is<br />

the gateway for excursions into the Black<br />

Forest (tours visit the Vogtbauernhof open<br />

air museum depicting life in the region, and<br />

there are hiking and biking trails) or<br />

to Riquewihr, a medieval village nestling<br />

in the vineyards of Alsace that’s so picture<br />

perfect it’s like stepping back in time<br />

500 years.<br />

ON THE MOSELLE<br />

The Moselle is a much narrower and more<br />

scenic river than the Rhine as it cuts through<br />

the heart of one of Germany’s main winegrowing<br />

areas and the banks are a carpet of<br />

verdant vines.<br />

All Moselle cruises call at Cochem, a pretty<br />

town of half-timbered houses and wine shops<br />

that’s overlooked by the imposing Reichsburg<br />

Castle. It’s a stiff climb up to the fort but<br />

worth doing for the views over the river.<br />

Itineraries also call at Trier, a city founded by the<br />

Romans in 16BC, where the huge Porta Nigra<br />

(Black Gate) and the house where Karl Marx<br />

was born are among attractions, and Bernkastel.<br />

Avalon Waterways and AmaWaterways offer<br />

cruises that start in Luxembourg.<br />

Did you know?<br />

Almost 50,000 British river cruise<br />

passengers sailed the Rhine and Moselle in<br />

2017, making it the top selling river in the<br />

UK, according to industry figures.<br />

18 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 19


THE DOURO<br />

Douro<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Boutique river cruising<br />

through the heart<br />

of Europe<br />

NAME<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Douro rises in north central Spain<br />

and flows south-west and into northern<br />

Portugal, emptying into the Atlantic at<br />

Porto.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

There are two itineraries. The first, and<br />

most popular, is a voyage from Porto to<br />

Vega de Terrón, a distance of 210km (130<br />

miles), an excursion to Salamanca in Spain,<br />

and a cruise back to Porto. The second<br />

option is a one-way cruise between Porto<br />

and Vega de Terrón sandwiched between<br />

hotel stays in Madrid and Lisbon.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Direct flights operate from London to<br />

Porto. Those who want to add a few nights<br />

in Lisbon can fly there and take the train to<br />

Porto, a journey of just two and a half hours.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

The scenery is the star on these cruises,<br />

which either start or end with a tour of<br />

Porto and then journey past acres of<br />

terraced vineyards that produce the grapes<br />

used to make port wine and through deep<br />

valleys on the way to Vega de Terrón.<br />

Vessels navigate five deep locks along the<br />

way. These were built between 1964 and<br />

1985 to tame the river, which until then was<br />

a raging torrent – so wild that in the days<br />

before roads and railways, it took winegrowers<br />

two or three days to get their grapes<br />

from Regua to Porto by boat but three<br />

20 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

weeks or more to get<br />

back as the vessels<br />

had to be pulled by<br />

men and oxen.<br />

Porto is a grand city with<br />

narrow cobbled streets,<br />

grand squares and centuries of<br />

history. Walking tours visit a 13thcentury<br />

cathedral, the São Bento railway<br />

station, which is adorned with 20,000 tiles<br />

depicting Portugal’s history, and the bookshop<br />

where JK Rowling wrote some of her Harry<br />

Potter novels.<br />

Excursions often include a boat ride under<br />

the bridges over the Douro that link Porto<br />

with Gaia on the other bank and usually<br />

squeeze in a tour and tasting in one of the<br />

city’s port wine lodges.<br />

Top attractions along the river include<br />

Guimarães, where Portugal’s first king was<br />

crowned almost 900 years ago, and the<br />

baroque Mateus Palace, the manor house<br />

depicted on bottles of Mateus rosé wine,<br />

where tours show off a priceless collection<br />

of books, furniture and reliquaries.<br />

The Douro Museum in Regua has an<br />

excellent exhibition about wine growing in<br />

the region. In Lamego, the top attraction<br />

is the Sanctuary of our Lady of Remedies,<br />

a pilgrimage church at the top of an ornate<br />

baroque staircase. There are some 680<br />

steps that pilgrims climb on their knees<br />

during the festival of Nossa Senhora<br />

Top tip:<br />

The Douro cruise is leisurely<br />

with fab scenery for those who<br />

want to take it easy but those who<br />

want to kick things up a gear can<br />

go walking through vineyards<br />

and canoeing with Emerald<br />

Waterways.<br />

dos Remédios in<br />

September.<br />

Most itineraries<br />

include local food<br />

and port tastings at a<br />

quinta, or wine estate,<br />

some have canoeing trips on<br />

the Sabor <strong>River</strong>, a tributary of<br />

the Douro.<br />

But the highlight after Porto has to be<br />

Salamanca, a Spanish city known as<br />

the Golden City because its sandstone<br />

buildings glisten in the sunshine. It’s a<br />

two-hour drive from Vega de Terrón, but a<br />

gorgeous day out (most excursions include<br />

lunch with a flamenco show) and a chance<br />

to discover Spain as it used to be, before<br />

millions of tourists moved in.<br />

Tours visit Plaza Mayor, one of the<br />

biggest squares in Spain, a 12th-century<br />

Romanesque cathedral, a ‘new’ Gothicstyle<br />

basilica built next door almost 300<br />

years ago and a bustling market where<br />

stalls parade mouth-watering local Jamon<br />

Iberico (cured ham), olives, oil and cheeses.<br />

Did you know?<br />

The number of Britons cruising the<br />

Douro in 2017 leapt 85% to 20,700,<br />

making it the fastest-growing river in<br />

Europe, according to indstry figures.<br />

There’s nothing quite like an Emerald Waterways river cruise. From Europe<br />

to Southeast Asia and beyond, we’ve put our stamp on deluxe river cruising,<br />

combining state-of-the-art Star-Ships with meticulously planned itineraries,<br />

plus our promise of exceptional EmeraldVALUE, so you can be sure of an<br />

unforgettable holiday that offers inspiring moments and excellent value for<br />

money.<br />

Heated indoor pool†<br />

Stylish Star-Ships<br />

From the moment you step on-board one of<br />

our Star-Ships you are surrounded by stylish,<br />

modern décor, with every inch designed with<br />

comfort and enjoyment in mind.<br />

Indulge in delicious and diverse dining in the<br />

Reflections Restaurant and enjoy the cool river<br />

breeze with a glass of wine or a crisp beer on<br />

the Sun Deck. Plus, unique innovations like our<br />

heated indoor pool † that transforms into an<br />

evening cinema.<br />

†Emerald Radiance on the Douro <strong>River</strong> does not have bicycles or an indoor<br />

pool/cinema, instead there is a spa-style Serenity Pool on the Sun-Deck.<br />

For full terms and conditions visit emeraldwaterways.co.uk. E&OE.<br />

Sun Deck<br />

Inspiring days ashore<br />

We take you to the heart of local culture with<br />

our included excursions and EmeraldPLUS<br />

activities, giving you authentic experiences and<br />

ensuring you see the countless highlights as you<br />

sail Europe’s rivers.<br />

On most of our Star-Ships we offer<br />

complimentary bicycles † , allowing you to<br />

explore at your own pace. In addition, our<br />

selection of EmeraldACTIVE included<br />

experiences are perfect for those seeking<br />

more active excursions and activities.<br />

Exceptional<br />

EmeraldVALUE<br />

Enjoy all these inclusions…<br />

■ ■ Return flights from a choice of<br />

up to 15 UK airports<br />

■ ■ Stylish accommodation on-board<br />

our innovative Star-Ships<br />

■ ■ All on-board meals in<br />

Reflections Restaurant<br />

■ ■ Complimentary wine, beer & soft<br />

drinks with lunch & dinner<br />

■ ■ Onshore excursions and<br />

guided tours<br />

■ ■ Extra-special EmeraldPLUS and<br />

EmeraldACTIVE experiences<br />

■■<br />

Complimentary on-board Wi-Fi<br />

■■<br />

Complimentary on-board bicycles†<br />

■ ■ All port charges, taxes and<br />

transfer costs<br />

■■<br />

<strong>River</strong> Cruise Guarantee Cover<br />

Reflections Restaurant Enjoy included excursions PLUS ALL TIPS ARE INCLUDED<br />

Exceptional EmeraldVALUE<br />

Everything you could need is included in the<br />

price of your river cruise.<br />

From return flights, to all on-board meals,<br />

complimentary wine, beer & soft drinks with<br />

lunch & dinner, onshore excursions and guided<br />

tours, complimentary on-board Wi-Fi and all<br />

port charges, taxes and transfer costs.<br />

Contact your Local Travel Agent<br />

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Best <strong>River</strong> Cruise Line for Value<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 21


THE RHÔNE AND SAÔNE<br />

Cruising<br />

IN FRANCE<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Rhône and Saône<br />

Top tip:<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Rhône rises in<br />

Switzerland, flows<br />

into Southeast France<br />

and empties into the<br />

Mediterranean south of<br />

Arles. The Saône rises in<br />

France. The two meet at Lyon,<br />

where the Saône flows into the Rhône.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

Most are one-week sailings from Lyon to<br />

Avignon or Arles or vice-versa that include<br />

a couple of nights sailing the Saône as far<br />

as Chalon-sur-Saône. Some itineraries<br />

operate round-trip from Lyon. A few<br />

include Paris at the start and end of the<br />

cruise.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Lyon has its own airport; for Avignon and<br />

Arles, passengers will fly in and out of<br />

Marseilles Airport, which is about an hour’s<br />

drive away. You can alternatively travel by<br />

Eurostar train from London, transferring<br />

onto France’s high-speed TGV train<br />

network in Paris. Journey time from Paris<br />

to Lyon is around two hours and from Paris<br />

to Avignon just under three hours.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Lyon is France’s second-largest city and<br />

the acknowledged gastronomic capital of<br />

France - some even say the world – for its<br />

multitude of restaurants including classy<br />

One river is great but two is<br />

even better. Consider a combo<br />

pairing the Rhone with the Seine.<br />

They are offered by Avalon<br />

Waterways, Uniworld <strong>River</strong><br />

Cruises and APT.<br />

Michelin-starred<br />

establishments or<br />

so-called bouchon<br />

bistros that serve local<br />

Lyonnais food.<br />

Highlights in the city<br />

include the white Basilica of<br />

Notre Dame and remains of a nearby<br />

Roman theatre above the old town (tours<br />

will drive there but there is a funicular for<br />

those exploring alone). Tours also visit<br />

Les Halles food hall and the traboules,<br />

the name given to alleyways built in<br />

medieval times and hidden behind huge<br />

wooden doors.<br />

The city sits at the confluence of the Rhône<br />

and Saône. Head north towards Chalonsur-Saône<br />

and there are excursions to<br />

Cluny, to see what remains of what was<br />

once the largest church in the world, and<br />

Beaune, where more than 500 years ago<br />

a hospital was opened to care for the poor<br />

and sick. It’s now a museum and one of the<br />

most visited sights in France on account of<br />

its spectacular multi-coloured tiled roofs.<br />

Head south on the Rhône and there are<br />

days out in Tournon, a town across the<br />

river from Tain L’Hermitage, where wine is<br />

king. Naturally a tasting is on the cards, but<br />

there are also walking tours of Tournon and<br />

several river cruise lines have guided cycle<br />

rides along the river.<br />

Itineraries also call at Viviers, a oncethriving<br />

town that now has just 1,000<br />

inhabitants and the smallest working<br />

cathedral in France, and Vienne, where<br />

highlights include a 13,000-seat Roman<br />

amphitheatre and a temple built in honour<br />

of Emperor Augustus and his wife Livia<br />

more than 2,000 years ago.<br />

In Arles, tours visit an even bigger Roman<br />

amphitheatre with seating for 20,000 that<br />

is still used for concerts and plays, and pass<br />

scenes immortalised in oil by Vincent Van<br />

Gogh when he lived in the town in 1888<br />

and 1889.<br />

Some tours visit the asylum in St Remy<br />

that he checked into after leaving Arles and<br />

where he painted The Starry Night. A few<br />

also go into the Camargue, a region famous<br />

for cowboys, bulls and rice paddies.<br />

In Avignon, tours will likely visit the grand<br />

Popes Palace, where seven pontiffs lived in<br />

the 1300s, and head out to the Port du Gard, a<br />

magnificent 160ft-high Roman aqueduct that<br />

was built almost two thousand years ago.<br />

Those happy to go ashore alone, will<br />

find narrow streets to explore, mouthwatering<br />

produce in the Les Halles<br />

market and what remains of the Pont<br />

d’Avignon (it’s only half a bridge these<br />

days because it was washed away so many<br />

times they gave up rebuilding it).<br />

22 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019 StowawayMedia.com | 23


THE SEINE<br />

Seine<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Top tip:<br />

<strong>River</strong> Cruising by<br />

PARIS<br />

& THE SEINE<br />

VALLEY TO<br />

NORMANDY<br />

8 DAYS by Air<br />

£1,634pp<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Seine rises in France, flows north<br />

through Paris and Normandy, and empties<br />

into the English Channel at Le Havre.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

The most popular is a seven-night itinerary<br />

from Paris to Rouen or Caudebec-en-Caux<br />

and back that includes a day in the French<br />

capital. A couple of river cruise lines have<br />

one-way voyages from Paris to Rouen or<br />

vice-versa.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

There are plenty of flights from the UK to<br />

Paris, but those travelling from South-East<br />

England might find it more convenient to<br />

travel on Eurostar. Journey time from St<br />

Pancras in London to Paris Gare du Nord is<br />

just two hours, 16<br />

minutes.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Highlights of the<br />

cruise include tours<br />

to Impressionist<br />

painter Claude<br />

Monet’s house and<br />

garden in Giverny, to see<br />

the lily pond that featured in<br />

his most famous paintings, and hikes to<br />

Chateau-Gaillard, a castle, now ruined,<br />

built by King Richard the Lionheart in 1196,<br />

when Normandy was ruled by England.<br />

Richard was buried in the grand cathedral<br />

in Rouen, a pretty town with cobbled<br />

streets, half-timbered houses and a<br />

gruesome past as it was here, in 1431, that<br />

Bordeaux is for wine-lovers<br />

For additional pleaseure add<br />

a couple of nights in Paris to the<br />

start or end of the cruise (even if<br />

the itinerary includes a night in the<br />

capital) as there’s such a lot to see in<br />

the city. Notre Dame, Montmartre,<br />

the views from the top of<br />

the Eiffel Tower and the<br />

Louvre are calling.<br />

Joan of Arc was<br />

burned at the stake.<br />

The Church of<br />

Saint Joan, next to<br />

the post that marks<br />

the place where she<br />

was executed, is really<br />

spectacular.<br />

Keen painters can visit the<br />

town of Auvers-sur-Oise, where<br />

Vincent Van Gogh lived and died, while<br />

those interested in history can learn about<br />

Napoleon’s wife Josephine on a trip to her<br />

home, the Chateau Malmaison.<br />

From Caudebec-en-Caux or Rouen, there<br />

are full-day tours to Pegasus Bridge and<br />

the D-Day Landing Beaches, and half-day<br />

outings to the fishing village of Honfleur.<br />

Cruise itinerary<br />

Day 1: Embark in Paris, cruise to<br />

Les Andelys<br />

Day 2: Les Andelys to<br />

Caudebec-en-Caux<br />

Day 3: Caudebec-en-Caux<br />

Day 4: Caudebec-en-Caux to<br />

Rouen<br />

Day 5: Rouen to Vernon<br />

Day 6: Vernon to Paris<br />

Day 7: Paris<br />

Day 8: Disembark in Paris<br />

SAVE UP TO<br />

£100<br />

PER COUPLE<br />

ON BOOKINGS MADE<br />

BEFORE 28 TH FEBRUARY<br />

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BETWEEN 1 ST APRIL –<br />

27 TH OCTOBER 2019<br />

Departing June 7th 2019<br />

Sailing on the MS A-ROSA VIVA<br />

9 DAYS by Coach FROM £1,399pp<br />

8 DAYS by Rail FROM £1,539pp<br />

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3 All inclusive board basis<br />

3 Return coach travel, with FREE Wi-Fi on board,<br />

regional flights from local airports or rail travel from<br />

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3 Services of a Shearings Cruise Manager<br />

3 A-la-Carte Speciality Dining available in addition to<br />

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3 Facilities on board include a SPA, Gym, lounge areas<br />

and extensive sun decks<br />

3 On board entertainment<br />

Tours and tastings in the Médoc, St Émilion and Sauternes<br />

wine regions in Southwest France are top of the agenda on<br />

cruises on the Garonne, Dordogne and Gironde <strong>River</strong>s roundtrip<br />

from Bordeaux.<br />

Not that you have to be a wine connoisseur to love these<br />

cruises. Itineraries also visit St Émilion, a picturesque town<br />

with a cave said to have been home to St Émilion, a monk<br />

who gave the place its name, and the underground remains<br />

of a huge 11th-century church.<br />

Several include trips to Bergerac, a pretty<br />

town with narrow streets and half-timbered<br />

Top tip:<br />

houses where every restaurant serves<br />

duck and two statues pay homage to<br />

One of AmaWaterways’ winethemed<br />

Taste of Bordeaux cruises will<br />

Cyrano de Bergerac – a French novelist<br />

be ideal for oenophiles. There are 17 this<br />

year, all hosted by guest vintners, that<br />

feature special tastings on board and<br />

ashore, and an exclusive wine festival<br />

in Bourg with local vintages, live<br />

music, dancing and nibbles.<br />

24 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

and playwright with an oversized nose who inspired the<br />

eponymous play written by Edmond Rostand - even though<br />

there is no evidence that he ever actually visited the place.<br />

From Blaye, passengers can see an 17th-century citadel, now<br />

a UNESCO World Heritage Site, journey along the Route de la<br />

Corniche Fleurie, or maybe take a tour to Cognac, to taste the<br />

world-famous brandy that took its name from the town.<br />

Itineraries spend at least a day in Bordeaux, to explore<br />

the old city’s maze of narrow lanes and alleyways and join<br />

the strollers, runners and cyclists enjoying the lovely long<br />

waterfront promenade. The opera house, Place Gambetta<br />

and classical Place de la Bourse are among highlights. The<br />

stunning miroir d’eau (mirror of water) is a big favourite,<br />

especially with children.<br />

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RUSSIAN WATERWAYS<br />

FIND IT<br />

Rather than a single waterway, Moscow and<br />

St Petersburg are linked by the a series of<br />

canals, lakes and waterways. The journey<br />

starts on the Moscow Canal then connects<br />

to the Volga <strong>River</strong>, Rybinsk Reservoir,<br />

Volga-Baltic Waterway, Lake Onega, Svir<br />

<strong>River</strong>, Lake Ladoga and Neva <strong>River</strong>.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

Most itineraries are 12 nights cruising oneway<br />

from Moscow to St Petersburg or viceversa,<br />

with two or three nights on the river<br />

ship in each city at either end of the cruise.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Both cities are well served with direct flights<br />

from the UK.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Moscow and St Petersburg are the big<br />

attractions of this cruise but it is actually<br />

also an wonderful journey visiting ancient<br />

Russian cities that have fascinating stories<br />

to tell.<br />

In Uglich, one of Russia’s oldest cities,<br />

tours visit the small Cathedral of the<br />

Transfiguration, which is painted with<br />

frescoes and has acoustics akin to the Royal<br />

Albert Hall, and the church next door built<br />

where Dmitri, the son of Tsar Ivan the<br />

Terrible, was murdered, allegedly on the<br />

orders of a not-so-charming-chap called Boris<br />

Godunov, who wanted him out of the way so<br />

he could be tsar. The church’s macabre name,<br />

Dmitri on the Blood, says it all.<br />

Yaroslavl is an ancient city of churches,<br />

cathedrals and monasteries founded in<br />

1010 by Yaroslavl the Wise who, so the<br />

story goes, came upriver, killed a bear that<br />

26 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Russian Waterways<br />

was worshipped by the resident pagans and<br />

started his settlement.<br />

Some itineraries visit Kirilov, to visit a<br />

superb icon museum in the 14th-century<br />

Monastery of St Cyril, all stop at Kizhi<br />

Island, an open-air museum that houses<br />

a domed wooden church built during the<br />

reign of Peter the Great without using<br />

any nails.<br />

Even the waterways have their own<br />

stories to tell. The Moscow Canal, dug<br />

by political prisoners under orders from<br />

Stalin; Rybinsk Reservoir, where hundreds<br />

of residents were drowned as they refused<br />

to leave their homes when the area was<br />

flooded; Lake Ladoga, which, in the winters<br />

of 1941-43, was used to transport supplies<br />

to the starving city of Leningrad (now St<br />

Petersburg) during a 872-day siege in the<br />

Second World War. Drivers risked enemy<br />

artillery fire to get food to the city over the<br />

frozen lake but despite their efforts, almost<br />

640,000 people died of cold and starvation.<br />

St Petersburg is much changed since those<br />

dark days and has so much to see that<br />

visitors need at least three days to do it all<br />

justice.<br />

The Hermitage Museum is top of most<br />

visitors’ lists but it’s vast (there are about<br />

400 rooms) so guided tours<br />

pick out the gems among<br />

the priceless artworks<br />

by the likes of Rubens,<br />

Raphael, Rembrandt,<br />

Da Vinci and<br />

Michelangelo.<br />

Most companies<br />

offer tours to the<br />

Top tip:<br />

ornate Catherine Palace in Tsarskoe Selo,<br />

some 45 minutes outside the city, and to see<br />

the fabulous golden fountains at Peterhof,<br />

Peter the Great’s summer residence on the<br />

Gulf of Finland.<br />

Highlights in the city include the Peter and<br />

Paul Fortress, where the remains of the<br />

last tsar, Nicholas II, and his family were<br />

interred after the fall of the Soviet Union<br />

in 1990; the Battleship Aurora, which<br />

fired the shot that started the Bolshevik<br />

Revolution in 1917; and the Church of the<br />

Spilled Blood, built where Tsar Alexander<br />

II was assassinated. There are also canal<br />

boat rides and trips to the Yusupov Palace,<br />

where Rasputin was murdered in 1916.<br />

In Moscow, tours make a bee-line for<br />

the Kremlin, a vast fortress that houses<br />

palaces, the Assumption Cathedral where<br />

the tsars were crowned and museums<br />

containing weapons, jewellery and<br />

priceless Fabergé eggs.<br />

UK passport holders need a<br />

visa to visit Russia. Prices start<br />

from £108.40 from VFS Global.<br />

Applicants must attend VFS<br />

offices in London, Manchester or<br />

Edinburgh to be fingerprinted<br />

or pay extra to use a mobile<br />

biometric service.<br />

They also visit Red Square, to see St Basil’s<br />

Cathedral, Lenin’s Tomb (but only to look<br />

as the queues to get inside can be very<br />

long), GUM shopping centre and the ornate<br />

Metro stations resplendent with<br />

chandeliers, sculptures<br />

and frescoes. A few river<br />

cruise lines include<br />

tours to the Tretyakov<br />

Gallery, home to<br />

100,000 pieces of<br />

Russian art.<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Nile has two sources, One rises in<br />

Ethiopia, the other in Uganda. They meet in<br />

the Sudan and flow on to Egypt, emptying<br />

into the Mediterranean east of Alexandria.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

Either seven nights from Luxor to Aswan<br />

and back or three or four-night itineraries<br />

from Luxor to Aswan or from Aswan<br />

to Luxor. Itineraries generally<br />

combine the cruise with a<br />

few nights in Cairo.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

There are direct flights<br />

from London to Cairo<br />

and Luxor. Clients<br />

starting or ending their<br />

cruise in Aswan will<br />

need to fly via Cairo.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Most clients cruising the Nile<br />

will want to add a couple of days in<br />

Cairo to see the pyramids and sphinx at Giza<br />

and the Egyptian Museum, which houses<br />

the world’s finest collection of Pharaonic<br />

artifacts including the treasures found in<br />

Tutankhamen’s tomb. Other sights include<br />

the Citadel, a Crusader-style fortress dating<br />

from the 13th century, and the Khan el-<br />

Khalili bazaar.<br />

Itineraries generally include two days in<br />

Luxor as there is so much to see.<br />

In the city itself there’s the grand Karnak<br />

Temple (evening sound-and-light shows<br />

here are a fun experience) and the smaller<br />

Temple of Luxor. Across the river, on the<br />

west bank, highlights include the Valley of the<br />

Kings, Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and the<br />

Colossi of Memnon (two huge statues that<br />

once guarded a temple but now sit alone in<br />

the desert).<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG<br />

the Nile<br />

Top tip:<br />

Egyptians love to haggle. Never<br />

buy anything without offering<br />

two-thirds of the asking price and<br />

raising your offer slightly. If<br />

the seller won’t budge, walk<br />

away. They’ll very likely<br />

follow.<br />

Guides travel with the cruises and lead tours<br />

of the ancient temples each day, explaining<br />

which gods they were dedicated to, the<br />

meaning of the hieroglyphics and more.<br />

The most visited temples travelling north<br />

to south are the Temple of Khnum in Esna<br />

dedicated to the god thought to be the creator<br />

of children, the Temple of Edfu dedicated<br />

to the falcon god Horus, and Kom Ombo, a<br />

double temple half dedicated to the<br />

crocodile god Sobek and half to<br />

the falcon god Horus.<br />

ASWAN<br />

Itineraries generally<br />

offer either an included<br />

or optional earlymorning<br />

tour from<br />

Aswan to the Temple<br />

of Abu Simbel, which is<br />

spectacular not just for its<br />

size and age - it was built in<br />

the 13th century BC by Rameses<br />

II and is guarded by four 60-feet<br />

statues of himself – but because it was moved<br />

to its present location to escape the flood<br />

waters when they built the Aswan Dam.<br />

Aswan tours also visit Philae Temple, which<br />

was moved to its present island location<br />

and is arguably one of the prettiest temples<br />

along the river. If time allows, take tea on the<br />

terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel, a favourite<br />

haunt of Sir Winston Churchill, Agatha<br />

Christie and the Aga Khan.<br />

Did you know?<br />

British passport holders need a visa to<br />

enter Egypt. You can apply for an e-visa<br />

at visa2egypt.gov.eg or get one on<br />

arrival. Cost is $25, payable in Sterling,<br />

US dollars or Euros. Always check visa<br />

information before travelling.<br />

THE NILE AND CHOBE<br />

SAIL AND SAFARI<br />

Safari cruises on the Chobe <strong>River</strong> and Lake<br />

Kariba offered by AmaWaterways and<br />

CroisiEurope are an away-from-the-crowds<br />

alternative to wildlife spotting from a landbased<br />

lodge.<br />

Passengers can be out on deck looking for<br />

wildlife while sailing, and there are tours each<br />

day in small boats or 4x4 open-top jeeps in<br />

search of elephants, giraffes, lions, crocodiles,<br />

hippos and a myriad of birdlife.<br />

Cruises are just three or four nights on small<br />

boats (the Zambezi Queen on the Chobe<br />

holds 28 passengers; the African Queen on<br />

Lake Kariba just 16) and packaged with land<br />

stays in safari parks, Cape Town and the<br />

Victoria Falls.<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 27


NAME<br />

THE MEKONG<br />

JOURNEY:<br />

ALONG THE<br />

Mekong<br />

Cruising<br />

IN ASIA<br />

28 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Mekong rises<br />

in the Tibetan<br />

Plateau in China<br />

and flows through<br />

Myanmar (Burma) and<br />

Laos into Cambodia and<br />

Vietnam, emptying into the South<br />

China Sea south of Ho Chi Minh City in<br />

Vietnam.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

A seven-night voyage through Vietnam and<br />

Cambodia that is usually paired with pre and<br />

post-cruise stays in Ho Chi Minh City and<br />

Siem Reap. Longer cruise/tours add hotel<br />

nights in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, and<br />

Ha’Long Bay. Clients sailing from Vietnam<br />

into Cambodia will most likely embark their<br />

river ship in My Tho, 45 miles from Ho Chi<br />

Minh City, and disembark in Prek K’dam<br />

or Kampong Cham, about four hours by<br />

road from Siem Reap. Those cruising from<br />

Cambodia to Vietnam will do the journey<br />

the other way around. A handful of river<br />

ships are small enough to sail all the way into<br />

Ho Chi Minh City and navigate the Tonle<br />

Sap Lake to dock in Siem Reap.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Vietnam Airlines has direct flights from<br />

the UK to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.<br />

Top tip:<br />

Crossing roads in Ho Chi<br />

Minh City that are buzzing with<br />

motorbikes (there are almost four<br />

million in the city) is a skill. The<br />

trick is to step into the traffic,<br />

walk straight and allow them<br />

to dodge you. Never stop<br />

or run.<br />

It also has regular<br />

services between Ho<br />

Chi Minh City and<br />

Siem Reap. Clients<br />

can alternatively fly to<br />

Bangkok and connect to<br />

local services with Bangkok<br />

Airways and Vietnam Airways.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Clients cruising from Cambodia into<br />

Vietnam will almost certainly spend two<br />

or three nights in Siem Reap, to see the<br />

temples of Angkor. Angkor Wat itself is the<br />

best known and most river cruise lines have<br />

early morning tours to watch sunrise over<br />

the temple.<br />

Scenic follows a sunrise visit to the temple<br />

with a champagne breakfast at a local<br />

bakery school. APT has drinks on hand at<br />

Angkor Wat so passengers can raise a glass<br />

as the sun comes up.<br />

Other temples to see include the 12thcentury<br />

Angkor Thom, the last capital of<br />

the Khmer Empire, and the Bayon Temple,<br />

which has giant faces carved into the walls.<br />

Banteay Srei (Citadel of Women) is a small<br />

temple built from red sandstone dedicated<br />

to the Hindu god Shiva. Ta Prohm temple<br />

dates back to 1186 and has been largely<br />

untouched since it was discovered.<br />

It is about a four-hour drive from Siem<br />

Reap to the southern end of the Tonle Sap<br />

Lake, where the river ships embark, but<br />

there’ll be at least one stop on the way so<br />

passengers can stretch their legs and maybe<br />

try some local Cambodian delicacies.<br />

That’s deep fried tarantulas and crickets.<br />

Or maybe not!<br />

ON THE TONLE SAP RIVER<br />

The first part of the cruise generally<br />

meanders around the Tonle Sap <strong>River</strong>,<br />

which flows south from the Tonle Sap<br />

Lake and joins the Mekong at Phnom<br />

Penh. Instead of famous sights to tick off,<br />

passengers will be treated to a wealth of<br />

new experiences including trips to pagodas<br />

and monasteries to be blessed by monks,<br />

visits to village schools, cruises around<br />

floating villages and rides in ox-carts.<br />

Did you know?<br />

British passport holders can buy a<br />

visa for Cambodia on arrival, price<br />

$30, payable in US dollars. Prices<br />

and information can change. Always<br />

check before travelling.<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 29


THE MEKONG/LAOS<br />

Did you know?<br />

British passport holders joining a<br />

tour in Hanoi, flying to Siem Reap<br />

in Cambodia and cruising to Ho Chi<br />

Minh City need a visa for Vietnam.<br />

Fees are available on request.<br />

PHNOM PENH<br />

<strong>River</strong> cruise lines include two or three nights<br />

in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia,<br />

as there is so much to see and do in the city.<br />

Ships dock on the waterfront, which is lined<br />

with restaurants and bars that come alive in<br />

the evening.<br />

There are tuk-tuk or cyclo sightseeing<br />

tours, trips to the Central Market, a massive<br />

emporium selling everything from flowers<br />

and food to clothes, watches and jewellery,<br />

and excursions to the Royal Palace to see the<br />

bejewelled emerald Buddha statue housed in<br />

the Silver Pagoda.<br />

Visitors will also come face to face with<br />

the horrors of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge<br />

dictatorship, which murdered millions of<br />

Cambodians during a terrifying 14 years in<br />

power. Tours visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide<br />

Museum and one of the Killing Fields where<br />

thousands died.<br />

ON THE MEKONG<br />

The rest of the cruise is on the Mekong <strong>River</strong>,<br />

where many more experiences await. Once<br />

over the border into Vietnam, there are calls<br />

at the towns of Tan Chau, Sa Dec and Cai<br />

Be, and tours to fish farms, silk-weaving<br />

and rattan mat workshops and markets.<br />

Passengers will ride in a rickshaw; those<br />

feeling brave can try rice wine flavoured<br />

with snake.<br />

HO CHI MINH CITY<br />

My Tho, about an hour’s drive from Ho<br />

Chi Minh City, is journey’s end as far as the<br />

cruise is concerned but most itineraries<br />

include a night or two night in the city.<br />

The Reunification Palace (formerly the<br />

Presidential Palace), the French colonial<br />

Notre Dame Cathedral, Chinatown and<br />

bustling Ben Thanh Market are among<br />

attractions.<br />

Most tours are by coach but for something<br />

different, APT offers motorbike tours of the<br />

city (visitors ride pillion on one bike, the<br />

guide follows on another). APT also includes<br />

a nightof wining and dining at Vietnam<br />

House, a restaurant owned by Luke Nguyen,<br />

one of Australia’s top chefs and APT’s<br />

Ambassador.<br />

Several river cruise lines include tours to<br />

the Cu Chi Tunnels, a 200km network of<br />

underground tunnels outside the city where<br />

the Viet Cong lived during the Vietnam War.<br />

Visitors will see the secret entrances, learn<br />

how they lived and have a chance to crawl<br />

through one of the tunnels.<br />

Discovering LAOS<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

A 10-day voyage offered by Pandaw between<br />

Chiang Saen in Thailand and Vientiane in<br />

Laos.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Bangkok Airways and Thai Airways offer flights<br />

between Bangkok International Airport and<br />

Chiang Rai and Vientiane. Flight time to both is<br />

about one hour.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Clients embarking their river ship in Chiang<br />

Rai will sail the next morning to the Golden<br />

Triangle, where the borders of Thailand,<br />

Laos and Myanmar meet, to get their visa for<br />

Laos (cost is $35, cash and passport photo<br />

required).<br />

Once the formalities have been completed,<br />

the cruise proper starts. This is a fascinating<br />

journey that visits remote jungle villages,<br />

limestone caves housing thousands of Buddha<br />

statues and the gushing Khaung Si Waterfall,<br />

which tumbles 75 metres and collects in three<br />

rocky pools as it flows down the mountain.<br />

Passengers will learn about local festivals,<br />

sail down rapids (“fun for us, difficult for the<br />

captain,” said the guide), cruise through the<br />

massive Xayaburi lock, watch Laos dancers<br />

and take part in a traditional spirit ceremony.<br />

There are two nights in Luang Prabang, with<br />

guided tours of the museums and temples as<br />

well as time to explore alone. Expect an early<br />

start on the last day in the city to give alms to<br />

the monks (a pot of sticky rice to be doled out<br />

to the monks is provided by the ship) and visit<br />

the busy morning market, where you can buy<br />

vegetables, meat, fish, crabs, crickets, even<br />

live bats.<br />

In Vientiane, the capital of Laos since 1560, a<br />

guided tour visits Pha That Luang, a goldcovered<br />

stupa in the centre of the city, the Arc<br />

de Triomphe-style Patuxai victory monument<br />

and the temples of Pra Keo and Sisaket.<br />

Europe’s<br />

most luxurious<br />

river cruises<br />

At Scenic, we take what you would<br />

expect from a 5-star river cruise to a<br />

whole new level.<br />

Even the luxuries you would expect<br />

to pay extra for are included from the<br />

moment you step on board.<br />

All-Inclusive Highlights<br />

ü Flights from up to 16 UK airports<br />

ü Award-winning Scenic Freechoice<br />

shore excursions<br />

ü Once-in-a-lifetime Scenic Enrich<br />

events and experiences<br />

ü Casual to fine dining in a choice of up<br />

to five on board venues<br />

ü Unlimited premium branded drinks and<br />

in-suite mini bar*<br />

ü Complimentary Wi-Fi<br />

ü Butler service for all guests<br />

ü All tipping, transfers and taxes<br />

Unlock luxury for less<br />

Both on board and on shore, luxury comes as<br />

standard with Scenic. With state-of-the-art<br />

Space-Ships, we offer 5-star luxury across<br />

everything - from luggage unpacked by a<br />

personal butler, to a choice of gourmet meals<br />

across a range of on board dining venues.<br />

Scenic is truly all-inclusive; return flights,<br />

premium branded drinks, excursions and<br />

gratuities, not forgetting the free in-suite<br />

mini bar, replenished daily, are all included<br />

in the price.<br />

All-inclusive dining & beverages<br />

Scenic Freechoice excursions<br />

Award-winning excursions<br />

Scenic Enrich experiences offer exclusive,<br />

once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to delve into<br />

local history and culture. Guests can dine in<br />

palatial settings or discover hidden gems with<br />

the guidance of an expert.<br />

Scenic Freechoice excursions, carefully selected<br />

by our Journey Designers, encourage you<br />

to explore beauty spots and landmarks at a<br />

pace that suits. Our GPS-fitted e-bikes allow<br />

you to discover independently off the beaten<br />

track, while group hikes help to acquaint more<br />

active explorers with areas of outstanding<br />

natural beauty.<br />

Luxury suites<br />

Scenic Enrich experiences<br />

State-of-the-art Space-Ships<br />

Our state-of-the-art Space-Ships have been<br />

designed to redefine luxury river cruising. With<br />

innovative new technology, a wide selection of<br />

dining options, an on board Wellness Centre,<br />

and the most spacious suites on Europe’s<br />

waters, you won’t be disappointed.<br />

Each balcony suite features our exclusive<br />

Scenic Sun Lounge system, transforming the<br />

window into a balcony at the touch of a button.<br />

Guests can enjoy a 1:3 crew to passenger ratio<br />

with a butler service for everyone.<br />

Contact your Local Travel Agent<br />

30 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

Inclusions and ship features may vary.<br />

*All drinks are included except for a very small number of rare and vintage spirits, wine and champagne.<br />

For full terms and conditions visit scenic.co.uk


THE GANGES<br />

Ganges<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

THE YANGTZE/IRRAWADDY<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Irrawaddy<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Ganges rises in the Himalayas and<br />

flows south, then east, splitting into<br />

two before reaching the border with<br />

Bangladesh. The main branch continues<br />

into Bangladesh, where it becomes the<br />

Padma <strong>River</strong>. A second branch flows south<br />

and becomes the Hooghly, known as the<br />

Lower Ganges.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

Most sailings are a week sailing roundtrip<br />

from Kolkata, with calls into small<br />

towns and villages to visit temples,<br />

cottage industries and palaces. Pandaw<br />

alternatively pairs a one-way cruise from<br />

Kolkata to Farakka with a train journey<br />

back to Kolkata (this also operates the other<br />

way around, with a train from Kolkata to<br />

Farakka followed by the cruise). In October<br />

2019, Pandaw is launching 14-night cruises<br />

from Kolkata to Varanasi and vice-versa.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

Qatar Airways and Emirates fly from London<br />

to Kolkata via Doha and Dubai. Alternatively<br />

clients can fly to Mumbai or Delhi and pick up<br />

a domestic flight to Kolkata.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Kolkata was the capital of the British<br />

Raj until 1911 and is still full of historic<br />

colonial buildings. Itineraries generally<br />

include a tour of the city at the start or end<br />

of the cruise to visit the marble Victoria<br />

Monument, a grand building modelled on<br />

the Taj Mahal and dedicated to the memory<br />

of Queen Victoria, the place<br />

where Mother Teresa lived<br />

and worked and a huge<br />

flower market.<br />

Once underway,<br />

passengers will leave<br />

the big city lights and<br />

discover a part of India<br />

where westerners are rare<br />

and tours are more about<br />

experiences than ticking of<br />

sights.<br />

In Kalna, the first stop, they’ll be transported<br />

across town by rickshaw (a bike pulling a<br />

cart) to visit the Shiva Temple, where 108<br />

terracotta shrines are laid out in concentric<br />

circles. In Matiari, there’s a village walk to the<br />

sounds of local artisans beating out brass pots.<br />

In Baranagar, another village walk reveals<br />

brick temples and terracotta carvings dating<br />

back 200 years.<br />

Murshidabad is like a big city in<br />

comparison to all these places. Tours here<br />

include a horse-drawn cart ride out to the<br />

Katra Mosque built in the 1700s and a visit<br />

to the vast 19th-century Hazarduari Palace,<br />

now a museum housing weapons, furniture<br />

and paintings. It was built in Greek Doric<br />

style by a Scottish architect and has 1,000<br />

Top tip:<br />

Visitors must cover their<br />

knees and shoulders, and<br />

remove shoes, before<br />

entering a temple in<br />

India.<br />

doors, many of which are fake, to foil<br />

intruders. There is also time to visit a local<br />

market.<br />

These cruises sail past the site of<br />

the Battle of Plassey, where,<br />

in 1757, Robert Clive of<br />

the British East India<br />

Company beat the Nawabs<br />

of Bengal and their French<br />

allies to take control of<br />

India.<br />

They also visit the Krishna<br />

Consciousness Movement<br />

HQ in Mayapur, where people<br />

from all over the world devote their<br />

minds to peace, love and chanting the Hari<br />

Krishna refrain.<br />

These cruises are generally paired with a<br />

six-night tour of India’s Golden Triangle, to<br />

visit the bustling bazaars, mosques and grand<br />

avenues in Old and New Delhi, the Taj Mahal<br />

in Agra and Amber Fortress in Jaipur.<br />

Did you know<br />

British passport holders need a<br />

visa to enter India. E-visas are<br />

available online, price $100.<br />

Advise clients to check visa<br />

requirements before travelling.<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Yangtze, or Chang Jiang in Chinese<br />

(meaning Long <strong>River</strong>), is the third longest<br />

river in the world after the Nile and Amazon.<br />

It rises in the Tibetan Plateau and<br />

empties into the Yellow Sea at<br />

Shanghai.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

Three or four-night sailings<br />

from Chongqing to Yichang,<br />

or vice-versa, transit three<br />

scenic gorges and are<br />

packaged with city stays in<br />

Beijing, Shanghai and Xian.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

There are frequent direct flights from the UK<br />

to both Beijing and Shanghai, where tours<br />

generally start or end.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

The scenery is the big attraction on the river -<br />

at least it is along a 200km section with three<br />

deep gorges that cut through steep tree-lined<br />

cliffs topped with craggy peaks that are often<br />

shrouded in mist.<br />

Assuming a cruise from Yichang, passengers<br />

will sail first through Xiling Gorge – a 66km long<br />

canyon where sailors had to dodge dangerous<br />

whirlpools and rapids before the Three<br />

Gorges and Gezhouba Dams tamed the river.<br />

During the transit, cruise managers will be on<br />

the top deck to talk about the Yangtze, point<br />

out highlights and explain the Chinese myths<br />

and legends that surround the gorges.<br />

Yangtze<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Top tip:<br />

Think of this more as a<br />

tour than a cruise with<br />

so many things to<br />

do and see.<br />

about three hours to transit its five locks.<br />

Next morning, ships anchor off Badong<br />

for a boat trip down the Shennong Stream,<br />

a tributary of the Yangtze, and a<br />

ride in a traditional sampan<br />

(some itineraries visit other<br />

tributaries).<br />

Next comes Wu Gorge, a<br />

45km canyon with 12 peaks<br />

that legend has it used to be<br />

dragons. The story goes that<br />

they caused floods so were<br />

killed by a goddess, but their<br />

bodies blocked the river so she<br />

made them into peaks. The tallest is the<br />

goddess herself, who stayed on land to protect<br />

the boatmen.<br />

Then finally comes Qutang Gorge. It’s the<br />

shortest ( just 8km long) and most picturesque.<br />

The transit takes about 20 minutes.<br />

There is another day before reaching<br />

Chongqing, when excursions visit pagodas,<br />

local markets, even a former underground<br />

military site and underwater museum.<br />

Land packages vary but always include time<br />

in Beijing and Shanghai at the start or end<br />

of the holiday. Most also have two nights<br />

in Xian, to see the terracotta warriors. In<br />

Chongqing, itineraries frequently include a<br />

visit to see the pandas at the zoo.<br />

Did you know?<br />

The Irrawaddy flows almost straight<br />

from north to south in Myanmar,<br />

emptying in the Andaman Sea at<br />

Yangon.<br />

Clients can take their pick from a range<br />

of itineraries including three and fournight<br />

mini-cruises between Mandalay<br />

and Bagan that can be usefully packaged<br />

with land tours in Asia.<br />

There are also seven and 14-night<br />

sailings between Yangon and Bagan<br />

or Yangon and Mandalay, as well as<br />

11-night cruises that venture north<br />

through the gorges to Bhamo.<br />

Many cruisers will start their journey<br />

in Yangon, formerly called Rangoon,<br />

where the highlight is the magnificent<br />

Shwedagon Pagoda. Some 100 metres<br />

tall and covered in 11 tons of gold, it’s like<br />

a town within a city, where monks, nuns,<br />

friends and families come to meet, pray,<br />

meditate and party.<br />

If sailing north they’ll pass hundreds of<br />

Buddha carvings in the cliffs at Akauk<br />

Taung, visit the city of Pyay, to see the<br />

100-foot high Sitting Buddha and golden<br />

Shwesadaw Pagoda, and call into Bagan<br />

for a tour of an archaeological site dotted<br />

with more than 2,000 pagodas and<br />

temples. Watching sun set over the plain<br />

is a must.<br />

Tours in Mandalay visit monasteries<br />

and artisan workshops. Most cruise lines<br />

time a trip to the teak U-Bein Bridge for<br />

late afternoon so passengers can enjoy a<br />

boat ride as the sun goes down.<br />

Partway through Xiling Gorge, ships dock<br />

for excursions to the Three Gorges Dam.<br />

Dubbed the new Great Wall of China because<br />

it is so big, this is the largest hydroelectric<br />

power station in the world. It takes river ships<br />

British passport holders need a visa to<br />

enter China. The cost is from £64.50.<br />

Always check for updated information at<br />

the time of booking.<br />

32 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 33


NAME<br />

THE MISSISSIPPI<br />

Cruising<br />

IN THE US<br />

Mississippi<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Did you know?<br />

A flock of ducks lives in a ‘palace’<br />

on the roof of the Peabody Hotel in<br />

Memphis. At 11am every day, they<br />

‘march’ onto the lobby where they<br />

wander loose until home time at<br />

5pm. Each does three months’ hotel<br />

service before retiring to the farm<br />

where they are raised.<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Mississippi rises in northern<br />

Minnesota and flows south through the<br />

US, either bordering or passing through 10<br />

states. Some 2,340 miles later it empties<br />

into the Gulf of Mexico at New Orleans.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

A seven-night journey from Memphis to<br />

New Orleans (or vice-versa) that charts<br />

the rise of pop and jazz in the big cities and<br />

delves into the history of the American Civil<br />

War, slavery and cotton during calls into<br />

Vicksburg, Natchez and St Francisville.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

British Airways has direct flights from<br />

London to New Orleans. Flights from<br />

London to Memphis require a change of<br />

aircraft in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth or<br />

Philadelphia.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

Clients starting their cruise in Memphis<br />

will want to add a couple of nights in the<br />

city to see the sights. Top of the list is Elvis<br />

Presley’s Graceland, which attracts more<br />

than 600,000 visitors a year. They’ll see his<br />

Trophy Room, which displays all his gold<br />

records, stage costumes, movie posters and<br />

more, his car and aircraft collections and his<br />

grave in the grounds of the mansion.<br />

Fans will also want to visit Sun Studios,<br />

where an 18-year-old Elvis made his first<br />

record in 1953, the Rock and Soul Museum,<br />

which charts the birth of music that<br />

changed the world, and spend time enjoying<br />

the live bands and bars along Beale Street.<br />

Away from music, the National Civil<br />

Rights Museum tells of the struggle against<br />

segregation in the US. Adding poignancy,<br />

it’s in the Lorraine Motel where civil rights<br />

leader Martin Luther King was shot on<br />

April 4 1968.<br />

ON THE RIVER<br />

Assuming a cruise from north to south,<br />

there will be a day sailing before arriving<br />

at Vicksburg, from where tours visit the<br />

National Military Park on the site of one<br />

of the pivotal battles of the American Civil<br />

War in 1861-65. The fighting went on for a<br />

year and ended with Union troops starving<br />

the town into submission during a 47-day<br />

siege. The Confederates surrendered on<br />

July 4 1863; the town did not celebrate<br />

Independence Day for the next 81 years.<br />

In Natchez next day, there are tours of<br />

grand antebellum mansions, now museums,<br />

that were built on the proceeds of cotton<br />

and slavery. At Frogmore Plantation,<br />

visitors get a glimpse of what life was like<br />

for slaves and property owners back in the<br />

days when cotton was king.<br />

There’s a visit to St Francisville, a small<br />

town with clean streets, neat gardens,<br />

beautifully-maintained houses and twee<br />

shops, then it’s on to Baton Rouge, the state<br />

capital of Louisiana.<br />

The main attraction here is the White<br />

House – not the real one, of course, but such<br />

a close look-a-like that it’s often used as a<br />

stand-in in movies. Passengers can also visit<br />

the USS Kidd, a World War Two destroyer<br />

known as the Pirate of the Pacific because<br />

the crew adopted the buccaneer William<br />

Kidd as their mascot and often flew the<br />

Jolly Roger from its mast.<br />

Tours also visit the Atchafalaya Basin<br />

swamps that are home to alligators, black<br />

bears and numerous birds.<br />

NEW ORLEANS<br />

This is the end of the cruise but clients<br />

are well advised clients to stay a couple<br />

of nights extra in the city, which has an<br />

exciting French, Spanish and American<br />

vibe, is big on jazz and packed with<br />

restaurants, nightclubs and antique<br />

stores to explore.<br />

The French Quarter has a faded charm,<br />

the American Garden District is elegant.<br />

A ride on the street car along St Charles<br />

Avenue reveals 17 churches in less than<br />

seven miles. A few one-week cruises<br />

operate round-trip from New Orleans.<br />

These are more convenient for British<br />

passengers as they can make use of<br />

the direct flights from London in both<br />

directions but they will miss Memphis,<br />

which is a highlight for many.<br />

Good to know<br />

British passport holders need an ESTA<br />

to visit the USA. This is available on line<br />

at esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta, price $14, and<br />

valid for two years.<br />

34 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 35


THE MISSISSIPPI<br />

Mississippi<br />

THE UPPER<br />

Having ticked off the popular Lower Mississippi, you can head north to discover the river’s<br />

upper reaches. Here are some of your options:<br />

ELEVEN-DAY CRUISES FROM<br />

NEW ORLEANS TO ST LOUIS<br />

These follow the itinerary on page 35 in<br />

reverse to Memphis, where there is a day to<br />

see the sights, then continue north, visiting<br />

New Madrid in Missouri and Paducah in<br />

Kentucky before a last day in St Louis. This<br />

city’s location near the confluence of the<br />

Mississippi and Ohio <strong>River</strong> made it a hub<br />

for river boats and settlers heading west<br />

back in the 1800s. A 630ft stainless steel<br />

arch built in 1965 recognises its role as<br />

Gateway to the West. A tram takes visitors<br />

to the top for views over the city.<br />

ONE-WEEK CRUISES FROM<br />

ST LOUIS TO ST PAUL<br />

Allow time in St Louis to see the Gateway<br />

Arch (see above). Once sailing, the<br />

highlight is a day in Hannibal, where<br />

Samuel Clemens, aka Mark Twain,<br />

spent his boyhood. There are shops and<br />

restaurants named in his honour, while<br />

tours of his home, now a museum, tell<br />

the story of his life and bring characters<br />

from his book to life. This cruise visits<br />

Davenport and Dubuque in Iowa, where<br />

museums about the Sauk and Meskwaki<br />

Native Americans and the Mississippi river<br />

are attractions. There are tours to a classic<br />

car museum in La Crosse in Wisconsin and<br />

an eagle centre in Red Wing Minnesota<br />

before journey’s end in St Paul.<br />

THREE-WEEK JOURNEYS FROM<br />

NEW ORLEANS TO ST PAUL<br />

Put everything together and you have the<br />

ultimate journey through the American<br />

heartlands. If that’s too long, there is also a<br />

two-week journey south from St Paul to<br />

New Orleans.<br />

Did you know?<br />

Samuel Clemens got his pen name from<br />

the cry ‘mark twain’, a river term used by<br />

sailors testing the depth below the keel<br />

that means two fathoms (12 feet).<br />

Small Ship Cruising Done Perfectly®<br />

With over 35 itineraries visiting 25 states, American Cruise<br />

Lines travels along the legendary rivers and scenic coastal<br />

inland waterways of New England, Alaska, the Pacific<br />

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Included Features: Return flights and non-UK transfers<br />

All gourmet meals | Complimentary cocktail hour<br />

Complimentary shore excursions | Complimentary precruise<br />

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For reservations call 0800 035 0237 or see your ABTA travel agent<br />

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In Asia<br />

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FOR RESERVATIONS CALL 0208 396 7320 | uk@pandaw.com | www.pandaw.com<br />

36 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

or See Your Abta Travel Agent<br />

Find us on Facebook - Pandaw <strong>River</strong> Expeditions


THE COLUMBIA AND SNAKE RIVERS<br />

BROCHURE RACK<br />

Did you<br />

know<br />

British passport holders need<br />

an ESTA to visit the USA. This<br />

is available on line at esta.<br />

cbp.dhs.gov/esta, price<br />

$14, and valid for two<br />

years.<br />

AMADEUS RIVER CRUISES AMA WATERWAYS APT<br />

CROISIEUROPE<br />

JOURNEY: ALONG THE<br />

Columbia and Snake <strong>River</strong>s<br />

FIND IT<br />

The Columbia <strong>River</strong> rises in the Canadian<br />

Rocky Mountains and flows south into<br />

the US state of Washington, then west<br />

into Oregon, emptying into the Pacific at<br />

Astoria. The Snake <strong>River</strong> rises in Wyoming<br />

and meets the Columbia <strong>River</strong> at Richland<br />

in Washington.<br />

THE CRUISE<br />

An eight-day voyage on the Columbia and<br />

Snake <strong>River</strong>s from Portland in Oregon to<br />

Clarkston in Washington or vice-versa.<br />

GETTING THERE<br />

There are no direct flights from the UK to<br />

Portland or Spokane (the nearest airport to<br />

Clarkston). The best routing if timings work<br />

is to fly in and out via Seattle.<br />

WHAT TO SEE<br />

This cruise takes passengers from rainy<br />

Portland to desert landscapes in the<br />

footsteps of US explorers Lewis and Clark,<br />

who were tasked in 1803 by President<br />

Jefferson to lead an expedition across<br />

America to find the Pacific Ocean.<br />

Assuming a cruise from west to east, you<br />

will have a night in Portland, a city that<br />

puts food at the top of every agenda. There<br />

are restaurants and food carts selling<br />

everything from burgers to noodles. For<br />

a cultural break, head to the city’s art<br />

museum.<br />

Once on the river, ships sail west to Astoria,<br />

a city that grew up on the fur trade, for<br />

tours to Cape Disappointment, which was<br />

named by British explorer John Meyer but<br />

actually has fine views over the Pacific, and<br />

a replica of Fort Clatsop, where Lewis &<br />

Clark’s expedition overwintered in 1805.<br />

They were holed up there for 106 days and<br />

it rained on all bar 12 of them.<br />

From Astoria, river boats head back<br />

east, offering tours to volcanic Mount St<br />

Helens and sailing through the Columbia<br />

<strong>River</strong> Gorge. From Stevenson, there<br />

are excursions to Multnomah Falls and<br />

an Interpretive Centre that tells of the<br />

Native Americans who once lived here,<br />

and the Lewis & Clark expedition and<br />

settlers who passed through on their way<br />

to the Pacific.<br />

In the Dalles, a discovery centre explains<br />

the history of the town, the river and<br />

explains the eagles that live here. And of<br />

course Lewis & Clark are never far away.<br />

One of the places they camped is just by the<br />

boat dock.<br />

By now the cruise is in Washington’s<br />

burgeoning wine country (there were<br />

100 wineries in the 1990s, these days<br />

the number is more like 800). There are<br />

tours from Richland to an underground<br />

city in Pendleton as well as wine-tasting<br />

excursions.<br />

This is where the river boats leave the<br />

Columbia <strong>River</strong> and move seamlessly<br />

onto the Snake <strong>River</strong>, passing arid desert<br />

landscapes as they head to the last stop,<br />

Clarkston. Even here there’s no escaping<br />

Lewis & Clark as the town was named after<br />

one of our heroes, while nearby Lewiston<br />

was named after the other one.<br />

Tours visit the Nez Perce National<br />

Historical Park to learn how the tribe<br />

saved the expedition from starvation as<br />

they passed through the mountains. For<br />

something very different, you can buckle<br />

up and take a jet boat ride through Hells<br />

Canyon to see ancient rock formations<br />

and alpine forests.<br />

Did you know?<br />

Lewis & Clark’s 31-strong<br />

expedition left St Louis in<br />

May 1804, first sighted the<br />

Pacific in November 1805 and<br />

returned triumphant to St Louis<br />

in September 1806. The group<br />

encountered terrible storms,<br />

freezing temperatures, near<br />

starvation and Native Americans<br />

but just one person died, and that<br />

was from appendicitis. <strong>River</strong>lorians<br />

on the cruise will tell their story.<br />

CRYSTAL RIVER CRUISES<br />

RIVIERA TRAVEL<br />

EMERALD WATERWAYS<br />

FRED RIVER CRUISES (GSA)<br />

FAR HORIZION<br />

SAGA RIVER CRUISE<br />

<strong>River</strong> cruise brochures<br />

available from your agent.<br />

FRED OLSEN RIVER CRUISES<br />

THE HIDDEN<br />

WONDERS OF<br />

EUROPE<br />

RIVER CRUISING<br />

2019<br />

scenic.co.uk<br />

SCENIC<br />

38 | RIVER DIARY | JANUARY 2019<br />

TAUCK<br />

StowawayMedia.com | 39


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